I forgot to mention it, but PCMA had several announcements at the press conference on Monday, particularly about the record attendance (more than 3,400, unaudited) and about the numerous green initiatives they undertook this year. here’s my writeup if you want to know more about the official stuff.
I love this convention center. I know it’s not the most environmentally friendly, having been built before anyone cared about being green, but the sense of light and connection to the city around it—including great views from most of the common areas—go a long way in my book. Now if they could just get some windows in the meeting rooms…
PCMA got a record number of students coming to the show this year, and they are an impressive bunch. I met one young woman yesterday who was taking 18 credit hours this semester while holding down a full-time job that includes managing 20 contractors. And she owns her own condo. At 23. I won’t even tell you what I was doing at 23, but let’s just say my parents weren’t crowing about me at the time the way I hope her parents are. But, seeing as the poor thing had 20 text messages and about the same number of voice mails over the course of the one session we were in together, I can’t help but agree with the Aliens Among Us/Generation Next speaker who said we were raising a generation of type A++ stress puppies. I may not have been accomplishing much in my early years, but I think I had a whole lot more fun than she seemed to be having.
Overall, the students just blew me away with their professionalism (every single one was dressed better than I was, too). One young man we met at the reception last night was the smoothest networker I’d ever met. And their focus is on this business. These kids aren’t falling into the profession the way so many of us older folks did. They are focused, driven, and ready to shake up the meeting/hospitality world. I can’t wait to see what they accomplish!
The people in Seattle are the best! I know Southerners are supposed to be the most hospitable, but every single person I met from Seattle, from the bus drivers to the convention center greeters to the front desk folks at the Hilton to, well, everyone, were open and lovely and seemed genuinely glad to have us here. Particularly, the women who were doing the directing at the convention center just made my day. I can’t say enough good things about them.