Fueling the Foundation: A New Scholarship to Celebrate Deborah Sexton’s Impact

Author: David McMillin       

The Education Foundation is honoring former PCMA president and CEO Deborah Sexton’s 13 years of leadership with a new scholarship for one lucky business events professional and a reception in Chicago.

As Deborah Sexton prepared to leave PCMA earlier this year, the future felt somewhat undefined. “I’m not entirely sure of what’s on the immediate horizon,” she said in an interview before Convening Leaders 2018. “I want to get away for a couple of weeks to clear my head and determine what’s next.”

While Sexton may have been uncertain about the short-term, one fact was undeniable: She had transformed PCMA into the leader of the face-to-face industry. To celebrate that impact, PCMA’s Board of Trustees voted to create a new scholarship in January. More than 40 organizations and individuals have already made large contributions to the fund. On Aug. 17, the PCMA Education Foundation will offer everyone an opportunity to be part of the launch of the scholarship fund with a reception at the Chicago Cultural Center. “We wanted to bring everyone together face-to-face to celebrate Deborah,” Meredith Rollins, executive director of the PCMA Education Foundation, said. “It’s another way to donate. With so many people from the industry in Chicago for ASAE’s Annual Meeting, it will be a great way to honor her leadership.”

Rollins said that the scholarship has been customized to help someone who is already in the industry. “It’s for someone who has at least three years of experience,” Rollins said. “For those ready to take their career to the next level, the scholarship will include an exclusive coaching opportunity with Deborah in Chicago.”

In addition to a one-on-one mentorship session, the scholarship provides a $7,500 stipend for continuing education that the recipient can use for attending events and crafting their own educational experience. There are some benefits specific to PCMA, too, including a one-day shadowing experience of the events team at Convening Leaders and a three-year membership to the organization. “With all our new scholarships, one of our top priorities is to keep recipients engaged with PCMA,” Rollins said. “We want to provide more than financial support. We also want to welcome them to the community.”

Click here to register for the reception on August 17 and join this list of organizations and individuals who have already supported the scholarship fund. Interested in applying for the scholarship? Stay tuned to pcma.org for details. The application process will begin in conjunction with the reception.

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