Emma Hawker: Connecting Event Organizers with Speakers through a Disruptive New Online Platform

All great entrepreneurial ideas start with one basic premise in mind. The desire to find an easy-to-use solution to a nagging problem.

When events industry veteran Emma Hawker embarked on her entrepreneurial journey, she was determined to create something that would address a key challenge that she experienced in her daily work. She wanted to find a way to help event organizers build an engaging and credible conference programme, in the most quick and efficient manner.

Typically, the speaker acquisition process required Hawker and her team to spend hours on research, cold calls, and email exchanges to find and reach out to potential speakers. Identifying speakers who specialise in very specific topics required even more legwork. Other challenges included budget restrictions, as well as ensuring that there was a diverse mix of speakers such as business leaders, industry experts, professional speakers and corporate trainers at each event.

Emma Hawker
Emma Hawker, CEO and Managing Director, ALTAFY

After having worked for 13 years as an event organizer and director, Hawker wanted to make this arduous and time-consuming process, more painless and efficient.

“When I left my company a couple of years ago, I was inspired and motivated to find an innovative solution that would help address these speaker acquisition woes. This led to the birth of ALTAFY – an online marketplace and productivity tool that enables organizers to meet a multitude of speaker requirements in a very intuitive and efficient manner,” Hawker, who is now the CEO and Managing Director at ALTAFY, says.

A Valuable Resource for Event Organizers as well as Emerging Speakers

ALTAFY is a one-of-a-kind platform helping event organizers to find a diverse range of speakers, from diverse industries, who could offer diverse speaking formats, from around the world for either virtual or physical programmes. Further, the platform also welcomes speaker representatives from agencies, corporations, bureaus or companies. Such managers can easily register multiple speakers for an event. The platform also has an in-built productivity tool that allows organizers to keep track of their speaker acquisition processes, correspondence and agreed terms with their speakers.

ALTAFY also offers a precious opportunity to confident individuals to come forward and build their profiles so that event organizers may easily discover them. Emerging, aspiring and motivated professionals can thus greatly boost their own professional visibility and brand presence. Moreover, new speakers are allowed to sign up and publish their profiles completely free of charge.

The company and the service are based in Singapore but caters to customers from around the world. It is available as an easy-to-use, self-service, and automated platform that is designed to accelerate the speaker acquisition process so that organizers can quickly move on to other tasks. The platform also functions as an online network of business professionals, subject-matter experts, trainers, corporate trainers, masters of ceremonies, speakers and speaker representatives around the world. It is the first ever service that brings event organizers and speakers together in such an easy and convenient way.

“The market response has been very positive. Despite physical events being affected, COVID-19 has seen a surge in virtual events. Our fully online and self-service platform is therefore perfectly positioned to service the growing demand for both virtual speakers and organisers. One of the things that our users love is being able to find the ‘undiscovered gems’ in the speaking industry. This gives organisers the ability to choose and showcase new and exciting speakers that they didn’t previously know about,” Hawker explains.

Learning and Growing amidst the Challenges of Entrepreneurship

Taking that leap into entrepreneurship has been an exciting and rewarding career move for Hawker. She enjoys having full ownership of her ideas and processes, as well as strategically collaborating with others who can help drive her business forward.

At the same time, making that transition into entrepreneurship from a more predictable full-time job has brought along its own set of challenges. Smart time management, for example, has become extremely critical for Hawker, who has two small children. “With no fixed hours, it often feels like the work never ends,” Hawker says. She has become more mindful of this and makes it a point to carve out time for her family every day.

As an event professional, a large part of Hawker’s career was focused behind the scenes and putting others on stage. As an entrepreneur, she has had to come out of her comfort zone, become an ambassador of her own brand, and open up to more public speaking engagements.

“Public speaking and being present at industry events is a big part of my brand awareness campaign. I was never comfortable being in the spotlight before, but I have learnt to embrace it. It’s a great way of elevating one’s professional brand, which is crucial for entrepreneurs looking to establish their brand presence in the market,”, says Hawker.

As a business leader, Hawker believes that diversity is critical for long-term business growth and success. “We need to embrace diversity of thought, diversity of experience, and diversity of knowledge. This is what ALTAFY represents and advocates for. We want to see more diversity on stages (a speaker for every stage, a stage for every speaker). Everyone has their own space, everyone has something to give, and something to learn from others,” she explains.

Her strong values and beliefs reflect in the company too. She employs a multi-cultural team where everyone is encouraged to share their ideas and opinions. Team members also practise honest conversations with each other. They are not afraid to identify issues, regroup, and focus on finding better solutions together.

Her strong values and beliefs reflect in the company too. She employs a multi-cultural team where everyone is encouraged to share their ideas and opinions. Team members also practise honest conversations with each other. They are not afraid to identify issues, regroup, and focus on finding better solutions together.

Optimistic of the Bright Possibilities in the Future

Today, Emma Hawker is the passionate business leader of an innovative service that is disrupting the events industry. She is confident that ALTAFY will bring organisers, speakers and event suppliers closer together, and uplift the industry as a whole. “We aim to ultimately be the ‘go-to’ platform for all organisers’ conferencing needs. COVID-19 has definitely sped up technological innovation in our industry, so I am also excited to leverage on the new possibilities that this will bring,” she sums up, optimistic about the future.