Highlights of Day 3 Convening Leaders 2021

An eye-opening session about AI, inspiration from two Olympic medalists, and a call for diversity and inclusion were high spots on the final day of the Convening Leaders hybrid program.

Author: Convene Editors       

dancing robot

Dr. Ayesha Khanna introduced a dancing robot and discussed other AI capabilities during her session, “Renew and Transform Your Organization in 2021 and Beyond.”

Convening Leaders wrapped Jan. 15 and Convene as there, experiencing along with the virtual audience the thought-provoking presentations, vibrant chats, and active social media. Here’s a look at some of the buzz during the final day of PCMA Convening Leaders 2021.

See highlights from Day 1 and Day 2.


The Closing Keynote

Megan Rapinoe and Sue Bird

U.S. Olympic gold medalists and activists Megan Rapinoe and Sue Bird sat at their kitchen table in Seattle for an intimate closing keynote conversation sponsored by Visit Seattle.

Megan Rapinoe, U.S. Olympic gold medalist and two-time Women’s World Cup soccer champion, and fiancée Sue Bird, U.S. Olympic gold medalist and four-time WNBA champion, invited Convening Leaders 2021 attendees into their home for the closing keynote. The couple discussed what inspires them, why they feel it is so important to be activists, and what their hopes are for the future. In the chat during their conversation, attendees commented on their topics, the format, and their admiration for the couple’s efforts.

From the Athletes

“I wish I could! I wish, as a female athlete, I could go out there and play my sport and be judged for what I do on the court. … Female athletes are judged in every way except for their actual play.”

Sue Bird, on her response to critics who say she should not be an activist but should “shut up and dribble.”

“To be able to find purpose in little things, and to be able to adapt … really helps.”

Megan Rapinoe, on the couple’s COVID-19 isolation coping strategies.

“Life is precious and life is short. And it’s never the wrong moment to take your dreams and to believe in yourself and to go after what is in [your heart]. … It’s the right time any time to follow your heart and dream big.”

Megan Rapinoe, on what she has learned in the last year.

From Attendees

On the topic:

“I am proud to be part of an industry that values diversity and inclusion. #truth”

“Love the authenticity, PCMA and Seattle. Making the point, straight on.”

“I think the point here and the something of substance is the importance of each of us getting involved in our local communities to create the type of world we want. At least that’s what I’m getting out of this.”

— This was in response to someone asking what the point of the session was.

On the format: 

“I love not having a moderator … it’s a cool style for a panel closing convo … focuses on the speakers more.”

“In some ways it feels like with are there with them. Much more personal.”

“This format is great … because this is where change happens — in casual conversations with our friends, family, and colleagues. We don’t all have a world stage to stand up on.”

“I love that they are interviewing each other! What a creative format.”

“It feels like the 4th wall has been broken and we are just sitting with them at their kitchen table.”

On their discussion: 

“Absolutely it would be great to be judged by your skill set and not your gender, appearance or the color of your skin. If only.”

“I’m just gushing listening to these two … their care for each other, their passion for equality and supporting others … it just exudes from this conversation.”

“Love the authenticity — so important for this type of topic.”

“My Straights love my Gayness.”

“Their humanitarianism is just inspiring.”

“Rapinoe-Bird 2024!!!”


As Seen on Social Media


Dr. Ayesha Khanna

Dr. Ayesha Khanna

Some Words From Our Speakers

“After a decade of unicorns, we are going to see a decade of phoenixes.”

Peter Hinsson, founder of nexxworks, in “Renew and Transform Your Organization in 2021 and Beyond”

“With great data comes great responsibility.”

Dr. Ayesha Khanna, CEO and co-founder of ADDO AI, in “Renew and Transform Your Organization in 2021 and Beyond”

“High-energy camera presence is not the same as high-energy stage presence — it’s more difficult when you’re alone in the room.”

Jim Huss, director of employee events at Intel, in “The Future is Hybrid: Understanding the Key Drivers to Effectively Navigate the New Normal”

“Is it enough that this is a breakout session or should we be talking about this on the Main Stage? We [as an industry] are uniquely positioned to move the needle.”

Kirsten Olean, director of meetings at Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, in “Race, Equity and Actionable Steps to Increase Access and Opportunities for All”

“Never have a conversation about someone you wouldn’t have with [that] someone. Pro Tip!”

Liz Lathan, CEO of Haute Dokimazo, in “7 Change Actions: Crafting Authentic Experiences with Emotional and Audience Intelligence”

“You’re hearing the word ‘partner’ a lot and that was really key to our success. Every time we were doing something new to respond to the pandemic and to still deliver an exciting festival, we went out to partners to see how we could work together and keep them involved and engaged.”

Cameron Bailey, co-head and artistic director of the Toronto International Film Festival, in “Going Digital: Transforming TIFF for an Unprecedented Year”



Chat Chatter

Cameron Bailey

“I love the mural behind him. He put a lot of thought into his background … [the] framing is nice.” — An attendee commenting on Cameron Bailey’s background in “Going Digital: Transforming TIFF for an Unprecedented Year”

“Main Stage please, CL 2022”

— An attendee during the session “Race, Equity and Actionable Steps to Increase Access and Opportunities for All”

“Technology is advancing whether we like it or not. It’s our job to bring the human element to conferences and work collaboratively with AI and tech.”

— During “Renew and Transform Your Organization in 2021 and Beyond”

“I will watch this again for sure. It was the most amazing and most terrifying [information].”

— During “Renew and Transform Your Organization in 2021 and Beyond”

“I just can’t with the robots. lol”

— During “Renew and Transform Your Organization in 2021 and Beyond”

“I am a hugger. I so miss that.”

— During “7 Change Actions: Crafting Authentic Experiences with Emotional and Audience Intelligence”

“Spot on — the secret sauce is marrying AI with the human piece — and my money is on PCMA, and experienced, innovative, and smart event professionals.”

— During “Renew and Transform Your Organization in 2021 and Beyond”

“Thank you for the open, honest communication from these experts.”

— During “We Have Vaccines. Are We Back To Normal Yet?”

“Thank you, sir, for addressing the elephant in the room.”

— During “We Have Vaccines. Are We Back To Normal Yet?”

“I think in previous meetings we spent too much time in the lobby bar and not enough time in the sessions! But I love the lobby bar!”

— During “Increase Your Odds of Success By Disrupting Yourself”


More From Our In-Person Events

What They Said About the Conference Overall

“Honestly, this virtual conference has been a PARTY and I’m here for it.”

“I am feeling more connected than I have in a year.”

“YES! I have never felt the global community more than right now, this year. This IS the future!”

“Outstanding job, PCMA. Thank you for taking things to the next level here. Thank you for being inclusive and for your generosity. Aloha!”

“Congrats, PCMA, on such a great conference! This was the first truly global conference! “

“Thanks again PCMA for these diverse and power[ful] topics and speakers! Awesome job!”

And that's a wrap on PCMA: Convening Leaders 2021! It was definitely a unique year as everything was virtual. As we...

Posted by Amber Bortner on Friday, January 15, 2021