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PCMA holds inaugural town hall meeting

Leaders of the Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA) and the PCMA Education Foundation joined with members to share 2011 accomplishments and discuss plans for the future at the organization’s first ever Town Hall Meeting at PCMA’s 2012 annual meeting, Convening Leaders, in San Diego.

“PCMA is coming off a successful year, and a very successful annual meeting,” said Deborah Sexton, president and CEO of the PCMA. “But we must continue taking risks on behalf of our members, we must continue to seek out innovation, and we must continue to be a leader in the meetings, conventions, events and tradeshow industries.”

At the town hall meeting, outgoing PCMA Chairman of the Board Susan Katz reported that a record number of planners were in attendance at Convening Leaders and that attendance was very strong.

“The Town Hall Meeting was a new method for joining in conversation with our members about where the organization is at, and where we think it could go,” said Sexton. “We really take their feedback to heart.”

Other PCMA highlights from 2011 included setting a record with 6,400 members, making a strategic investment in the Virtual Edge Institute to accelerate the development of education and standards for virtual events and the creation of a New Professionals Task Force to engage new or younger professionals in PCMA.

“From the risks we take for our members to the research we support and the trends we set for the industry, PCMA will remain a leading force in the convention and meetings industry community,” said Kent Allaway, CEM, CMP, incoming PCMA Chairman of the Board.

Allaway is also the vice president of meetings and tradeshows for the Produce Marketing Association.

In the coming year, Allaway said his areas of focus will include embracing digital delivery vehicles that will help members learn and connect, extending the PCMA brand and its offerings to the global community and developing targeted programs and tools to serve members in specialized niches.

Dave Olender, outgoing chairman of the PCMA Education Foundation Board of Trustees and CEO of bxb, also reported that despite the challenging economic environment, the Foundation met or exceeded all of its fundraising goals in 2011. Each year the Foundation aims to fund at least $200,000 in grants and scholarships. This year the Foundation met that goal and was also able to fund an important study, The Future of Tradeshows.

“I think we’ve done very well in light of the economy in the last few years and have been very wise in how we’ve managed our money,” said Liz Erikson, incoming Foundation chair and executive director of meetings and incentives for Fairmont-Raffles-Swissotel.
“Yet I want to make sure that all of our members truly understand the impact of what the Foundation does.”

Erikson said her goals for 2012 include better communication on the Foundation’s activities and goals, creating a long-term strategic plan for the foundation and further developing the planned giving campaign launched last year.

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