The Year of the Corporate Planner?

Could 2010 turn out to be the year of the corporate planner at PCMA?

 In a recent interview with Convene‘s editor in chief, PCMA’s new chairperson Kati Quigley — the association’s first chair from the corporate world, in her role as event marketing director for Microsoft — described some of the ways in which corporate and association planning are in many ways kith and kin:

The events and the meetings are very similar. Our shows [at Microsoft] contain the same components: We’ve got keynotes, breakouts, content tracks, exhibitors, F&B functions, registration. Really, an event is an event; it’s the same discipline.

Case in point, see this interview with Arthur Paton, senior learning officer for Motorola University. Paton will be a presenter at the Chief Learning Officer Summit 2010, held this coming April 11–13 at the Château Élan Winery & Resort in Braselton, Georgia. What part of Paton’s observation about trends in corporate learning cannot said to be applicable to association planners?

The demographics in most companies are changing rapidly — the workforce is becoming more diverse and younger, and these individuals have different modes of learning. Many come from cultures that are more communal in learning. Therefore, we believe that social networking tools will continue to be a primary delivery methodology. The challenge for CLOs is that learning will need to be repurposed or packaged into smaller nuggets for this new environment. Think of a Google search when you need an answer to a question — this new demographic is going to expect learning to operate like that.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but this sounds just like what’s happening as more and more members of Generation Y start to join associations and show up at annual meetings.

Your thoughts? Weigh in via the comments function. (Note that thoughtful responses could well show up in a future print issue of Convene.)

Hunter R. Slaton

Contributing Editor Hunter R. Slaton is a writer and editor based in Brooklyn.