PCMA’s COVID-19 Crisis Management and Recovery Plan
PCMA’s commitment to business events recovery.
Sherrif Karamat, CAE
Like all of you, we continue to receive updates on the escalating global impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) on people’s lives and on the business events industry.
And, like all of you, we are saddened by the tragic loss of life and the thought of tens of thousands who have been sickened by this virus. But we must remain hopeful that an unprecedented global collaboration of government, scientific, health, business and social leaders will succeed in containing its spread, providing care to those afflicted and developing a vaccine to prevent future outbreaks. We believe resolutely in the power of people to come together to solve any crisis. Indeed, bringing people together to address challenges is the bedrock of our industry.
It is becoming increasingly apparent that the business events industry is directly feeling the effects of this outbreak. While the short-term economic impact of postponed or canceled events on communities and businesses is a significant concern, the disruption of business events could also have an equal, if not larger, global social impact in terms of halting the sharing of critical knowledge — across every industry sector and profession — that propels our society forward.
PCMA cannot take a wait-and-see approach in this global crisis. There is simply too much at stake for our industry and for all those for whom business events and our overlapping industry sectors support their economic and social well-being. We must take a proactive role.
Informed by our PCMA community’s frontline experience with managing the business events industry’s response to health crises in Toronto (SARS) and Mexico (H1N1), we have begun to activate a plan in consultation with our partners. Our plan is anchored in the belief that business events must play a role in contributing to the solution — not the spread — of this crisis. That means business events, first and foremost, must step up efforts to keep their participants and their host communities safe from the spread of COVID-19 during this outbreak in order to do our part to aid the global recovery.
What We’re Doing Now
We are providing those in the business events community with the most relevant information and resources to help inform their response to the impact of the crisis:
This starts with our constantly updated resource webpage — What Business Event Professionals Need to Know About the COVID-19 Coronavirus — on COVID-19’s impact on business events and how business events professionals are responding. You will find helpful information on measures to prevent the spread of infection at events, answers to questions about contracting and insurance, and crisis management best practices, shared by some of the world’s leading business events practitioners.
The timing for post-recovery efforts is uncertain, but we will be prepared and ready once global health authorities, including the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), give the world the “all clear” signal.
Our job will then be to help restore global confidence and assure business events stakeholders that the virus no longer presents a threat. While the full extent of the impact of the outbreak cannot be known at this time, we know from experience that a stigma about travel risks will remain, particularly related to China. That must be confronted head on.
PCMA will help convey the message that business events are not only safe, but a vital component to widespread economic recovery. We have been in ongoing discussions with business events leaders in China to collaborate around the development of a plan. This will be based, in part, on learnings that came out of the SARS and H1N1 recovery plans. We will also share crisis response research from the PCMA Foundation and engage PCMA’s global network of partners to support this effort.
We invite anyone with an interest in supporting PCMA’s business events recovery plan to connect with us at Sherrif.Karamat@pcma.org.
This remains a very fluid situation. We have no crystal ball. Nevertheless, PCMA is prepared and resolute in our commitment to leading our global business events community — in collaboration with our network of equally committed partners — through this crisis and forward into recovery.
Sherrif Karamat, President and Chief Executive Officer
Sherrif Karamat, CAE, is President and Chief Executive Officer of PCMA. Karamat also serves as President of the PCMA Foundation and Publisher of Convene magazine.
As CEO, Karamat leads the vision, mission and promise for PCMA’s global family of brands. Karamat serves the greater business events industry as a prominent business architect, enabling our community to become a catalyst for economic and social progress, organizational success, and personal and professional development.
In his previous role as Chief Operating Officer, Karamat led the development and implementation of PCMA’s new vision: driving global economic and social transformation through business events. In addition to his responsibilities at executive level, Karamat also directed streamlining of PCMA’s content creation and delivery channels into one organization. He oversaw partnership, business services, membership, business development and technology teams.
As part of PCMA’s growth strategy, Karamat has led a major data intelligence program and played a key role in the 2017 acquisition of Incentive Conference & Event Society Asia Pacific (ICESAP).
A leader in the business events industry, Karamat previously served as Vice President of Business Sales and Services for Toronto Convention & Visitors (Tourism Toronto). He has served on various boards and is currently a director on the Destination International Board of Trustees.
Karamat is a life-long learner. In addition to completing his bachelor’s degree and Masters of Business Administration from York University in Toronto, Canada, he has completed postgraduate certificate programs at Wharton School of Business at University of Pennsylvania, Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University and the University of Chicago. At Harvard Business and Law School, he completed a program on strategic negotiations for senior executives and a program at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), one on data intelligence and big data.
