Simon Hughes, managing partner of MCHA Ltd. and 2012 chair of Eventia, the U.K.-based trade association repre- senting the events industry, moderated the PCMA Global Corporate Summit. Here he shares his summit experience.
Meeting new people is an occupational hazard if you work in our world. You really need to be confident about it if you’re going to succeed. Yet even with all my experience, I must confess to being just a little anxious about helping to moderate the first-ever PCMA Global Corporate Summit. For a start, I’d seen the list of attend-
ees. These were serious folks, many working for major global brands. They handled hundreds of events a year around the globe. They probably knew a lot more than me about pretty much every discussion item on the agenda. Then there was the keynote speaker,
Frans Johansson, flying in to wow us — and then jumping straight back on a plane to get back to make sure his new
book was set for launch. He’s written a number of bestselling books. I just read books. [Looking at Johansson,] it some- how felt like the difference between the Beijing opening ceremony for the Olympics and the London version. He would be younger, fitter, more dynamic, louder, and definitely more enthusiastic [than me]. I don’t really do enthusiasm, but I can do quirky English creativity. As it turned out, I need not have wor-
ried about any of this at all. The attend- ees were delightful — eager to learn and share, to exchange ideas, and discuss issues in an open and constructive manner. They also knew how to enjoy themselves and even tolerated my idio- syncratic tendencies to burst into song. I would like to thank the 2012
PCMA Corporate Task Force, so ably led by McDonald’s Kelley Butler, for getting the right topics on the table. The itinerary was very full, so I found myself waking up early in the morning and then pacing around rehearsing the introductions and reviewing my notes
for the education sessions. What was really exciting about the whole summit was the fact that everyone wanted to share so willingly. I often felt bad about having to draw things to what felt like an abrupt end when so many great con- versations were still going on. But then I am a stickler for timing! Perhaps the most interesting thing
for me was hearing that many of the corporate members present, regardless of the size of their organization, their corporate culture, or their experience, shared so much in common in terms of the things that really mattered to them — the areas where they were keen to learn and develop and the common understanding that they had about future challenges facing them and many others in the broader events and meetings space. Our time together was genuinely productive and exciting, with new friends made and new ideas to take away.
The focus of the PCMA Global Cor- porate Summit — sponsored by Vis- itScotland (conventionscotland.com), the Scottish Exhibition + Conference Centre (SECC, secc.co.uk), and Active Network (activenetwork.com) — was to create a forum for knowledge sharing. VisitScotland provided an added ben- efit: giving participants the chance to experience for themselves how a global event can be staged in its country. On Saturday, early arrivals to the
summit left from our host hotel in Glasgow City Centre — the five-star,
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100-room Blythswood Square (blyth- swoodsquare.com) — to explore Scotland’s largest city. The Blythswood served as the Royal Scottish Automo- bile Club’s clubhouse from 1923 until it was converted to and opened as a hotel in 2009. With its many vintage photos of its auto history, the handsome build- ing remains true to its past while offer- ing sleekly modern amenities. Glasgow is one of Europe’s top 10
financial centers and a hub of science — as well as history, culture, and art, which we sampled, along with a proper
Scottish afternoon tea, at the majestic Kelvingrove Art Gallery & Museum (convn.org/kelvingrove-art). We left enough room for traditional Scottish cuisine with a twist (haggis fritters, any- one?), served later that evening at the relaxed Arisaig Bar & Restaurant (arisa- igrestaurant.co.uk), in the courtyard of historic Merchant Square. The next morning, we sipped fine
single-malt Scotch whisky at the pictur- esque Glengoyne Distillery (glengoyne. com). After a brief boat ride through the mist on the Loch Lomond, we pulled