Live From Convening Leaders

convening leaders
The honorable Julia Gillard AC, former prime minster of Australia (right), on the Main Stage at Convening Leaders in Singapore

PCMA’s Convening Leaders is known for taking risks and its annual Convening Leaders confab, happening virtually this week, is no exception.

Convening Leaders attracted 3,500 participants from 46 countries, including a live event with 300 attendees in Singapore. Threads woven throughout the week focused on innovation, digital competency and the importance of community and gathering live.

“We recognize one of the most important things we can do is to provide a strong sense of community for our members. We know that is critical to meet the needs of everyone and that they feel that they are not in it alone,” said Kirsten Olean, director of meetings of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and chair-elect for PCMA at Thursday’s press conference. “2021 is going to be another challenging year. We are still in the midst of a healthcare and economic crisis, but we know there is a light at the end of the tunnel.”

One way the organization is supporting its members is by changing how it handles its prestigious Chairman’s Award, with this year’s award going to all the PCMA members who have been displaced from their jobs and are in transition. These winners will receive free membership and complimentary access to all educational programs through June 30.

As difficult as 2020 was for its members, PCMA achieved several milestones and kicked off a number of new initiatives, according to Sherrif Karamat, CAE, president and CEO. “2020 Convening Leaders started off the year with the largest attendance in out history, our membership was over 8,000 at the end of the year and we saw massive growth in Gen Z participation, with over 300 Gen z members actively engaged.”

In addition, PCMA saw more than 2,900 graduates from its Digital Event Strategist (DES) program and acquired the Corporate Event Marketing Association (CEMA) at the end of last year. “Event marketers are going to be more and more important in building event brands,” said Karamat. For 2021, PCMA announced it will hold Convening EMEA, a new omnichannel event to be held in Lausanne, Switzerland, October 17 to 19.

“We’re all bored of the word innovate but we will continue to innovate,” said Karamat to members of the meetings industry media. “PCMA is always in beta, always trying to challenge ourselves.”

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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 25 years of covering the industry, her articles have spanned topics ranging from social media to strategic meetings management. She is currently the media liaison for FICP's Education Committee and 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, chairing its Crystal Awards committee and acting as a judge. A familiar face at industry events, Barbara often leads panel discussions or speaks on topics close to her heart, such as green meetings or how the industry can help combat human trafficking. She is also on the board of ECPAT USA, the human trafficking organization. Barbara is based outside Boston, in Groton, Mass.

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