Meet Your Annual Meeting Event Planning Team

PECAA is ramping up for our biggest Annual Meeting yet, April 19-21, 2018 – and we couldn’t be more excited to invite you to the beautiful city of Tucson, AZ!

In the coming months, you’ll learn about some Tucson (and surrounding area) fun facts, tidbits of history and a look into the experiences we have planned for you in April; this meeting is stacking up to be one of our most engaging & powerful meetings to date!

Meet The Team

For the past several years, and many city and hotel selections later – there are a few key folks that are constantly on the hunt for the next uniquely perfect experience for PECAA Members. Your event planning team includes Cathi Zerba, PECAA Event Planner along with Sterling & Laurie, the NKilter event firm contracted in support of the organization.

Cathi, Sterling & Laurie (and the entire PECAA team!) go through quite an extensive process to actually select which city and contract the hotel that Members will be staying at during each year’s Annual Meeting. Not to mention the myriad of details it takes to produce a meeting Members will be excited to attend!

How Does the Planning Process Work?

Start-to-finish, the entire planning cycle to nail down all aspects of the PECAA Annual Meeting takes a solid 9-12 months; the intricate process of selecting a city location & hotel alone can take up to 2-3 months – and is generally conducted 24 months before the meeting even happens! Careful consideration is taken with every aspect to create the optimum environment to meet, learn, and ensure a quality experience for PECAA Members. Here’s a look at just a few of our major considerations…

It Starts With the Date!

Research is conducted to make sure the dates won’t conflict with any competing industry conferences or holidays that could impact your ability to attend – we want you to be free & clear to say ‘YES!’

The City Counts.

So many facets are considered in the city location itself; where the meeting has been in the past, the level of attendance/interest in past locations, accessibility to major airports, a look at where our PECAA Members have to travel from around the country, a destination that has great weather and local appeal, and ultimately – the team aspires to bring the Members to city locations that are vibrant & rich with experiences yet-to-be-discovered.

The Hotel Choice is Key.

As you would imagine, once the city is chosen – the hotel is the next huge decision, and there are even more considerations! What are the service levels like? How easy is the meeting space to navigate?  Are the sleeping rooms comfortable? Is the food quality excellent? And what about the bars… PECAA Members enjoy visiting the hotel bars & lounges after hours, so they need to be fun, comfortable & open late!

Plus things like the condition of the hotel overall, activities offered, spa, and of course – the negotiated room rates for Members. It’s no small feat to find the perfect hotel that checks all of the boxes!

The Site Visit.

All locations have to be thoroughly vetted, which includes the infamous ‘site visit’ (where many jokes abound around the office about the ‘actual’ amount of work being done while visiting cities/hotels). Contrary to perception, this is a critical and serious step in the process. The site trips are quick & days are long… packed with 4-6 hotel inspections, and even more off-site venue inspections to find the perfect evening event venue. Sometimes the team visits up to 10 off-site venues in one city (and yes, there might be a cocktail or two consumed in the process)! 2-3 top venue contenders usually bubble to the top and are brought back for serious discussion & debate amongst the rest of the PECAA team (not to mention extensive hotel negotiations) – until a clear winner emerges.

Education is Key, so Impactful Speakers are Critical.

Equally weighted in importance to the city location & venue, the hunt for the ideal session speakers can take many months. Striking the perfect balance of educators who can deliver relevant industry content, poignant ideas and thought-provoking messages that you will internalize, as well as put to good use in your practices are just a few of the aspects that are contemplated. And the only way we know if we’ve hit the mark is through YOUR survey feedback after the meeting. So, please take time to contribute your 2 cents, so we can continue to refine your education experience year-after-year.

Food, Beverage & Entertainment.

What would any PECAA meeting be without delectable food & beverage choices, along with the perfect entertainment for the city, venue & backdrop? From BBQ & line-dancing in the Deep South, to Louisiana cuisine-originals and a Second Line Parade – your planners work overtime to incorporate an experience indigenous to each city you visit!

So, what’s in store for you in Tucson, Arizona? 

The relaxing JW Marriott Starr Pass Resort, nestled in the foothills of the Sonoran desert is the breathtaking backdrop for this year’s meeting – and a myriad of special touches and compelling speakers await your discovery.

We can’t wait to welcome you to PECAA’s 2018 Annual Meeting!

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