By Jan Tolle MacDonald, CMP, CMM
There is a downside to blogging at a convention: When do you have time to do it when the schedule is so full? Today at 8:00 a.m., I joined 100 other PCMA’ers who gathered to volunteer at Save Our Cemeteries. Founded in 1974, Save Our Cemeteries Inc. is a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting, preserving, and protecting New Orleans’ 31 historic cemeteries. Check out the Web site.
We did basic yard work and clean up, i.e., raking the magnolia leaves, weed wacking and picking up the trash. I met up with Lauren Mentz and Sue Adams from the American Concrete Institute, who told me that giving back to the host community is very important to PCMA; as a result, they wanted to help, too. By shift’s end, it looked like our group had filled over 300 of those ubiquitous, big black trash bags full of junk. The place was really starting to look good by the time we left, and I was glad to know another shift of PCMAers was coming for the afternoon to finish the job. (And a shout goes out to the Commander Palace team who stopped by the cemetery with trays of hot chocolate for the volunteers. Nicely done!)
Last night, I had a chance to go through the registration bag. Two things that jumped out at me that I had never seen at other conferences: “Overflow on Demand,” which offers real-time audio and slides in two rooms should a class sell out, and a “I need some peace and quiet room.” I wonder if anyone will actually take the time to go sit and be quiet. I’ll have to check this room out.
Many people ask how does LinkedIn, blogging and Facebook relate to the real job world and how does it apply to me? Here is an example that might be helpful: Last night I met a client for the first time. We had only spoken by phone once, when I called to introduce myself and invite her to our Travel Alberta client event at PCMA. She said she would come to our event and we agreed to “try to run into each other beforehand” — yeah, right 2,000 people, I don’t think so. Anyway, after she had accepted my invitation, she sent me a LinkedIn invitation. Her profile included her picture, so when I was sitting on the motorcoach to my hotel, I noticed her, and went up to introduce myself. We both thought that was pretty cool. The power of the Internet.
Next, I’m off to the tailgate party, chapter reception, the official opening reception and THEN to a client event: “Comedy Night,” sponsored by the Canadian Tourism Commission and their partners.
Hopefully, I will find time to write in my blog and look for Curtis Kersten, too.
Jan Tolle MacDonald, CMP, CMM, is the regional manager, Midwest MC&IT, for Travel Alberta. This is her first time attending the Professional Convention Management Association convention, and will be blogging about her experiences for the duration of the event.