We caught up with Gary
Murakami, CMP, in Vancouver for his first meeting as a member of the national
PCMA Board of Directors. If you don’t already know Gary from the Northern
California Chapter, put it on your to-do list for 2016. He’s a passionate member
of the organization and the industry and enjoys connecting with new people.
Hey Gary, thanks for taking the time from your busy schedule to talk with us,
and congratulations on your appointment to the national board of PCMA. So, how
does it feel so far?
Thank you. I was humbled and excited to receive the news last year regarding my
appointment to the PCMA Board of Directors beginning in 2016. Having been an
active member and board director, including chapter president on the local
board of the PCMA Northern California Chapter for several years, as well as
being an active participant with the national organization on the PCMA Awards
& Recognition Committee, including its chair in 2015, I was thrilled and
honored to be selected for the national governing board of PCMA.
Can you share any of your industry goals for 2016 for the folks back home?
I am looking forward to my role as a director on the PCMA board to assist and
to contribute to the strategic vision of the organization and to be a part of
PCMA’s presence as a leader in the global meetings, convention and business
Your energy and enthusiasm are contagious. Do tell, where does it come from?
The energy and enthusiasm stems from the passion I have for our industry and
the people within this community. I am consistently motivated and invigorated
in the connections and interactions I encounter day-to-day in my role in global
sales for MGM Resorts International and my involvement in various industry
activities and organizations.
I had to download this info from Gary’s LinkedIn profile—unbelievable. Does
this guy ever sleep?
In addition to serving as a new director for PCMA Board of Directors with a
role as the Board Liaison for the Northern California Chapter and the Corporate
Task Force, Gary is currently involved in leadership and committee roles with
Meeting Professionals International’s (MPI) Chapter & Membership Advisory
Council (CMAC) and the Northern California Chapter Board of Directors, the
Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) Meetings Committee, the Bay Area
Business Travel Association (BABTA) Board of Directors and the Convention
Industry Council (CIC) APEX Standards Committee. He is also an advocate and
supporter of the community and serves as the Development Chair on the Board of
Directors for the Asian & Pacific Islander Wellness Center in San
Francisco, as well as a leader for the San Francisco Bay Area Affiliate of Out
& Equal Workplace Advocates.
He has a passion for education and industry learning, and has several industry
certifications, including his Certified Meeting Professional (CMP) from the
Convention Industry Council as well as designations such as the Global Travel
Professional (GTP) and Global Leadership Professional (GLP) from the Global
Business Travel Association. He is currently seeking his Certificate in Meeting
Management (CMM) from MPI and GBTA.
For the folks back home who may not have attended “Cultivating Creative
Moments,” any favorite speakers?
Two of the more memorable speakers for me during 2016 Convening Leaders was the
Opening General Session featuring Arne Sorenson, President/CEO of Marriott
International, and the Closing General Session with Amy Purdy. Mr. Sorenson
spoke on the future of the Hotel and Meetings industry in light of the current
number of mergers and acquisitions as well as disruptions permeating the
current state of the industry. The topic was particularly timely and relevant.
Amy Purdy’s presentation to close out Convening Leaders was particularly
poignant, as she shared her story of courage, perseverance and strength in the
face of adversity and life challenges.
What were your impressions of Vancouver?
Vancouver is a scenically beautiful city with the backdrop of Vancouver Harbour
and neighboring mountains, and also offers interesting and diverse
neighborhoods and scenes. I found it to be a gorgeous city that I wish I had
more time to explore.
Any places we should check out if we go back?
Although most of my time was spent closer to the conference and convention
center, I had an opportunity to experience the amazing food at Blue Water Cafe
and to sample the restaurant Sablefish. I also enjoyed the Chinese dim sum,
too, at a few restaurants there.
And on the personal side of things. …What’s your idea of perfect happiness?
(nod to Vanity Fair)
A warm, sunny place (could be anywhere) surrounded by friends and family
enjoying each other’s company
Any famous people you’d like to meet?
I’ve always admired Anderson Cooper, an American journalist and CNN anchor; a
person with a fascinating story and a life filled with so many historical and
life adventures. And who wouldn’t want to meet and to hear the music of Adele,
although I was not successful in scoring tickets for her concert (laughter).
What do you consider your greatest achievement?
Always trying to live a life filled with love, happiness and memories
surrounded by special friends and family, and having a passion for a career and
industry that I look forward to waking up to each day.
What trait do you most admire in others?
A life lived with love, passion, caring and thoughtfulness.
What’s your favorite vacation spot?
Hawaii and its islands.
Who are your heroes in real life?
My mother is my true hero in life. She is someone who I admire that lives life
with unconditional love, thoughtfulness and caring, and appreciates the
happiness from the smallest and simplest things that life provides us.
What is your motto?
Most people who know me know that I’m a huge Winnie-the-Pooh fan and often
select and reflect on life with quotes from A.A. Milne and Winne-the-Pooh. Two
of my favorite quotes to live by:
“Promise me you'll always remember: You're braver than you believe, and
stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.”
― A.A. Milne
“Some people care too much. I think it's called love.”
― A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh