Derrick Williams


After a trying year for event professionals. members of PCMA’s 20 in Their Twenties class of 2021 have proven resilience is a key skill in their toolkit. Derrick Williams, consultant at Deloitte in Washington, D.C., shares how the pandemic led him to pursue new skills for the changing business events industry.

What has this year of disruption taught you about the industry?

This year taught me more about the pursuit of purpose and passion. Although we have faced many challenges in 2020, we are in this industry because we simply love what we do. I have seen so many of my colleagues corral around each other for support, become thought leaders and innovators, and become versatile in their approach — just to give attendees a valuable event experience. This industry and those who play intricate roles in the industry are strong, courageous, and dedicated. The industry will survive this pandemic and we will only become stronger because of it.

What new skills has the pandemic led you to pursue?

During this time, I wanted to be proficient in curating virtual educational programs. Zoom fatigue is real. It is easy to lose focus, feel redundant, and be disengaged. As a result, I wanted to find ways to create engaging and successful webinars and help speakers make the best of the virtual environment. There were a few hurdles and learning points along the way, but over time, I developed best practices that helped our team and speakers deliver captivating virtual content. I dedicated my time to continuous learning by enrolling in educational courses and training and gaining expertise from peers.

What creative initiative or innovation have you seen this year that you believe should remain after this crisis passes?

I hope the hybrid model of in-person and virtual events stays. The pandemic has demonstrated the value and importance of connectivity. The combination of the best elements of face-to-face meetings with virtual components allows the opportunity for audiences to participate, learn, and engage from wherever they are. Additionally, we have been able to extend our global reach, making it easier for industry professionals worldwide to connect. This should be embedded in our event strategies for future years.

Members of PCMA’s 20 in Their Twenties class of 2021 will be recognized virtually at PCMA Convening Leaders 2021, Jan. 11-15. Check out the complete program and register for Convening Leaders today.

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