Home News & Features Robert F. Kennedy Jr. to Headline PCMA’s 2008 Annual Meeting

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. to Headline PCMA’s 2008 Annual Meeting


CHICAGO—It might be too early for packing bags, but meeting professionals should start making plans now for the Professional Convention Management Assn.’s (PCMA) 2008 Annual Meeting, to be held Jan. 13-16, 2008 in Seattle. PCMA is announcing high-impact General Session speakers, as well as a return to a full Wednesday schedule—which this year includes a general session on Wednesday afternoon and a special closing event on Wednesday evening. “Creating Possibilities” is the theme of this year’s popular education and networking event.

“We’re thrilled with the possibilities for inspiring and thought-provoking experiences at our 2008 Annual Meeting,” says Deborah Sexton, PCMA president and CEO. “These General Session speakers, along with our spectacular hosts in Seattle, will be the catalysts for a dynamic event that will energize the meeting community for the year ahead.”

Kicking off the education portion of the event will be Joseph Pine II and James H. Gilmore, authors of the soon-to-be-released book “Authenticity: What Consumers Really Want.” In a rare joint stage appearance, the duo will explore consumers’ growing awareness of staged experiences and how business leaders must make those experiences more authentic. Just as with their landmark book “The Experience Economy,” Pine and Gilmore are sure to have a major impact on how meeting professionals create new possibilities for effectively connecting with attendees.

Microsoft Executive to Speak

On Tuesday, Mich Mathews, Microsoft’s senior vice president, marketing, will raise the bar for how the meetings industry can create possibilities for communicating the value of its events to both individual attendees and their organizations. One of the highest ranking women at Microsoft today, Mathews offers a unique perspective on how to utilize a range of marketing tools and measure their effectiveness. She also brings a synergistic understanding of how marketing and events can combine to produce measurable results.

On Wednesday, attendees will have the opportunity to enhance their understanding of our environment from one of the green movement’s earliest advocates and most sought-after speakers. Robert F. Kennedy Jr.—author, environmental activist and senior attorney for the Natural Resources Defense Council—will speak about creating possibilities for the world today that will determine the future for generations to come. His session is intended to be a rallying cry for the industry and is anticipated to end the educational portion of the annual meeting on a high note.

Regular annual meeting attendees should be aware of a return to a full Wednesday schedule in 2008. That Wednesday schedule will include a performance by actor Jason Alexander at lunch on Wednesday, a high-impact general session on Wednesday afternoon, and a spectacular closing reception on Wednesday night.

A Seinfeld Character Returns

“We want everyone to know as soon as possible that they should plan on staying over on Wednesday night and make travel plans accordingly,” Sexton says. “We’ve got a stellar lineup of events throughout the day on Wednesday, including an enormously funny appearance by Jason Alexander—in character as motivational speaker Donny Clay—at lunch, the general session with Robert F. Kennedy Jr. in the afternoon, and a ‘can’t miss’ closing reception that night.”

“Meeting professionals should also enjoy the opportunity to see everything Seattle has to offer first hand,” Sexton says. “Surprisingly, PCMA is the first major meetings industry association to hold a convention there.”

Attracting more than 3,000 attendees each year, PCMA’s annual meeting is touted as one of the industry’s most comprehensive educational and networking events. Based on evaluation results, 93 percent of attendees at PCMA’s 2007 annual meeting planned on attending the 2008 event.

As always, the PCMA annual meeting will offer a wide variety of education sessions designed to help attendees enhance their careers and make them valuable players within their organizations. Topics will include attendance-building, negotiating, ROI, innovation, work/life balance, talent management, exhibition management, marketing, leadership, business strategy, technology, crisis planning, green meetings, generational issues, international meetings, legal issues and more.

For more information, visit www.pcma.org.