Billie Jean King: ‘You Can Change the World’

Convening Leaders 2019 concludes in Pittsburgh

PCMA gathered industry professionals from 36 countries in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania for three days of education and inspiration aimed at driving economic and social progress through business events.

Billie Jean King, Seth Godin, Geena Davis, Steve Pemberton and Kjell Nordstrom, Ph.D., were among 138 experts, advocates, industry leaders and celebrities to address the group. More than half, 54 per cent, of presenters were female. Full coverage:

“Every single person here is an influencer,’’ star athlete and change advocate Billie Jean King said in a January 8th Main Stage conversation before hitting tennis balls into the crowd. “When you wake up and have a fire in your belly, you can make a difference and change the world.’’

Billie Jean King

Tennis star and activist Billie Jean King discusses her life in tennis and activism Jan. 8 at Convening Leaders in Pittsburgh. (Jacob Slaton)

Approximately 4,000 business events strategists and industry leaders were in Pittsburgh for sessions covering innovation, design, leadership and technology. Approximately 1,200 tuned into live-streamed programming.

“We built this conference around the theme ‘Disrupt + Deliver’ because that’s what the industry needs and wants,’’ said PCMA President and CEO Sherriff Karamat. “We leave here with a greater commitment and better understanding of how business events can and must drive economic and social progress.’’

Staged at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center, Convening Leaders generated an estimated $6 million in economic value for the Pittsburgh region. Craig Davis, president and CEO of VisitPITTSBURGH, said hosting Convening Leaders was an important opportunity for Pittsburgh. “We were able to demonstrate to events planners from around the world that Pittsburgh is a first-class host destination,’’ Davis said.

The PCMA Foundation raised more than $300,000 through on-site fundraising projects including its annual Party With a Purpose. Convening Leaders attendees assembled bags to support victims of human trafficking through Living in Liberty; care kits for local responders and overseas troops through Operation Gratitude; and menstrual kits for women’s shelters through

PCMA’s global footprint continues to grow. A dozen Knowledge Exchanges are scheduled in 2019 in Europe and Asia-Pacific. Also on the PCMA calendar:

  • PCMA Foundation Visionary Awards, May 7 in Washington, D.C.
  • Education Conference, June 25-28 in Los Angeles.
  • APAC Annual Conference, November 6-8 in Macau.

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For media enquiries, additional comment and request for interviews regarding PCMA or Convening Leaders, please contact:
Andra Miclaus at davies tanner
Tel: +44 (0)1892 619100

For media enquiries, additional comment and request for interviews regarding Pittsburgh or the David L. Lawrence Convention Center, please contact:
Melissa Wade at VisitPITTSBURGH
Tel: +1 412 325 0309

Kristin Wenger at VisitPITTSBURGH
Tel: +1 412 325 0287

VisitPITTSBURGH is the official tourism marketing and promotion agency for Allegheny County. It is dedicated to generation convention, trade show, sports events and leisure travel business for the Pittsburgh region.

For media queries from the Americas and EMEA and requests for interviews with Sherrif Karamat, please contact:
Meghan Risch

For Asia Pacific media inquiries, please contact:
Jessica Kauffman, Senior Account Manager, ZADRO

About PCMA

PCMA believes that business events can economically and socially transform communities, enterprises and individuals. As the world’s largest platform for business events strategists and their business partners, PCMA’s success is driven by a commitment to providing provocative executive-level education, face-to-face networking and business intelligence to its membership of 8,400 professionals and students and global audience of over 100,000 business event stakeholders.

Through its Ascent leadership initiative to promote inclusion and diversity across the business events industry and beyond, PCMA seeks to empower those challenged by gender, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity or disabilities to find success.

Headquartered in Chicago, PCMA has 17 chapters throughout the United States, Canada and Mexico with members in more than 40 countries and regional offices in Northern Ireland, Australia and Singapore. Visit us at or on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.