The Daily Talk: Gary Schirmacher, CMP

• Senior Vice President for Industry Presence and Strategic Development, Experient • 2015 Chair, PCMA Education Foundation Board of Trustees

• Senior Vice President for Industry Presence and Strategic Development, Experient
• 2015 Chair, PCMA Education Foundation Board of Trustees

A Year of Stories for the 2015 PCMA Education Foundation Chair

First joined PCMA


First volunteer leadership position with PCMA

Member of the Rocky Mountain Chapter’s membership committee.

Goals as 2015 Foundation chair

My goal was to help members connect with their PCMA Education Foundation story, and find ways to help all of us understand more what our contributions to the Foundation support. The stories from those that have benefited from a scholarship or grant were important to the Foundation, and getting the Scholarship Alumni Group going was a big step for us in capturing even more stories. We also have a visual story that highlights the impressive number of scholarships, grants, and education programs funded by the Foundation during the past 10 years.

We’ve been getting really positive comments about our messaging. At the [2015] Education Conference, Valerielizbeth Villa [the winner of the Foundation’s scholarship to EduCon] told her Foundation story, and we saw annual giving through our text-to-donate [system] go through the roof. Our redesign of the Visionary Awards is exciting, and our team is busy implementing the plan that our Development Committee created with the help of Greg Bogue from Maritz Travel. Rolling out our PCMA Education Foundation 30th anniversary $30 for 30 [fundraising campaign] has also brought some good awareness to our longevity.

Future involvement with PCMA

This year, I’ll be past chair and head up the Leadership Committee. I have a knack for being onstage, so I hope to continue to get opportunities to emcee or speak at PCMA events. Working with young people has always been something I enjoy, too. Seeing people grow in the industry and reach their goals makes me feel good.

The future of meetings

There will be smaller group gatherings within large group events. Organizers will have to make time in the schedule for the growing demand to have relevant conversations with like-minded individuals. Allowing time for people to hook up in groups at nearby coffee shops or bars is happening already, and we should be taking notice. I go to lots of meetings where I observe more people saying, “Hey, I’m not going to go sit in sessions; I’m scheduling meetings with people I need to do business with.” I think as people build their networks, you have folks that are trying to get lots of business done during that short period of time.

Final thoughts

I’d love to say thank you to all of our members that support the Foundation year in and year out. We couldn’t do it without our donors. We have such a dedicated Foundation staff, and our partners always have the Foundation in mind. Also, anyone who’s ever been a trustee, thank you for your service.

2015 PCMA Education Foundation Board Of Trustees

Gary Schirmacher, CMP, Senior Vice President, Industry Presence and Strategic Development, Experient

Tina M. Wehmeir, CMP, CAE, CEO, AMC Institute

David L. Williams, CMP, Executive Director, International Association of Energy Economics

Immediate Past Chair
Susan Iris, Partner, Navigate

Cara Banasch, Vice President, Convention Sales and Strategies, New Orleans Convention & Visitors Bureau
Eduardo Chaillo, CMP, CMM, CASE, President and CEO, Global Meetings and Tourism Specialists
Anne Hamilton, Vice President, Global Travel, The Walt Disney Company
Phillip Jones, President and CEO, Dallas Convention & Visitors Bureau
Raymond J. Kopcinski, CMP, Senior Director, Million Dollar Round Table
Carol McGury, Executive Vice President, Events and Education Services, SmithBucklin Corporation
John Patronski, Executive Vice President, Global Experience Specialists (GES)
David G. Peckinpaugh, CMP, President, Maritz Travel Company
Angie Ranalli, CMP, Vice President of Sales, Midwest Region, San Diego Tourism Authority
William F. Reed, FASAE, CMP, Senior Director of Meetings and Community Engagement, American Society of Hematology
James Rooney, President and CEO, Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce
Valerie M. Sumner, Principal, VRS Meetings and Events Inc.
Randall Tanaka, President and CEO, THE FIRST STEP
Mark Theis, Director, Global Corporate Sales, Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide
Greg Van Dyke, Senior Vice President, Global Sales and Marketing, PSAV