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by Michael J. Shapiro | January 10, 2012

The Professional Convention Management Association expects to welcome a record number of attendees to its Convening Leaders annual meeting, now taking place through Wednesday, Jan. 11, in San Diego. Although the association won’t release specific attendance figures for another 10 days, a record number of planners registered for the event, and president and CEO Deborah Sexton expects the total attendance to exceed last year’s figure of 3,743, including more than 200 students. The organization currently has more members than ever before, added outgoing board chair Susan Katz, and is enjoying an 83 percent retention rate for the year. The association recently completed mapping out a strategic plan consisting of three pillars that will determine its future course of action, noted incoming chair Kent Allaway, CMP, executive director for the International Association for Energy Economics. The focus will be on building community, continuing to invest in and provide professional education, and leading the industry with innovative approaches to planning. The PCMA Education Foundation, which raises money for scholarships and grants to support education, exceeded all fundraising goals for the year. According to incoming foundation chair Liz Erickson, executive director of meetings and incentives, North America, for Fairmont-Raffles-Swissotel, the foundation is working on a three-year strategic plan. The foundation will strive to do a better job communicating all initiatives to members this year, added Erickson. Typically, the foundation spends $200,000 a year on grants and scholarships.