A Message from PCMA Chair Charles Starks

Author: Charles Starks       

Here we are in the middle of summer and most of us have barely had time to catch our breaths since Convening Leaders 2022 in Las Vegas. So much has happened in your PCMA community and we’ve got more to share with you in the coming weeks and months.

For now, I am pleased to share the following mid-year update to highlight what we have delivered for you so far in 2022:

Growing Your Connections:

Convening Leaders 2022 — In January, despite a record surge in COVID cases, 2,300 business event leaders from around the world gathered in Las Vegas and 520 joined us virtually to reconnect with their PCMA community and gain insights from each other on what the coming year would bring.

Business Events Industry Week (BEIW) — The inaugural multi-day collaboration between PCMAand Destinations International brought together co-located events produced by IAEE, EIC and LGBT MPA. More than 2,000 industry professionals joined us in Washington, DC to pursue community, business and educational opportunities as our space quickly restarted. BEIW also included Destination Showcase and the PCMA Foundation’s annual Visionary Awards celebration. We look forward to welcoming you again, in partnership with Destinations International March 6-9, 2023, at Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center. Additional details will be communicated soon.

New Member and Community Benefits — To support your continued career development, an enhanced member benefit has been introduced in the PCMA Career Center. Members now receive three complimentary job postings per year, free viewing of all posted resumes, and early access to open positions. Members can also connect better within their chapter, attend virtual meetings, and participate in peer-to-peer discussions on PCMA Together, our chapter community engagement platform which launched this Spring.

For our students, the PCMA Student Competition now has a global footprint with teams competing in North America, and the APAC, LATAM, and EMEA regions to inspire new ideas and create new career connections for future business event professionals everywhere. Registration is now open through October 1, 2022.

We have also introduced special membership offers for business event professionals based in a developing economy, as well as for NextGen professionals (under age 30) interested in furthering their careers at an affordable cost.

Education & Learning Products to Make You Successful — We are doubling down on our commitment to help you stay on top of industry trends and connect you to your peers for meaningful knowledge sharing. In the second quarter, we introduced two new learning courses — Event Data Strategy and Accessibility Considerations for Event Planning — as well as a Spanish language version of our Digital Event Strategist (DES) course developed by our PCMA team in Latin America. In early September, we will introduce an updated version of DES based on your feedback and insights.

CEMA — It has been nearly two years since PCMA acquired the Corporate Event Marketers Association (CEMA). CEMA just wrapped an extremely successful and engaging CEMA Summit attracting 465 participants including over 200 first-timers earlier this month in Nashville, TN. I was thrilled to welcome the CEMA Advisory Board, along with Sherrif and Kim Gishler, CEMA’s Executive Director.

Equity | Inclusion | Diversity and You — We are committed to using business events to foster greater equity, inclusion, and diversity in our society. In 2022 we have accelerated our delivery of content and tools through Convene magazine on how to design transformative and inclusive events that turn allyship into action. We have also held workshops on diversity and inclusion for our Board leaders as well as training for the entire PCMA staff team on unconscious bias and sexual harassment. We encourage you to check out resources you can use in our Ascent program and sign the CEO pledge.

Understanding how to navigate social and political challenges with events is another critical topic we are covering for you with a series of PCMA member conversations, moderated by Convene Editor-in-Chief, Michelle Russell. Sherrif and I attended the most recent roundtable on August 8 in Washington, DC where we discussed how travel boycotts impacted the most vulnerable players in the destination supply chain.

Convening Asia Pacific — In April we announced Convening APAC as a series of digital experiences culminating with two September in-person gatherings, one in Australia and one in Singapore. However, due to continued pandemic-related restrictions in some markets, the event has been postponed with new dates pending.

LATAM — Membership in the LATAM region continues to grow as a result of the developing economy membership rate and participation in regional conferences and activations. Collaboration throughout Latin America is paramount for further growth. Recently, Sherrif joined the LATAM team in Medellin, Colombia for the COCAL Annual Congress, where the team was afforded the opportunity to network and share business intelligence with business event professionals throughout the region.

Convening EMEA — This year’s annual event is being held in Vienna, Austria, September 28-30. Our EMEA community continues to grow, and this year’s event will bring together more than 400 European and global business event leaders from 27 countries. The program has been built across three themes — Future, Engagement and Planning, and will deliver the tools participants need to thrive, as well as opportunities to build new relationships to drive their business forward. To view more details and register, please visit Convening EMEA.

Sustainability Tools You Can Use–Over the last two years, our world has dealt not only with COVID but also with many social and environmental issues that have challenged all of us to do better. The Net Zero Carbon Events Pledge was launched during the 2021 UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) at the SEC, in Glasgow, Scotland.  This is the first time the business events industry has been represented at COP26. This important and collaborative initiative received the PCMA Chair Award during Convening Leaders 2022 in recognition of unique achievements and contributions to the business events industry. PCMA is proud to be among the more than 300 supporting businesses and institutions from all around the business events industry as of earlier this year.

Sustainability is a top priority for PCMA and the global business events industry. The PCMA Foundation, in partnership with the Singapore Tourism Board, initiated research on “The Time is Now — Sustainability in Business Events Industry,” to illustrate the next-level actions the business event industry must take collectively to scale progress. Resources that can immediately be implemented for an upcoming event include a Situational Analysis, Sustainable Event Starting Line, Sustainable Event Map, and RFP and specific contract language. You may learn more about the research and access these resources at pcma.org.

PCMA Foundation — Your PCMA Foundation has provided 132 scholarships to current event professionals and students so far this year as well as $54K in charitable contributions in give-back support to organizations located in the cities where PCMA events were held. In recognition of the contributions that past Chairman Chris Wehking made to the business events industry, the Foundation established the Chris Wehking Education Scholarship Fund to support education and leadership development. You may view details and donate here.

Leadership — For the first time in PCMA’s history, the association’s Board of Directors is a single governing body with diverse global representation among the 19 elected members serving as Directors and Trustees for the association and the Foundation. This new structure has empowered PCMA to be agile, responsive, and innovative at a time that calls for diverse solutions for the global business events industry.

Leadership at PCMA is about serving you. And I want to thank our Board, CEMA Advisory Board, Regional Advisory Boards, Chapter Leaders, and volunteers as well as our PCMA management team for the incredible work they’ve done this year.

Even though the latest forces impacting the business events industry are creating some short-term uncertainty, our commitment to you remains resolute: we will continue to provide you with the business and career value you need and want to be successful.

Thank you for your continued engagement with PCMA. I look forward to seeing you in Vienna at Convening EMEA or in Columbus at Convening Leaders.

Charles Starks
PCMA Chair
President & CEO, Music City Center


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