It was a great honor this year to receive a scholarship to Convening Leaders 2016 in Vancouver. Many thanks to PCMA SE for taking my experience into account in the selection process. In the early 90, I attended the start-up meeting for the Southeast Chapter to determine whether a chapter here would be viable. It not only was, but I served as a board member the first few years and eventually as president. Even though I’m now in Orlando, I continue to stay engaged and assist the chapter whenever I can. We have an enthusiastic group here in Central Florida committed to PCMA SE!
For most of our industry, PCMA’s Convening Leaders is considered best in class for delivering the latest and best in education, experiential learning and networking. They boldly experiment with room sets, F&B trends and learning environments, serving as an industry lab for all of us who plan and service meetings.
This year was no different, with Vancouver, B.C. as the destination -- a beautiful and friendly city with excellent options for meetings and conventions. For a 6,500 member organization to attract an attendance of 3,826 planners and suppliers is a testament to the reputation this meeting enjoys in our industry.
The opening reception was one of the best I can recall, not because it was the flashiest or most expensive. What it offered was the chance to move freely around the exhibit hall of the Vancouver Convention Center, sample delicious food stations, and most importantly, to network with friends and make new connections. Much of the entertainment was suspended in the air in multiple sections of the hall so it was easy to see and enjoy – in fact, it was a great conversation starter. And, the music was background and not too loud for attendees to speak to each other – that’s what we want to do the first night!
In addition to education sessions on subjects ranging from the future of room blocks to event technology and globalization, other meeting highlights included 130 Hospitality Helping Hands volunteers building mud pie kitchens for local play-scapes and the sold-out Party with A Purpose raised over $2.2 million for community causes around the world.
When you remain engaged with PCMA and our Southeast Chapter, you open yourself up to so many opportunities to learn, experience and network. Reach out to our chapter today and they will get you involved on a committee that best suits your interests. Help us continue to provide scholarships, like the one I received this year, to active members who may not get a chance to attend Convening Leaders without active Chapter support.