Big Ideas

18 Thought-Provoking Quotes From Convening Leaders 2018

Some of the things that made us stop and think at PCMA's annual meeting in Nashville.

PCMA Convening Leaders 2018 Keynote Speaker Neri Oxman, professor at the MIT Media Lab. Photo Credit Jacob Slaton

1. “The secret to life: have one philosophy, and apply that philosophy to everything you do.” — Neri Oxman, professor, MIT Media Lab

2. “My company spends more time on preventing slips and falls than on sexual-harassment policies.” — Woman attending sexual-harassment session who wanted to remain anonymous.

3. “We’ve got to get outside of our industry and start talking about what we do, to other industries that don’t understand us. We can’t be speaking to ourselves.” — Deborah Sexton, president and CEO, PCMA

4. “If we are not good stewards of the environment, eventually [foreign governments] are going to shut us down and won’t encourage travel tourism.” — Christopher Nassetta, president and CEO, Hilton

Luncheon program with Hilton CEO Chris Nassetta.

5. “Choose Instagram-able moments [when planning for F&B]. It’s going to get out there, so it might as well be out there in a good way.” — Darlene Somers, senior meetings manager, Association Management Center

6. “Your job is to create content that can actually add to someone’s world and create value in their lives.” — Nick Borelli, president of Borelli Strategies

7. “One of the major road blocks is that you don’t have enough resources to make [crisis preparedness] a priority.” — Brenda J. Rivers, JD, HMCC, president and CEO, Andavo Meetings & Incentives, after polling session attendees on why they don’t have a comprehensive crisis plan and 48% responded, “not enough resources.”

8. “Sometimes we forget when our job is to solve a problem — not to be creative.” — Dave Owens, professor for the practice of management and innovation, Vanderbilt University

Dorri McWhorter, CEO, Metropolitan YWCA Chicago

9. “We have moved past [proving] the business case for diversity. What people are struggling with now is the how. And that’s where you come in.” — Dorri McWhorter, CEO, YWCA Metropolitan Chicago, and Ascent Thought Leader

10. “Disability is a matter of perception. If you can do one thing well, you’re needed by someone.”— Hannah Alkaff, Republic Polytechnic student from one of two Singapore MICE Challenge–winning teams

11. “If you’re going to enter [the Chinese] market, this is a long-term investment. It requires a culture shift and leadership buy-in.” — Stuart Ruff-Lyon, CMP, DES, vice president of events and education, Risk Management Society

12. “I think we’re going to see more diversity in our leadership, not just in sex or religion, but also in style.” — Gen. Stanley McChrystal, former commander of U.S. and international forces in Afghanistan

Dana Freker Doody

13. “The hotel room is the enemy of the meeting planner. You don’t want people escaping into the solitude of their hotel room.” — Dana Freker Doody, vice president of communications and communities, The Expo Group

14. “We own the most powerful engagement media — face-to-face.” — Sourabh Kothari, director of advocacy, brand, and content, Signifyd

15. “We don’t make changes because we see the light. It’s because we feel the heat. Something usually has to hurt for us to make a change.”— Don Neal, CEO, 360 Live Media

16. “Our children are growing up in a world where all learning is digital. That’s the way they will expect to be taught in the future.”— Donny Neufuss, director of global accounts, Production Resource Group

Phillip Jones, 2017 PCMA Education Foundation Chair; Claire Smith, 2018 PCMA Board Chair; and Sherrif Karamat, who will become PCMA’s CEO on Jan. 19.

17. “Is a Millennial in Japan the same as a Millennial in Austria? There’s a big difference; we cannot generalize. People have different facets that define them.” — Mathias Posch, president and partner, International Conference Services (ICS)

18. “There is a big difference between getting someone’s attention and having them give it to you. And if you tell them a good story, they will give it to you.” — Kindra Hall, author and strategic consultant

Convene Editors