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Boston Strong


planner’s notebook


Kelly Peacy CAE, CMP Senior Vice President Education & Meetings kpeacy@pcma.org


We visited our Convening Leaders 2014 host city just two weeks aſter the marathon bombings — and leſt inspired, empowered, and recharged.


I


Our Big Boston Brainstorm Topics


› The meeting plat- form — the construct for the whole event — and what we’ll build our 2014 experience around.


› Our luncheons — key networking func- tions and learning experiences in and of themselves.


› The next evolution of the PCMA Learn- ing Lounge and all other outside-the- classroom learning opportunities.


› Experiences — how do we elevate and raise the typical meeting experience?


In next month’s col- umn, I’ll share some of the results of our brainstorming and specific ideas we’ll be working on for Convening Leaders 2014 — coming to Boston on Jan. 12–15. See you there!


really enjoy writing this column. Not only do I get to share the behind-the-scenes planning for PCMA’s Convening Leaders program — and receive terrific ideas and feedback from you


— but it also gives me the opportunity to take time, stop, and think. And taking the time to stop and think is exactly what our Convening Leaders team did on a recent site visit to Boston, the host city for our 2014 annual meeting. We were there just two weeks after


the Boston Marathon bombings, mak- ing our visit poignant and leaving us all that much more determined to bring a world-class event to this wonderful city. One of my goals this year has been


to shake up our internal planning pro- cesses. From the way our staff team is structured (break down department silos and cross-pollinate ideas!) to how we conduct our site visits, we’re erasing the ways we typically have approached Convening Leaders planning — to infuse new thought from different perspectives. For this particular visit, we tapped


into the collective brainpower of the key people who make Convening Lead- ers happen. Members from PCMA’s meetings and events, education, mar- keting, Education Foundation, and partnership teams — along with our president and CEO, Deborah Sexton


— joined creative, AV, and expo profes- sionals from Freeman, our strategic partner, and key experts from the Mas- sachusetts Convention Center Author- ity. All told, about 30 smart, energetic people came together for a full day to help us craft the key innovation ele- ments of Convening Leaders 2014.


14 PCMA CONVENE JUNE 2013 Our goals for the day: (1) ensure


everyone saw the meeting spaces we’re working with, (2) allow time to discuss our key challenges within those spaces, and (3) brainstorm potential solutions to those challenges. We came up with four items to center our creative energy around — with everyone grouped into four different rotating brainstorming teams, so perspectives changed with each discussion. We had an optimal brainstorming


environment, thanks to our friends at Freeman and the Hynes Conven- tion Center, who set a room with five different work areas — each one with comfortable furniture, white boards, flip charts, and, of course, food and beverage. We broke out into different groups for a period of time, then got back together again to pitch ideas and riff off each other’s thoughts. After five hours of brainstorm-


ing, the result was page after page of solutions, new ideas, creations, and perspectives. Some will work and some will never see the light of day, but that’s okay. Like I said, the whole idea was to take time, stop, and think. The energy we created and the concepts we dis- cussed recharged us, and everyone left feeling as if they were now true owners of Convening Leaders’ success.


. PCMA.ORG


PHOTOGRAPH BY JACOB SLATON

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