5 Question With… Danielle Deabler, VP of Global Events & Experiences

With theaters across the country closing their doors due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the National Geographic live events team immediately began to strategize how to continue engaging the audiences of their popular speaker series.

In a normal year, “our team operates over 300 events in 80 North American cities that reach 200,000 fans,” explains Danielle Deabler, VP, Global Events and Experiences for National Geographic Partners, who oversees the Nat Geo Live speaker series, film concerts, and speaker’s bureau.

The same world-renowned photographers, scientists, filmmakers, conservationists, and adventurers that typically take the Nat Geo Live stage were all grounded at home, so Danielle’s team began hosting “National Geographic Live: Backstage” on Facebook. The weekly talks take viewers into the homes of National Geographic Explorers for behind-the-scenes stories and a virtual show-and-tell.

Read on to learn more about Danielle, who began working at National Geographic in 2018.

1. Bertie Gregory did his Backstage talk from his childhood bedroom in the United Kingdom and showed off some of his wall décor, including surfboards and an enlarged photo from one of the first photography competitions that he won. What kinds of posters or decoration did you have hanging on your bedroom walls growing up? In grade school I wallpapered my bedroom with posters of every type of horse and pony you can imagine. I was a total horse nut. When I hit my teens, it was the eighties, and it was all downhill from there. Horses were replaced by my band idols, U2, Duran Duran and the like. I also had the classic light up Jesus picture above my bed! Interesting combination, I know.

2. In his talk, photographer Brian Skerry told a story about diving in a shipwreck and bringing back a binnacle, a large stand that holds a compass. What’s something memorable that you’ve brought back from a trip? I love collecting art when I travel. My most memorable item was a beautiful watercolor of Santorini’s Aegean Sea and blue dome churches that I brought back from our honeymoon in Greece. Each time I pass it in our hallway it takes me back to that very spot.

3. Nat Geo Live brings National Geographic’s photographers, scientists, authors, filmmakers and adventurers to stages in over 80 cities each year. If you had to give a stage presentation on something not related to your job, what would it be? I’d go on my speaking tour with this presentation: Eighties Soul: The Top John Hughes Movies of All Time — sponsored by Members Only.

4. You previously worked at NPR, so the question must be asked: What podcasts are you currently binging? How I Built This, TED Radio Hour I’m a big Guy Raz fan!

5. Where is your favorite place to explore? The California coast – nothing beats the view and nostalgia of it all. Everyone should drive up PCH at one point in their life and spend time in Big Sur. It’s hard to ruin a photo anywhere along the coast.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.