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Director of Community Relations
Administration, Promotion and Marketing - Non Profit Charitable Organization
Chilliwack Hospital & Health Care Foundation (CHHCF)
To establish and create a new organization with a unique brand and identity that would quickly engage community
As the inaugural Executive Director of the Chilliwack Hospital & Health Care Foundation (CHHCF), Donna was tasked with a mandate to set up and administrate a brand new organization, facilitate the development of a brand identity, engage community in a unique mandate around health promotion and implement a comprehensive marketing and communication strategy. Within 5 months the organization was officially launched at a public relations event with all marketing materials including website in place. Five months after launch, Donna had secured funding and support from the Chilliwack Division of Family Practice and the SCOPE Program (a project of the UBC Department of Pediatrics, BC Children's Hospital and the Childhood Obesity Foundation) to hire a Program Lead for new Healthy Kids Initiative at no cost to the Foundation.
Two years after launch, CHHCF had more than 50 organizations actively engaged, boasted several successful financial partnerships and significant brand recognition, and was running two successful programs. The Healthy Kids Initiative and an innovative pilot project with the Chilliwack Division of Family Practice were underway to bring a healthy living message to all community stakeholders that engage with children, including regular family physician practice.
What Was Said:
It has been an absolute pleasure working with Donna. Her skills in marketing and promotion are clearly progressive and innovative and I personally have learned a great deal from her. I would highly recommend Donna Dixson and would work with her again at the first opportunity. Her enthusiasm is infectious, and when she enters a room, her energy is palpable. Further, she is hard working, inspiring and always professional.
- Shazhan Amed MD, FRCPC, MSc.PH
Clinical Assistant Professor | Dept. of Pediatrics
Endocrinologist | B.C Children's Hospital
Founder & Lead | SCOPE Initiative
Donna’s unparalleled ability to bring partners to the table to provide support, both financially and in-kind, allowed the Healthy Kids Initiative to function completely self-funded. Fundraising over $22,000 for the Gift of Health Christmas Breakfast in 2013, an alcohol free event I must add, is no small feat in a community that sees many fundraising events throughout the year.
- Katrina Bepple, Programs Lead, Chilliwack Division of Family Practice
Abbotsford Farm & Country Market
Branding, Marketing & Event Planning
Donna was initially hired on contract by Community Futures South Fraser, the Abbotsford Downtown Business Association and Tourism Abbotsford in 2004 and has continued a working relationship for over ten years with the market.
To develop, promote and launch a farmer’s market to showcase local producers and create a destination venue in downtown Abbotsford and to develop and implement key initiatives that support business development.
Donna established an advisory board which facilitated the creation of a common vision for the market and developed administrative infrastructure such as budgets, policies, forms and quality control measures. Creating a name, brand, and visual identity, Donna and Joanne of Rebar Creative implemented a promotional strategy and as the market manager, Donna was able to engage the community, attract sponsorship and marketing opportunities. Providing interim management, Donna facilitated relationships with downtown businesses, while also recruiting vendors and entertainers to participate in the market. Since the market’s launch ten years prior, the competition and dynamics of the community have changed significantly. Donna and Joanne were asked to evaluate the current competition, establish what still makes the market unique and identify an effective marketing strategy.
The 2004 Abbotsford Farm and Country Market launch was heralded as the most successful ever in the province. The vision and objectives of the founding board were almost completely achieved on the very first day of operation. Donna has since assisted the current board in development of a strategic plan for continued growth and success. Most recently, Donna worked to develop and implement a marketing strategy to increase vendor and visitor participation which included the organization of several events throughout the market season that resulted in significant growth in both.
What Was Said:
The market has a bright future, due to your work in 2004, in part because of your unfailing support over the past seven years, and undoubtedly as a result of your continued involvement."
- Ann Friesen, President of the Abbotsford Farm & Country Market
Donna has made significant progress in helping us understand our customers and their needs. She has been able to design effective marketing strategies that match our abilities and budget. Donna has an extensive network of contacts developed over several years of marketing project management. Working with Donna is always a positive experience. Her high energy approach and determination to delivering results have made her a huge asset to the Market.
