Sunday, June 13, 2010

2010 PCMA Education Conference — Final Thoughts Before It Begins

On Friday I arrived in Montreal for the 2010 PCMA Education Conference (PCMAEC).  The event, which takes place at the Fairmont Queen Elizabeth Hotel,  does not actually kickoff until today, so, in the interim, I have been  getting better  acquainted with Montreal and its wonderful culture.  What a wonderful city!

I have been honored with the opportunity of being co-chair (along with Bob Hancock) of the conference committee for PCMAEC.  To say the least, it has been a rewarding experience.  So what have been the high points?

New Conference Content Model Emerges

The Conference Committee and PCMA staff met in early January, during the PCMA Annual Meeting to establish our collective vision for this event.  Together we agreed the 2010 PCMAEC would embody a spirit of collaboration and experimental event design.  Here’s a recap of what has changed:

Birth of Peer to Peer Sessions — We decided to replace traditional “lecture-based” and “panel-based” concurrent education sessions with facilitated interactive “peer to peer” discussions.

Socially Developed (Attendee-Influenced) Content — Our strategy was to engage members in the idea generation for the session topics.  So we surveyed them through social media and email channels.  There was a terrific response.  Many of the actual peer to peer sessions scheduled for this conference were born out of that process.

“Unconference Style Peer to Peer Session — One alternative session was added for Tuesday, where the actual content will be determined at the start, by the participants.  I am facilitating that event and look forward to the thoughts and solutions generated from it.

The Big Exchange — On Wednesday morning the entire group will convene in a session where we will collectively share the takeaways, with one another, from all the peer to peer sessions.

Social Media — Webcasts and Twitter Hash Tag

General Sessions — Over the three days of the conference there will be five awesome General Sessions.  Each will be featured in live video webcasts available complimentary to all industry professionals.  To preview and sign up for these sessions please click here.

Twitter — The official Hashtag for the conference is #PCMAEC.  A Twitter moderator will be assigned to each session and will monitor questions/comments from the remote audience.  Please join the online conversation in the back channel!

The ‘A’ Team

I have been blessed to partner with some really terrific people throughout this project.  Special thanks go out to the following individuals:

PCMA Staff — True Professionals — The PCMA staff including Deborah Sexton, John Potterton, Kelly Peacy, Mandi Kasper, Lorena Fuentes, Brad Lewis, Mary Reynolds Kane, and Maggie Endres have all been stellar colleagues in this venture.

My Partner and Co-Chair, Bob Hancock — Bob is one of the kindest, most generous people you will ever meet.  Throughout the last six months I have enjoyed every moment of working with him.
The Conference Committee — There are some exceptional, talented people whom have served on this committee.  This event would not be possible without their dedication and solid work.

So now the conference begins.  The pre-work is done, a record 370+ people are registered, and the rest is up to our attendees, presenters, and facilitators.

I look forward to seeing many of you at the Fairmont Queen Elizabeth!  At the very least, if you are not attending this event face to face, then please register for the webcasts and join the interaction.  It will be an outstanding event!

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