Leading Meeting Professionals

Professional Convention Management Association

Spotlights

January 18 2013

The Task at Hand: Meetings Advocacy

PCMA

jackchiassonAs leaders around the meetings industry work to highlight the value of the meetings industry to the economy as a whole, Jack Chiasson, CEO, National Association of Independent Life Brokerage Agencies, is preparing to take the reigns of PCMA’s Advocacy Task Force in 2013.

Chiasson is no stranger to championing the cause of the meetings industry. In addition to serving in a wide range of volunteer roles at PCMA, he has already chaired the Advocacy Task Force once.

“Several years ago, we were looking at what PCMA could do on our own, and there really wasn’t a whole lot for us to do then,” Chiasson says.

In 2013, that’s changed. Chiasson says that advocacy is more industry-focused now. As incoming chair Johnnie White focuses on getting the industry to work together more closely, there are many opportunities for PCMA to help strengthen that work.

Applying Advocacy Lessons from His “Day Job”

Chiasson is no stranger to being part of a collective group of organizations that pool resources to ensure their voices are heard. NAILBA regularly works with sister organizations to make a point on Capitol Hill.

“My experience at NAILBA has helped me understand how to speak in a language that resonates with legislators,” Chiasson says. “I’m hoping to apply that experience to my role with the task force to help shape what message our industry wants to send.”

Crafting a Meaningful Message

“If the industry goes to a legislator and simply says, ‘meetings are important’, it doesn’t mean anything,” Chiasson says.

However, Chiasson says that the industry can achieve success with a much more tangible approach. For example, Chiasson highlights all of the people that work in one hotel where a meeting might represent hundreds of thousands of dollars. From the housekeepers to the caterers to the workers at the reception desk, Chiasson says that advocacy efforts are much more powerful when lawmakers understand how their constituents are truly impacted by the economic value of meetings.

While meeting professionals may be concerned about making a big impact in Washington, D.C., Chiasson says that promoting the value of meetings outside the nation’s capitol is equally important to the industry.

“It’s not strictly about a national presence,” Chiasson says. “We all need to remember the meet with our local officials, too.”

Find out more on the importance of making your voice heard here.

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