Former MCI exec to succeed Karen Bollinger at PCMA APAC

Appointment made as association sees need for full-time regional leadership.

Florence Chua was formerly MCI Group's Director, Greater China development.
Florence Chua was formerly MCI Group's Director, Greater China development.

Florence Chua is replacing Karen Bolinger as Managing Director, APAC at PCMA effective Monday (2 August), as part of the association's efforts to establish dedicated leadership in regional markets.

"Bolinger was employed as the managing director on a short term, part-time contract, which was extended to re-establish business in the region. PCMA APAC is in a place where it needs a dedicated full-time managing director that can continue the work she has done over the past year," an association spokesperson told M&C Asia.

The transition into having full-time APAC leadership "was always the plan", according to Bolinger, who had been approached by the association's President and CEO Sherrif Karamat as well as COO Bruce MacMillan to step in and accelerate recovery last year.

Bolinger wrote on social media: "After 14 months of steering the organisation through Covid, setting and implementing a strategic plan going forward, its time for some full time dedicated resources to take PCMA to the next place. I'm pleased to say Sherrif Karamat took onboard the growth opportunities in the region and has resourced it well to grow."

Under her leadership, PCMA launched its inaugural Convening APAC and and held Convening Leaders in Singapore for the first time in 2021.

Her successor, Chua, was the former Director, Greater China development and Managing Director Hangzhou of MCI Group. Chua had left the organisation in December 2020 and joined the Growth and Brand Management for Entrepreneurs’ Organisation, where she was Vice President.

Based in Singapore, she will lead PCMA's APAC team to expand upon the momentum of region-specific events, thought leadership, community building, education and content.

“The Covid-19 pandemic has leapfrogged the business events industry in embracing technology to facilitate connections and engagement,” said Chua. “I believe the industry will attain new heights in harnessing the physical and digital possibilities to enable more connections across wider geographical spread, deeper engagement and more sustainable approaches than ever before.”

CEO Karamat stated: “There has never been a greater need for people and communities everywhere to come together to confront our economic and social challenges. Business events have the power to do just that, and we need localised presence by region with impactful leaders to make it happen.”

The association is also establishing regional leadership elsewhere in the world. Lucio Vaquero has been appointed Regional Director, LATAM effective 2 August, 2021. In EMEA Jaime Bennett, who was appointed Business Director in September 2020, is now Regional Director.

Supporting PCMA’s global strategic plan is Marcela Torres, a PCMA “20 in their 20s” alum. In her role as Marketing Manager, Digital Products, Torres is the first Mexico-based strategic marketing team member, reporting to PCMA COO Bruce MacMillan who will work in tandem with the Chicago-based headquarters team.

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