Transforming the Corporate Gifting Experience
Danni Rush is a strategic, agile, and operational leader, driving several areas of the business and executing the company’s long-term business plans; alongside her other c-suite exec members and with the support of their teams in the U.S. & U.K.
Danni is responsible for spearheading new initiatives for the growth of the business, leading organisational changes, driving rapid business growth, and creating an open, innovative, and great place-to-work culture for our teams. Along with Melanie White, Executive Vice President in the US, Danni is also a key brand champion and spokesperson externally.
The steadfast leader is the Chief Operating Officer for Virgin Incentives, Virgin Experience Days, and Virgin Experience Gifts. Danni’s career has spanned several industries, including travel, retail, and outdoor education. Her passion for team engagement, having seen the positive impact that a highly engaged and motivated team can have on business performance, led her to her role as COO. Danni leads the customer experience, product development, partnerships, and people strategy and helped the business navigate through the challenging pandemic period to increase employee engagement ratings and win gold at the 2021 U.K. Employee Experience Awards.
Danni typically splits her time between focusing on executing her functional responsibilities (customer experience, the people, suppliers, and partners) and openly sharing and spending time on the ground with teams from the U.K. & U.S. Daily, along with the executive team. Danni is involved in making critical decisions that impact business revenue & profitability, strategic goals, customers, product innovation, and the business team.
She has inspired her team because she is approachable and open to conversations and mentoring sessions with her team members who want to grow their careers. “I encourage people to be really clear on their goals and dedicate time to think about what they want from new roles and when they want it,” she says. “Once people are clear on their personal goals, it’s important to build self-belief and confidence, and push themselves forward and find inspiring mentors because when you don’t see ‘people like you’ in senior positions, it becomes a challenge to visualise yourself there and that can hold people back.”
With this mindset, Danni has been leading the organization to great heights. According to her, one of the biggest trends in the industry, Gifting, is the massive shift from just buying ‘stuff’. Whether that’s from a consumer point of view when purchasing a birthday gift or when businesses are thinking about reward and recognition. The focus is now on creating memories and giving stories to tell. “We’ve been on this journey in the U.K. for a couple of years now and thought it was about time we bought our business to the U.S.,” explains Danni. “In 2021 we acquired Cloud 9 Living in U.S., a family run business with 15 years experience of inspiring gifters with hand-picked exciting experiences, guaranteed to delight everyone.” After their successful acquisition, they rebranded the business to Virgin Experience Gifts to join the likes of other Virgin U.S. operations, such as Virgin Hotels, Virgin Holidays, and Virgin Voyages.
Virgin Incentives is the B2B arm of Virgin Experience Gifts, working specifically with corporate firms for reward and recognition and employee and customer gifts. Whether it's a birthday, a thank you, or a farewell, there are over 2,400 experiences that are perfect for unique and thoughtful employee benefits and rewards. They cover all gifting bases from supercar driving experiences, golf lessons, or wine-tasting tours. “We’re constantly innovating our product range and launching brand new experiences that we know will be loved by everyone,” elucidates Danni. “We recently introduced unique excursions and for the hybrid teams out there, we also offer a vast range of at-home & virtual experiences that can be enjoyed for remote get togethers.”
After a successful year, Danni and her team have ambitious and exciting plans to grow in the U.S. They will further invest in their people, enhance the technology platforms, and continue to innovate and evolve their products. “We want to actively disrupt the gifting & rewarding market - giving and receiving gifts should be fun and exciting, and we want to get that out to everyone across the U.S. so we're expanding our product range to include new and fun experience categories,” she adds. WL
We support UK and USA businesses to create a thriving employee culture, with engagement, loyalty, and performance at the heart of their organisation.
We practice what we preach and we’re proud winners of the ‘Employer of the Year’ 2022 Business Award