Packing a Punch

Convening Leaders Content Committee Co-Chairs Promise an Unforgettable Experience

Exceptional talent, education, and scenery that will deliver an unforgettable Vancouver experience. That’s what planning committee co-chairs Kathleen “Kitty” Ratcliffe, president of Explore St. Louis, and Heidi Welker, vice president of marketing for Freeman Audio Visual Canada, know attendees will experience at this year’s content-packed PCMA annual meeting.

Kathleen “Kitty” Ratcliffe

Kathleen “Kitty” Ratcliffe

The co-chairs of the 2016 Convening Leaders Content Committee (CLCC) have spent the past year working on this year’s program. At the beginning of 2015, Ratcliffe and Welker — along with members of six PCMA task forces — compiled a list of the timeliest challenges and opportunities facing the meetings industry.

Ratcliffe and Welker were impressed with how the chairs of the task forces took ownership of their areas, rallied their teams, and came up with thought-provoking topics to address pain points and close the knowledge gap among their peers.

Over time, the program evolved; some sessions that were originally planned were deleted, others were added, and some were modified to fit with more current issues. The CLCC’s detailed efforts resulted in an outstanding education program for Convening Leaders 2016.

Heidi Welker

Heidi Welker

Each is looking forward to the meeting’s General Session speakers. “I have heard [Tuesday General Session presenter] Gretchen [Rubin] speak before, and am so looking forward to hearing her again,” Welker said. “She is very intelligent, insightful, methodical, and sincere in her approach to happiness.”

The co-chairs are also looking forward to Wednesday afternoon’s new Women@Work program, which sold out quickly. Indeed, Ratcliffe and Welker saw the overwhelming response to Women@Work as indicating that PCMA was tapping a real industry demand among women meeting professionals.

Another new concept this year: knowledge dens. These are areas throughout the Vancouver Convention Centre (VCC) that will give small groups an opportunity to dive deeper into scheduled topics or a topic of their choice, or continue the conversation from a previous session.

Ratcliffe and Welker are both eager to see the CLCC’s hard work come to fruition, and are hoping attendees find even more than what they came to Vancouver to discover. “The scenery from the VCC is breathtaking,” Welker said, “and will in itself offer inspiration for creative conversation.”