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PCMA Convening Leaders 2021 Review with the 20 in Their Twenties Class of 2018.

PCMA's Convening Leaders is the first industry event of the year and arguably the best events conference of the calendar year. Convening Leaders takes place over three days in the second week of January (usually). This year with the pandemic still upon us, the team at PCMA took a slightly different approach and hosted an omnichannel event with several small in-person gatherings and a larger virtual presence.

As fellow members of the PCMA 20 in Their Twenties Class of 2018, we thought we'd spend some time reviewing the overall program together! So we sat down with two of our European class members over Zoom to discuss our favorite and least favorite moments. Check out the video below:

We also grabbed some written feedback from our other class members in attendance. Check out what they had to say!

Annamarie Luccarelli, CMP

Meeting Planner, Harborside

What was your general feedback overall? I though CL had a lot of offerings/options for all of its members in mind ie: sessions, networking opportunities, ancillary sessions (yoga, meditation).

What was your favorite part of CL? For me, my favorite part of CL was the micro-community option. Over the course of CL I do not think my community surpassed more than 4 attendees each meeting, but having this option, I felt there was an opportunity to connect with fellow planners even in a virtual session.

What was your least favorite experience? I think my least favorite part of CL this year was the schedule of events. For me personally, I found it very hard to attend a virtual meeting and work. Even though you block your work calendar, with the virtual setting you are still reachable for work emails and calls. With the virtual CL conference pattern - later in the week was nice but I would have appreciated if the sessions were over the weekend.

Did anything surprise you? Not sure if this was surprising or interesting. It feels like trying as an industry we are all in the boat of trying to determine for our own events what a hybrid meeting looks like. Just like in 2020 when the great pivot of virtual events started the massive learning curve begun. I feel like 2021 with the surge in hybrid we are all again learning as we go and there is no one way to plan, host, and execute a virtual or hybrid meeting.

Anything you want to take with you for your own events? Yes, I would to try in some way incorporate the micro-community into our own events. I am also going to use some of the industry pearls I learned from the hybrid sessions provided at CL.

Sara Stehle, CMP, DES

Senior Manager of Meetings, Society of American Military Engineers

What was your general feedback overall? Overall I think PCMA did a great job – they brought a great list of speakers to the program and the event looked great. I know how hard it is to pull off a virtual event! The live portions were very well done and I definitely had FOMO of not being in Singapore with those attendees! I did feel like it could have been a little more interactive – I think sometimes when we pre-record the majority we lose the “live” feeling a little more.

What was your favorite part of CL? The closing general session was done very well and I loved the human, unscripted components of it. It felt like an intimate conversation with them which is much harder to replicate with a live event.

What was your least favorite experience? The platform they used was NOT my favorite. I found it really hard to connect with people other than to go into a session. If you messaged someone it went to their email, so it was really hard to have any kind of conversation through the platform.

The times when I was able to connect with people were so short! It would have been nice to extend the meet up sessions if possible.

Did anything surprise you? I didn’t feel a “buzz” around PCMA like I did for ASAE last August. It felt really quiet and easier to be distracted. And I wish there would have been more interaction on the platform.

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