- Bruce Fatkin, Market Manager, Abbotsford Farm & Country Market
Barkerville Bella Summer Tour
Barkerville Historic Town
Create a Summer marketing campaign that would increase visitation during the season.
Donna’s strategy involved creating a persona for herself called ‘Barkerville Bella’. As Bella, Donna dressed in an 1872 period costume and shared with the public her growing knowledge and discovery of Barkerville Historic Town. Utilizing an integrated marketing and media approach including earned media, social media, printed materials and personal relationship building, she travelled 10,000 km throughout British Columbia and Alberta. Distributing brochures, meeting with front line contacts, and engaging communities, Donna (as Bella) was able to reach people on all major routes leading to Barkerville.
The campaign was hugely successful and since there were ways to record ROI incorporated into the program, it was evident that visitation increased for the 2011 season and effected 2012 as well. The most vital outcome was the great media coverage that the tour received due to the creative originality of the ‘Bella’ concept.
What was said:
Creative, inspiring and original are three words that come to mind when I think of Donna. Filled with passion and energy, I first met Donna as Barkerville Bella and that was just the tip of the talent iceberg! It's one thing to think up a marketing campaign, its another to star in it and be completely responsible for driving results based on your active performance for 10,000 km! Congrats - you are awesome."
- Nancy Arsenault, Managing Partner, British Columbia Leisure, Travel and Tourism
While filming for the great PBS travel program, Travelscope, in Barkerville I couldn't have asked for a better guide than Donna. There's no way we could have obtained the access, assistance, and know-how in order to get the scenes that we needed without her. Not only did she make sure that we got to where we wanted to be in a timely manner and introduce us to the right people, but she took care of any extra needs we had as we raced around the area filming unbelievable material. I've filmed on 5 continents and 30 countries and have rarely had such a wonderful experience as I did in Barkerville with Donna. She was a host, a guide, a fixer, and a co-producer. The experience would have been greatly diminished without her."
- Zebediah Smith, Emmy award winning producer, Open Jaw Productions
Sport & Outdoor Recreation Strategy
Community Engagement, Research and Strategic Planning
Parks and Leisure Services, Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows
Consult with sport and outdoor recreation stakeholders in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows to complete a sustainable and comprehensive strategy for sport and outdoor recreation development
Donna worked with the parks and recreation staff and management to identify the goals of the strategy and a process that would fully engage all relevant stakeholders. She suggested that the most effective use of resources would not only result in a written road map of what was necessary for a sustainable plan but would have actual outcomes that would facilitate the ability to put recommended steps into action.
Over the course of an 18 month contract, Donna established a sport and outdoor recreation council for the community, acted as a sport tourism coordinator, facilitated an inventory of community assets and a comprehensive community calendar of events in addition to delivering the Sport & Outdoor Recreation Strategy document.
What Was Said:
Through extensive community consultation, research, workshops and professional development training opportunities, Donna was able to provide us with a Sport and Outdoor Recreation Tourism Strategy that has been endorsed by the Commission and in the process of being integrated into both communities’ Tourism and Economic Development work plans.
- Lex Tierney, District of Maple Ridge, Recreation Manager - Health and Wellness
The Sport and Outdoor Strategy her team developed will help inform our work in that area for years to come.
- Sandy Blue, Manager Strategic Economic Initiatives, District of Maple Ridge
Circle Farm Tour
Branding, Marketing, and Event Planning
Employed as the Manager of Sales & Marketing for Tourism Abbotsford, Donna worked with Abbotsford, Agassiz-Harrison Mills, Chilliwack, Langley, Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows, and Mission.
To enhance the Circle Farm Tour product by initiating the collaboration of six DMOs.
Donna pitched all six DMOs and negotiated to agree on regional program parameters and governance while facilitating group collaboration and decision making. Flair developed promotional materials including brochures, web copy and press releases for each community and participant and for the regional tour as a whole. Donna arranged for special media and launch events to create buzz and attract awareness for the Circle Farm Tour.
Donna was successful in developing a regional brand and collaborative marketing program. Participants reported a significant increase in visitors to their venues, with many receiving considerable media attention. The launch event was attended by two BC Government Ministers. The 2006 campaign won awards for Marketing Effectiveness and Copywriting. Visit the Circle Farm Tour Today!