Why Disruption Creates Added Value, with Sherrif Karamat

Episode 249

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Sherrif Karamat, CAE, is the President and Chief Executive Officer of PCMA. He also serves as President of the PCMA Foundation and Publisher of Convene magazine.

As CEO, Sherrif leads the vision, mission, and promise for PCMA’s global family of brands. He serves the greater business events industry as a prominent business architect, enabling our community to become a catalyst for economic and social progress, organizational success, and personal and professional development.

In his previous role as Chief Operating Officer, Sherrif led the development and implementation of PCMA’s new vision: driving global economic and social transformation through business events. In addition to his responsibilities at the executive level, Sherrif also directed streamlining of PCMA’s content creation and delivery channels into one organization. He oversaw partnership, business services, membership, business development, and technology teams.

As part of PCMA’s growth strategy, Sherrif has led a major data intelligence program and played a key role in the 2017 acquisition of Incentive Conference & Event Society Asia Pacific (ICESAP).

A leader in the business events industry, Sherrif previously served as Vice President of Business Sales and Services for Toronto Convention & Visitors (Tourism Toronto). He has served on various boards and is currently a director on the Destination International Board of Trustees.

Sherrif is a life-long learner, and in addition to completing his bachelor’s degree and Masters of Business Administration from York University in Toronto, Canada; he has completed postgraduate certificate programs at Wharton School of Business at The University of Pennsylvania, Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University and the University of Chicago. At Harvard Business and Law School, he completed a program on strategic negotiations for senior executives and a program at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), one on data intelligence and big data.

On this episode of Destination on the Left, I talk with Sherrif Karamat, who I met at the Destinations International annual convention in Baltimore, Maryland, and whose insights I hope will inspire you going forward. Sherrif shares his thoughts on the importance of face-to-face meetings and gives an overarching perspective of the business meetings industry’s impacts on a vast range of topics and industries. We discuss why when we meet in person, we solve complex issues faster, how those connections will help form and sustain the meetings industry of the future, and why disruption uncovers new value and brings us into focusing on outcomes rather than outputs.

What You Will Learn:

  • Why the events industry has been sadly missed over the last 18 months
  • The critical flashes of brilliance that Sherrif has found during the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Lessons learned on recovery and change and how Sherrif is taking some of them forward
  • How do we create engaging experiences and broaden our reach with technology
  • Sherrif’s thoughts on how disruption will shape the future of the travel industry
  • Why it’s vital to be centered around the people we serve, so they will want to engage with us

Lessons for the Future

When humans are faced with roadblocks, we start to innovate — and COVID-19 certainly threw up a few obstacles! Sherrif and I discuss the lessons learned by the travel industry, including how we can leverage technology to broaden our reach and engage with more people. Sherrif also shares why he firmly believes that in-person events will see a resurgence in the future as people seek out opportunities to forge meaningful connections.

Purpose Driven Outcomes

Disruption can help us uncover added value by challenging the status quo. In the travel industry,
we want to center our events and organizations around the customers we serve and how we are solving their issues or creating value for them that makes them want to engage with us. When we rethink that status quo and shift our mindset, we can bring people together and focus on positive outcomes, not merely outputs.

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