Sparking Innovation

We look forward to an exciting future for our global business events community. And that future starts now.

Author: Sherrif Karamat       

Sherrif Karamat

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

Innovation and artificial intelligence (AI) have become inseparable in today’s conversations. Ever since OpenAI launched ChatGPT, a chatbot capable of human-seeming interactions and output late last year, generative AI has surged in popularity. Management consulting company Gartner sees generative AI “becoming a general-purpose technology with an impact similar to that of the steam engine, electricity, and the internet.”

Yet, for many in the business events industry, AI is unfamiliar territory — and that’s perfectly okay. We can fear AI. But we can’t ignore it and we cannot run from it. The truth is, AI is here to stay and will inevitably play a role in all our lives.

At PCMA, we’re not just embracing this change; we’re leading the charge. Our focus is on providing you with the insights and resources to help you use AI to enhance — not replace — your skills.

At the start of this year during Convening Leaders, I shared that PCMA is committed to blazing a trail forward for the global business events industry. We’re ready to take risks, step outside our comfort zones, and innovate. We’ve been exploring generative AI’s use within our global community through webinars, in-person tech labs, on our Catalyst platform, and in the July/August issue’s cover and CMP series story.

Since launching Project Spark — our own AI tool, built by event professionals for event professionals — in partner- ship with Gevme in late May, we’ve been refining it based on user feedback.

We understand the chaos you sometimes find yourselves in — working with fewer resources, handling more stress, and having more to do in less time. We believe AI can help by streamlining time-consuming tasks and giving you more time to think strategically and creatively about how you design your events. With Spark, tasks that used to take 30 minutes or more can now be completed in 30 seconds or less. That means that AI has the potential to elevate business event professionals to the next level. We’re not alone in this thinking: A recent Harris poll found that nine out of 10 business leaders say generative AI can enhance a wide range of roles.

Every so often, something comes along that is truly transformational. Such is the case with AI. We’re standing at the precipice of a new era, and we’re thrilled to be on this journey with you.

All PCMA and CEMA members will have free access to Spark Beta. We want you to explore for yourself how AI can help you shift some of your workload and spark your creativity. You can visit to learn more.

Through a Different Lens

It’s not easy to see life from someone else’s perspective, but we provided EduCon participants several opportunities to do just that in Montréal in June. Read write-ups in this issue’s Ascent series of two EduCon sessions — one in which panelists shared what it’s like to travel to an event as a transgender person and the other an immersive, small-group experience navigating the event environment in a wheelchair.

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