Convening Leaders Revolution Overthrows the Old-School of Meetings and Sets New Attendance Records

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PCMA brough more than 4,000 meeting professionals come together in Boston for three days of high-level education.

The Professional Convention Management Association [PCMA] united meeting planners and suppliers to revolutionize the meetings and events industry in Boston at Convening Leaders 2014, January 12 - 15. With a record-breaking 4,072 attendees, the organization proved that leaders in the meetings industry believe in the power of change.

“The meetings industry needs revolutionary thinking,” Deborah Sexton, President and CEO, PCMA, said. “Many professionals are afraid of breaking up with traditions, but the ‘let’s do it the way we’ve always done’ mentality stifles creativity. This year’s Convening Leaders program was designed to help planners and suppliers alike embrace new ideas, uncover new possibilities and usher in a new era of innovation for face-to-face experiences.”

“These professionals are returning home with fresh insights that will do more than reinvigorate their approaches to bringing people together,” Sexton added. “They’ll be ready to lead their own revolutions within their organizations.”

Convening Leaders 2014 included a number of new additions to the PCMA program.

TechCentral - With hands-on demos, tutorials and educational sessions, this area was designed to help meeting professionals keep up with the rapid pace of the technological transformation.

Hackathon - Sponsored by PCMA’s mobile app provider QuickMobile, the 45-hour event leveraged Boston’s most tech-savvy students in a friendly competition that paved the way toward revolutionizing event connectivity with groundbreaking coding developments.

Learning Lounge 2.0 - Powered by Freeman, the newest iteration of this acclaimed education destination facilitated small group discussions and enhanced the conference experience with intimate Q & A sessions with some of this year’s expert speakers.

BIG IDEAS Zone - Powered by the Dallas Convention & Visitors Bureau, the BIG IDEAS Zone provided a gathering ground for attendees to share groundbreaking thoughts that can shape the next generation of the industry.

PCMA Oasis Lounge - Designed to deliver what every busy conference-goer needs, this lounge provided massage and relaxation therapies for Convening Leaders attendees.

Outside the Box Lunch - As planners work to satisfy dietary restrictions and food allergies, Tuesday’s lunch showcased a new way to provide customized menu options in a creative grab and go display.

The On-Site and On-Screen Revolution Felt Around the World

Revolutionaries from across the globe gathered in Boston. In 2014, the number of international attendees increased by more than 30% with 37 unique countries represented.

“The international community is crucial to the continued growth and success of our industry,” Sexton said. “We are thrilled to welcome a diverse range of perspectives to contribute to the Convening Leaders conversation.”

PCMA’s Convening Leaders Hybrid Event continued the trend of breaking records with an all-time high of 953 attendees from 20 countries.

“This year’s hybrid attendance numbers solidify PCMA’s expansion as a global brand with the ability to educate meeting professionals wherever they are,” Mary Reynolds Kane, senior director, experience marketing, PCMA, says. “While these attendees were unable to make the trip to Boston, this experience was the next best thing.”

Online discussions and polls ensured that the hybrid audience contributions were felt in Boston, too. The online activity was so robust that remote attendees wanted to keep the conversation going with a virtual happy hour chat on the Friday after the meeting.

A Big Local Impact

In addition to sending attendees home with new knowledge, PCMA will leave a lasting impact in Boston, with proceeds from the PCMA Education Foundation’s annual Party With a Purpose event. More than 1600 conference attendees celebrated together at Boston’s House of Blues on Monday, January 13. The proceeds from their tickets support the efforts of College Bound Dorchester, PCMA’s Network for the Needy and the PCMA Education Foundation’s efforts to fund scholarships, grants and industry research.

PCMA will rebroadcast some of the best sessions from this year’s program on February 12. You can register at

Convening Leaders 2015 will be held January 11 - 14 at McCormick Place in Chicago.


About Professional Convention Management Association
PCMA is the multi-channel professional resource and premier educator for leaders in the meetings, conventions, events and trade show industries. PCMA provides their 6,000+ members with a community of likeminded colleagues, innovative education and creative global solutions to enhance both their professional development and their organization's face-to-face and virtual connections. Headquartered in Chicago, PCMA has 17 chapters throughout the United States, Canada and Mexico with members in more than 35 countries. For additional information, please visit the PCMA Web site at

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