Dawn Donahue has been awarded the Hawaiian Travel Expert and Destination Specialist …

Dawn Donahue has been awarded the Hawaiian Travel Expert and Destination Specialist, certified by the Hawaiian Visitors and Convention Bureau. As a Certified Culinary Travel Professional and a Certified Golf Tournament Planner & Consultant, these assets are certain to make any trip to the Islands of Hawaii an experience travelers will enjoy.  From the planning stage to creating the experiences for memorable moments remembered for the rest of time.

Whether it is a corporate group, incentive travel, conference or meetings, Donahue will bring the Hawaiian Island flavours to every part of the event. Donahue is certified on all six islands – from the Big Island (Hawaii), to Oahu, Kauai, and Maui Nui (the combination of Maui, Molokai, and Lanai).

Donahue invited to sit on the Board of Advisors for GTAA

Dawn Donahue has accepted an invitation to sit on the Board of Advisors for the Golf Tournament Association of America. The GTAA is the Association for all Golf Tournaments and Events – Fundraisers, Corporate Outings, Networking, and Amateur Competitive Events. GTAA serves everyone in the golf tournament industry: tournament coordinators, golf courses, suppliers, charities, associations, meeting planners, civic groups, schools, churches, and all groups or individuals involved in a golf outing. It is here to serve and assist organizations in taking their events and business to the next level through education, information, and marketing. The GTAA offers seminars, newsletters, teleconference calls, trade shows, and educational materials.

Donahue is a Certified Culinary Travel Professional (CCTP), Certified Golf Tournament Planner (CGTP), Hawaii Destination Specialist (HDS), has been accepted into the Certified Meeting Manager program (CMM), is a member of the Professional Conference and Meetings Association (PCMA), Meeting Planners International (MPI), a past Board Member for the BC Sports Hall of Fame and the Zajac Foundation, and is a founding sponsor of the BC Hospitality Foundation (BCHF), sits on the Board of Advisors for BCHF, and Chairs the Scholarship Committee for BCHF.

Coast Capital Savings Charity Tournament Testimonials

Dawn, You are truly beyond an equal in the detail department. Thank you for all of this – I feel exceptionally prepared. Barbara Grantham, CEO, VGH + UBC Hospital Foundation


Dawn, Just wanted to say thank you for another great summer on the golf course. You and your team are amazing, consummate professionals, so organized, and a ton of fun! Thank you for having me back year after year. Kate Gajdosik, Global TV

HoneyBee Center

It was another amazing day and incredible event. The coordination and planning are always so well done. We both really enjoyed the day (and the dinner afterward)!
We’ll be there same time next year and please let me know if you have other events that would be a good fit for us.


Operations Manager

HoneyBee Center

Saccomaniacs Testimonials

What people were saying at the 2015 Saccomaniacs Golf Tournament …

Kealy’s Diamond Vodka “It meant a lot to see how much you put into the golf tourney for both yourKealysVodka_400 golfers and sponsors. Thanks a lot and glad to be a part of it!”

Slavic Rolls: “Always wonderful to be part of your tournaments – great people, attention to detail, and everyone loves the day. Thank you, Dawn!”  SlavicRollsDessertTruck

White Spot: “Dawn, thank you for all the attention you give your suppliers and sponsors. We love the detail, and the hard work and effort you put into every event.”WhiteSpotBurgerTruck

Leaders Invitational

Go Golf events worked very well with a diverse group of volunteers – both on the planning committee and on the course on the day of the tournament. Their dedication, work ethics, leadership and training created a cohesive team; the team came together year after year – now in its thirteenth year, and over 200 volunteers at the event.

Indianapolis Colts

Dawn is a go-getter. She can match everyone’s energy and is always looking to get your event ahead of the crowd. You can trust her experience and more importantly her instincts. Your golf event should run through her company. You’ll get results.
Vernon Creek

LTS LeaderBoard

“One of the best golf tournament planners I have ever met, world wide. We support over 3000 tournaments annually world wide. Dawn Donahue and Go Golf events lead the way in event planning, production, execution and attention to details. Actually, one of the best event producers and planners, regardless of event!”

Gerry Lev

How it all started ..

Over the years of speaking, teaching and training, leading and supporting I have been asked many times when my book was coming out. Laughingly responding “who has time to write a book”, it was always in the back of my mind that perhaps a book would be fun to write. Still – who has time to write a book?Hence the blog… thank you for taking the time to read “in one persons humble opinion”

They say some people are naturals – natural athlete, natural leader, natural artist, natural chef – born to be. I have the great privilege of loving the world of “making a difference by sharing knowledge and experiences.” A born to be trainer, teacher, producer, multi-tasker, so I have been told.

A combination of environment, education, experience, travel, and 40 years of working in the hospitality and event world have taught me an enormous amount. This life has enabled me to meet so very many wonderful people. Acquire many different skills. And still, each day I continue to learn – new methods, unique opportunities – as our everyday world changes by the minute, so do successful people.

What have I learned over the years? That I love to learn, that the more I think I know, the more I find I want to know, that sharing, teaching, mentoring always rewards me with new ideas, wonderful relationships, and  greater success. Rewards me with new challenges, opportunities and experiences. I truly hope that the people I have the great privilege of teaching, mentoring, and sharing with, gain as much as I do from the experience. Thank you to all who have shared with me.

