Planner’s Notebook

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum

We re-created it. Introducing Convene Live, a three-day hosted program powered by this very magazine.

PCMA is known for taking risks and bringing outside-the-box ideas to life at our meetings and events. This makes our jobs as staffers enormously fun and engaging. Nothing stays the same. Of course, that also means that we have to work to constantly reinvent ourselves. How do we as an organization develop new innovations and continuously bring to life creative concepts — year after year after year?

I would be less than truthful if I said it didn’t stress me out sometimes. So, as we begin our planning in earnest to bring PCMA Convening Leaders 2014 in Boston to life next January, my main focus right now is to keep the creative juices flowing.

That goes for our other programs as well — including next month’s PCMA Education Conference in Denver and, in July, an event that we used to call the Convene Forum and that we’ve reimag-ined and rechristened Convene Live. In the last two years, we’ve presented two successful Convene Forum programs, powered by content from Convene magazine, so why shake things up?

It gets back to the challenge of infusing new thinking into our events — so much so that we decided to make it the guiding principle of Convene Live. We asked ourselves, in our relentless pursuit of delivering value to our attendees, do we use our creative sides in the best and most effective ways possible? Do we even have a creative side? Many creative professionals maintain that we all have creativity within us; we just need a process to unleash it. And so, the topic of purposeful creativity and executing creative plans is the focus of Convene Live, which will be held in Ottawa on July 28-30.

I’m excited to spend two days with my fellow planners in our creative execution workshops at Convene Live. Speaker Todd Henry will lead us in “Harnessing Our Creativity: Concepts and Processes That Lead to Everyday Brilliance.” Quite simply, we need this education as planners so that we can create exceptional experiences for our event participants.

Following up on day two will be Dr. Keith Sawyer, an education professor at Washington University, who will help us through the process of developing a solid plan to “Translate Creativity Into Success.” And both of our speakers have brand-new books on these topics that will be released this spring and summer.

Convene Live’s educational program will come at a perfect time for me and my team as we firm up all of the innovation we hope to unleash at Convening Leaders 2014 and programs beyond. I hope you join me as we learn together how to tap into our creative brilliance and deliver even more valuable meetings.

Kelly Peacy, CAE, CMP

Kelly Peacy, CAE, is CAE, CMP, is senior vice president of education and events at PCMA.