Thinking Bigger in San Diego: My Experience at PCMA Convening Leaders 2024

As the International Bidding Manager for Marketing Liverpool, I recently had the incredible opportunity to attend PCMA Convening Leaders 2024. Being selected as one of PCMA’s ’20 in Their Twenties’ granted me a scholarship to participate in the PCMA Congress held at the San Diego Convention Centre from January 7th to 10th.

Marketing Liverpool's International Bidding Manager, Rachael Molyneux

Marketing Liverpool’s International Bidding Manager, Rachael Molyneux

With over 5,000 professionals from around the world, Convening Leaders 2024 aimed to ignite innovation, collaboration, and strategic thinking in the ever-changing business events landscape. It was more than just a gathering; it was a whirlwind event full of inspiration, learning and unforgettable moments. The event challenged attendees to ‘Think Bigger’ about their careers and the future of the business events industry.

The keynote sessions featured a high-profile line-up that shared wisdom, experiences, and visions for the future. Day 1 set the tone with a session on the “Future of Generative AI” by Mo Gawdat, (Former CBO at Google X), and Nina Schick (Author, Entrepreneur, and Speaker). While offering valuable insights into this powerful technology, the session importantly served as a reminder that AI is here and it’s going to change the way we work. The subsequent parallel session, “AI Idea Exchange”, provided a deeper dive into practical applications, showcasing how this technology can enhance our roles rather than replace them.

Day 2 brought a unique opportunity to be in the presence of two influential figures – President Bill Clinton and Secretary Hillary Rodham Clinton. Their insights on global leadership, navigating high-pressure environments, and, particularly, the importance of empowering women in leadership were both enlightening and inspiring. Following this, Shawn Kanungo’s keynote on ‘The Great Reimagination’ urged us to be fearless, emphasising the need to create more meaningful, memorable, and bolder experiences.

An often overlooked but crucial aspect, mental health was covered on Day 3 by Mayim Bialik, a neuroscientist and author but best known as Amy on The Big Bang Theory, sharing her personal experience, and highlighting the necessity to prioritise personal wellness in our high-pressure industry.

Beyond the conference programme, the social events were a real highlight. Networking at SeaWorld, attending ‘Party for a Purpose’ and a performance by Boyz II Men created more opportunities to connect with events professionals from all over the world.

The conference also recognised the importance of nurturing emerging talent by providing dedicated sessions for the “20 in Their Twenties” class. These sessions focused on empowering the next generation of leaders and giving us a voice. The most rewarding aspect, however, was meeting my fellow class members who I no doubt will be industry friends for life.

I return to Marketing Liverpool with a notebook full of ideas and a renewed passion for my work, I’m eager to apply my newfound knowledge to bidding, securing, creating, and delivering impactful events in Liverpool City Region.

The event was an incredible opportunity for both personal and professional growth. Thank you to PCMA and my team at Liverpool Convention Bureau and Marketing Liverpool for their support. As I continue in my career, the goal is clear – to contribute positively to the business events industry and continue thinking bigger, better, and bolder.

For more information about PCMA’s ’20 in Their 20s’ click HERE.