Earlier this month, Mae Ibe, M&IW’s Customer Success Director, and Conference & Tradeshow Specialist attended PCMA Convening Leaders 2024 (CL24) at the San Diego Convention Center. This event proved that conference attendance is back and better than ever, with record attendance numbers that exceeded pre-pandemic levels! This includes around 4,200 in-person attendees and approximately 700 online participants.
During this conference, attendees were challenged to THINK BIGGER about the boundless potential of their careers and the future of the business events industry. We sat down with Mae to learn more about her experience and some of the key takeaways she had from this record-setting event.
Why do you attend PCMA Convening Leaders each year?
PCMA CL always has the HOTTEST industry trends. They are industry leaders and tend to showcase the latest and greatest technology. They have new innovative ideas for tradeshows, sponsorships, and conferences. Not to mention, their education is top-notch!
What were your three biggest takeaways from this conference and how will these valuable lessons benefit our customers?
- AI (artificial intelligence) is coming quicker than we think and will affect our industry. “AI won’t take your job. Someone using AI will take your job. It’s time to get on board.” We need to think differently when it comes to future events.
- Safety and security for event attendees will continue to be a focus for organizations. Emergency preparedness plans are a must and need to be thoroughly thought out. Make sure all your partners are on board with your plan and include local authorities when you can.
- Speaking of security, having Bill and Hillary Clinton as keynote speakers was another great example of how to handle dignitaries and additional security. Plan for additional security, make sure you have enough metal detectors, and communicate this to your attendees. It’s not easy getting over 4,000 people into a General Session with all the extra security measures, so your attendees must know what to expect from the start. PCMA CL did a fantastic job, and it was a great reminder of how to handle events with heightened security needs.
What was your favorite moment or something that surprised you?
My favorite moment was being a part of an event of this size and to see how much it has grown. PCMA CL has grown tremendously over the years, and to see that many people who are passionate and supporting this great industry was amazing.
How did the event help you grow in your area of expertise?
Industry events such as PCMA CL are essential for keeping event professionals up to date with new trends, technology, and best practices. I can now share those with our customers to help make their events even more successful.
Why is it important to you personally to attend industry events like PCMA Convening Leaders?
An important part of my position with M&IW is to continue to be a subject matter expert in the field of conferences & tradeshows. Our industry changes so rapidly that we must keep up to be relevant.
I always come back feeling renewed enthusiasm and energy after attending this extraordinary event. The opportunity to network with current and potential customers and fellow industry professionals is amazing! M&IW’s Conference & Tradeshow department is ready to hit the ground running in 2024!