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Marina Bay Sands in Singapore will host PCMA's broadcast studio along with a small group of attendees.

Planner Education and a Planning Experiment

PCMA’s Convening Leaders conference starts this week, featuring educational sessions for online attendees as well as six in-person locations in the U.S.

After a fluid planning process, the Professional Convention Management Association opens its Convening Leaders 2021 conference on Wednesday, January 13 as a scaled-down hybrid event. 

Though originally planning to have as many as 25 in-person locations around North America to go along with an online-only audience, the event has six in-person locations in the United States: Dallas, Denver, Fort Lauderdale, Las Vegas, Oklahoma City, and West Palm Beach. According to Maryam Sabbagh, director of communications for PCMA, “some of our partners are holding individual face-to-face events that might be for one day, and others more than one.”

Some of the event’s content will come from a central broadcast studio in Singapore, while some will originate from three of the in-person venues in the U.S. 

Regardless of where attendees are located, they can choose from sessions across four “learning studios” focused on being resilient and adapting to change: defining goals in uncertain environments; exploring new digital-event models and winning over colleagues and bosses; improving diversity and equity in work projects and processes; and evolving one’s skills and career to succeed in the “next normal.”

Keynote speakers include Thomas Friedman, columnist for the New York Times, who on Wednesday will address the tumultuous state of current affairs and its effect on the business world. And on Friday, Megan Rapinoe and Sue Bird, U.S. Olympic gold medalists in soccer and basketball, respectively, will discuss their social activism and how others can forge a path for social change.

One breakout session drills down on the theme of Friedman’s keynote, while others follow the themes of the learning studios. First, PCMA President and CEO Sherrif Karamat will participate in a panel discussion titled “Decoding the Keynote: Big Trends Shaping Business Events.” Other breakouts that address planning events in a unpredictable environment include “Fostering a Culture of Agile Innovation,” “Delivering Value to Virtual Sponsors,” and “What Marketers Need to Do Now.”

The registration fee for Convening Leaders is $295 for PCMA members and $595 for nonmembers.

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