Rebecca Schingel

PCMA’s Education Foundation Aims to Supersize Scholarship Opportunities

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For students pursuing careers in business events, undergraduate courses can by costly. According to The College Board, the cost to attend institutions of higher education in the U.S. has steeply risen: a 10-year, $7,220 increase per year at private colleges and a 10-year, $2,690 increase per year at public institutions. As the cost to continue learning continues to rise, the PCMA Education Foundation is revamping its scholarship program to offer more assistance to the next generation of event leaders.

“We wanted to acknowledge the realities of today’s academic environment by increasing our financial commitment and providing year-round support for students,” said Stacey Shafer, senior director of operations at the PCMA Education Foundation. “Our past program included either scholarships that were solely tuition or solely event-based in a more transactional approach. This program was developed in an effort to provide more financial assistance and to create additional learning opportunities.”

After the Foundation Board of Trustees evaluated the full slate of scholarship offerings, they made a bold change. In 2018, the average value of a scholarship will be $6,000 — a $4,000- increase from past averages. “It’s a more well-rounded program,” Shafer said. “We are really excited to engage with a new class of creative, forward-thinking students who will shape the future of the industry.”

The engagement factor played an important role in shaping the new opportunities. Shafer said that the new program aims to provide a “complete experience” instead of registration to a PCMA program. The experience includes 12 months of access to PCMA’s Premium Content Subscription, a subscription to PCMA’s Business Events Bootcamp, along with registration and travel expenses for PCMA’s Convening Leaders and Education Conference.

“We wanted to keep in touch with these students throughout the entire school year and become an integral part of their academic experience,” Shafer said. “We wanted to commit more to them.”

To learn more and apply, click here. To read more about the Education Foundation’s results in 2017, read the organization’s Impact Report.

Rebecca SchingelPCMA’s Education Foundation Aims to Supersize Scholarship Opportunities
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New Numbers Bring the Meetings Industry’s Massive Impact to Light

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As the events industry aims to articulate the economic value of face-to-face meetings and conferences, the findings of a new report — The Economic Significance of Meetings to the US Economy, an update to the 2009 report by the same name — from Oxford Economics, the Events Industry Council, and the Meetings Mean Business Coalition, offer a leg up.

Adam Sacks, founder and president of Tourism Economics, an Oxford Economics company, said in a press briefing on Feb. 21 that the study calculated three levels of impact: direct, indirect, and induced spending. Indirect spending includes revenue streams such as the utility bills from a trade show, and the induced category relates to the trickle-down spending from employees who earn wages due to events-industry-related activities. “For every dollar spent on face-to-face meetings and business events in 2016, it generated an additional $1.60 in benefits to the U.S. economy,” Sacks said in the briefing about the findings. “It’s a 160-percent return on investment.”

That return added up to some very large numbers. Sacks said that meetings supported $845 billion in business sales, $104 billion in federal, state, and local taxes, and $446 billion of the country’s GDP. In addition to spending, the industry supported nearly six million individual jobs. “These are large numbers,” Sacks said, but they are even more meaningful “in relation to other industries in the U.S.”

In terms of jobs, the meetings and events industry creates more direct jobs than large manufacturing sectors such as automotive, chemicals, and food. The industry also employs more workers than the telecommunications sector or oil and gas. “The services provided by the meetings industry often go unnoticed,” said Paul Van Deventer, president and CEO of Meeting Professionals International and co-chair of the Meetings Mean Business Coalition, who participated in the briefing. “But the impact is unmistakable.”

The Importance of International Attendance

The findings underscored that in order to expand that impact in 2018 and beyond, the events industry will need assistance from the government to make sure that attendees from outside the U.S. can enter the country with ease. In 2016, six million international attendees came to the U.S. for events and conferences. While that audience only comprises approximately 2 percent of the 251 million attendees at U.S. events, they represented nearly 12 percent of direct spending, due to the fact that they typically stay longer and spend more money. “This has important implications for visa policies and the Open Skies agreements,” Sacks said.

