Community connection

Community connection

PCMA is partnering with Melbourne-based MICE industry tradeshow AIME to power its Knowledge Programme for the
2022 event. CMW speaks to show director Silke Calder and to PCMA’s MD for the APAC region, Karen Bolinger.


AIME and PCMA have worked collaboratively across many projects over the past few years. AIME director Silke Calder says the ethos of the Melbourne show’s Knowledge Programme, powered by PCMA for 2022, is all about personal and professional development.

Calder says there has been discussion on community support activities and how platforms can be provided to help audiences through these challenging times. With both organisations identifying the same market challenges and opportunities, she said it made sense to combine forces.  

“Our industry has been forced through a period of evolution and we want to explore all of the winning solutions that can be applied by individuals and organisations. Coming out of standstill, we will need to look at new event formats of the future,” Calder says. 

Visitor and exhibitor feedback will play a big part in how the partners shape the 2022 Knowledge Programme, she believes, and says: “We want to help address the challenges our audience see as the biggest barriers to recovery. Both PCMA and AIME are conducting audience research that will help inform our ongoing year-round activity. 

“PCMA really understands how to present educational content for the whole of the APAC region while creating a community experience. Their ideas for the event are energetic, forward-thinking and perfect for our time and place.”

We asked PCMA’s MD for the APAC region Karen Bolinger how closer collaboration with AIME fitted with the association’s own plans?

“PCMA has invested in the region and has worked closely with AIME over the past few years and we really understand the potential for growth for APAC,” she says. “This collaboration is to take the partnership beyond the show itself. PCMA provides high quality professional development for business events strategists and is on a growth trajectory in the region.”  

Bolinger says there is a need to ensure our communities remain connected and have the right skills to respond to pent-up demand. 

“Business transformation and having our customers at the centre of everything we do is key to any success,” she says. “We will develop our digital platforms along with keeping the face-to-face experience at the forefront of what we do.” 

Bolinger points out that PCMA has had great success with its Digital Event Strategist certification course (DES) and has now developed experts in APAC to support the time zone and specific needs of that region. “Our first localised programme kicked off in April with a large cohort from Thailand. We also have an ‘Introduction to Digital Events’ course for those who want to get to know a bit more about digital events before they take a deeper dive or get some basics.

“We will be launching a newly developed programme called 7 Change Actions (7CA) – which is a design framework created exclusively for the business events industry to reinvent their services and organisations to remain relevant and adapt to changing consumer behaviour.” She explains it is a 7-week learning experience that will arm participants with new skills and renewed confidence to develop value-based solutions and equip them to lead as change agents at their respective organisations. 

Bolinger adds that, while many organisations needed to cancel events and shut down advocacy efforts over the last year, PCMA has had one of its strongest years due to the fact that it was able to adapt to not only meet the challenge, but double-down on advocacy at a time when members needed it most. 

“Despite brutal economic conditions and the cancellation of key fundraising events, the PCMA Foundation provided over $900K in business event industry financial support and chapter/individual grants,” she says. “The Foundation also launched the Accelerating Reskilling initiative to support new skills development for industry professionals, raising almost $100K in the process.” 

Managing Editor, Conference News & Conference & Meetings World. Write Paul an E-mail

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