Friday, September 12, 2008

Getting ready for two babies!

I know a lot of you juggle the responsibilities of home and work life fairly well, and some continue to struggle. I thought I'd share with you how I'm doing trying to prepare for two babies....

One isn't actually a real baby, it's our Annual Meeting (January 11-14) in New Orleans. But it's a baby in my eyes because this year I'm going to miss it. Yes, that's right, I'm not going. BUT, before you get worried - it's because I'm preparing for a real baby. I'm due December 27 and the timing is just a little say the least.

So my head has been in the office getting the team prepared and all the i's and t's crossed so that when my membership team gets onsite they'll be able to execute flawlessly.

Am I the only one who has had to deal with this situation? I can't imagine I am - I would love your feedback on how you prepared to put on your biggest event of the year and figure out how to get everything/everyone ready to work while you're out on maternity leave. The question of the ages perhaps....


Friday, August 8, 2008

Preparing for ASAE

From what I know of our members you all look forward to the PCMA Annual Meeting to get the most up-to-date information available and come back refreshed and with new innovative ideas. For you, the 2009 Annual Meeting (Jan 11-14, 2009 in New Orleans) will NOT disappoint. Stay tuned for more information on the creative things we are planning and the exceptional education (what else would we provide?!) that will be available.

For me, as a professional in the membership arena, I look forward to the ASAE Annual Meeting with the same anticipation. I'm getting ready to go (August 16) and have been scouring the website and the program trying to decide which sessions to attend. I've come the realization that I truly cannot clone myself and go to 2-4 sessions at the same time...darn it.

If you'll be in San Diego for ASAE look for me - I'll be the woman running from session to session getting as much information as possible!!!


Friday, June 20, 2008

Summer is here!

Sunlight is bouncing off the fountain in Millennium Park, Randolph Street is preparing for another festival of delectable food and McCormick Place is buzzing with the anticipation of a new is officially the first day of summer in Chicago!

With the new season there is also a new team member here at PCMA; please allow me to introduce myself:

My name is Liz Giannini and I am thrilled to join PCMA as Manager, Chapters and Membership. My passion for associations started in college and has continued on throughout my career with years spent at both the Society for Clinical Data Management (SCDM) and the Women's Foodservice Forum (WFF). Members are the heart and soul of an organization and I have had the good fortune of working with thousands over the years in committees, regional programming, annual meetings, book clubs, mentor programs and...the list goes on. Long story short, I strive to create a positive and dynamic experience for members. If you have questions, concerns or ideas; please don't hesitate to contact me. I can be reached at

Or, if you are in need of a restaurant recommendation in Chicago I will be more than happy to offer my two cents...

I look forward to seeing, meeting and talking with all of you at Chapter events in the coming weeks, months and years!

- Liz G.

Monday, May 5, 2008

It's been too long...

I'm not sure where the last month went - but it disapeared fast!

I've been so keenly interested in the recent ASAE research on Decision to Join. In fact I attended a session about it last week. Not surprising, the decision for people to join rests on the time commitment and the work of the organization. There are so many different ways to become involved in an association.

What was the tipping point for you to join PCMA? Or, any other organization? If you're not a joiner (of anything) - what's it going to take for an organization to win you over?

Any other thoughts to share on why to join? I'd love to hear your ideas and maybe we can incorporate them at PCMA.

More later - Happy Spring!

Christine M.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Find Your New Position!

Quick musing for the day....

I have met 5 people, in the last 2 weeks, who have used the PCMA Career Center ( to find their next position. Not that I don't already know what a great resource it is - but to actually find 5 people who I have run into at various events is so completely awesome and validating that people are finding value and the right next opportunity through PCMA.

I also know that our student members utilize the site to post their resumes (as they approach graduation) and look for internships. So if you're looking for great, energetic employees who have a serious commitment to this industry - this is the pool of candidates you should pull from! Hands down - these student members are AWESOME!

Here's the link again:

In special celebration of the anniversary with our Career Center there are special discounts available to you as PCMA members.

1. Post a job through April 30th and receive a second posting for half the cost!
2. Members of PCMA receive a $100 discount on each job posting.
3. Post a job for twice as long - 60 days compared to 30 days offered by most other sites.

