Chapter News

May 2020 Letter from the President

April showers bring May flowers!  Looks like it is happening, and I am personally happy to see some green.  I hope this spring experience is lifting your spirits.   Weather in the Midwest can test all our nerves this time of year and then add COVID-19 on top of it…it is pushing everyone’s buttons.

My hope is you are all taking good care of yourselves. Please get outside and enjoy it, despite all the negative things happening around us.  Yes, it is so hard to do at times but counting our blessings can help combat the negative thoughts.

Here is a tip for you: It is a breathing exercise that I use frequently when I am feeling stressed.  It is called 4-7-8.  You breathe in for 4 counts, hold it for 7 counts and let it out of your nose for 8 counts. Do this 5 times and you will feel yourself calm down.   Try it, it works for many.

I feel blessed to have my GMC family during this time.   Seeing your faces on the weekly Happy Hour invigorates me.   I love working with the GMC Leadership Team as they are smart and inspiring.   PCMA has always been my professional grounding place.   I find comfort in like-minded individuals.   Not everyone understands what we do and I truly enjoy being with people that “get” me.   During this time, I do find it refreshing that more people are realizing and understanding there are people that make events happen.  Perhaps this is the silver lining of COVID-19.

Couple of things to share with you in terms of Chapter News:

GMC’s Financial Health – Many people have asked me questions given COVID – 19 and the GMC financial situation for the last couple of years.  Our financial situation is stable for now.   Your Executive Committee and Staff meet weekly to review the numbers.   We are very careful with everything we do and plan conservatively.    Thanks to Doug Dvorak and the 2019 Board of Directors, we turned our financial situation around unlike anything I have ever seen.  It still has me in awe.   We finished last year breakeven and so far, we have kept positive despite COVID-19.  We had a very successful March Quarterly Meeting and Awards Luncheon.   This put us in a position to carefully navigate these rough waters.  However, we are not immune.   If things continue, we may have to dip into our reserves. However, we are trying our hardest not to do this especially given the market decline.   Therefore, we must be careful and make the right decisions. Our strategy is to take baby steps based on information at hand and use our wise brains to make decisions and not panic.   We are very lucky to be managed by PCMA.  They are helping us weather this storm with strategic thought and partnership.

GMID  – Thanks to everyone that participated in the GMIDgoesvirtual World Record attempt.  It was a fun distraction. We garnered some great information on the pulse of the global industry from the live survey.  We are still waiting on results from Guinness to see if we broke the world record.  Regardless, this was an idea generated at the PCMA Chapter level and look how we made a difference.  Thank you so much for the support!  It will be fun to see where this goes in the future as the planning committee wants to continue the momentum created.  More to come.

Happy Hours – Our Happy Hours are the highlight of my week.  We have grown to nearly 40 people on the zoom calls.   It is great to see faces of friends, meet new ones and just connect.  Please know that they will continue indefinitely.   PCMA Staff will send out a reminder weekly.  Please join us for 5 minutes if that is all your schedule allows or the entire hour.   It is a great way to decompress, share and say hello.

Lunch ‘n Learns and our June Quarterly Meeting – Based on the feedback from our Happy Hours and given that our June Quarterly Meeting is already virtual, we have decided to take it to the next level and create a virtual education opportunity over lunch more frequently.

The Lunch n‘ Learns will start TODAY, Thursday, May 7, and will continue every other Thursday until the end of June, take a break in July and August and then start back up in September.  There will be a registration process on the website for each session at no cost to any PCMA members regardless if you are a planner or supplier.    There will be a small fee for non-members.

We have established a Lunch ‘n Learn TaskForce lead by Angie Silberhorn to help create the content based on current needs and will be working with moderators to help facilitate the conversation.  It will be a great way to connect in a more educational setting.

If you are interested in sponsoring a Lunch ‘n Learn, please let us know.  It is a very reasonable way to get in front of the membership and you will receive amazing benefits throughout the year.   Please contact Jacky Meracle at

September Quarterly Meeting – The Executive Committee met this past week and made the decision to take the September Quarterly Meeting virtual as well.   We made this decision for several reasons including not knowing if we will be allowed to gather in large groups and taking the financial risk at this point into consideration.   Plus, we will have a routine with our Lunch ‘n Learns that will continue to grow and develop.  More to come.

Finally, mark your calendar for the events for the rest of the year.   Our goal is to celebrate our industry in November and December in a face to face environment.  We will have so much to celebrate.

  • Thursday, November 5th – Signature Event in the city
  • Thursday, November 19th – November Quarterly Meeting/Annual Business Meeting/Chapter Leaders Day in Schaumburg
  • Tuesday, December 15 – Holiday Mixer in the City

Thank you for all your continued commitment to GMC as we weather this crazy storm.   Feel free to reach out with ideas.   Come with a plan to make it happen.  Part of what I love about our GMC volunteers is that we make it happen.  It is a fun way to get to know your fellow members and grow your network.

Thanks for all you do.  Stay safe and happy.


Rachael Riggs
WellBeing Leader
Maritz Global Events

2020 President

Jacky ListonMay 2020 Letter from the President