Looking Ahead: 100 Days and Counting

Sherrif Karamat, CAE

When I opened the door to PCMA headquarters in late January, it felt very familiar. After all, I have been with the organization for nearly 15 years, and deeply involved in the work we have done over the past three years to outline the strategy for educating and empowering the global business-events industry. At the same time, there was a difference — and it wasn’t simply that I was officially calling Chicago home after relocating from my quiet, rural Pickering, Ontario neighborhood. The journey of transformation felt like it was truly starting.

Since that first day, that journey has already traced a line to many new places for PCMA such as Mumbai, New Delhi, and Hong Kong — sites of Knowledge Exchange programs over the past month. We have also accelerated our grassroots activation of building communities across Europe with education events in Barcelona and Madrid, along with a full slate of activities at IMEX Frankfurt.

But the journey is not about places on a map. It’s not even about the organization itself. Organizations don’t make things happen — people do. Over my first 100 days as CEO, I’ve been focused helping our PCMA team build a bold and fearless culture, where people can experiment, knowing that their innovative approaches will be supported. Our teams are working in a reimagined organizational structure — and with a fresh understanding of the possibilities that can emerge from a vision shaped by purpose.

That kind of internal culture serves to benefit you, the business-event strategist. We want you to be bold and fearless, too. I want you to be part of the strategic level in your organization — not because it sounds good on a resume, but because you deserve a position that credits you with far more than logistics and execution.

You are the one who can make things happen in your own organization by designing face-to-face experiences that teach, unite, inspire, and challenge each member of your audience. You bring people together for so much more than the common benefits associated with meetings and events: education and networking. You create a platform where participants can draft public policy, uncover new cures, and create meaningful change for a brighter tomorrow.

We are all fortunate to be part of the catalyst for economic and social progress, organizational success, and personal and professional development. That power has too often been hidden in the shadows, but we are creating a blueprint to work with governments, institutions of higher learning, and all business sectors to articulate the important role that this industry plays in moving the world forward.

As I look ahead to the future, I know that PCMA’s transformation will manifest itself in the way that we hold and stage events, the types of industries we attract, and the level of decision-makers we engage with around the world.

The first 100 days have been an incredible start. Thank you for your support and commitment to the business-events industry. I’m excited for the road ahead.

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