Kristi Casale | PCMA Member Spotlight

All things AI and SPARK with PCMA Member Kristi Casale CMP, DMCP, Vice President for Meetings and Continuing Education American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry

As I understand, Spark is AI tool that is geared specifically toward business meeting planners. Prior to using Spark, what was your typical method for planning meetings/events? What was lacking in this previous process?
In the era preceding our introduction to Spark, our planning tools primarily consisted of recycled templates or hastily crafted documents on the fly. When confronted with unique challenges sans existing solutions, our go-to involved extensive searches for templates or contract language online. The pursuit of speaker bios, in the absence of readily available information, meant repeated requests for details. Enter Spark – a game-changer that has allowed us to effortlessly extract bios by simply inputting the speaker’s LinkedIn profile!

Gone are the days of laboriously sifting through an overwhelming volume of survey comments, striving to distill valuable insights into a cohesive summary that accurately captures attendee sentiments. Thanks to Spark, this once time-consuming task has been streamlined to the click of a button! What’s more, Spark goes above and beyond by generating actionable recommendations derived from discerned trends in attendee feedback. The dawn of a new era in event planning has arrived with Spark at the helm!

How did you first hear about Spark?
Upon hearing my colleague rave about attending Spark’s introductory webinar, my curiosity got the better of me, prompting an immediate dive into the platform. From the moment I created my profile, I found myself immersed in its seamless functionality and user-friendly interface. The craftsmanship behind Spark is truly commendable, and it’s high time we spread the word about this transformative solution to any business event professional willing to lend an ear.

What was the most intriguing aspect of Spark that made you want to learn more about the program? Had you heard from other planners who were using the program?
I had been a heavy ChatGPT user so when I caught wind of PCMA’s latest project, I eagerly hopped onto the platform for a firsthand experience. The Spark sessions at Educon in Montreal proved to be an absolute highlight for me. Positioned in the front row, I voraciously absorbed every nugget of information and valuable tip and could not wait to implement the strategies immediately.

Can you walk me through the process of when you decided to use Spark and how you initially began using it? Can you provide an example of how it enhanced your planning process?
Following EduCon, I began playing in the Spark sandbox and I delved deeper into its capabilities and discovered myriad use-case scenarios available for immediate implementation. Initially, I found myself casually exploring the platform, testing its responses to imaginary scenarios. Once satisfied with the results, I began commanding Spark to generate real responses to the tangible problems requiring my immediate attention. The evolution from experimentation to practical application marked a significant turning point in my engagement with this powerful tool.

Is there a good example of an event you planned that was enhanced by the use of Spark?
Based on feedback from our 2023 annual session, we designed the content and sessions for 2024. Spark generated actionable recommendations for both content and experience design. One o

What are the components of Spark that you enjoy the most and that enhance your job?
Embarking on the journey of utilizing AI can be overwhelming, but Spark has proven to be a game-changer for our team, offering an array of time-saving shortcuts that even novices can leverage right away. Here’s a glimpse into the transformative capabilities that make Spark a must-try:

  • Contract Clause Generation and Language Simplification: Streamline the tedious process of contract creation and simplify language effortlessly.
  • Speaker Bio Generation: Drop a LinkedIn URL into Spark, and voila! Instantly generate speaker bios with the added bonus of customizing the tone.
  • Session Descriptions: For recorded sessions, just input the YouTube link, and let Spark do the heavy lifting – generating concise summaries and learning objectives.
  • Social Posts: Repurpose older content or generate an entirely new marketing strategy based on key insights provided by Spark.
  • Survey Distillation: Bid farewell to laborious survey analysis; Spark distills valuable insights with efficiency.
  • Team Performance Reviews: Simplify the process of evaluating team performance with Spark’s insightful assistance.
  • Press Releases and Video Scripts: Craft compelling press releases and video scripts effortlessly with Spark’s creative input.
  • Generate Session Q&A and Polls: Spark takes the hassle out of session preparation by generating Q&A and polls at your command.
  • Ideas for Gifts and Giveaways: Need inspiration for gifts and giveaways? Let Spark spark your creativity with unique ideas.

The versatility of Spark extends far beyond what I have mentioned above, making it a versatile tool in many aspects of your workflow.

Are there any challenges that occur with using an AI platform like Spark?
Navigating the realm of AI often calls for a direct approach to yield optimal results and requires a number of revisions. I strongly recommend framing your queries in a commanding tone rather than as mere requests to extract the most useful answers. I also find the login process with the one time password to be tedious, mostly annoying. There’s room for improvement in streamlining this aspect for a smoother user experience.

How do you think you will continue to use Spark?
Certainly! This page is bookmarked at the top of my list. I see this tool as underutilized by both planners and partners. Many may not fully grasp the substantial impact it can have.

How do you think AI will continue to impact the meetings/events industry?
The spotlight at Convening Leaders was predominantly on AI, recognizing its disruptive force across industries globally. What may have escaped the audience’s notice is our industry-specific curated tool that holds the potential to save time, resources, and significantly impact budgets (not to mention sanity!). Whether it’s a fear of AI or a comfort zone with ChatGPT, PCMA has unveiled something remarkable that I believe more industry peers should be aware of. To my fellow business event professionals, my advice is simple: log into Spark, take it for a spin, explore its features. You might be pleasantly surprised to discover how beneficial this tool can be for you and your teams.

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