What They’re Saying About Convening Leaders, Day 1

Whether in person or online, PCMA attendees are never a shy bunch. As CL launched, they were finding ways to connect — in session chats, dedicated Slack channels, and on social media. Here’s a look at some of the buzz during the first day.

Author: Convene Editors       

PCMA Day1-Marina Bay Sands

Convening Leaders 2021 opened at the Marina Bay Sands in Singapore, with singer Nick Zavior and the dance group Wildfire entertaining attendees. (Syafiq AB photo)

PCMA Convening Leaders 2021 kicked off Wednesday with some in-person events, but largely took place in a virtual environment. Online attendees demonstrated they were excited to reconnect — Convene took a look at some session chats, dedicated Slack channels, and on social media to get a feel for what resonated with them. Here’s a look at some of the buzz during the first day of PCMA Convening Leaders.


The Opening Keynote

Many attendees appreciated Thomas Friedman’s candor on the challenges of the future.

Thomas Friedman video

Attendees had a lot to say about Thomas Friedman’s virtual background.

“Thank you for provoking change.”

“Love his mind.”

“Continuing education is the new employee pension. Invest in us now for mutual success.”

“Time for creativity, folks — times are changing and we cannot expect full normality to return.”

On the other hand, Friedman’s virtual background — a lake, surrounded by mountains — became its own source of conversation.

“Agree on virtual background — if you dont have a green screen, this is what you get.”

“Just get a poster and stick it to the wall! Haha.”


Laurent Duvernay-Tardif

Laurent Duvernay-Tardif speaks from the OASIS Immersion room at the Palais des congrès de Montréal.

The Ultimate Act of Sportsmanship – Reinventing Yourself to Help Others

Attendees were impressed with NFL player and medical professional Laurent Duvernay-Tardif’s selflessness, but also with the OASIS immersion room at the Palais des congrès de Montréal, where he filmed his part of the interview with host Holly Ransom, who filmed from Melbourne, Australia. The duo took part in a live Q&A after the session.

“Great Session! Love the set, too! Laurent is a wonderful example for all professional athletes!”

“Love how passionate he is about his job and the credit he gives to those around him.”

“Many people have given things up to ‘return to care’ but the change from where he was to revert to such a role is truly inspiring. If he can do it, we can all make positive change — WHAT A STAR. THANK YOU.”

“You guys did an amazing job with the studio. Well done!”


More From Our In-Person Events

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Some Words From Presenters

“Focus more on what you can create than on your perception of what has been taken from you.”

Camilla Webster, fine artist and best-selling author, in her session, “The Art of the Pivot

“People are desperate for a sense of … togetherness. I think that’s going to be a major, major benefit to society. Getting people to feel connected human being to human being again, not clinically detached with social distancing and so forth, I think the entirety of the mindset of society will shift, and I think good things will come of that. We just went through the most incredible scenes of disruption in Washington, D.C., that I could never have imagined. And let’s face it, there’s a divisiveness in the country that is part of that scene. And I think part of the healing process will be through our [hospitality] business and through what the PCMA members do for a living. And I think that’s not too high-minded to actually say out loud; I really believe that’s an important thing for the future.” 

Annalisa Ponchia

Annalisa Ponchia

Mark Hoplamazian, President and CEO, Hyatt Hotels in the session “Values-based Leadership Business Events and Hospitality Industries Need Now”

“To transmit emotion through technology, that’s the challenge.”

Annalisa Ponchia, CMP, CMM, Director of Innovation & Customer Experience and International Congress Development, AIM International, in the session “Navigating for an Uncertain Future & Building for a Better Future

 “Communication is so crucial in a digital meeting. You think you’re communicating a lot? You probably need to do more. Just the log-in details and the meat of what it takes to support the exhibitor and sponsorship community, and your attendees to make sure that they’re set up. Don’t overly rely on the templated language that maybe a platform is giving you. …You really need to practice extreme ownership in, ‘How do I know the attendees and the exhibitors better to break this down in a way that makes sense for how they experience our event on any given year?’” 

— Jodi Talia, Chief Development Officer, American College of Emergency Physicians, in the session “Digital Experience Institute: Delivering Value to Virtual Sponsors


As Seen On Twitter


A Few More Bonus Quotes

“Amy’s session on ROE is also good. I specifically like that she inserts meditation times into the session. Great way to regain my focus: joy.”

— An attendee in the Convening Leaders Slack thread, referring to the Amy Blackman session “7 Change Actions: From ROI to ROE: Return on Events — How Business Events Impact Growth

“Happy to see PCMA taking a lead on diversity — in this industry, it’s about time.”

— An attendee in a chat thread just before the first session of the day.