After a trying year for event professionals. members of PCMA’s 20 in Their Twenties class of 2021 have proven resilience is a key skill in their toolkit. Basha Ferdinand, Accelerator Program Manager at the Tampa Bay Wave in Tampa, Florida, shares her thoughts on what change brought about by the pandemic she hopes will remain a part of the business events industry.
What has this year of disruption taught you about the industry?
I’ve learned that there are just some things in life you can’t predict — and a global pandemic is one of them. It also displayed the importance of having things in place such as agreements, insurance policies, etc., to mitigate risks. Fortunately, the business events industry is known for having creative and strategic thinkers and we were able to pivot to still provide value and engagement to our audiences.
What new skills has the pandemic led you to pursue?
Shifting to online events motivated me to pursue certification courses and other professional development resources that could teach me the best practices for producing an online event. Although I had a base of knowledge from webinars and other events I participated in, I wanted to know how we can evolve and be up to par with the rest of the industry and other events that are now targeting our same audience. Thankfully, there were many resources available and plenty of Industry leaders offering their expertise on the subject.
What creative initiative or innovation have you seen this year that you believe should remain after this crisis passes?
I’m really interested in seeing the continuance of the hybrid event model. One of the benefits of converting our events online was engaging audiences from different markets who otherwise would not have attended our events in person. The hybrid model will expand our reach and allow participants to access our content even if their budgets or organizations may have shifted due to the pandemic or travel restrictions.