The COVID-19 crisis is bringing out the best in destinations — and the people in them. As the global fight to contain the pandemic continues, companies are shifting production priorities to make personal protective equipment (PPE), cities are propping up local businesses and the people who work for them, and CVBs are creating moving videos about how unity will keep us strong until we can meet again. As Hawaii says in its Share Aloha video above, “Now is the time to pull together, even if it’s from afar.” Here are examples of how that’s being done.
Canadians coined a word, caremongering, to describe the acts of kindness sparked by the pandemic. Starting, according to the BBC, as a way to help vulnerable people in Toronto, caremongering has become a national movement.
In Italy, fashion houses including Prada switched from churning out couture to making PPEs, a step taken by other industry heavyweights across Europe including H&M, Inditex (Zara’s parent company), and French luxury brand Yves Saint Laurent, CNN reported.
By mid-March, Columbus, Ohio–based L Brands, the parent company of Bath & Body Works, Victoria’s Secret, and Pink, had suspended all e-commerce operations for Victoria’s Secret and Pink so it could make soaps and sanitizers from Bath & Body Works a priority, according to Experience Columbus. It has donated more than 500,000 bottles of soap to first responders and nonprofits through The Columbus Foundation.
Visit Scotland reminds the world that absence makes the heart grow fonder as it shares a message of hope in the video below.
In Abu Dhabi, Ma’an, the Authority of Social Contribution, is using funds contributed to its “Together We Are Good” program to help families and individuals with education, food supplies, health support, and basic needs amid the pandemic, the Khaleej Times
Ottawa’s Economic Partners Task Force (newly formed to help support businesses affected by COVID-19) launched Buy Local to support local businesses by encouraging residents to purchase items and gift cards online, order takeout, and support firms on social media. Also, across Canada, Wednesdays are #TakeOutDay, with residents encouraged, if they are able, to support local businesses.
In China, the government says it provided aid to 89 countries in Asia, Europe, Africa, the Americas, and the South Pacific — and four international organizations — to battle the COVID-19 outbreak, according to Visit Beijing, which also said the country sent medical experts to Iran, Iraq, Italy, Serbia, and Cambodia to help them fight the virus.
In a video (below) that celebrates the warmth of the Midwest, Visit Omaha says “this is just the intermission; the show will go on.”
Fáilte Ireland has created a COVID-19 Business Supports Hub to provide tourism and hospitality businesses with webinars and expert advice and a wellbeing support page that includes information on free counseling and financial advice to help tourism businesses, their employees, and those who have lost their jobs.
Visit Indy sold T-shirts online for $10 (they sold out) with 100 percent of the proceeds divided between the United Way of Central Indiana COVID-19 Community Economic Relief Fund and the Indy Arts and Culture COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund, WISH-TV.
Discover Puerto Rico has created a few inspirational videos called “All in Good Time” (below), conveying that while now we must stay home and safe, better times are on the horizon.
Restaurant workers, McGill University law students, and nonprofit experts are heading the Montreal Restaurant Workers Relief Fund, which is providing emergency economic assistance to restaurant employees facing hardships because of bar and restaurant closures, according to Tourisme Montréal.
Visit California has created a webpage called “Californians Doing Good” to showcase how “business owners, destination stewards, and residents are rising up to provide relief to their fellow industry members and communities in any way possible.”
With a #WeGotThisSeattle message, the Downtown Seattle Association shares what social distancing — and hope — look like.
VISIT DENVER, the Boulder Convention & Visitors Bureau, Eat Denver, and the Colorado Restaurant Association have jointly created ToGoDenver.com, a free resource for Denver and Boulder restaurants that are open for takeout and/or delivery during the cities’ current dine-in shut down.
Toronto-based BlueDot, a software company that was among the first platforms to detect signs of the COVID‑19 outbreak, is using mobile phone data to assist governments in their response to the pandemic, according to a report from Bloomberg.
The Greater Philadelphia Hotel Association — in conjunction with partners including the Philadelphia Convention and Visitors Bureau Foundation, Pennsylvania Convention Center, and Visit Philadelphia — is raising funds for displaced hotel workers. The Hospitality Workers Relief Fund aims to raise $560,000 and already has hit $450,000.
Curbside delivery, and the way it’s feeding a city that can’t gather to dine out, is in the spotlight in a video from Visit Fort Worth. (See video below.)
Australian supermarket company Coles is donating $1 million worth of food to vulnerable Australians amid the coronavirus outbreak, local media reported.
The Miami Pandemic Response Fund, which is a supported by the Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau and the Greater Miami and The Beaches Hotel Association, is helping hospitality workers and their families with food, supplies, utilities, rent/mortgage assistance, and microgrants.
In Anaheim, efforts to help those in need range from the Honda Center’s drive-thru food bank to local restaurants’ distributing meals to children, Visit Anaheim reports.
Ad agency Doner, which has its headquarters in Detroit, captures what it’s like when the motor stops in “the city built on four wheels” and promises a return “with all eight cylinders.”
Canada Goose, known for its distinctive down-filled parkas, is retooling manufacturing facilities, including in Winnipeg, to make PPE for health-care workers, Global News reported.
In Dallas, American Leather Hospitality (which is usually making furniture for the hotel/hospitality industry) is producing medical face masks and gowns, Furniture, Lighting & Decor reported.
In Australia, volunteers from 18 Muslim organizations are providing warm meals to health-care workers at Canterbury Hospital in Sydney and dropping off food to the elderly, vulnerable, and those in isolation across the country, the Daily Mail reported.
Meet AC — Atlantic City, New Jersey — reminds us that the world is #StrongerTogether in the video below that spotlights the destination’s seaside vistas.
Battelle, an Ohio-based research and development organization, has come up with a way to decontaminate N95 masks. The technology is already in use in Columbus with additional equipment being sent to New York, Seattle, Chicago, and Washington, D.C., Experience Columbus said.
A Syrian refugee couple in Sao Paulo, Brazil — the municipality with the nation’s highest number of COVID-19 cases — is delivering lunches to the city’s elderly residents via their food delivery company, according to a United Nations website.
Some 20 companies in Switzerland held a countrywide hackathon early in April to develop “functional digital or analogue prototypes to counter the virus with tangible solutions.”
VISITMilwaukee in the video below recalls all the positive things that COVID-19 has been unable to change.
In Singapore, The Biofactory, a biomedical incubator, and Singapore General Hospital created a foldable screen that permits health-care workers to do swab tests safely and twice as quickly, Channel News Asia reported.
In Chicago, the Cubs have turned Wrigley Field into a food-packing and distribution center for COVID-19 relief, local media reported.
In Quebec, Liverpool, and New York, Bauer employees have shifted from hockey face masks to PPEs. The company says it plans to manufacture and deliver 2.25 million medical face shields by the end of May.
Visit Tampa Bay’s video (below) illustrates how the sun — and hope — continue to shine.
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.