‘Business Events are a Catalyst for a Sustainable Future’

Author: Sherrif Karamat       

Convening Leaders

PCMA Convening Leaders 2020 takes place Jan. 5-8 in San Francisco. (Sean Pavone Photo/Adobe Stock)

As we prepare to meet next month at Convening Leaders 2020 in San Francisco, I’ve turned my focus to our industry’s future — and specifically to the journey we’re on to drive economic and social transformation.

Great things happen when we gather, and my expectations for what we’ll accomplish together at Convening Leaders Jan. 5-8 are extremely high. Over time, I’ve learned that if you expect people to join you on a journey, you must be crystal clear about where you are going. So, at Convening Leaders I will outline a vision for PCMA and the events industry as a whole. The “Vision of a New Tomorrow” that I will share from the Main Stage will be a first for me as PCMA’s leader. But it is vitally important to discuss where we’re headed and why.

Over the years, as a platform for the business events industry, PCMA focused on “how we meet.” But as the world’s problems grew ever more complicated, it became evident that a new set of solutions was required. We needed to bring in different stakeholders and shift the conversation to “why we meet.” It’s no longer about what we do as business events strategists, it’s about why we do what we do. It’s about outcomes.

At Convening Leaders, I will talk about how events — including the Leadership Summit taking place there — provide us with opportunities to collaborate with influential stakeholders from around the world. Economic development officials, mayors, tourism ministers, and venture capitalists are now meeting with association leaders and corporate CEOs.

Together, we are looking at what kind of a future we face — the challenges that climate change, globalization, and technological advances pose for society. And we’re working on finding solutions. I will share how our industry is funding research to demonstrate that business events are a catalyst for a sustainable future. And I will discuss the ways business events are bringing people together to tackle each new economic and social issue that arises.

Our industry is an economic powerhouse — we pump more than $1.5 trillion into the global economy. But we don’t just want to speak in economic terms. We want the world to know our full impact: how we help change communities, create new jobs, and spur new industries. This business is, of course, about professional and personal development and organizational success. But it’s also about improving people’s lives.

We should celebrate what we do and what we deliver. That’s why sharing this vision at Convening Leaders is so important to me. It is time to stand up and say to those not yet with us: “This is who we are. You’re going to want to join us.”

I invite you to be part of this journey. See you in San Francisco.