PCMA’s Convening Leaders Breaks Attendance Records in Nashville
The 62nd edition of Professional Convention Management Association’s Convening Leaders, which took place Jan. 7-10 at Music City Center in Nashville, Tenn., welcomed 4,457 participants from 45 countries – a year-over-year increase of 7 percent - setting a new attendance record for the annual event.
Of the total attendance, 54 percent were Business Events Strategists - PCMA members and non-members drawn from the association and corporate sectors (80 percent and 20 percent, respectively) - and 43 percent industry suppliers.
On top of the in-person attendance in Nashville, 1,604 participants followed Convening Leaders LIVE online and, in collaboration with SACEOS, an additional 109 meeting professionals in the APAC region tuned in to a delayed rebroadcast of content on Jan. 9, online or at the Singapore PSB Academy City Campus and Suntec watch parties.
“We were so pleased with this year’s attendance and event engagement,” said Sherrif Karamat, new PCMA President and CEO.
He added, “We endeavored to ensure innovation and technology presented at the event exceed expectations; it was affirming to see first-hand the response to the new features we introduced and world-renowned speakers that commanded our stage. In 2018, we are looking forward to building on PCMA’s legacy to inspire and support the business events industry globally.”
Karamat replaced Deborah Sexton, who led the organization for 13 years and was given a fond farewell at the event.
Each year, the Convening Leaders Content Committee (CLCC) focuses on collaborating with the PCMA education team to create inspiring content that delivers on the organization’s statement of purpose to educate, inspire and listen, creating meaningful experiences where passion, purpose and commerce come together.
This year’s event was created under the central theme of “Amplifying Engagement”, specifically chosen for its Nashville (Music City Center) location.
Keynote speaker Gen. Stanley McChrystal - visionary, former United States Army general and veteran of the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan – inspired attendees to think outside the box when applying leadership in their business.
During the Closing Main Stage, social innovator and philanthropist Bill Strickland delivered an emotional presentation on ethical leadership to help reshape the business of social change.
New for this year was the Future of Face2Face, featuring industry experts presenting sessions such as "Changing Mindset, Evolving Business Environment and Changing Brand Strategies."
In this space, participants experienced the latest technology in the industry, including The Mix – powered by Freeman – 65-foot-by-18-foot wall of HD screens, catering to the many ways different people consume media and information, as attendees plugged into different conference sessions, watch breaking news or access industry-led content in privacy, using headsets.
The returning PCMA’s Business School brought more educational content for participants on topics ranging from marketing for strategic growth, financial acumen, change management and design thinking.
Attendees were able to help hundreds of classrooms across the Metropolitan Nashville Public School District (MNPS), who received school supplies during this year’s PCMA Giving Good’s Hospitality Helping Hands (HHH) event.
The event supported non-profit PENCIL’s LP Pencil Box project, which donates school supplies to teachers and students in need across the area. In addition to filling over 600 backpacks with $70,000 worth of school supplies, $13,000 was donated to the charity.
Further $25,000 was donated to local charity W.O. Smith School of Music, raised during the PCMA Education Foundation’s Party with a Purpose event by more than 1,600 attendees.
Also, with the help of the Foundation, record 104 scholarship recipients were able to attend this year’s Convening Leaders.
Next year’s PCMA Convening Leaders will take place Jan. 6-9 in Pittsburgh at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center.