Robert Haas, Chief Administrative Officer
Robert Haas is responsible for PCMA’s IT, human resources, data and finance departments as its first Chief Administrative Officer. He utilizes data, content and personalized experiences to help PCMA better understand its members’ needs and develop an audience-focused strategy.
Haas has more than 15 years of database marketing, product development and consulting experience from working in business-to-business and business-to-consumer industries. He understands how innovation, research and technology intersect and evaluates what is leading edge versus cutting edge.
Haas will leverage data to determine best practices in business events and how the industry can drive global economic and social transformation.
He previously served as PCMA’s Chief Innovation Officer. He joined PCMA as Vice President of Business Development and Data Intelligence. His previous roles include Senior Vice President of Strategic Product Development and Marketing at Scranton Gillette Communications Inc. and in direct response marketing for Tribune Direct.
He has a bachelor’s degree in international business from St. Norbert College in De Pere, Wisconsin.
Mona Cotton, Chief Business Officer
As Chief Business Officer, Mona Cotton leads the Business Development, Client and Member Services, and Business Services teams. She has more than 20 years of business leadership experience in the areas of partnership, sponsorship, business development, media publishing and business services.
Cotton, a PCMA leader for more than 15 years, takes a strategic approach to transforming PCMA’s client relationships and business opportunities. Her role at PCMA is to facilitate connections between business-to-business organizations and business-to-consumer operations, identifying opportunities to fuel economic and social progress and success for PCMA and its members, customers and clients.
While she has watched as business events shifted from logistics to engagement, Cotton said the value of relationships remains steadfast in the industry.
Prior to PCMA, Cotton led and supported various sales efforts at the National Association of REALTORS, Airborne Express (now DHL) and Fox Associates, a Chicago-based magazine representative firm. She received a bachelor’s degree in marketing and advertising from Indiana University.
Michelle Crowley oversees regional brand development, content outreach and innovation as PCMA’s first Chief Growth & Innovation Officer. She is responsible for regional and revenue development in the Americas, Asia Pacific (APAC) and Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) regions. In addition, Crowley is responsible for education and product development.
She leads PCMA’s global growth strategy by evaluating and identifying how the organization can deliver value to its members through new and existing business models, education programs and new products.
Crowley began her career at PCMA and continues to work with global travel brands, build strategic relationships and partnerships with key markets, and design year-round engagement campaigns. She has held various positions at PCMA including Vice President for Global Growth and Business Transformation.
Crowley is 2019 MBA graduate of the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. She received her bachelor’s degree from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Meredith Rollins, Chief Community Officer
As PCMA’s first Chief Community Officer, Meredith Rollins leads the community engagement team.
The team delivers programs and services that strengthen the connections between PCMA members, facilitate knowledge sharing and advance the network of professionals in the global business events industry. Her key areas of responsibility include community and chapter engagement, research, social impact and volunteerism. She remains Executive Director of the PCMA Foundation.
Rollins joined PCMA in 2007 and held roles in project management, global development and account management with the PCMA partnership program. She was Director of Strategic Development for the Association for Corporate Growth, a global community for middle-market M&A business leaders from 2012 to 2015. Rollins became Executive Director of the PCMA Foundation in 2015.
Rollins received a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and an MBA from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management.
Gina Meier, Director, Human Resources
Gina Meier is Director of Human Resources for PCMA, a position she has held since 2006. She is responsible for helping PCMA execute its vision of driving global economic and social transformation through its human capital.
Her responsibilities including professional development, culture, talent development, employee integration and employee engagement.
Meier began her human resources career in 1999 as human resources manager for Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide LLC, now a subsidiary of Marriott International Inc. She previously worked as director and manager in Starwood’s housekeeping division.
Meier received a bachelor’s degree in hotel/motel administration and management from Eastern Illinois University.
Bruce MacMillan, Chief Marketing Officer
Bruce MacMillan is responsible for PCMA’s global brand development and marketing strategies as PCMA’s Chief Marketing Officer. He leads the marketing, events and print and digital teams, which includes Convene magazine.
MacMillan has more than 30 years of experience in the global business events and tourism industry and has worked with business enterprises on every continent. His past leadership roles include CEO of VisitDFW, a regional consumer content marketing venture, CEO of Meeting Professionals International and CEO of Tourism Toronto.
He developed and led Vancouver, B.C.’s successful national bid for the 2010 Olympic Winter Games. MacMillan also runs BANDWIDTH consultancy, advising destinations on event sales and marketing strategies and served as consortium consulting partner in the Destinations International DestinationNEXT global initiative.
MacMillan has received numerous awards including twice being named one of the Top Twenty most influential people in the global MICE industry.