A Well-Traveled Journey

Author: Deborah Sexton       

As I write this, I’m preparing for my final days as PCMA president and CEO. As you may know, I will be leaving the organization after Convening Leaders 2018 to pursue my own consultancy. 

Please know this was not a decision I made lightly. The past 12 years have provided me with the opportunity to better know our members, to work with inspiring volunteer leaders, and to build a strong staff in an effort to change the business-events industry and educate the community like never before.

 Together, we’ve more than doubled PCMA’s membership and revenue. In addition, we have expanded our technology and online offerings, reimagined the annual meeting into today’s Convening Leaders, and cultivated dynamic leadership at the Board of Directors and Foundation Board of Trustees levels.  The Foundation has more than tripled its support for scholarships, research, and education programs.

Perhaps more importantly, we’ve worked to elevate the meeting-planner role to a more strategic one, expanded our global community so we may grow our knowledge base, and pushed the industry to keep changing, learning, and innovating to remain successful in today’s fast-paced business world. 

At the heart of all this has been education. As we developed our globalization strategy, which is key to the organization moving forward, it was clear that education would remain the best way for us to continue to inspire, connect, and innovate the business-events industry on a global scale. Our global strategy doesn’t revolve around member recruitment, but education. For example, we’re starting to launch small-group Knowledge Exchanges around the world in partnership with local governments or associations to provide education that benefits each host region and the industry overall. 

For the past decade, I’ve had the pleasure of working closely with Sherrif Karamat, CAE, who most recently served as PCMA’s COO and will assume the role of president and CEO this month. Sherrif has been instrumental in helping to shape and implement PCMA’s strategic vision. Together, we’ve laid a foundation that will allow the organization to move forward in an even bolder way, and I’m incredibly confident about the future of PCMA under his leadership. 

Thank you to the PCMA member community and countless passionate volunteer leaders for your support during my time here. While as members you have been very clear about your vision for the organization, you also gave us permission to innovate ways to implement it and to craft a bright future in the business-events industry. That support has allowed the organization to move a lot faster — a necessity in today’s business environment — and has been incredibly important to PCMA’s success.

It’s been an amazing journey, and I wish you all the best in your own journey. Keep seeking the knowhow to come up with creative solutions for your own business events, which can only benefit the industry overall.