Lauren Arena
Jan 17, 2018

PCMA amplifies engagement with record numbers

Association sees strong financial growth and record revenue amid global expansion.

Going out with bang...Outgoing PCMA president and CEO Deborah Sexton farewells members
Going out with bang...Outgoing PCMA president and CEO Deborah Sexton farewells members

PCMA (Professional Convention Management Association) announced strong financial growth and record revenue numbers during its annual Convening Leaders event, which took place last week at the Music City Center in Nashville.

The association, which is headquartered in Chicago, now has more than 7,000 members globally and more than half (approx. 4,500) attended this year’s event. Close to 2,000 people also engaged with the conference online, including 'watch parties' across Asia that tuned in to specially programmed broadcasts to the APAC region. 

"Our numbers are incredible, this looks like the biggest conference we’ve ever had," PCMA CEO and president, Deborah Sexton, said. "But it’s not just about numbers—the success of PCMA is down to the people that are here, who allow you to come together and test your theories for the year ahead."

Financially, PCMA’s revenues have also shown record increases to US$19 million (from US$6 million USD in 2006) with partnership activity contributing US$6.5 million in 2017. Its revenue streams and brands now include Convening Leaders, ICESAP, the Digital Experience Institute and Convene magazine.

The growth of PCMA has been supported by the PCMA Education Foundation, which also announced record numbers last week, raising US$1.83 million from a range of activities during 2017, with US$493,000 being awarded in scholarships and grants during the same year.

This record success has grown under Deborah Sexton’s leadership as CEO, a position she has held since 2005.

"We are very financially healthy," PCMA 2017 board chair, Mary Pat Heftman, said. "When Deborah arrived at the organisation we were in a different position. We’ve had continuous year-on-year revenue growth, membership growth, and our partnership programme continues to grow."


She added: "Our partnership revenue has quadrupled in the last 10 years and we’re committed to continually driving experiences [powered by partnerships] that serve our audiences."

Heftman also credited membership growth to the organisation's 2017 global outreach programmes. "We have taken significant steps to expand our global footprint this year with the acquisition of the Incentive, Conference & Events Society Asia-Pacific (ICESAP). We also launched Knowledge Exchange Sessions in both London and Barcelona.

"Our PCMA team worked with our regional advisory boards to create content using our philosophy and principles, but designed for that region by the folks in that region... The spark and enthusiasm for PCMA [outside of North America] is amazing, and that’s what is driving our growth."

New leadership

In a recently announced move, Deborah Sexton will hand over as president and CEO to Sherrif Karamat, the current COO. Karamat has worked with Deborah since 2005 and originally joined the organisation as vice president of sales in 2003. He officially begins his new role as president and CEO of PCMA on January 19, 2018.

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