Luca Favetta: “I’ve constantly been fascinated by the association segment of the event industry”
Luca Favetta is one of the most impressive names in the events industry in Europe.
He has recently left the corporate world to occupy a prominent position in the Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA), and the challenge has been very motivating.
For those who might not know it that well, can you tell us what PCMA is and what's its main focus?
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. We are headquartered in Chicago, IL USA, with partners and collaborators around the globe and a footprint within North America, Europe, the Middle East and Asia, with activities across 37 countries. PCMA’s is focused on inspiring, connecting and innovating the business events community, through education.
Why did you decide to change from the corporate world to an association?
As you know, I spent my entire professional career (25+ years) in the Corporate Events sector, with organisations such as HP and SAP. Throughout my career I have been engaged with multiple industry associations in many different ways/roles - and since this industry has given me so much, I have always been keen to give back part of my experience. I’ve constantly been fascinated by the association segment of the event industry and had the opportunity of collaborating and supporting PCMA over the last few years and to experience first-hand the value of the educational programs PCMA offers to its audience. Therefore, when I heard about this professional opportunity, I thought PCMA was the perfect organization for me to try new things, face new challenges and find new motivation. I’m really happy about my choice.
What are the main challenges nowadays for PCMA?
At PCMA’s core, we try to challenge ourselves constantly to inspire, innovate and connect the business event community. This means exploring different learning formats, technology tools and creating an environment to change and adapt quickly. It is not easy to do this and we are not always successful, but it is important that we constantly challenge ourselves to stay relevant for our members and provide content our audience can use to advance their organisations and own careers.
What will your role in this be, as EMEA Business Director?
PCMA is a very well-known and respected brand in the USA, Mexico and Canada, and only recently developed a detailed global strategy; which directed the investment and expansion of its focus outside of North America. As EMEA Regional Business Director, my first objective is to enhance the PCMA brand awareness and customer engagement in our region. To this extent, we are working with organisations that have similar values to ours, so that we can strengthen our offerings and continue to elevate the role of the business event professional.
Our focus has always been on education, and that is not changing. We plan to deliver high-quality education that hits on challenging topics in the local market, providing both local and global opportunities for idea exchange and collaboration. And in my region I want to begin to do this “from Europe for Europe”.
This is why we have recently created the PCMA European Advisory Board that will help us to identify regional priorities and craft our development plan in Europe.
Tell us a bit more about PCMA plans for other regions in the globe.
For example, in Asia Pacific, an organisation we have partnered with is SACEOS (Singapore Association of Convention and Exhibition Organisers and Suppliers) to extend our education sessions throughout the year to their members, as well as deliver broadcasted sessions from PCMA Convening
Leaders to their members in Singapore. These relationships allow PCMA’s resources to be shared with a broader audience. At the same time, PCMA members are also exposed to SACEOS members and experiences, allowing a broader scope of perspectives and exchange of solutions. We continue to work with destinations around the world, to provide education and training to the local business events community, creating tailored education programs. PCMA’s values the expanding global partnerships and alliances we have established over the past several years, which vary in marketing, education, training and development.
And also about your most recent partnership with IAPCO.
IAPCO and PCMA’s values align closely around education and the offerings to our members. We realise that by collaborating, we can provide even stronger education sessions that bring more diverse perspectives, at both our respective events and participating global industry events. It also allows PCMA members to access a trusted group of PCOs to discuss their business needs. The relationship has grown over the last few years and continues to be beneficial for both our audiences.
To wrap it up, what would your main message for our readers be?
I strongly believe education is one of the keys for professional growth and we all should invest the right amount of time and energy in this. This is challenging, especially in these days where we are all asked to do more with less and where budgets and resources are cut over and over...
To be successful it is critical to select the right development opportunities available in the market and at PCMA we are committed to create and deliver the best senior educational programs to support our audiences’ career progression and enhance the role of Business Event Strategist.