PCMA Convening Leaders Set Important Records in Nashville

Photo credit: Jacob Slaton

By the time longtime PCMA CEO and President Deborah Sexton passed the leadership baton to Sherrif Karamat during the closing session on Jan. 10 in Nashville, some important milestones had been met. The attempt to break the Guinness World Record for most people gathered to form a musical instrument may have just missed the mark, but the numbers added up for the things that really mattered—engagement, scholarships and impact.

Here are some of the impressive statistics:

13: Number of years Deborah Sexton served PCMA members. During that time, membership increased from 2,400 in 2005 to more than 7,000 today. Partnership revenue quadrupled in the last decade to almost $7 million.

1,500: Number of celebrators at Party with a Purpose on Cannery Row, to help PCMA Foundation raise $25,000 for W.O. Smith Music School. The Foundation, led by new chair David Peckinpaugh, awarded 104 scholarships to attend the event, the most ever funded. Peckinpaugh stressed the importance of highlighting the human element of the industry by the telling of compelling stories of lives improved thanks to the hard work of event professionals—and the lives of event professionals improved, thanks to PCMA.

Almost 2,000: Number of people accessing 2018 Convening Leaders content virtually. In addition to the availability of on-demand conference recordings, the broadcast was delayed to play in prime time in Asian markets. A watch party in Singapore brought 200 people together in an area where the 2017 acquisition of Conference & Event Society Asia Pacific (ICESAP) helped PCMA expand its presence. The organization’s vision was reflected in the event tagline “amplifying engagement.” Connecting with more people by having meaningful conversations globally on all platforms (including face to face and over social media) will continue to be a focus.

More than 4,500: Attendees, over three days of education, inspiration and networking at Music City Center in Nashville. Innovative additions to the traditional education focus included Living 360 Studio, an area devoted to tips on healthy events and f2f, a tech area anchored by a wall of video that injected content and energy into a space devoted to the latest and greatest in event tech. Next year, Pittsburgh.

50,000: Number of event professionals now engaging with the organization globally. New PCMA Board of Directors Chair Claire Smith has set a goal of increasing that audience to more than 500,000 by including people who may not identify as planners, but who can still benefit from the education offered. An emphasis on data analysis will help to create personas and personalize experiences.

75 million: Or 1 percent of the global population. Karamat estimates this is the true size of the event industry. While he doubts that PCMA membership will ever grow that large, the vision is to make resources available a la carte as well for those who want to engage with one piece of the organization at a time. “It helps get the message out to a larger audience, and it is the reality of the world today,” he says.

$330 billion: Amount of direct spending on meetings in 2016, according to Events Industry Council’s new Economic Significance Study, which counted 250 million participants at 1.9 million meetings.