Backstage Passes

Photo by Jacob Slaton
Last May, in her “Planner’s Notebook” column, PCMA’s Vice President for Meeting and Events Kelly Peacy confided to our readers that, in the planning for 2011 Convening Leaders in Las Vegas, she was wrestling with a problem presented by the vast MGM Grand Garden Arena:  “How in the world are we going to physically shrink the MGM Grand’s Grand Garden Arena – a venue that seats 16,000 people – so that our general session audience of 3,800 to 4,000 individuals won’t feel lost?,” she asked.

Constraints fuel creativity, the saying goes, and Peacy’s creative and  buzz-producing solution was unveiled this week: she and her team divided the arena and created the PCMA Learning Lounge behind the stage. Filled with short talks, hands-on social media expertise, a live-streaming theater and much more, the Learning Lounge greatly expanded opportunities for education and networking.

And, in another inspired touch, the meetings team didn’t hide production teams and other backstage operations, but rather opened them up as a learning opportunity.

Peacy’s “problem” turned out to be a big hit with meeting attendees: Here’s what Philip Arbuckle, president and CEO of  MeetingTrack, Inc. had to say about the solution:

Barbara Palmer

Barbara Palmer is senior editor and director of digital content.