48in48 Volunteer Spotlight: Denise Hanft

Who is Denise?

Denise Hanft is a Digital Marketing Manager at Dalet Digital Media Systems, and she’s been volunteering for 48in48 since 2016. She has volunteered at five live or virtual weekend events + coached during the most recent IBM virtual event weekend…now that’s dedication. And she’s clearly talented too – her team websites have won awards at the 48in48 weekend events for the last three years, including a 1st place win in New York in 2019!

How did Denise first get involved with 48in48?

Denise (2nd from left) & Team in 2018Denise had just arrived in New York City, via Germany originally, then via London for her Master’s degree. She was looking to expand her professional network and heard about 48in48 at a tech meetup. 48in48 was actively looking for volunteers, and Denise got excited to meet new people, learn new things, and do good for Nonprofits at the same time. Much better in her opinion than a simple 1-hour networking event. Denise dove into her first NYC weekend event in 2016 as a Project Manager with a VERY lean team of two people. It was chaotic, but she learned WordPress and Design, skills that she has used professionally ever since that first volunteer weekend.

Why does Denise keep coming back to volunteer for 48in48 again and again?

Denise feels “super grateful” for this first intense experience with 48in48. Because she was thrown in, she learned more than she ever normally would, all inside 48 hours! She believes this is why she sticks with 48in48 year after year. She met incredibly interesting people, and she got to help Nonprofits while discovering a real area of personal growth for herself.

Since that first event in 2016, she volunteered virtually from Germany for the 2017 NYC event, and she was back in NYC for 2018 and 2019. This summer of 2020, she has volunteered for a full weekend virtual pilot event + lent her time as a coach for the June IBM virtual event. Just wow!

What role does she play on a 48in48 weekend event team?

Denise is a PM+++. She has done almost every role – project management, writing, design, UX and development. For the most recent pilot weekend, she joined her team as a Designer…that skill she started learning and loving five years earlier at her first 48in48 weekend event. Denise (far left) & her 2019 team

Does Denise prefer virtual or in-person events?

While she admits she likes in-person events better, Denise says there are some great parts of the virtual event too. Volunteers get that boost from doing good and making a Nonprofit happy and better positioned to fulfill their mission. They had more contact with the Nonprofit, so they could better collaborate throughout the weekend, resulting in better work and happier Nonprofits. Denise also enjoys the ability to virtually connect with people from other areas outside of New York – the rest of her pilot team lives in Atlanta, and she loved expanding her network in that way. She says, “You forget that you spent a weekend in a tiny room. It’s about the mission!”

Why should someone volunteer at an upcoming 48in48 virtual or hybrid weekend event?

Denise says you should volunteer for the same reasons she joins every year: you can network and meet diverse people, you can expand your professional knowledge/skills, and you can do it all while doing something good! Volunteer with 48in48, and you’ll see how incredible the learning curve can be in just 48 hours.

Won’t you sign up to volunteer with us today?


Connect with Denise on LinkedIn.