• Q&A: Bruce MacMillan, Chief Operating Oficer, PCMA

    POSTED September 4, 2020

These interviews are part of a series that highlights new hires within the industry. Have you recently started a new role or do you know someone who has? Submit your ideas to lauren.pahmeier@tigeroak.com

Bruce MacMillan was recently named the Chief Operating Officer for PCMA.  

1. What are you looking forward to most in your new role?

The business events industry is poised for a major comeback. But we have to get comfortable with the reality that our industry will be different. PCMA has a plan – Recovery Discovery – to help stakeholders thrive through the next phase of the pandemic and into the next normal. I am eager to work with leaders across the globe to rally their people and activate new strategies drawn from our seminal research, Business Events Compass: Insights and Strategies for the Next Normal.

Our industry bore the brunt of the pandemic’s economic impact, but there is much cause for optimism ahead because it’s our industry that will help the world reap the power of human connection as a route to renewal.

2. How do you think past experiences have prepared you for this role?

I led transformational undertakings while at Tourism Toronto, where I oversaw the post-SARS recovery plan, and with the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games bid. No two situations are alike, but the core principles – innovation, empathy and collaboration – are totally transferable.

3. How did you get into this industry?

I left a career at Arthur Andersen to travel and ended up working at Expo 88 in Brisbane, Australia. Sure it was fun…and I met people from all over the world. I could also see that there was incredible economic and social power in bringing people together. From there I joined Tourism Vancouver and got to be part of an amazing team that brought people from all over the world to my home town.

4. What are you hoping to achieve in your new role?

My focus will be on bringing the “next normal” to life for our members, partners and business events stakeholders everywhere. PCMA’s Business Events Compass makes the case for focusing on three key areas -- participant engagement, evolution of traditional business models, and reskilling our industry for the future.

5. What do you enjoy most about the industry?

Our industry understood the power of a global network well before there was social media. We are in the business of human connections. And while technology is a wonderful enabler, no other industry understands how to build the foundational network connections between people, ideas and opportunities like our industry.

The U.S. Travel Association has called the current moment the “Great Travel Depression,” in light of the economic effects resulting from the coronavirus pandemic.


Even during a worldwide pandemic, the hospitality industry is working to make people feel at ease. Though many hotels can only open their doors to health care workers and first responders, they’re reaching out to their local communities with bright messages in clever, socially-distanced ways. Through the heart-shaped lighting of windows at night, hotels are serving as beacons of hope in cities across the country. 


PCMA’s flagship event, Convening Leaders, brought industry professionals from 36 countries to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, on Jan. 6-9 at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center. “We built this conference around the theme Disrupt + Deliver because that’s what the industry needs and wants,’’ says PCMA President and CEO Sherriff Karamat. “We leave here with a greater commitment and better understanding of how business events can and must drive economic and social progress.’’