Today, many PCMA members focus on the rapidly expanding possibilities of next-generation virtual and hybrid technologies, but those possibilities wouldn't exist without the organization's early leaders. Jim Sweeney, retired CEO of the American Dental Association’s for-profit subsidiary corporation, recalls when he and his colleagues were laying the foundation for the future of the meetings and events industry.
"In PCMA's formative years, we were pioneering processes, forming partnerships and focusing on the nuances of hotel and convention center contracts," Jim says. "We helped develop the fundamentals that eventually paved the way for what we see today."
Jim traces his strong connection to PCMA to his first role in the industry at the California Dental Association. When he was tasked with overseeing a citywide convention that hosted more than 20,000 attendees, he needed an organization that offered support and resources. His search led him to the Joint Conference of Medical Conventions, the original group of meeting professionals who helped launch PCMA in 1957.
The Thread That Connects Past, Present and Future Meeting Professionals
While much has changed throughout the industry since Jim planned his first convention in Anaheim, one element has remained constant.
"What PCMA did in the beginning and continues to do is to act as a central place for new ideas," Jim says. "The association sets the right course for the industry to ensure that what comes in the future is in the best interests of the entire business."
Jim may be retired, but he continues to play a powerful role in helping to steer that course over the years. From chairing the Industry Relations Group to serving on the Board of Directors, his volunteer efforts have fueled the organization's growth.
"PCMA has been my university where I learned and helped to shape the future," Jim says.
To continue to shape that future, Jim is one of the founding members of the PCMA Education Foundation Legacy Society, which provides a stable, long-term funding source for the advancement of the meetings industry.
"Now, I donate each year and have already designated a planned gift in my trust to ensure that the Foundation is in a position to help the industry continue to blossom," he says.
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Click here to learn more about the Legacy Society, and see who's giving.