Looking Ahead: An Aspirational Vision

Now more than ever, business events drive global economic growth and social transformation.

Author: Sherrif Karamat       

Sherrif Karamat, CAE

I’m excited to begin my next chapter at PCMA as president and CEO. I’ve spent the last 14 years of my career at this organization, most recently as COO. But my history with PCMA goes back further: I was a longtime active PCMA member and president of the Canada East chapter before I came on board as staff. I feel like PCMA has been an important part of who I am for a long time — and that the business-events industry is in my blood.

I’m passionate about the work that we do. We have such a great opportunity to not only redefine the industries that hold business events, but we have a ripple effect on other sectors in society. Think of all the ways that conferences and conventions serve as incubators for start-ups, generate new employment opportunities, and drive commerce — at a time when nearly every sector, from banking and finance to energy and transportation, is being disrupted.

This disruption is having a significant impact on every facet of employment and contributing to social angst. It’s challenging to move nimbly across all sectors of society from second-generation platforms to a truly digital era, and some businesses are struggling to find their footing. Their traditional ways of providing access to and delivering their services and offerings are inefficient. Our new digital world brings increasing complexities, from data privacy to skills development. We don’t seem well-equipped from a career-development and business-model perspective to integrate what may have seemed the stuff of science fiction just yesterday — artificial intelligence, robots, virtual reality, for example — to our work today.

That’s where the business-events industry comes in. We’ve always been the place where thought leadership, research, and knowledge exchange from disparate sectors come together to solve every kind of challenge, from illnesses to traffic congestion, and to learn about new tools that put us on the path to progress. Today, more than ever, business events are critical to our world’s future. No other industry transcends so many other businesses and communities around the world and serves as a catalyst for social and economic progress, organizational success, and personal and professional development.

We think that PCMA’s new vision statement, Driving global economic and social transformation through business events, sums up our organization’s and our industry’s promise. To get there, we plan to relentlessly focus on insights from data, education, and collaboration with those within and outside of our industry. We will foster an environment that is listening, experimenting, and engaging with members of the global business-events community.

There’s much more to come as we embark on new initiatives that support this bold, new vision. I look forward to working with you and being part of this transformative time for PCMA and the business-events community worldwide — and to using this column every month to share where we’re headed.