- Christine

Friday, April 4, 2008

Social Network

The name, in and of itself, sounds like a lot of fun - combines too great ideas - SOCIAL and NETWORKING...but put together it leaves some people in the cold. The premise is fairly straightforward - you connect with people online instead of face to face. The role this plays in meeting planning is key, some might say critical, as it allows you (the planner) to add another dimension to the networking you provide face to face at your conferences and annual meetings. It doesn't replace it.

I thought this might be helpful to some.

For instance, on LinkedIn, I accepted an invitation from a PCMA member. Easy enough, right? But then when I was at Springtime ( yesterday he came up to me at the PCMA booth and we chatted for a little bit.

Beyond saying it's just "cool" - I would say it's a place you need to get to know and become familiar with. Once you dive in you will be thankful that you did!

You can find me at the following social networking sites:

1. PCMA Related - connecting with my members and people who come to our F2F events - PCMA Connect:

2. More social - but can be used for business as I am doing - Facebook:

3. More business focused: LinkedIn:

4. Society of Word of Mouth:

I encourage you to try it. I tried it and found people I haven't seen since college and high school. Start small, then your network will expand. I would be happy to help anyone get going on this - just let me know!

Monday, March 24, 2008

Observer of all

Is it just me? Is it just because this is what we do for a living? But, I can't go to an event without looking at all the details of the event from a planner perspective. I look at linens, I take photos of centerpieces, I look at signage, buffet set-up, bar service, candles, registration materials....the list is exhaustive and exhausting.

I'm back recently from a wonderful trip to Laguna Beach where we stayed at the St. Regis. Wow - great, great property. The meeting rooms were nice, the ballrooms were also good - easy to maneuver throughout the property - all in all a good, good experience. Did it hurt that it was 70 degrees and sunny and I left behind snow storms - you bet it matters. :+)

But back to business, enough day dreaming already!!!! I was there for a fun work retreat for my husband - a little bit of business and team celebrations (awards, dinner/dance) but more time for R&R. It was a bank event (where my DH works) - and they did an excellent job of working with the space in unique ways and utilizing the great outdoors (thanks to some heaters at night when the temps got downright chilly) for receptions and breakfasts....

So, even when I'm far, far from home and "trying" not to work - I end up evaluating the entire event. I won't push for workers comp or anything - I guess it's just a curse (or a blessing) of this fun, creative and unique industry we work in!!!

-Christine M.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

2011 and 2012

Disclaimer: It should be known that I am not involved AT ALL with our site selections - I'm in Membership for goodness I have no voice in the decision....
What exciting news to report that PCMA will be in Las Vegas and San Diego in 2011 and 2012 respectively!

Las Vegas has so much to offer and I know our attendees will get an experience to remember. Our Vegas will be!!!

San Diego - ahhh - San Diego - one of my favorite cities in the United States. My memories of my ONE visit have lasted me more than 8 years - fish tacos by the ocean, warm weather (relative to Chicago) in February - does it get better??? I look forward to reliving my good times and seeing all that has changed since I was there last.


Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Blogs and The Meeting Planner-A love story!

No, that's not the name of a new fairy tale - the time is upon us to see new ways (which could be good or bad) in which our members are only a text message away, blog or streaming video from talking about our events to the  world at large.

I found this blog entry very interesting and thought I'd pass it on.  I got it off a website I recently just found (as in last night) - these folks are at the forefront of new ideas - it's time for us to pay attention.

A taste of the blog entry from Kare Andersonco founder of Say it Better Center, LLC :

"Live blogging just started recently, mainly at tech-centered conferences or unconferences. Audience twittering just started within the past 14 months or so. Yet the trend will spread quickly to more kinds of meetings. Parents are learning text messaging to keep in touch with their children. Young meeting attendees expect to make their views heard, in the moment. As more meeting attendees adopt these social media tools, they’ll use them the conferences they attend.

Thus more and more attendees won’t wait to vote on the questions the speaker or panel wants to ask. They’ll be commenting, asking the questions and trading opinions as the program unfolds. They’ll take photos from their seat, then try streaming video."

