By Barbara Scofidio
Let’s start with this year’s private performance by Ohio native John Legend at Nationwide Arena. PCMA is known for bringing in big-name entertainers, with Willie Nelson and Peter Frampton taking the stage in previous years. There’s no question that it’s a draw for registration, a memory-maker for attendees and an overall smart strategy a la Dreamforce. Other big names on the CL stage this year included Carly Fiorina, former Hewlett-Packard CEO and presidential contender, who moderated an industry panel; organizational psychologist Adam Grant; Thomas Barg and Ammar Kandil, creators of Yes Theory; and author Daniel Pink.
From its ADA accommodations to a partnership with the LGBT Meeting Professionals Association (which held its networking reception featuring Columbus’ beloved drag queen, Anisa Love) to a strategic alliance with the National Coalition of Black Meeting Professionals (and many other examples), CL walked the talk when it comes to inclusiveness.
PCMA brought in the Montreal-based outlet Les Cabinets to pretty up the bathrooms in the convention center with amenities like mouthwash, gum, lotions and toiletries, dental floss—even orchids! Can we please have them at every industry meeting?
There were bins everywhere for this often-misplaced newspaper. Bravo!
At the dining areas on the show floor, attendees could simply place their dirty dishes on a table and volunteers separated everything into bins. You didn’t even have to do it yourself, which most likely led to a much greater chance of items being sorted correctly.
There were signs everywhere that local purveyors were used for F&B, including a hearty IPA from Columbus Brewing Company.
Flowater stations were scattered throughout the convention center and appeared to be getting a lot of use. They need to be a permanent fixture at all of our meetings in 2023—and they can be sponsored.
It was nice to see a graphic recorder drawing on paper rather than high-tech boards. A big part of this art form is that the drawings can be taken down after the event and hung on the walls back in the office, to remind everyone of the discussions that occurred at the meeting.
SafeExpo was set up right outside The District (as the trade show floor is called) with free masks, COVID tests and information.
Gone are the days of boring convention food. From charcuterie boxes to jarred salads (including one with fresh ahi tuna and green beans) to bite-size avocado toasts and smoked salmon bites, the convention center’s catering team showcased its creativity at every turn.