Written By: Patricia Korb, Young Professional
The opportunity to attend the 2015 PCMA Education Conference is a one of a kind experience for a young professional. I have been studying Event Management for two years now and attending the conference has created a new level of understanding on everything I have learned.
I received amazing treatment from the Hilton staff throughout my stay, beginning when I arrived early to spend the day in sunny Fort Lauderdale. That afternoon, PCMA held an opening reception on an enormous yacht. It was an innovative idea to take advantage of the scenic surroundings while creating a networking atmosphere. We were able to leave the dock and cruise around the canals for an hour of dining, drinks and beautiful views. It was unlike anything I have ever experienced.
Although it was hard to stay away from the pool every morning, the sessions provided by PCMA were dynamic and interesting. There was a wide array of topics accompanied with great speakers. The only issue I found while attending the conference was, that from the perspective of someone who is new to the industry, a few sessions were hard to relate to due to inexperience. However with that being said, I received a tremendous amount of information on current trends and issues, which is helpful and the type of knowledge I had hoped to gain.
I was excited about the crowdsourced learning session. The idea of this session was to have everyone write down topics they were interested in learning about or that they were willing to speak about. Then the topics were categorized to create breakout sessions later in the day. This is where I saw an opportunity to network and learn from my colleagues, even suggesting a beginner session for future conferences, but in the end the breakout sessions they chose did not apply to my situation. This is the PCMA “Education Conference” and I understand its main purpose is to keep professionals educated and up to date on CEU’s, but I believe educating the new professionals would benefit all parties involved.
The conference had a lot of factors that made the experience enjoyable, for example, I really enjoyed the Sunday through Wednesday layout. In addition, the location allowed attendees to come early and/or stay late which presented the week as an added vacation. I know the conference is not always held in a tropical paradise, but it was a big pull for their attendees. I also enjoyed the goodies they provided guests and the scheduled breaks had innovative drinks and snacks. PCMA utilized the location very well, showcasing new room set ups and lighting all while keeping each room dynamic and interesting.
I thoroughly enjoyed my time at the PCMA education conference and would love to attend again. I was able to experience the side of event planning that you do not often get to… attending! The personal touches PCMA added for guests, along with the hospitality from the hotel and conference center staff, reinforced the importance of all guests’ experience. I am grateful for the opportunity to attend and I will use what I learned to help me become a better event planner.