See the whole article here:

If you were in Seattle you heard Mich Matthew's talking about this...that it's coming.  I think that time has come.

What do you think?  How are you using new technology at your events?  What's stopping you? Who's the evangelist in your organization that's pushing for this?  Do you have one?  If not, you might want to gather a team together and look at this to see what you can do to join in the fun....and it is fun, exciting and just a little intimidating.

- Christine Melendes

Monday, March 10, 2008

Call for Ideas....

Did you attend the Annual Meeting in January? If you did, did you stop by the Pavilion? If you did, I need your help. Really, I'll take any suggestions - so don't worry if you didn't attend....

I created a PCMA Pavilion at the Annual Meeting - the sole purpose was to show off the new website, have staff on hand to discuss member benefits and all the cool new things PCMA is doing. I think it went well. We had a good spot and traffic was decent. The concept rocked and I don't want to lose it in 2009 - actually I want to make it BIGGER AND BETTER in 2009.

This is where you come in. What ideas can you think of to make it better in 2009...keeping in mind that I want to highlight PCMA. We will be in the New Orleans convention center - it's long and thin and there are a lot of opportunities to accomplish this idea...but it won't look the same.

What creative ideas are you using at your meetings to promote your own organization?

How can I creatively use the space for maximum benefit and traffic?

What ideas can I steal (thank you very much) - to really knock this out of the park?

Let me know your thoughts - would love to incorporate ideas that come from members.

-christine m

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Next F2F Opportunities

Monthly programming from PCMA HQ that you can take advantage of. Make your plans today to attend and get these events on your calendars today!

Legal "On the Go!" Webinar - February 29 at your desk:

Masters Series - March 5 in NYC:

Education Foundation Dinner - April 2 in DC:

Masters Series - May 21 in DC

Leadership Conference - June 8-10 in Los Angeles

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

The next opportunity...

Where do you think your next opportunity to connect is with the fabulous people who attended the Annual Meeting? Well, it's at your fingertips, on your computer - it is PCMA Connect! Check out this recent article in Tradeshow Week that talks about PCMA Connect.

Don't delay - stay involved with PCMA through this wonderful online networking tool....

Monday, January 28, 2008

Thank You Seattle....Good Night!

....that was the famous send off of the theme song from the TV show Frasier.

PCMA has left Seattle - but I can tell you that Seattle is still in me. Without a doubt I fell in love with Seattle! Maybe it was the flukey sunny days and mild temperatures, maybe it was the rolling hills of the city, maybe it was the FRIENDLY cab drivers who thanked me for coming to Seattle, maybe it was electric street cars, maybe it was the shopping. But in the end, it was all of it rolled up into one sweet package!

As an organization, PCMA is leaving behind a legacy of planting a tree for everyone who donated $20 to the Education Foundation. What I also hope is that what PCMA is leaving behind is the good will of our organization and a lot of meeting planners who will look at Seattle for their next meeting. The green carpet was rolled out for us in a BIG way - let Seattle show your organization the same hospitality - your attendees will thank you!

Thanks again, Seattle - I had a great time!


Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Here we come Seattle....

So, I leave for my first PCMA Annual Meeting tomorrow morning. Now, in my time in this business I've planned and executed LOTS of annual meetings/conferences - so I know what is in store as far as sleep deprivation and my poor poor feet go.

What totally makes it worth it for me - and here's what I'm really looking forward to - seeing it in action. I can never tire of that energy, that sense of one - even if there are 3,000+ people - that happens when everyone is is a huge adrenaline rush for me.

I don't know about you when you have a big event, but I make absolutely certain that I give myself some space to step back and watch the meeting happen, to enjoy the tiniest of that I don't feel like all I've done is execute and don't remember a thing. There is nothing worse than the feeling of "I MISSED IT!" - that is something I will make sure doesn't happen in Seattle.

And I know, as I sit here and type this that next Wednesday when it's the last day of the event I will wake up and wonder, "where the heck did the time go?" It's inevitable, despite the throbbing feet, that I will be sad that it is over. That I will have to say goodbye to all the new people I have met and to a city that is opening it's arms to us.

If you get a chance, check out this story that published this morning:

Seattle is ready for us and we are ready for we come!!!!