Planner’s Notebook

The End of the Beginning

Or is it the beginning of the end? Either way, Convening Leaders 2015 is next month! Here’s what to know before you go.

It’s time for PCMA’s Convening Leaders, Jan. 11–14, at Chicago’s McCormick Place! We’re busy with last-minute changes, additions, and details for our annual program for 4,000-plus meeting professionals — but here are five things to look out for when you join us:


1. You’re the architect of your own experience

The theme of this year’s program is “Make No Little Plans” — a quote made famous by legendary Chicago architect and urban planner Daniel Burnham, who made no little plans when designing Chicago’s iconic lakefront. You should make no little plans at Convening Leaders. Take a good look at our educational content, and think about the things that are challenging you professionally and personally.

2. Session extensions

Roll up your sleeves and get to work. More than half of our Industry Application (i.e., concurrent) sessions will have follow-up extension programs that will allow you to dig deeper into the topic. You can choose to participate in the session extensions or select a different session altogether in that time slot. Again, you are the architect of your own experience.

3. PCMA Learning Lounge and TechCentral

For the first time, these two innovative learning spaces will be located together, offering attendees convenience and a departure from the ordinary. We’ve made an extra effort to showcase adult-learning principles in a variety of ways, which you’ll see in the Learning Lounge, powered by Freeman, while TechCentral, powered by the Dallas Convention & Visitors Bureau, once again will offer hands-on help with your devices as well as clinics on the latest technology. And both spaces will have snacks, beverages, and comfy places to sit — because sometimes, the best learning happens with an informal conversation.

4. PCMA Park

On the Central Concourse (that’s the third level) of McCormick Place, you’ll find PCMA Park — our symbolic way of bringing attendees together to foster community. Daily “Breakfasts in the Park” will be held there, along with refreshment breaks.

5. The city of Chicago

Okay, I’m biased, since Chicago is where I was born and raised. But I’m not shy about saying it’s a world-class city full of vibrancy, culture, and history. Our host-city sponsors, Choose Chicago, McCormick Place, and the Chicago Department of Aviation, will welcome you with two evening receptions that you won’t soon forget. On Sunday night, Jan. 11, we’ll visit the sights and sounds of Chicago’s neighborhoods at the Museum of Science and Industry. On Tuesday night, Jan. 13, it’s a casual, fun, let-your-hair-down party at Navy Pier, with its beautiful skyline views.

I look forward to seeing you at PCMA’s  Convening Leaders 2015 next month.

Kelly Peacy, CAE, CMP

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