From June 26—29, some of the brightest minds in meetings, conventions and business events gathered in St. Louis for the PCMA Education Conference. The three-day program addressed big trends and transformative events, including the Brexit, terrorism threats, negotiation strategies and more. While the conversation covered a wide range of topics, there was one unifying theme: the convention industry needs people who know how to chart the course forward for themselves, their attendees and their organizations. Here’s a look at three of the most memorable quotes about leadership from the week.
1) “If you don’t make a bold goal, you’ll never get there.” — Kitty Ratcliffe, President, St. Louis Convention & Visitors Commission
Kitty Ratcliffe’s career arc includes a range of twists, turns and transformations. There’s one common piece that has driven her since her entrance to the destination marketing community when she began leading the Carbondale, Illinois Convention and Tourism Bureau: she thinks big. When she started her first job in tourism, Carbondale wasn’t exactly a star on the map, but that didn’t stop Ratcliffe from telling local journalists that she expected to lead the city to a top-three ranking among most-visited cities in the state. Ratcliffe outlined her career journey for attendees in the Women@Work event that concluded the Education Conference, and she reminded the sold-out crowd that their experience, qualifications and expectations aren’t the only components that determine success. “Will is everything,” Ratcliffe said. “And preparation is essential.”
2) “It’s more powerful to fight for something, not against something.” — Mary Beth McEuen, Founder, Innergy
Leading people doesn’t always mean they’ll buy into where you want to go. In the opening general session, Mary Beth McEuen reminded the audience of the importance of creating a vision of change for their meetings and events that will inspire others. For example, remember the last time someone arrived for the status meeting with a list of reasons to be upset? No one wanted to listen. “Venting does not extinguish the flame of anger,” McEuen said. “It feeds it.” For leaders, it’s crucial to invest energy in positive areas. Instead of venting or telling your team members why they shouldn’t do something, give everyone around you an opportunity to be change agents for good.
MORE: Debunking The Main Myth Of Leadership
3) “If you never find yourself following, you’re letting your ego get in the way.” — Jake Wood, Co-founder and President, Team Rubicon
Jake Wood knows plenty about being a leader. Before founding Team Rubicon to give veterans an outlet to continue making a difference, he graduated at the top of his School of Infantry class in the United States Marine Corps, served as a fire team in Iraq’s Anbar Province and consistently distinguished himself as someone who belonged at the front of a group. But Wood also knows that being a leader means being able to trust other leaders. In his keynote address, he highlighted that his journey has put him in plenty of situations where he has needed to take a step back and let others take control.
MORE: Convene’s Q&A With Jake Wood
Were you in St. Louis for the PCMA Education Conference? Share your favorite quotes from the experience in the comments section below, and be sure to register for the complimentary rebroadcast of the most popular sessions from the program.