“On the international front, in the past, we have seen some visa policies that have not always been conducive to [assisting] international participants,” Van Deventer said. “This research creates the foundation to advocate for visa policies that are set up in such a way to make sure that international participants can come.”

Growing and Growing

The 2016 numbers look even more dramatic when the industry looks in the rearview mirror. Sacks compared the 2016 findings with data from 2009 when the report was first conducted. “The industry’s economic value has grown by 23 percent,” Sacks said. “If we go back in time to 2009, there were experts that were foretelling the death of the meetings industry. There was a lot of negative sentiment and questions about whether companies were being responsible with [their event budgets]. There were a lot of questions about the viability of this industry. The new report shows that the meetings industry is as strong as ever, and it continues to grow.”

Event professionals can celebrate that growth trajectory at the upcoming Global Meetings Industry Day on April 12. Click here for a list of programs around the world.

PCMA and the PCMA Education Foundation are strong supporters of the Events Industry Council and Meetings Mean Business Coalition and proud to contribute funds to fuel the study of how meetings and events make a huge impact on the global economy. To learn more about how the Education Foundation helps power research and scholarships, click here​ to read the 2017 Impact Report.

Rebecca SchingelNew Numbers Bring the Meetings Industry’s Massive Impact to Light
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PCMA Education Foundation Announces the 2018 Visionary Awards Professional Excellence Finalists

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Fifteen individuals will be honored as Professional Excellence Award Finalists at the 2018 Visionary Awards on May 2nd, 2018 at the Marriott Marquis, Washington DC. These awards annually celebrate exceptional individual contributions to the business events industry. The award winners will be announced live during the Awards Show. Registration will open this month to get a ticket for the Visionary Awards – the industry’s premier recognition event.

Meeting Professional of the Year Finalists

Carrie Abernathy, CMP, CEM, CSEP, Vice President, Thought Leadership & Strategy, Convenience Distribution Association (CDA)
Carrie, described as passionate, connected, ethical and knowledgeable, has been a meeting professional for almost 15 years. She is the co-founder and current president of the Association for Women in Events, an organization dedicated to showcasing the professional advancement of women in all aspects of the events industry. Through monthly webinars and personal presentations at events, Carrie consistently helps event professionals to connect and share knowledge with each other. She is dedicated to shaking up the industry to ensure women are treated equally alongside their male colleagues.

Wanda Johnson, CMP, CAE, Chief Program Officer, Endocrine Society
Wanda has contributed a huge amount to both the meeting management and healthcare industries, over a 25-year career. To her peers, she’s an inspiring leader they regularly ask for insights, collaboration and capabilities. She’s also considered to be level-headed and strategic in her thinking. Through her continual involvement with PCMA, she has utilized her platform to better the industry; bringing her personality and influence.

Stephanie D. Jones, CAE, CMP, Senior Director, Conferences and Events Management, Water Environment Federation
Stephanie is known for her helpful insights and tips on how to best handle a situation; she has been called a ‘beacon of light’ in the events industry by her peers. She freely shares her knowledge and experience, and is recognized by her team as someone who imparts excellent advice, though Stephanie finds it so natural to share, she’s unaware she’s doing it.

Supplier of the Year Finalists

Mary Beth Baluta, Regional Director of Sales – Washington DC, Cincinnati USA Convention and Visitors Bureau
Mary Beth is known for her vigorous efforts in liaising with potential clients, convention bureaus and suppliers. She has an infectious positive nature and is a great listener, taking in every detail before offering an idea or possible solution. Mary Beth also shows her dedication to her local PCMA chapter through her volunteer efforts and desire to do whatever is asked of her.

Chris FJ Lynn, Vice President, North America & Emerging Markets – Business Tourism, London & Partners
Chris is incredibly knowledgeable in the hospitality market and goes the extra mile to ensure that his customers have a great experience. He dedicates time getting to know his customers wants and needs before presenting a bespoke creative solution. Chris also devotes his energy to help elevate PCMA’s New York Area chapter. Despite being its past president, he consistently provides support for the chapter, most recently sponsoring 40 meeting professionals for an event.

