Charting a Bold New Path for PCMA

Author: Sherrif Karamat       


PCMA CEO and President Sherrif Karamat, Randy Fiser of AGU, Jason Dunn of NCBMP, Don Welsh of DI, and Howard Givner of ELI. (Whatever Media Group)

Sherrif Karamat

Sherrif Karamat, CAE,
President & CEO, PCMA and CEMA

We are wired to fear uncertainty, and the last three years — the most unpredictable and challenging of any the business events industry has ever faced — have pushed us to our limits. But what we could overlook amidst the discomfort, say INSEAD professor of strategy and innovation Nathan Furr and entrepreneur Susannah Harmon Furr — both of whom will speak at Convening EMEA in Copenhagen, Sept. 20-22 — is how often transformation emerges in periods of deep uncertainty. We can use that to our advantage, the husband-and-wife authors write in The Upside of Uncertainty, if, instead of fearing and avoiding the unknown, “we recognize and embrace it as the origin of possibility.”

You may have already heard me say this: COVID happened not just to us, but for us. Alongside the pandemic’s tragic losses, so has come inspiration for expansive and innovative ways to go forward. At Convening Leaders 2023 in Columbus, it was my privilege to unveil a transformational new path for PCMA, one created with the benefit of the insights of our members and partners.

Since PCMA leads with our values, I’ll start with a partnership forged with American Geophysical Union (AGU), a 65,000-member global earth and space science association and worldwide thought leader on climate change and innovation. Our partnership with AGU will allow the business events community to raise the bar, as the association’s climate scientists help guide us toward a shared understanding of how to design sustainable events and lead our industry in real progress around reducing our carbon footprint.

Another lesson we’ve learned is that inclusivity cannot merely be a best practice in the business events industry — it must be the only practice. Toward that end, PCMA has signed a new strategic alliance with the National Coalition of Black Meeting Professionals (NCBMP), as a way of building value, not just for PCMA and NCBMP communities, but for business event stakeholders everywhere.

In addition, PCMA has expanded its footprint in Europe with the acquisition of the Event Marketing Association, a U.K.-based association of corporate event marketing professionals who represent a cross-section of industry segments and global brands across Europe and the world.

And finally, PCMA acquired the Event Leadership Institute (ELI), and ELI’s founder, Howard Givner, has joined PCMA as a senior vice president of knowledge and innovation. Givner will lead a product development design lab at PCMA as we continue to invest in education and learning products that will ensure that business event professionals are equipped for success now and into the future.

We can be certain that uncertainty will accompany us as we go forward. But we also can develop confidence in our ability to see powerful new opportunities for our industry to lead positive social and economic transformation, even — and especially — amid the changes that continue to rock our world.

RELATED: Read the Convene interview with Nathan and Susannah Harmon Furr, Leap of Faith: A Guide to Seeing the Upside of Uncertainty

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