Countdown to Convening Leaders 2020

Author: Sherrif Karamat       

Sherrif Karamat

Sherrif Karamat, CAE

With summer fading and school back in session, September signals a time to buckle down to business, to renew our focus. So it seems an ideal time to talk about our plans for Convening Leaders 2020 — coming up Jan. 5–8, at San Francisco’s Moscone Center.

PCMA’s flagship event starts the industry off on the right foot every year. In 2020, our theme will be “Reach” — exploring how we can all reach our full potential. Speakers, including Simon Sinek and Heather E. McGowan, will push us to think in new ways. We’ll share data we gathered at Convening Leaders 2019 and I’m planning a main-stage discussion outlining PCMA’s ongoing strategy.

As you know, we’re on a journey to help transform the global business events industry. We’re not just about planning meetings; as business events strategists we are pushing for societal change in areas ranging from sustainability to inclusion. Convening Leaders is the platform to address those issues. It’s where we gather to challenge the status quo. It’s where we ask: How can we put ideas into action? How can we be better?

People told me that our event this year in Pittsburgh was the most engaging Convening Leaders they’d ever been to and that the message of business events playing an instrumental role in helping transform the broader society really resonated. With more than a 90-percent approval rating for that event, we could have just hit the “repeat” button. But nobody’s interested in that. We need to keep reaching, to think about how the new economy will propel us into the future, about data, technology, event design, and what the future of work looks like. And what better place than San Francisco — arguably the high-tech capital of the globe — to have these conversations?

I don’t see Convening Leaders as a one-and-done event. Like you, I’m on a 365-day listening tour of what is going on in our world. We continue to explore the conversations started at Convening Leaders, continually asking: What are people being challenged by? What are the solutions? And where are we along the transformation path?

I know that all of us care about not only making our community stronger but the world a better place. After I sent out an email plea — in the wake of recent mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio — to embrace the ways that we as an industry can celebrate inclusion and battle hate, scores of you responded. Hundreds of you identified not as event planners but as “business event strategists.” That shows me that more people are thinking of themselves as leaders who take charge and drive positive change.

I can’t wait to see how high we will reach in January in San Francisco. I invite you to join us in raising the bar. Visit conveningleaders.org to see what we have in store and watch us continue to build on our program.