After more than a year of living with COVID-19, business events professionals are more than ready to reconnect, so PCMA EduCon’s theme, “We Are Better Together,” strikes just the right note. And “better together” applies whether attendees are participating July 7–9 in person at the JW Marriott Desert Ridge in Phoenix, Arizona, or online.
While each of PCMA Education Conference’s Main Stage speakers will share insights with the audience based on their particular area of expertise, all three will be focusing on the future, and equipping the in-person and digital audiences with the skills and mindset to chart their paths in a post-pandemic business events world.
Become a Future Maker
In Wednesday’s Main Stage session, “Become a Future Maker by Embracing and Leading Through Uncertainty,” Seth Mattison will help business events professionals view uncertainty through a positive lens by creating new approaches, business models, experiences, and more to meet their constituents in relevant and meaningful ways.
Mattison is an expert on workforce trends, generational dynamics, and business strategy. As the founder and CEO of organizational design firm FutureSight, he advises many of the world’s leading brands and organizations on the key shifts happening around talent management, change and innovation, leadership, and the future of work. Below, Mattison answers a few questions from Convene.
Driving the Future
On Thursday, Janet Stovall will present “Driving the Future with Purpose, Diversity and Inclusion.” These aren’t just “nice to have” elements you can incorporate into your events, experiences, and other touchpoints at the last minute, Stovall says. Rather, they are crucial principles that must be included from the start of planning, using intentional strategies and efforts that welcome all audiences — and methods to mea- sure the success of those efforts.
As senior client strategist at NeuroLeadership Institute (NLI), a global research firm and cognitive science consultancy, Stovall helps companies evolve diversity, equity, and inclusion practices to be more brain-friendly and human. Her responsibilities range from delivering C-suite briefings and keynote presentations to facilitating workshops and contributing to solution development for some of the world’s leading corporations. Prior to joining NLI, Stovall served as senior director, social impact at The UPS Foundation, working to advance UPS’s global philanthropy, social impact, and community-engagement efforts. She over- saw the foundation’s largest grant portfolio, comprising more than 40 diversity, equity, and social impact grantees and The United Way. She also served as UPS’s DE&I communications lead.
Stovall joined UPS in 2017 as the primary speechwriter for UPS’s CEO and executive leadership team, one of the few Black speechwriters working at the C-level in the Fortune 500. A popular speaker and workshop facilitator, Stovall’s work tackles systemic racism, focuses on understanding the value of diversity, and offers straightforward, objective solutions to unlock that value. Her TED Talk, “How to Get Serious About Diversity and Inclusion in the Workplace,” which challenges business to get serious about inclusion, has more than 2 million views.
On Friday, Kristin Graham will top off EduCon with “The Secrets of Staying Relevant, Capturing Curiosity, and Keeping Excitement in the Attention Economy.” You’re not just competing against an overload of virtual, in-person, and hybrid events and experiences for your audience’s attention, Graham says. You’re also up against all the things that compete for their time and attention as consumers — including Netflix, social-media platforms, and more. How can you stand out? How can you stay relevant as consumer behaviors continually shift? It’s all about using data-driven strategies that cater to them in ways that drive conversion, engagement, and your bottom line.
A former journalist, Graham combines the latest findings from brain science, psychology, and marketing to figure out how to be heard in a noisy world. For the last several years, she led culture and communications at Amazon. She also taught the Amazon narrative writing process to tens of thousands of employees worldwide. Graham is now a consultant, trainer, and speaker on the topic of communications, productivity, and information science to corporations, universities, and via online courses.
2 Questions for Seth Mattison
Seth Mattison is setting the stage for EduCon with his opening Main Stage session. He shared with Convene via email what participants can expect.
What consumer behaviors have you identified as byproducts of our experience living with COVID that you think business events professionals should incorporate in the design of their events?
A critical future of work trend we’re tracking that is sure to impact how events are designed and executed is remote and flexible work. As more and more organizations embrace a disbursed and distributed workforce, the need for carefully curated and intentionally designed spaces and experiences will be critical to ensure relationships are nurtured and cultures are cared for. If teams are separated for large portions of the year while working remotely, opportunities to come together for the purposes of strategically celebrating, creating, collaborating, and connecting will be hugely important. The reimagined live event experience will be even more mission critical for the long-term success and performance of every organization.
What are one or two things you would like the audience to take away from your talk and implement in their roles?
Collectively creating the future of the events business will require leaders to build resilient cultures that encourage experimentation, reward curiosity, and elevate performance. With our time together we’ll share specific models leaders can leverage to, recognize hidden blind spots that prevent change, identify where the next big opportunities lie for the industry, and activate high-performing cultural drivers that support growth.
Michelle Russell is editor in chief of Convene.