10 Things PCMA Did Right

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PCMAConvening Leaders, the annual convention of the Professional Convention Management Association, is an industry event that’s never been afraid of taking risks.

Here are 10 things that PCMA CL23, which brought 3,300 attendees to the Columbus Convention Center last week, did right.

Top Talent

Let’s start with this year’s private performance by Ohio native John Legend at Nationwide Arena. PCMA is known for bringing in big-name entertainers, with Willie Nelson and Peter Frampton taking the stage in previous years. There’s no question that it’s a draw for registration, a memory-maker for attendees, and an overall smart strategy a la Dreamforce. Other big names on the CL stage this year included Carly Fiorina, former Hewlett-Packard CEO and presidential contender, who moderated an industry panel; organizational psychologist Adam Grant; Thomas Barg and Ammar Kandil, creators of Yes Theory; and author Daniel Pink.


From its ADA accommodations, to a partnership with the LGBT Meeting Professionals Association (which held its networking reception featuring Columbus’ beloved drag queen, Anisa Love) to a strategic alliance with the National Coalition of Black Meeting Professionals (and many other examples), CL walked the talk when it comes to inclusiveness.


Elevated Rest Rooms

PCMA brought in the Montreal-based outlet Les Cabinets to pretty up the bathrooms in the convention center with amenities like mouthwash, gum, lotions and toiletries, dental floss—even orchids! Can we please have them at every industry meeting?

PCMAShow Daily Recycling

There were bins everywhere for this often-misplaced newspaper. Bravo!

PCMALive Recyclers

At the dining areas on the show floor, attendees could simply place their dirty dishes on a table and volunteers separated everything into bins. You didn’t even have to do it yourself, which most likely led to a much greater chance of items being sorted correctly.

PCMALocal First Options

There were signs everywhere that local purveyors were used for F&B, including this hearty IPA from Columbus Brewing Company.

PCMAWater Stations

These Flowater stations were scattered throughout the convention center, and appeared to be getting a lot of use. They need to be a permanent fixture at all of our meetings in 2023—and they can be sponsored!

PCMALive Art

It was nice to see a graphic recorder drawing on paper rather than high-tech boards. A big part of this art form is that the drawings can be taken down after the event and hung on the walls back in the office, to remind everyone of the discussions that occurred at the meeting.

PCMAFree COVID Supplies

SafeExpo was set up right outside The District (as the trade show floor is called) with free masks, COVID tests and information.

PCMAPCMA: Creative Convention F&B

Gone are the days of boring convention food. From charcuterie boxes to jarred salads (including one with fresh ahi tuna and green beans) to bite-size avocado toasts and smoked salmon bites, the convention center’s catering team showcased its creativity at every turn.

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Barbara Scofidio is Editor of Prevue and heads up the Visionary Summits, our exclusive conference series targeting senior-level meeting and incentive planners. In her 30 years in the industry, she has become known for her passion around greening meetings, growing awareness of human trafficking and promoting CSR activities as part of business events. She is currently a member of SITE's Women IN Leadership committee and the media liaison for FICP's Education Committee. She was the first member of the media ever to be invited to sit on a committee by GBTA, where she spent three years on the Groups and Meetings Committee. She has also been an active member of SITE for 30 years, chairing its Crystal Awards committee and acting as a judge. Before joining Prevue in 2014, she served as Editor of Corporate Meetings & Incentives (MeetingsNet) for more than 20 years. She has a BA in Literature/Rhetoric from Binghamton University. Barbara is based outside Boston, in Groton, Mass.