April Williams, VP – Business Development, Freeman
April has more than 20 years’ industry experience in sales strategy and technology and regularly demonstrates her professional excellence and exceeds client expectations. She recently helped transform the Endocrine Society event branding from being city-specific, to more value-orientated; aligned with the organization’s mission and vision. She also actively advises her clients to share insights on trends shaping the future, including technology with a purpose, data analytics, personalization and brand experience.

Community Advocate of the Year Award Finalists

Jeff Chase, Vice President of Sustainability, Freeman
Jeff has more than 30 years’ experience in the events and exhibition industry. In 2017, he worked closely with the Consumer Technology Association to advance the organization’s sustainability goals for its annual CES event. Jeff developed and implemented a waste management program to encourage the event’s 3,600 exhibitors to contribute unused supplies, such as tote bags, pens and notepads, as well as reusable building material from the stands, such as furniture and flooring. The Exhibitor Program diverted 19 trailer loads of materials from landfill and donated them to local non-profit organizations, including Teacher Exchange, Goodwill, Habitat for Humanity and Opportunity Village.

Rachael Riggs, CMP, Manager, Meetings and Conventions Sales – Midwest/Chicago, Tourism Vancouver
Rachael has made incredible fundraising achievements throughout 2017. She single-handedly organized a charity drive for victims of Hurricanes Irma and Harvey, within one week of these destructive events. She gained approval from the tourism board to match the funds that were raised, wrote a press release and issued it, all in one day. Earlier in the year, Rachael organized a charitable component at Global Meetings Industry day, which involved attendees from industry organizations packing 750 ‘clean-the-world’ kits and donating them to several Chicago charities.

Ken Sien, CMP, Director, Strategic Accounts, Experient, A Maritz Global Events Company
Ken helped oversee the Maritz Global Events Human Trafficking Committee, building awareness of its course within Maritz and within the entire global events industry. He was involved in creating a town hall meeting where he introduced the company and key representatives to the app TraffickCam, which seeks to combat sex trafficking. Ken also works to identify deserving organizations in each city that hosts a company event, leading fundraising activities for each.

Event Designer of the Year Finalists
Supported by Maritz Global Events

Phelps R. Hope, CMP, Senior Vice President, Meetings & Expositions, Kellen
Phelps has impressive experience as an event designer, and has helped implement fresh ideas and experiential opportunities to meetings. Most recently, in October 2017, he redesigned the Girl Scouts Convention in Columbus, Ohio, which resulted in a shorter, more focused, event and a 50 percent increase in registrations.

Laura Metcalf Jelinek, CAE, Associate Vice President – Meetings and Travel, American Osteopathic Association
Laura is known for her creative and innovative approach to events. She recently created an event, which brought together members of the osteopathic industry. Laura used a mixture of music with arts and culture, to create an experiential environment for attendees. It was described as totally unforgettable.

Lisa VanRosendale, TEDster, Senior Vice President, New Business Development, FreemanXP
Lisa has more than 20 years’ experience in the industry, and was most recently named in M&C’s Top 25 Women in the Meetings Industry. Lisa, who is known for her innovative and immersive approach, is also a former TED speaker. Last year, she was responsible for leading a team that successfully organized each aspect of the Siebel Scholars 2017 Conference and in a post-event survey of attendees, 100 percent said they would attend another Siebel conference.

Digital Event Strategist of the Year Finalists
Supported by Meetings + Conventions Calgary

Nicole Armstrong, Vice President, Worldwide Events, MicroStrategy
Nicole is a champion for digital events, which she has demonstrated in her previous job roles as Sr Events Manager and Director of Stakeholder Relations at InternetSociety. This included overseeing the introduction and expansion of a series of digital event experiences for the company. Nicole will continue to utilize these skills in her new position at MicroStrategy.

Todd Helton, MBA, Senior Director, Meetings, Conferences & Online Learning Events, Association of International Certified Professional Accountants
Todd was one of the pioneering Meeting Professionals who saw the vision and value of Hybrid Live Events, launching hist association’s first Live Streaming Event in 2009. Over the past eight years he has grown the online program exponentially and has devoted a significant amount of time to providing thought leadership in this field. He gives speeches at leading meetings and takes part in industry panels and interviews.

