Looking Back: How PCMA Chapter Presidents Moved Their Members Forward in 2017

Author: David McMillin       

Convening Leaders and Education Conference provide opportunities to bring the entire PCMA global community together, but throughout the year, the organization’s chapters deliver action-packed calendars of learning, networking, and volunteering opportunities. In 2017, PCMA’s chapter network broke attendance records, recruited new members, drew blueprints for new strategic visions, and much more.

As each chapter looks ahead to a successful 2018, past presidents reflect on their proudest accomplishments from the past year.

Francois Brunet

PCMA Canada East

It was a busy and exciting year – the chapter held four educational programs throughout the year, three social events, and another successful Canadian Innovation Conference with more than 375 in attendance in Niagara Falls, Canada. With a territory that extends over 2,000 miles, bringing members together for face-to-face events is not always possible. As a result, we introduced Live-ED, a new live video-streaming initiative, which was well received. As I move on to the past president role, I look forward to supporting the chapter leadership while representing the chapter at Meetings Mean Business Canada.

Jo-Anne Rockwood, CMP, CMM

Canada West

Teamwork and collaboration were our priorities in 2017. Our dedicated board created a solid foundation on which to build future chapter activities and member engagement. We developed a partnership with the PCMA Canada East Chapter, creating strong Canadian collaboration for events and sponsorship opportunities, and we delivered exceptional, innovative educational events that smashed previous attendance numbers. Additionally, we collaborated with local industry associations (MPI, ILEA) on joint events, along with expanding our presence across our large geographic region to show value to members outside Vancouver.

Diane E. Kovats,

Capital Chapter

I am most proud of the development of our five-year strategic map and reorganization of our committee structure and chapter-activity alignment. The strategic map will give the board of directors guidance in decision making, and it clearly outlines our goals as a chapter. The restructuring of the committees and alignment of activities into a pillar structure will give our volunteers a more efficient way to communicate, execute assigned activities, and break down the barriers between committees. When we restructured, we also focused on developing a volunteer tool kit, which contains all of the important information for each committees including historical planning documents.

Krystine L.
St. Michael
Bussiere, CMP

Chesapeake Chapter

We hosted the first chapter-level Women@Work Panel and roundtable discussion, focusing on diversity, inclusion, and gender issues that face industry professionals today. New partnerships with the Association for Women in Events and the Baltimore Chapter of NACE helped increase attendance and visibility of the chapter in 2017, and PCMA Chesapeake’s Holiday Mixer raised $4,000 to benefit the PCMA Education Foundation and Industry Relief Fund.

Sandy Reynolds, CMP

Greater Midwest Chapter

The accomplishment I am most proud of with GMC in 2017 is the fact that we changed things up. There were no sacred cows and we didn’t do anything just because we had done it before without discussing it and evaluating its value. Most notably, we completely changed our awards program to an evening program with a party with great success. We changed our quarterly education and worked on adding more fun elements into our activities. We had some success and some failures, but overall, I feel we grew as a chapter.

Robin Geary, CMP

Greater Philadelphia Chapter

We added two additional education events to our already packed programming. We normally host a networking event in June, but this year, it was an education event. The Greater Philadelphia Chapter celebrated its 25th anniversary this year. Normally, we host a fundraising event in October, but this year, we combined that event with our anniversary celebration, so our October event was another education event. Our anniversary party was a huge success with 19 of our 25 past presidents in attendance. We also held a very successful GMID program at the Philadelphia Convention Center.

Robert Heard,

Gulf States Chapter

In 2017, the Gulf States Chapter set a regular schedule for educational programs for the first time in many years. We met every other month, delivering six quality educational programs plus two educational programs in Austin and one delivered virtually with more than 60 participants. We finished the year in the best financial shape in a decade due to strong attendance and sponsorship, and we gave back, donating $2,500 to the Meetings Industry Fund and $5,000 to PCMA Education Foundation’s Hurricane Relief Fund. The chapter experienced record membership growth of 27 percent.

Elizabeth L. Huston

Heartland Chapter

The PCMA Heartland Chapter set a trackable goal of increasing face-to-face educational engagement for our members through the launch of Lunch and Learn Programs. With the remarkable support of our amazing volunteer base, we were able to host five sessions that promoted valuable education and networking opportunities to our six-state region. Our team takes pride in knowing that our hard work brought additional value to our members.

