PCMA Convening Leaders Kicks Off 2014 in a Revolutionary Way

Posted by Kevin Iwamoto on 01/20/2014

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I just enjoyed two-and-a-half days of excellent education sessions and outstanding networking with global movers and shakers in the association, events and meetings industry at PCMA’s 2014 Convening Leaders conference in Boston.  The session content, display of the latest technologies and networking opportunities all seemed to resonate well with the attendees.

In case you weren’t aware, ACTIVE Network is PCMA’s technology partner and our ACTIVE ConferenceTM and ACTIVE RegOnlineTM products support PCMA’s conferences and chapters worldwide.  PCMA’s leadership and members all help to make ACTIVE Network a better and stronger technology partner with their out-of-the-box thinking and drive to push the envelope vs. year-after-year status quo in conference and education operations like some associations.

lisa_bodell_w640A highlight for me was the opening general session, featuring Lisa Bodell, that brought to life change management. The author of the best-selling book Kill Your Company: End the Status Quo, Start an Innovation Revolution and the founder and CEO of the internationally recognized innovation research and training firm futurethink, Bodell told a spillover crowd that organizations must start by promoting an environment where people feel comfortable enough to find their creativity.

Real change — the kind that results in increased market share and observable financial gain — must spread throughout an organization via a collective mindset, Bodell said. It cannot be dictated in top-down fashion. “[Change] needs to come from the middle out,” Bodell said. “It needs to come from those people that are respected in both the upper and lower rungs of the organization. You can’t just put change on people [in an organization], it must be created with them … and it has to be simple.”

Our own Rick Binford, Carolyn Pund of Cisco and Debi Scholar of Novartis were the featured experts of the SMMP Session on what’s next in the maturity cycle of SMMP.  Barbara Scofidio, Editor of MeetingsNet was the moderator.

FInally, what is a conference without the great networking opportunities?  A chance to say “Happy New Year” in person to industry friends and colleagues.  I had so many of those great networking moments throughout the conference and feel blessed to know so many wonderful professionals and industry gurus and leaders.

One of my most memorable moments came when a few of us were having an informal nightcap after dinner and we encountered Bruce MacMillan, former President & CEO of MPI (2006-2012). I’ve always admired and liked Bruce, and we managed to catch up on the industry and got into a spirited conversation about how many organizations in our industry are not changing with the times.  I mentioned my frustration towards a DMO, who I agreed to assist through informal consulting and was shocked when I learned that their crowning achievement for destination marketing was still 4-color full page ad space in industry trade magazines.  Also they processed every inquiry and RFP equally — regardless if it was a 20-person group or a 5,000-person conference.  Bruce agreed with me and mentioned he just wrote a blog about this situation and several others.  If you want some really great insights and advice from a guy who is a changemaker in our industry, you should read Bruce’s blog.

So 2014 is off to a great start in my opinion, kicked off by PCMA.  I look forward to seeing some of you at future conferences and events this year. Stay tuned to this page as ACTIVE Network will be doing a lot of moving and shaking this year, and you can get a good glimpse right here from where I sit.

More Reading:

At PCMA, ACTIVE Network™ Unveils Tool That Allows Hotel and Venue Sales Teams to Respond to eRFPs Up To 70% Faster


– “Crunch Time: What Can Big Data do For You?” a PCMA Convene article:



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