Q&A With Valerie Sumner: Chair, 2020 PCMA Foundation Board of Trustees

Author: Convene Editors       

Valerie Sumner

Valerie Sumner is chair of the PCMA Foundation Board of Trustees for 2020. (Elaine Manusakis/Every Angle Photography)

What are your goals as chair of the foundation?

There is so much opportunity and potential, but I think the three areas I am most passionate about are engagement — sharing the PCMA Foundation story and expanding our reach within the PCMA community and the business events industry at large. The second is continuing our focus on critical research for the future of our field and of course, fundraising.  Fundraising is the engine that supports our work! 

Why is the foundation’s work important to the business events industry?

The foundation is the machine that allows us to conduct critical research for the field and fund crucially needed scholarships and grants that in turn allows event professionals to expand our understanding and knowledge and develop our industry. PCMA Foundation scholarships and grants are key to investing in our future leaders and growing our industry.  The foundation’s work elevates our industry.

How have you seen the industry evolve and what has changed in the way that you design events for clients? 

The thing for me that’s changed so tremendously is the transformation from a strictly face-to-face environment to a highly engaged and integrated-digital and face-to-face environment.  We are creating global communities — sharing, collaborating, and giving back on a multinational level. We have tremendous opportunity to share information, work on collaborative solutions, communicate opportunities, and engage with an open and honest lens.

How did you first get involved with PCMA at a national or global level? 

I first experienced the energy, passion, and commitment that embody being a PCMA volunteer by serving on the PCMA Education Program Committee in 1996.  It was fulfilling to  serve with industry thought leaders, develop professional learning experiences and in some small way support the future of our field. I have thoroughly enjoyed serving on the chapter level, the PCMA Board, and the PCMA Foundation. It is really serving together, working together, and giving together that inspires me.

How have business events been transformational in your life and or career? 

I’ve learned so much from so many! The opportunity to work in the business events field with nonprofit organizations and foundations to advance their missions, seek solutions, build community, and engage others is truly transformational.  We have the opportunity to be a catalyst to affect positive change through our work. The work of the PCMA Foundation supports and embodies our obligation to “pay it forward.”  I cannot imagine being part of a more dedicated, passionate, and caring community.  I look forward to serving with a tremendous board of dedicated trustees, board members, and the PCMA membership this year.

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