Leading Meeting Professionals

Professional Convention Management Association

July 28 2015

Deborah Sexton’s Answers To All Your Surprising Questions

By Deborah Sexton

Are you retiring? How much longer will you be at the helm of PCMA? Is Sherrif leaving? What’s happening?

I didn’t expect to receive any of these questions last week when PCMA announced that Susan Katz is joining our Executive Team. However, my phone rang, and my inbox overflowed with questions from many PCMA members. I have news for you: no one is going anywhere.

If you were hoping someone was leaving, you’ll be disappointed. We’re growing our leadership — not passing any imaginary batons.

Susan is a noted industry veteran with 30 years of meeting professional experience, and her expertise couldn’t have arrived at a better time. In the past 10 years, we have exponentially expanded the organization; recording record membership, record annual attendance and record revenues. These have all fueled our ability to expand PCMA’s global brand awareness and our product and resource offerings.

However, we can’t do it alone. Those of you who are close to our organization know Sherrif and I have extensive travel commitments — travel that has been opening doors and opportunities for PCMA, both domestically and internationally, and contributing to our successes and brand awareness. We are both committed to PCMA and the vision our Board is crafting for our future and have no plans to leave the organization now or in the near future. [Sherrif swears he ‘bleeds blue,’ I just wear a lot of blue.]

Who better to help us achieve that vision than someone who has walked in our members’ shoes for her entire career? Susan’s expertise and insights will help PCMA develop education, research and products she knows our members need and want. She’ll help craft the message that cuts through the clutter and resonates with our audience. Susan’s recent experience as our Board of Directors’ Chair and guiding PCMA’s strategic plan is an added bonus. She knows PCMA; she does not have the learning curve many outside candidates bring with them.

It’s an exciting time here at our headquarters. Earlier this year, PCMA added a CFO to our Executive Team to ensure our fiscal health in these days of record revenues and programs. Now, the addition of a Senior Vice President of Operations will guide the day-to-day endeavors of our headquarter staff and ensure we stay committed to our strategy of taking risk and chasing innovation - something our members have now come to expect from PCMA.

So cancel my retirement party plans. Don’t address those “We’re Sorry To See You Leave” cards for Sherrif. We’re here, and we are so excited that Susan will be with us.

If any of you have additional questions, give me a call. Yes, I do answer my own phone.


Deborah “Don’t Name My Successor Yet” Sexton

P.S. I’ve been so busy and dedicated to PCMA this past year I haven’t played a round of golf in the last twelve months. Not many CEOs can say that – My handicap is looking forward to Susan’s arrival.

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