Danise Alano-Martin was working at the City of Bloomington as an Economic Development Director when she got involved in the very first Combine circa 2010. She was also working with the Bloomington Technology Partnership at this time. At the time, there were various tech businesses who wanted to begin an event that attracted people to Bloomington, and also showcase the city as a great place to grow technology businesses, which is how The Combine came to fruition.
Throughout the years, Danise has been involved in just about every aspect of The Combine from start to finish since it started. She has written blog posts, acted as a liaison between the group and speakers, and even fundraised for the event. “It’s been amazing to see it grow into what it is now and how much it has developed.”
Now, Danise mainly focuses on speakers and sponsorships. She works on building the agenda of the speakers and workshops and seeing what types of sponsorship partnerships The Combine can bring on board to make the speaker goals a reality. “We shoot for bigger names and higher price tags, which can become a consuming task.”
One of Danise’s favorite moments over the years have included the amazing speakers that have made The Combine what it is. “I really like our approach to make sure the offerings, whether their speakers on the main stage, or the workshops, represent a diversity of people and talents, not just the fields they work in, but a lot of different voices being heard. I am really proud of our track record there.” Another part she has really enjoyed is experiencing the energy and electricity in the room. Although she doesn’t get to see all the presentations, it’s rewarding for her to see people connect with one another over mutual passions.
Danise believes there is a level of comfort that comes with this group that makes this event so unique. She feels that people come to The Combine to speak and leave feeling like they’ve made friends while visiting Bloomington. That’s one of her favorite parts of not only the conference, but of the people who put it on.
A fun fact about Danise:
-In the fall, she practices pumpkin throwing with her family and enters a contest called “The Great Pumpkin Launch” put on by the Bloomington Parks & Rec. They took the championship the first five years in distance, but they aren’t so great in accuracy!