(Pictured above: 5K Fun Run group with the Skid Row Running Club of Los Angeles at 2019 PCMA EduCon)
by Andra Miclaus
Nearly 1,000 business events professionals from more than 15 countries gathered for 2019 PCMA EduCon in Los Angeles June 25-28, setting a record for the organization’s event. Hundreds more from around the world also joined the livestream of the event.
EduCon’s energetic and provocative program, featuring experiential learning formats and learning “studios,” created enhanced engagement and offered practical solutions while supporting PCMA’s vision of driving global economic and social transformation through business events. This year’s event, hosted by Los Angeles Tourism and Convention Board, began with a reception at The Novo and featured R&B group En Vogue. It ended with a workshop where Rock and Roll Team Building founder and former INXS lead singer Ciaran Gribbin led EduCon participants in a collaborative song-writing exercise.
“We carried the ‘Disrupt + Deliver’ theme introduced in January at Convening Leaders to EduCon as business events participants continue to seek unique experiences and innovations to help them with their respective audiences and sectors,” says Sherrif Karamat (pictured left), PCMA president and CEO. “PCMA continues to challenge the status quo in our event design, research and engagement platforms so our community can learn, challenge and gain greater insights, and we received a positive response in the largest turnout ever for EduCon. Our focus is relentless on the value our audience seeks and at the same time raise the profile of the critical role business events organizers have in driving organizational success and economic good.”
John Ondrasik, a Grammy-nominated songwriter asked EduCon participants to consider “what kind of world do you want?” WNBA (Women’s National Basketball Association) champion and Olympic gold medallist Tamika Catchings challenged attendees to “Shift Your Mindset.” Leadership strategist Sara Ross encouraged the audience to stay “emotionally curious.”
Making a difference
EduCon attendees participated in a “Hackathon” competition to help the business events industry develop a solution for unsheltered homeless individuals. The “Hospitality Roundup” team won for their proposal to prevent homelessness in the hospitality community by raising awareness about housing insecurity within the industry, and providing services including childcare, job training and medical-care assistance. Funds supporting those efforts would be raised by asking hotel guests and restaurant patrons to round their bills to the nearest dollar.
Other social impact events included assembling toiletry kits for local homeless women, a 5K Fun Run with the Skid Row Running Club of Los Angeles, Namaste with PCMA Yoga and the Give Back Bash. Proceeds from EduCon social impact events supported Downtown Women’s Center in Los Angeles, Skid Row Running Club and PCMA Foundation’s initiatives for the business events industry.
Different approach to learning
The 2019 EduCon program organized education content into four studios designed to suit different learning styles: Collaboration, Deep Dive, Fresh Look and True Stories. After-chat sessions allowed participants to continue conversations with select speakers and outdoor education provided a different learning environment. The “F-Stage” boxing ring showcased personal experiences of turning failure into success.
“We do not share and celebrate failure enough,” says moderator Juliano Lissoni, managing director of the MCI Group Canada. “It cannot be separated from innovation.” Annette Suriani, CMP, chief marketing strategist for AMS Meetings Solutions, says EduCon’s design and content helps “me with my relationships with colleagues, clients and suppliers. It offers me the opportunity to engage more actively in the sessions I attend.”
The 2020 EduCon will be held June 28-July 1 in Montreal, Canada with plans to deliver more personalized education, actionable outcomes, fresh approaches to solving industry issues and networking opportunities.
This story originally appeared in the September/October issue of Exhibit City News, p. 68-69. For original layout, visit https://issuu.com/exhibitcitynews/docs/ecnflipbook_septoct_2019_web