Patrick McCrea, Senior Manager, Digital Events, HIMSS Media
Pat helps provide educational content and thought leadership programs to IT Healthcare Directors, Executives, Managers, and VPs. Through his work, HIMSS remains the leader in the IT Healthcare education space. He has created a solution that has ungated and gated content, a mix of content (editorial vs. sponsorship), and has collecting actionable data to help drive organic growth among subscribers. The solution is working, and makes the ROI valuable for participating sponsors.

Rebecca SchingelPCMA Education Foundation Announces the 2018 Visionary Awards Professional Excellence Finalists
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PCMA Announces 2018 ‘20 In their Twenties’ Class

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These top young professionals will be honored at Convening Leaders in Nashville, TN
January 7-10, 2018

The 20 in their Twenties program, supported by the PCMA Education Foundation and Visit Seattle, is designed to engage the best and brightest young professionals in the business event industry. By recognizing emerging leaders, and their talents, PCMA helps to support a new generation of business event strategists around the world.

“The 20 in their Twenties program is a great way to recognize and engage rising stars in the industry,” said Rob Hampton, Senior Vice President of Convention Sales and Services for Visit Seattle. “It gives young professionals the opportunity to build camaraderie among their peers and gives us—the veterans in the industry—a chance to hear fresh ideas and perspectives and nurture new talent. This is a program Visit Seattle is proud to support.”


20 in their Twenties Class of 2018

Alexandra Adsit, CMP, CEM
Meeting Planner
Charlottesville, VA


Chloe Armstrong
Bid Executive
Melbourne Convention Bureau
Melbourne, Australia


Sina Bünte, DES
Events Manager
Amsterdam Netherlands


Erica Critzer, CMP
Regional Director of Sales
Visit Dallas
Arlington, VA


Patrick Crosson, CMP
Chicago, IL


Carmen Ferrari, CMP
Events and Marketing Manager
European Photonics Industry Consortium
Amsterdam, Netherlands


Idil Findikoğlu,
Marketing Manager
Kenes Group
Amsterdam, Netherlands


Karin Hagemann
Head of Convention Bureau
Montreux-Vevey Tourisme & Convention Bureau
Bern Area, Switzerland


Caitlin Hume, CMP
Business Events Manager
Risk and Insurance Management Society, Inc (RIMS)
New York, NY


Chloe Lai
Conference Producer
Medical Conference Partners
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia


Annamarie Luccarelli
Associate Meeting Planner
Harborside Press, LLC
Trenton, NJ


Samantha Mele
Proposal & Product Developer
Toronto, ON


Cahal Mowery, MBA, CMP, CTA
Director of Sales & Catering
JW Marriott Houston Downtown
Houston, TX


Brittany Saylor
Senior Meeting Planner
Right Hand Events
San Diego, CA


Barrie Schwartz
My House Social
New Orleans, LA


Allison Shebek
Associate Director of Experience Design
Phoenix, AZ


Kyle Smith, DES
Digital Event Strategist
Conference Consultancy South Africa
Johannesburg, South Africa


Sara Stehle, CMP
Conference Specialist
International Association of Fire Chiefs
Washington, DC


Andrew Sykes
Assistant General Manager
Halifax, Nova Scotia


Rasheena Wilson, CMP
Meeting and Exhibits Coordinator
American Society of Nephrology
Washington, DC

“This is our fifth class of the twenty brightest talents in the industry worldwide. Each year we continue to be inspired by the passion and insights these individuals bring to the business events community. It is our honor to recognize the excellence of these emerging innovative leaders,” said Deborah Sexton, PCMA President and CEO. 

Criteria for applicants was to be employed full time in the business events industry, be 29 years old or younger at the time of recognition and to demonstrate ways they consider themselves to be industry leaders. Applicants were not required to be PCMA members.

A committee made up of veteran industry professionals and 20 in their twenties alumni reviewed approximately 50 applications in detail before deciding on the class.

