Planner’s Notebook

PCMA’s Action Items for Convening Leaders 2014

From the Learning Lounge to networking, we’re proceeding from brainstorming to implementation for Convening Leaders 2014.

It’s summer at PCMA, and that can only mean one thing: We are knee-deep in planning for Convening Leaders 2014. Before we know it, our program will be online, our speakers will be announced, and our registration and housing will be open.

Like many of you at this stage of the planning process, my head is swimming with possibilities and decisions to make. Fortunately, we’ve had many collaborative discussions and great brainstorming, which is helping us frame our Convening Leaders experience. In my June column, I gave you some insight into the big brainstorming program we conducted earlier this year in Boston. Since then, we’ve been working on many of those initiatives. Here’s a sneak peek at two of them.

The next-generation Learning Lounge At Convening Leaders 2011 in Las Vegas, we debuted our Learning Lounge, and ever since it’s been a major component of our overall educational programming and experience. The concept was simple: a vast and varied schedule of 15-minute sessions on topics ranging from technology to social media to global meetings and more. But now it’s time for something new in this space.

We still believe this engaging, lounge- type environment is important, but the content needs to be something more — more collaborative, more hands on, with more takeaways. The environment should supplement and enhance your overall learning experience, excite you about the possibilities, and entice you to “lean in” and engage in good conversations instead of “sit back” and be talked to. With the help of our strategic partners at Freeman, we are looking to make the next generation of this important space more valuable and relevant than ever before.

A new conversation about networking When you kick off your new year with a program like Convening Leaders, nothing energizes you like the opportunity to talk with your peers, share goals for the coming year, and discuss plans on how to reach those goals. Our own goal is for you to leave the event with a list of people who can be your resources, advisers, and mentors. We want you to expand your professional community, because it’s just as important as the quality of the educational programming we strive to deliver at Convening Leaders.

To do that, we need to create opportunities for you to simply talk to each other. We will need to create some “white space” in our event that allows you to connect, discuss the content, or just enjoy each other’s company. So we’re taking a close look at the way we network — at receptions, luncheons, and just in the hallways.

Kelly Peacy, CAE, CMP

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