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To the Point By Deborah Sexton


Just Say ‘Yes’ We all need to take time to expand our range of experience and way of thinking. H


ow often do you automatically turn something down before you take the time to learn more


or to really think about it? It’s a common knee-jerk reaction to say, “No, thanks,” to the supermarket cashier who asks if you want to donate money to a particular charity, to the volunteer PTA coordinator at your child’s school who asks for your


help, or to the lunch invitation from the vendor you’ve never met. When people make demands on our money or time, we’re quick to cut them off at the pass. After all, we’re stretched thin as it is. There are many times when declining such


requests is absolutely the right move. Sure, there are those people or activities that you have ab- solutely no interest in, and it’s best to not even let them in the door. But too often, I see people fall on this instinct


when it comes to personal or professional development. They put up a wall when new op- portunities come their way, whether it’s learning a new skill or opening themselves up to a new way of thinking. They’re just way too busy. And, yes, in the meetings industry, we are


busy. Meeting professionals wear many hats and are expected to perform on many levels. Many of us have to do more with less. And the pressures of having our meetings live up to changing expectations are significant. But I don’t like to see people in our industry


sell themselves short when it comes to profes- sional development. No matter where you are in your career, no matter what your job circum- stances, you should take the time to broaden your knowledge and your mind. It benefits you, your organization, and your meetings. And it benefits our industry, as we collectively improve the way meetings are conducted. This issue features the inspirational story of


Jeff Henderson (see our Leading by Example profile on p. 67), who went to prison at age 24 for dealing drugs, learned to cook while he was there, and went on to a career as a five-star chef. Granted, Jeff didn’t suffer from a lack of time while serving out his sentence. But we could all learn from the way that he seized on a narrow glimmer of opportunity and contin- ues to devote his life to self-improvement and growth, while helping others do the same. I encourage all of you to seriously consider professional-development opportunities that you’re fortunate to have offered to you. Not every one may be right for you. But you owe it to yourself to weigh them carefully. If it’s something that will benefit you, figure out how to make time for it. When we open ourselves up to new ways of conducting meetings and doing business, everyone in this industry profits. n


I don’t like to see people in our industry sell themselves short when it comes to professional development. No matter where you are in your career, no matter what your job circumstances, you should take the time to broaden your knowledge and your mind.


12 pcma convene May 2011 


PREP WORK: Speaking of profes- sional development, PCMA’s Education Conference is a unique event being held June 20–23 in Baltimore. Attendees will gather knowl- edge and inspiration from speakers such as Chef Jeff (see left), share ideas, and have the opportu- nity to form lifelong relationships with peers in an intimate environment. Not to mention that it’s co-located with AIBTM and coincides with the CIC Hall of Leaders Gala, saving you time and money. Registration is lim- ited. Visit www .pcma.org/EduCon for details.


Deborah Sexton President and CEO deborah.sexton@pcma.org


www.pcma.org


PHOTOGRAPH OF DEBORAH SEXTON BY MICHAEL ABRAMSON


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