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.

For event gallery, please visit

For media enquiries, additional comment and request for interviews regarding PCMA or Convening Leaders, please contact:
Andra Miclaus at davies tanner
[email protected]
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
[email protected]
Tel: +1 412 325 0309

Kristin Wenger at VisitPITTSBURGH
[email protected]
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, APAC, EMEA, and requests for interviews with Sherrif Karamat, please contact: Meghan Risch, PCMA Chief of Staff, Vice President, Corporate Communications

About PCMA

PCMA, PCMA Foundation and CEMA educate, inspire, and listen, creating meaningful experiences where passion, purpose and commerce come together. We are the world’s largest community for Business Events Strategists, providing senior-level education, networking, and market intelligence for the global business events industry. Our mission is to drive social and economic progress through business events. Headquartered in Chicago, IL PCMA has 17 North American Chapters, regional communities in APAC, EMEA and LATAM, and members in 59 countries. The Corporate Event Marketing Association (CEMA), a PCMA subsidiary, advances strategic event marketing and marketing communications for senior-level event marketers and industry professionals. Visit us at

About PCMA Foundation

The role of the Foundation of PCMA is to support the mission of PCMA through fundraising and grant-giving focused on scholarships, education and research that will advance the business events industry. Annually the Foundation funds over $700K in impact, and since 1985 has funded over 2,500 scholarships, 100 research studies and education programs, and $2.7M in charitable giving.

About CEMA

The Corporate Event Marketing Association (CEMA) is the eminent community for senior event executives, association peers and industry partners and is an integral component of the Professional Convention Management Association’s (PCMA) brand collective. CEMA promotes professional networking opportunities, facilitates peer-to-peer knowledge sharing and drives industry standards. Through strong relationships with strategic partners, CEMA fosters both finding innovative solutions to business issues and continuous focus on members’ career growth. For more information, please visit

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