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Event recap: PCMA Convening Leaders 2019

Well, I’m back at my desk after an epic five days in Pittsburgh, the City of Bridges, for PCMA’s Convening Leaders, the annual event industry conference.

The conference united more than 4,500 event and meeting industry professionals – as well as attendees who tapped in virtually –  at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center. It was a phenomenal experience. I just wish we had invented the ability to clone ourselves, so that I could have seen every amazing session!

Let me share my experience with you. Here are some highlights and takeaways from what went down at #PCMACL 2019.

Making a good first impression.

First off, for any conference, first impressions are key. As soon as I got off my flight, I was immediately greeted by PCMA at the registration desk and welcome counter. I also really enjoyed the service from Executive Events.

Badged at the airport and ready to go. Loving the airport checkin. Excited to be here at #PCMACL with @Streampoint

— Dharmesh Dayabhai (@dharmdaya) January 6, 2019

Collaboration is king.

My journey started last Saturday with the annual hackathon, facilitated by the wonderful Jamie Murdock. We broke off into teams and collaborated on a solution to help the PCMA further awareness. It was a great opportunity to get everyone to come together to solve a problem.

Your audience comes first.

The conference kicked off with inspiring opening keynote from author and marketing pioneer Seth Godin, who shared some great tips on making an impact with your audience. As Godin says, we need to focus on empathy and establish a connection with customers. This connection becomes part of your brand story.

Marketing guru Seth Godin @ThisIsSethsBlog says #eventprofs create stories that make change @pcmahq @BizEventsAsia #pcmacl

— Lauren Arena (@LaurenArena1) January 7, 2019

As I write this, consider this commercial from Ryan Reynolds, who bought his own boutique gin-producing company. He sells us on aviation gin by building a connection with customers, showing empathy and sharing a story in true Ryan Reynolds style.

As an added surprise. we were greeted by celebrity and Pittsburgh native Joe Manganiello, who shared his own story on his home town.

Another highlight was the keynote from tennis legend Billie Jean King, who opened up about her journey. 

Make your voice heard.

There were tons of valuable sessions, but my favorite was the #IAmRemarkable workshop. Hosted by Google, the session empowered women and underrepresented groups to use their voices and celebrate their achievements.

“It’s not bragging if it’s based on facts.” — Leah Beltz, account executive for Google, who led Google’s #IAmRemarkable Workshop, on changing your thought process when it comes to self-promotion. Thank you Leah Beltz and Google for a great session yesterday at @pcmahq #PCMACL

— Tambi Eagle ⚓ (@TambiEagle) January 8, 2019

Sharing your accomplishments not only lets others know what you’ve been up to but it can inspire them to do the same. Consider this a feel-good movement. For more information on this wonderful session and if you wish to facilitate this at your workplace or community, do so here:

The need for diversity.

The event culminated with a keynote from celebrity Geena Davis at the closing session, where she talked about gender inequality in the media, shared her personal journey and encouraged us all to foster change.

@GDIGM Geena Davis at #PCMACL: If she can see it, she can be it and we can all be agents of change.

— JT Long (@SmartMtgsJT) January 9, 2019

The event culminated with a closing reception at Heinz Field. We got a taste of the city with great entertainment (including a winter oasis!), networking and epic fireworks to conclude an incredible few days.

So fitting to have fireworks over @heinzfield on the final night of #PCMACL. #itswhatwedoinwesternPA

— Scott Hershberger (@Scott_VSTPGH) January 9, 2019

Overall, it was a terrific week of learning, sharing and connecting. We thank our friends at the PCMA and the city of Pittsburgh for their generous hospitality. And, of course, we owe thanks to the many attendees, partners and supporters for a fantastic event!