Behind the Digital Curtain at Convening Leaders 2021

Tune in to a candid conversation about challenges and major takeaways from designing and producing PCMA’s first-ever global hybrid conference.

Author: Barbara Palmer       

Convening Leaders

Caitlin O’Malley and Tonya Almond from PCMA, Hanna Foley from digital event platform JUNO, and Kyle Short of the digital storytelling company, Wisdom Capture, discuss the creation of the hybrid Convening Leaders 2021.

“I did not want to strangle you guys,” Hanna Foley, relationship manager for the digital event platform JUNO, told PCMA’s education manager, Caitlin O’Malley, on Wednesday, speaking about the run-up to last week’s Convening Leaders 2021 (CL21), which was presented digitally in JUNO. But, added Foley, “you might have felt that way.”

The exchange was part of a no-holds-barred conversation that looks behind the scenes at how the event was conceived, planned, and executed, and included PCMA’s vice president of experience design, Tonya Almond, CMP, and Kyle Short, CEO of the digital storytelling company, Wisdom Capture, which produced CL21 sessions. It was the fourth installment in a Digital Experience Makers series, “How Convening Leaders Flips the Script for 2021.”

‘You Were Also Web Designers’

As clients, PCMA’s experience designers were demanding, but that was a good thing, Foley said. A big takeaway for PCMA beyond being event planners, for CL21 “you were also web designers,” Foley said. “You had to have a whole new outlook on what a virtual platform was beyond putting up the stage and having your speakers come.” In a digital world, “all of those things are repurposed,” she said. “Instead of setting up a stage with a beautiful backdrop, you’re now creating images, creating a lot of text, and thinking of other ways that people engage in a virtual world, similar to how they could in a live event. Putting all of those pieces together with you all was really fun — and really challenging.”

“It was crucial to remind ourselves — even when we got stuck — that creating engagement for our audience was why we were doing things,” Almond said.

You can find the conversation — and previous installments of the Digital Experience Makers series, which are available to non-members as well as members — in PCMA’s webinar and continuing education library.

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