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Junior Tauvaa, soon-to-be chief business officer of PCMA

PCMA Names New Head of Events Before Its Biggest Meeting

January’s Convening Leaders 2023 show will mark the debut of Junior Tauvaa as the association’s chief business officer, replacing Kim Gishler as the executive responsible for education and events.

Ten weeks ahead of its largest in-person program, the Professional Convention Management Association has named a successor to its previous vice president of education and events.

Junior Tauvaa
joins PCMA as chief business officer with more than 25 years in the meetings and tourism industries, most recently as chief sales officer for Visit Anaheim. His previous roles include leadership positions at Meeting Professionals International and the MPI Foundation as well as the Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board. A PCMA member for more than 15 years, Tauvaa has also served as chair for PCMA’s annual Partnership Summit.

His most recent industry accomplishment was helping Destinations International, the association for convention & visitors bureaus and other destination marketers, introduce the Destination Booking Agreement. The document provides guidelines for designing agreements that protect both a destination and a meeting host should an event be canceled for any reason.

“Junior’s collaborative leadership approach and vast knowledge of the association and destination-marketing landscape rounds out our executive leadership team exceptionally well as we prepare to introduce new and exciting initiatives to the global business events industry,” said Sherrif Karamat, president and CEO of PCMA. “The current environment has given us permission to experiment even more, as our members, customers, and audiences are looking for new solutions to complex challenges as well as solving old problems.”

Handling Events, Education, and More
Tauvaa starts on January 9—the first full day of PCMA’s Convening Leaders conference in Columbus, Ohio—his role will be wider than that of Kim Gishler, previously PCMA’s vice president of events and education. Tauvaa will oversee PCMA’s programming and events while also managing CEMA at the strategic level, both duties that Gishler handled. But he will also preside over the member-focused media outlet Convene and various product-development teams, along with “PCMA’s 2030 vision of being ‘The Platform for the Business Events Industry,’” according to the association’s November 3 press release.

Gishler came into the PCMA fold in December 2020 when the association acquired the organization she led, Corporate Event Marketing Association. In May 2022, she was named PCMA’s vice president of events and education while maintaining her longtime role as head of CEMA. But in mid-October, Gishler resigned along with Olga Rosenbrook, CEMA’s director of programming and member services.

Regarding that development, Karamat said, “PCMA acquired CEMA two years ago, and PCMA and the CEMA community were fortunate to have transitional support through the pandemic that established CEMA’s strong membership position for the future. The decision for Kim to move on following an acquisition is a natural evolution.” Gishler did not respond to MeetingsNet’s request for comment.

Related: May 2022—CEMA Exec Crosses Over Into New Role

As for the continuation of planning January’s conference without a formal events chief, Karamat told MeetingsNet that “the PCMA team and the host destination plan many months in advance. Planning is led by a solid and strategic executive team with dynamic support from [staffers in] education, events, marketing, and community engagement. Experience Columbus is an exceptional partner, which is critical to delivering an inspirational and productive experience for all participants.”

Taking place January 8 to 11 at the Columbus Convention Center, Convening Leaders 2023 is expected to host considerably more than the 2,500 participants who attended the January 2022 version in Las Vegas, at a time when the Covid pandemic still factored heavily in business-travel decisions. In 2019, the event drew 3,900 people to Pittsburgh, while in 2020 it hosted 5,300 people in San Francisco.

The association recently announced that in addition to having featured speakers such as U.S. Olympic champion Allyson Felix, former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina, and Think Again author and organizational psychologist Adam Grant, the show has landed Thomas Barg and Ammar Kandil, creators of the digital-media brand Yes Theory, for a keynote slot.

Their message: Saying “yes” to things that will cause you discomfort is the key to personal growth. The duo will share stories about what they’ve learned from giving hugs to strangers at international airports, trekking through the Guatemalan jungle, training to scale a mountain while wearing only shorts and climbing shoes, and other adventures.

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