The individuals will selected will receive a scholarship registration to attend PCMA’s signature event, Convening Leaders this January in Nashville, TN; complimentary registration for PCMA’s June conference in Cleveland, OH in June 2018; as well as one year of PCMA membership. In addition, recipients will receive membership and registration discounts for the next two years.

Recipients will be recognized at Convening Leaders this January, as well as in Convene Magazine and other PCMA communications.

Rebecca SchingelPCMA Announces 2018 ‘20 In their Twenties’ Class
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Events Industry Unites to Help Harvey Victims

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By the time the rain from Hurricane Harvey stops falling on Friday, forecasts estimate that some parts of Houston — the nation’s fourth-largest city — will have received approximately 50 inches of rain. As emergency responders work to help people who are trapped in flooded homes, the events industry is offering displaced residents temporary housing. In Houston, the George R. Brown Convention Center has become an emergency shelter and quickly filled with evacuees. According to ABC News, the Red Cross made plans to house 5,000 people at the center. As of Tuesday, Aug. 29 at noon, more than 9,000 evacuees were at the center. Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner announced that the city has plans for additional shelters, acknowledging that 30,000 more residents will need places to go.

“Over these last few days, the residents of this great city have shown the true Heart of Houston, and demonstrated how resilient and caring a community can be under the most trying circumstances,” Leah Shah, public relations director for Visit Houston, said in a statement. “We are proud of the efforts of so many Houstonians who have come to the aid of their fellow man in these trying times. While Harvey’s rains will soon leave this city, much work remains to be done. We are so grateful for the outpouring of support we have received from around the nation, and the many donations to local charities that will be needed to help support those who have lost so much.”

The Rest of Texas Volunteers

Nearly 250 miles north in Dallas, city officials have converted the first floor of the air-conditioned parking garage at the Kay Bailey Hutchinson Convention Center into a makeshift emergency shelter that can accommodate 5,000 evacuees in need of housing. The center will also offer medical care, a pharmacy with free prescriptions provided by Walmart, and mobile phone charging stations. While evacuees will be in the center’s garage, attendees at Ambit Energy’s Ambition Conference will still be uniting for their annual gathering from Aug. 29 – Sept. 1, and the company announced that it will donate $25,000 to the Red Cross relief efforts.

In Austin, city officials were preparing to welcome approximately 7,000 evacuees, and the hallways of the Austin Convention Center will act as one of the primary shelters in the state capital.

A Long Road Ahead

There are no official numbers for the total damage from the storm, but it’s clear that Houston and all of southeastern Texas will require a great deal of assistance. “This will be a long-term effort,” Major General James Witham, director of domestic operations, National Guard Bureau, told reporters. “Due to the nature of this storm, our response to this hurricane has been very different. As you look at historic levels of rainfall and sustained flooding over a period of multiple days…we will be doing life-saving and life-sustaining efforts for a much longer period.”

PCMA and the PCMA Education Foundation are uniting members of the business-events industry to contribute to those efforts with the PCMA Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund. The fund will provide assistance to members in the meetings and events industry who have been impacted by the storm. “We applaud our colleagues in the hospitality communities across the Lone Star State for their hard work to help their friends, families, and neighbors,” said Deborah Sexton, president and CEO, PCMA. “I invite everyone in the business-events community to help our colleagues who are struggling with the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey.”

In addition to providing immediate monetary assistance to the cleanup, Sexton added that PCMA and the PCMA Education Foundation are looking ahead at ways to offer continued support to the region. “After the initial emergency response phase, the area will need more help,” Sexton added. “We are committed to doing whatever it takes to help southeastern Texas emerge from this disaster stronger than ever.”

How You Can Help

If you live in the U.S. Text to 41444. Enter prefix “HELPTX,” the dollar amount, your first name and last name — e.g., HELPTX 50 Jane Doe. You will then receive a link to complete the process of your payment.

If you live outside of the U.S. Visit the Foundation’s donation page here and be sure to enter HELPTX in the “I give because” box and your donation will be directed to the PCMA Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund.

Stay tuned to for additional updates on the recovery efforts.

Rebecca SchingelEvents Industry Unites to Help Harvey Victims
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