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(PCMA leadership took questions at the Town Hall held at Convening Leaders in Pittsburgh. Pictured L-R: PCMA President & CEO Sherrif Karamat, 2018 Chair Claire Smith, 2018 Foundation Chair David Peckinpaugh, 2019 Foundation Chair Carol McGury and 2019 Chair Gregory O’Dell)

PCMA gathered industry professionals from 36 countries for Convening Leaders in Pittsburgh, Penn., last week. Three days of education and inspiration were aimed at driving economic and social progress through business events. Billie Jean King, Seth Godin, Geena Davis, Steve Pemberton and Ph.D. Kjell Nordstrom were among 138 experts, advocates, industry leaders and celebrities to address the group. Approximately 4,000 business events strategists and industry leaders were in Pittsburgh for sessions covering innovation, design, leadership and technology along with 1,200 tuned into live-streamed programming.

On Jan. 8, “Every single person here is an influencer,” said Billie Jean King. “When you wake up and have a fire in your belly, you can make a difference and change the world,” before hitting tennis balls into the crowd.

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

As Convening Leaders developed as an important opportunity for Pittsburgh, Craig Davis, VisitPITTSBURGH president and CEO, said, “We were able to demonstrate to events planners from around the world that Pittsburgh is a first-class host destination.’’

Staged at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center, Convening Leaders generated an estimated $6 million in economic value for the Pittsburgh region. 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 PERIOD.org. The PCMA Foundation raised more than $300,000 through on-site fundraising projects including its annual Party With a Purpose.

PCMA’s global footprint continues to grow. A dozen Knowledge Exchanges are scheduled in 2019 in Europe and Asia-Pacific. The PCMA calendar includes the PCMA Foundation Visionary Awards on May 7 in Washington, D.C., the Education Conference, June 25-28 in Los Angeles and the APAC Annual Conference, Nov. 6-8 in Macau.

PCMA is the world’s largest community for business events strategists providing senior education and networking for the business events sector. PCMA crafts and shares knowledge and market intelligence, enabling organizations to make informed business decisions while providing a platform for peer-to-peer exchange. Headquartered in Chicago, PCMA has 17 chapters throughout the U.S., Canada and Mexico with members in more than 40 countries. For more info, visit pcma.org.

VisitPITTSBURGH is the official tourism marketing and promotion agency for Allegheny County, Penn. It is dedicated to convention, tradeshow, sports events and leisure travel business for the Pittsburgh region. For more info, visit www.visitpittsburgh.com

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