To kick off our series of Meet the #DBcrew, we're proud to introduce you to Stephen Duckitt, our exceptional Event Manager. Fun fact - the first job Stephen applied for at Darling Brew was actually not this one!
"I came in for an interview prior to landing the event manager job, but the position in question was not a great fit for me. However, there was still a great rapport with the management team, so when the Event Manager position became available, they reached out to let me know. So it fell into place exactly when it was meant to," says Stephen.
He had always wanted to work for a distinguished brand and was drawn to Darling Brew from the start because the business is dynamic, agile, and he has watched it grow in leaps and bounds in recent years.
"As a local brand, DB is also close to my heart because my family is from Darling. In fact, we've been here since the late 1700s. I've been living on a farm outside of Darling for most of my life.
"I went to school and boarding school in Cape Town, and studied Bcomm (investment, finance, and marketing management) at Stellenbosch. Then I did yachting in the Med for two years after I finished my studies, and worked in logistics in Paarl. After moving to Cape Town and working in project management in the corporate incentive travel space, which took me throughout Southern Africa, I eventually circled back to my home town," Stephen recounts.
Throughout his initial career, he had always been an avid supporter of Darling Brew as a consumer, also attending plenty of their festivals and events.
"I love working on all our Darling Brew events, but as an avid runner, our trail running event that's coming up on the 30th of October this year is pretty close to my heart. That being said, there are plenty of other exciting DB occasions coming up. We are hoping to do a summer festival at the end of the year, and I do love a good jol, so if I can put together a good festival that would be great," he enthuses.
When it comes to putting together a great event, Stephen believes it's essential to understand your target audience and to have a clear objective when it comes to what you want to achieve. This creates a sound base for a successful event.
"Listening to your target audience and team members is essential. In this regard, our social media team does a great job. I also believe in keeping things interesting and taking calculated risks when it comes to events - all in alignment with your brand identity and vision, of course. Clear communication with your event participants leading up to, and following an event is also key. This approach has really added value to our DB events."
Stephen is a self-confessed plain Jane when it comes to his beer choices.
"I love a lager, so the Slow Beer is up there for me, but I also actually love the Gypsy Mask red Irish ale. When I feel like spicing things up, the Warlord also delivers a nice kick, and a Pixie Dust also hits the spot every now and again," he recommends.
In his personal capacity, this local lad is all sorts of active. He is into just about everything that gets you sweaty - road- and trail running (including marathons and triathlons), as well as MTB, open-water swimming, kayaking, and SUP. However, he is not a one-trick pony by a long shot.
"Coming from a family of green-fingered farmers and flower growers, I enjoy working in the garden, and I actually also play the piano," says Stephen. "Darling and the West Coast is my happy place, probably because I am a farm kid. Although I was away for a time, it still feels like the place where I can relax and be myself."