“A need for senior education” Image 1


“A need for senior education”

Luca Favetta, EMEA Business Director of Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA), talks about his “new world”, the Global Data Protection Regulation and PCMA’s vision for Europe.

tw: InJanuary you started as EMEA Business Director of PCMA. Time to look back in a tweet. How has it been?
Luca Favetta:
So far, my time as EMEA Business Director @pcmahq has been extremely interesting! Much more to learn but happy with my decision to join #pcma

You spent your entire professional life as Events Director in corporations like HP and SAP. After 25 years you moved to the association world, why?
I have worked with associations in the past, including PCMA, and was fascinated with their work within their respective sectors. I was lucky to experience first-hand the value of PCMA’s senior level educational programs, so when I heard about this career opportunity, I thought it was the perfect organization to join. Corporate business events are one of our areas of focus, so I’m still very much connected with my “old world”.

From your observation: What are the top issues meeting planners deal with at present? And how can PCMA help?
Corporations seem to adapt and respond to change more effectively than associations, so I have identified the need for an upgrade in mindset for associations to adapt to a newer regulatory climate and business models, and keep up with the ever evolving industry. In terms of the top issues I see, the first one would be the new Global Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), one area where association meeting planners could use more guidance in ensuring new processes and operations are adapted. Safety and security is another major issue that the industry is facing in the light of uncertainty and unstable geo-political circumstances. Looking at these issues, PCMA can support planers with senior level education programs. Joining PCMA, members will have access to the world’s largest community of peers and market intelligence, enabling them to make informed business decisions; all of this, in a passionate and inclusive environment, with a specific focus on the needs of the region they are part of.

What has prompted the Professional Convention Management Association to expand into Europe?
Founded in Alabama in 1956, PCMA has historically focused its efforts on the North American market. However, globalisation and the digital ‘revolution’ have encouraged us to open our eyes to education opportunities outside of North America. As well as this, the majority of PCMA’s members located in the US, Canada and Mexico are doing business across borders and consequently, PCMA now has members all over the globe, including Europe and Asia Pacific regions.

“A need for senior education” Image 2

Your association has 17 chapters in South, East, Central, West of the US, Canada and Mexico. Are there plans for an European chapter?
At this stage, we do not plan to open a chapter in Europe, in the form we have in North America. But we are focusing our efforts on creating a digital platform ensuring constant flow of communication to and from the European community. We have been working on creating highly targeted and tailored content that will address the needs of European meetings professionals, which will be delivered both digitally and through local events.

The meetings industry in Europe has (too) many associations. Why do we need PCMA to come?

There are indeed many associations in Europe but we, at PCMA, still see the need for senior education that will help Business Event Strategist in the region to expand on their knowledge and raise their profile.

Please explain briefly your vision for Europe, your plans and first steps.
Our vision for the region is to create and deliver educational programs from Europe, for Europe. So far, we have done a lot of research behind the scenes to fully understand the needs of these markets and the present gaps in provision. We have almost completed this phase and we are now working on creating new material that can help event professionals develop across Europe.

At your last annual conference, you announced PCMA’s European Advisory Board with two members from Germany: Klaus Span (IBM Corporation) and Matthias Schultze (German Convention Bureau). What is their role?
The role of our European Advisory Board is to provide PCMA with candid and meaningful industry insight from the region, as well as feed our association with local updates on latest trends, opportunities for growth, and potential challenges within the industry. The Advisory Board members act as local ambassadors within their markets, covering the entire spectrum of our industry: corporates, associations, agencies, destinations, and international organizations.


Since 1956, the Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA) has been dedicated to inspiring the business events community with senior level networking and educational opportunities globally. With just under 7,000 members and an audience of more than 50,000 individuals, PCMA is the world’s largest network of business events strategists. Headquartered in Chicago, PCMA has a footprint within North America, Europe, the Middle East and Asia, with activities across 37 countries. 

Your Influencers Summit took place in Monaco, in Europe. Why?

The PCMA European Influencers Summit had three major objectives: to deliver a memorable education experience for attendees, to provide a platform for senior peer to peer knowledge exchange and networking, and obtain insight on how to move forward with our development plan in Europe. Monte Carlo and Accor Hotels bid on the Summit and we felt it was a strong destination to deliver a collaborative and unique experience for our attendees.

Deborah Sexton, your President and CEO, believes: “Convening Leaders is the premier industry event for leading meeting professionals.” Do you agree?
Of course! Vancouver 2016 was my first time attending Convening Leaders and I was highly impressed with the quality of the educational programs and speakers as well as the innovative format and layout of the event. Having managed large corporate events myself, I can say that Convening Leaders is in line with any world class corporate event with regards to quality of content, production and attendee experience.

Why should Europeans, Germans fly all the way to Nashville, Tennessee, for Convening Leaders 2018, from 7 to 10 January?
Over 4,500 senior industry professionals from all over the world will attend Convening Leaders.

The conference will provide invaluable networking opportunities, vital for building new professional relations and creating new business opportunities. Delegates will have first-hand access to our market-leading education programs focused on the industry’s hottest topics and most debated issues. This year, PCMA is working extremely hard to deliver more regional content from outside the US, ensuring all attendees benefit from valuable and tangible solutions for their business.

Whether it will happen or not: Which most debated issue would you like to see on stage?
Ideally, I’d like to see strong debates on strategic issues affecting our industry and threats coming from outside of the events industry. Event strategy and its role in company advancement, digital revolution, meeting design and customer experience complete my wish list.  KERSTIN WÜNSCH
“Corporate business events are one of our areas of focus, so I’m still very much connected with my ‚old world‘.”
Luca Favetta,
EMEA Business Director, PCMA