Rafael Hernandez, CEM

Mexico Chapter

We set a new record with our Student Congress that brought together more than 1,000 students to work a full day with professionals from the meetings industry and find out more about this incredible industry. With more professionals interested in being a part of our chapter, we also experienced a growth in membership while keeping the pace with our renewals. We also hosted two very successful Professional Exchanges that brought high-level professionals together to share their knowledge and their passion for events. Looking ahead, I will continue to be connected with PCMA HQ. There are so many things and great news coming from the Mexico Chapter.

Jessica A.
Hiemenz, CMP

New England Chapter

I am most proud of us working as a team to overcome hardship when it came to finding venues to host some of our educational events. We struggled sourcing a couple of our events and had to find places at the last minute, but we managed to make it happen. The venues and educational sessions were all very successful and worked out well. We focused on looking at non-traditional venues and hosted one of our educational sessions (GMID) at a restaurant in the Back Bay area of Boston during the morning. The early schedule allowed more people to attend before heading to work. Another educational session we located at a distillery, which gave us a new perspective on event design. Our team did an amazing job this year thinking outside the box and finding creative solutions for hosting our events.

Jessica Leigh Levin, MBA, CMP, CAE, DES

New York Area Chapter

New York City hosted the Education Conference in June. We sponsored 500 blessing bags for all of the attendees to assemble. These bags were donated to The Bowery Mission, an organization that our chapter supports. We had talked about wanting to welcome the chapters to our city and threw out the idea from brunch to Broadway. Giving back to the community is a core component to our chapter, and it was wonderful to share it with the rest of PCMA.

Alex Carvalho-Lukachova, CMP

Northern California Chapter

In 2017, our chapter achieved the highest level of attendance at our events to date. I believe this was largely attributed to our strategic approach to providing a year-long theme that connected all our educational offerings instead of a disjointed offering of education topics that were not necessarily related to each other. We also held our most successful BAMIE Awards to date at the Masonic San Francisco. We raised money for our chapter, the PCMA Education Foundation, and Project Homeless Connect San Francisco while honoring the brightest stars of our industry in the Bay Area.

Ken Sien, CMP

POWER Chapter

The POWER Chapter nearly doubled the number of volunteers we had in 2017 compared with 2016.  This exposed our chapter to fresh ideas from people who have not been involved before and created opportunities for new leaders in the future.

Kelsey Soukup

Pacific Northwest Chapter

Looking back at my year of leadership, I am most proud of the dedication of my board and volunteers. I was lucky to have many board members return and equally as lucky to have some new faces join the board and committees. Without these dedicated volunteers, I would have been able to accomplish very little. I am so proud of these busy leaders who graciously gave their time and joined me to lead our amazing chapter!

Jodi Church

Rocky Mountain Chapter

I am very proud of the Rocky Mountain Chapter of PCMA and our many accomplishments in 2017. Our two special events — All Hearts Auction and Celebration and our 2nd Annual Golf Tournament — both exceeded our expectations in sponsors, attendees, and budget (by $2,500 and $5,000, respectively). We were able to restructure and rebuild our board and committees, and engagement and membership in our chapter grew. We ended the year with 53 percent professional members and 47 percent supplier members. I am excited to see what 2018 brings for this awesome chapter!

Barbara J. Stroup

Southeast Chapter

I am most proud of the creation and activation of our SE Chapter’s Past President Circle (PPC). The SE Chapter has always recognized that our past presidents are our most underutilized resource. In 2018, we created our PPC and met in Q1 and Q4 to discuss current committees, chapter programing, and sponsorship strategies with our PPs. We were blessed by being able to secure Shepard Exposition Services as our sponsor.

Robert L. Wentworth

Southwest &
Pacific Chapter

The Southwest & Pacific Chapter focused on increasing engagement and interaction with our membership. Our chapter covers a large geographic area across Southern California, Arizona, Nevada, and Hawaii, so consistent interaction with our members has been a challenge. This past year, we held quarterly networking mixers in our major metropolitan areas of Los Angeles, San Diego, Phoenix, and Las Vegas. These have grown in popularity and supplement our educational programing. In the fall, we produced an educational roadshow with sessions taking place in Phoenix, San Diego, and Long Beach that involved a large percentage of our membership.

Stay in-the-know on upcoming chapter happenings via the PCMA Industry Events Calendar.

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