• 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.

Jennifer Erney, Associate Luxury Hotels International vice president of sales, was named the 2017 Supplier of the Year by PCMA at the 2017 PCMA Education Foundation Visionary Awards. The 2017 Professional Excellence Awards winners were selected from nearly 7,000 members of PCMA.

“Our 2017 honorees and award winners’ accomplishments serve as inspiration to both industry veterans and novices alike,” says Deborah Sexton, president and CEO, PCMA. “Each an expert in their profession – always endeavoring to lead the advancement of their organizations and the business events industry.”


Barry Smith, president and CEO, has been honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Professional Convention Management Association Education Foundation yesterday at the 2017 Visionary Awards in Washington, D.C.

Smith is one of the first Canadians to ever receive this award, which is given to inspirational leaders for their contributions to the business events industry.


Tessa Kalfell, the convention services manager at Visit Seattle, has been named to the Professional Convention Management Association’s “20 in their Twenties” list. This recognition is awarded to emerging industry leaders.

“I am so honored to be named one of PCMA’s 20 in their Twenties this year,” says Kalfell. “I’m looking forward to the connections I’ll make in the coming year, growing my business relationships and building a network of peers outside of Seattle who I can collaborate with and go to with questions and ideas.”