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40 Under 40: Derrick M. Johnson II, CMP

Derrick M. Johnson II, CMP, 32, works in Washington, D.C., as director of meetings for The Council of Insurance Agents & Brokers. As a 2017 40 Under 40 honoree, Johnson discusses his passion for the events industry.

What I do: I design core business programing and over 10 annual experiential programs that have a qualitative impact on attendee performance and growth at work. I also assist in overseeing the management and operations of the meetings department, which executes three annual meetings (up to 1,200 people each). How I got here: I’m a millennial planner with more than 15 years of experience with nonprofits, corporate and government agencies. From interning with the National Medical Association at 15 to planning $3 million events with Young Presidents’ Organization, I’ve gained a solid yet unique perspective into the domain of events and the future of our industry.  My greatest career accomplishment: I’m a huge proponent for education and continuous learning. In 2009, I was promoted to director of meetings at the National Association for Gifted Children. There I designed affordable education events, including virtual conferences, for teachers, thus ensuring proper education for gifted students around the country. In 2013, I received the Innovator of the Year Award from Kratos Learning Solutions for bringing webcasts and virtual events to the Department of Education Career Pathways division for post-secondary education and training. Impressive stats: Annually I save The Council about $100,000 on event operating expenses by negotiating meals in the sleeping room rates of our attendees. A specific improvement I’ve made: Since joining The Council, I’ve moved the organization to a more sophisticated event management and registration tool, and enhanced the scope of our Leadership Academy events. The Council had one experiential workshop under that umbrella prior to my arrival; now there are more than 10 in discussion. I also had a hand in doing away with paper registration forms and check payments, pushing our attendees online and minimizing manual processing for our team. What I’m working on: I’m planning my first fundraiser event in support of PCMA Education Foundation. By marrying my passion for the growth of the meetings industry with my love of music, I’m designing a benefit concert to be held late summer/fall. What I do outside of work: I’m the director of D.C.’s Different Drummers marching band, a community LGBTQ music organization; sit on the DCDD board of directors; teach music theory at a community arts center; and captain my flag football team.