Being raised on a couple thousand acres in central Ontario, with a father who defined entrepreneurial, we thought we had it all – fabulous gardens, free range cattle, poultry, lamb, the occasional black bear, horses to ride, and vegetables to grow. Hard work was the foundation we grew up with, being taught we could do anything we worked hard for was the mantra. The country home was open to all and sundry, as most farm homes are. Having a gifted mother with a beautiful voice and piano playing talents, occasional Saturday evenings were often filled with drop in musicians, dance, and stories. Growing up with this open door policy each day was an event.

Growing up with three aunts who were teachers also was an event – the nature vs. nurture event.

By the time I was born, “the aunts” had been teaching for years. They were taking their Bachelors of Education (in the 50’s all teachers were required to upgrade to a university bachelor of education). Naturally, I was the nearest test case for them, so after four summers of the aunts, I could read, write, do math and tested at a Grade four level. I was 5 years old. Did I say our country school was a one room school, with grades 1 to 8 in the same room? Miss (no Ms. in 1960) Viola Bulger, an exceptional teacher, really had no idea what to do with me. So, I taught Grades 1, 2 and 3. Yes, a 5 year old, preparing lessons, going to school early to write the lesson plan on the blackboard, sitting with each student (there were 10 total in the 3 grades) – one-on-one training, staying after school to correct and mark assignments. I thought it normal, so did everyone else. Fast forward to university, 1972, first year –becoming a residence don.. fast forward to – well today… Every task I have been assigned or chosen to do, has always had an opportunity for me to teach others.

Most of the above statements might grow up to be their own blog. Feel free to chime in anytime, question or comment.

For today, this is what I have been asked to share. In my humble opinion.

I have seen a need for hands on support and training in the field of events and event committees. Most charity and not for profit events are organized by volunteers – passionate, making a difference, volunteers. Or, staff from an organization tasked with organizing the events – the corporate golf tournament, corporate banquet, retreat or conference.

While anyone is capable of doing anything, an expert in the field is always a choice that makes the difference. For some reason, most people think “how hard can it be” when it comes to event planning. As with any other endeavour, time and effort, attention to detail will always give the best Return on Investment.

The challenge for most people, corporations, and committees is “How much will it cost?” The answer to this question is not really defined by dollars and cents, but rather by sense – how much will it cost if we don’t use an expert? That most inexperienced people in a field have no idea what they do not know, hence have no idea what questions even to ask.

Think back to where experts were used and why you did not do it yourself? Tax time and an accountant, a certified mechanic, dentist, doctor, florist, butcher, grocer, personal trainer – all of these skills can be learned – and, all of them can be a do it yourself action. With time, and experience, one person can do it all. The question to ask – do you have the time, and resources, to do it all? At what other cost? Let’s deal with this issue in the next blog.

There is always a need for volunteers at all level. The best use of volunteers is industry volunteers – people who are experts in their fields, who can advise, lead, direct, and offer intellectual resources. The committee member who is up to the minute with recommending best speakers, best practices, relevant activities and needs in and for the audience attending the event, meeting the corporate mandate. Do not expect these highly skilled volunteers to attend to the details – the actual behind the scenes administrative and organizational details that create a successful event, and burn out so many volunteers.

For now, I leave you with the following thought.

Think back to a casual back yard barbecue. We have all organized one, held one, and attended many. Are there a few that stand out in memory?

The ones that you were invited to that follows this pattern:

* casual invitation to a Saturday afternoon barbecue without a start and end time
* bring your own beverages
* bring your own food
* arrive at 3 pm, to find you are the first there, and the host didn’t expect anyone until 5 pm
* a few chairs spread around a back yard
* barbecue not clean and no propane
* as the event proceeds people search for cutlery, plates, glasses, ice, cooking utensils
* and the evening carries on
* the guests had a good time, good conversation – I mean, “how hard is it to have a bad time at a back yard barbecue”

* a personal invitation – via phone, in person, text, or whatever method works for the host
* a save the date invitation arrived via email, evite, or some other green method
* date and time clearly stated, including a map and directions
* Bring your own food and beverages
* With a list of choices of what to bring, and a theme to the event
* a reminder a few days prior to the event, again via a green method
* arriving right on time, to find a few others there and a wonderful set up in the back yard
* name tags for everyone (yes, not everyone you know will know everyone else)
* tables set up for beverages, with ice, tongs, napkins, glasses, and recycle bins discretely tucked under and behind
* mix and garnishes
* coolers and ice trays for food – keeping perishables chilled
* nets and food covers for non perishables
* barbecue cleaned and ready to go, with a back up tank of propane
* umbrellas tilted towards the sun, offering shade
* sun screen for all
* ice cold water pitchers – flavoured with lemon or cucumber or mint
* plates, cutlery, napkins, all set out, easy to reach and covered from the wind, sun and dirt
* lots of garbage cans easily accessible
* compost can for food scraps
* bins for used cutlery and plates – separated to make cleanup easier
* music playing in the background
* a chess board set up to one side and a few conversational magazines lying around to assist the shy
* and the evening carries on
* the guests had a good time, good conversation – I mean “how hard is it to have a bad time at a back yard barbecue?”

Both events are absolutely fine – both met the goal – to have a few friends over to a back yard barbecue.

Which event would you rather host? Which event would you attend again?