Leading Meeting Professionals

Professional Convention Management Association

Kristin Mirabal

by By PCMA | Feb 11, 2013
Find out how Kristin Mirabal is applying lessons from her organization’s impressive international growth to help strengthen PCMA’s global reputation.

kristin mirabalAs the meetings industry continues to embrace emerging audiences from emerging markets, Kristin Mirabal, Director, Global Programs, The Optical Society, is helping PCMA determine how to more effectively engage the international community as Chair of the PCMA Global Task Force. From PCMA’s participation in hosted buyer programs to PCMA staff and faculty speaking in destinations around the world, Mirabal says that the organization is working hard to become a global resource for planners experienced with meetings outside of their own borders.

However, that task is not easy.

“When you’re a US-based organization, you face challenging global perception issues,” Mirabal says.

Mirabal recognizes that that overcoming those perception issues won’t happen overnight for PCMA.

“It takes a lot of fostering and building relationships,” Mirabal says. “Fortunately, PCMA already has a great foundation by offering educational programs in international locations and increasing the association’s brand exposure in new countries.”

Understanding How to Attract the Global Community

Mirabal is no stranger to navigating the ever-evolving map of the meetings industry. At The Optical Society, Mirabal says that the organization’s membership base has rapidly expanded outside North America. The majority of that growth has taken place outside of the US in places like China, Brazil, Germany, India, Japan and South Korea.

“Our member demographics are changing, and we’ve also had to change our organizational thought processes,” Mirabal says.

Changing thought processes has inspired an adjustment in OSA’s actual name, too. The organization dropped the “of America” from its official name to help position themselves as a global brand.

However, some of the changes at OSA have been very subtle, too. Mirabal says that organizations that hope to grow their international audience can consider small modifications such as listing a country code in front of their phone numbers and converting their exhibit space and poster board measurements into meters and yards.

“The rest of the world doesn’t use the same measurement tools as the US,” Mirabal says. “We’re constantly working to make ourselves more user-friendly to a wider audience.”

Knowing Where to Look for Your New Members

Understanding how to appeal to a wider audience is only piece of the equation. Mirabal stresses that knowing where to look for that audience is equally important.

“It’s crucial to analyze your community and identify the key markets where there is a lot of activity surrounding your specific industry,” Mirabal says. “We’re looking to see where governments are providing support and where people are investing in new resources that impact our growing membership base.”

For more on how the meetings industry is becoming increasingly interconnected, click here to learn about the global market.

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