PCOA 20: Recap
By Barry Markoff, ICMI Founder & CEO
The PCOA 2020 was a huge success with 480 attendees and a “breakthrough” event held as a Hybrid conference and Virtual Exhibition.
ICMI was a major sponsor providing nine outstanding presenters who each added great insight to the well thought out topics including “Road map to the future”, “Next generation branding”, “Storytelling for grants”, “Finding the right speaker for your next event”, “Tools for the future” and “The new world of Event Management”. The live site was hosted at the Hyatt Regency in Sydney with satellite events held in five Australian States along with The Park Hyatt in Auckland.
There were also approximately 250 attendees who viewed the two-day conference online. The conference was excellently MC’d by Nick Bartlett and ran professionally with no technical hiccups (a big concern for virtual conference organisers in the current climate). The 4-5 hours per day of conferencing was filled with discussions about the future of events, what they’ll look like and the importance of being agile and adaptable in the new world.
Over the duration of the conference we heard from professional development expert Mark Carter on how to use technology to create the ‘Best world’ for business; as well as humourist and presenter Jordana Borensztajn who spoke about utilising social media for events businesses. Dr Ali Walker discussed the current environment for business interactions, and gave tips on how to ensure first impressions became lasting connections
The program was also filled with many excellent business speakers including the likes of Steve Willis from the Biggest Loser, author and “lifestyler” Lola Berry and Australia’s number one futurist/innovator and TV host Steve Sammartino who left everybody on a high – the perfect way to finish the conference.
Despite the outstanding input from these presenters and several others, many attendees believed the highlight of the conference was the presentation from former No 4 Tennis player in the world Jelena Dokic who told the story of how she reached the top despite the physical and emotional abuse she received on a daily basis from her ruthless and bullying father. It was a story told from the heart which left all attendees inspired and astounded as to how Jelena was able to survive such abuse and still reach the top at such a young age.
The majority of attendees left the conference on a high, realising that COVID was a once in a century event with 2020 being a write-off for so many people in the events and conference industry. Many were very positive about the prospects for 2021 and the more agile ones believing that the second half of 2021 will start to boom. A special congratulations should go the PCO Association and in particular Paula Leishman who put in 100’s and 100’s of volunteer hours to ensure the event was the success it turned out to be.