•Meet Pamela S. Dallstream, CMP, CMM, Director of Education, Society of Critical Care Medicine
• The power of associations
•Experience with state, national, and international organizations
Pamela S. Dallstream is a participator, through and through. Born and raised in Arlington Heights, IL, she has traveled to live in Chicago, where she received her BA from DePaul University, and Washington, DC. Now residing in Barrington, IL you will find her taking part in a variety of local and international charities and spending her weekends buying and selling primitive and vintage antiques.
With over 30 years of event planning experience, Dallstream stays cognizant of new technologies, learning environments, and generational trends to help create events which speak to her clients.
Midwest Meetings: What was your first experience in the meetings/events industry?
Pamela S. Dallstream: Part of the responsibilities is my first position, at the Illinois Library Association, included working with the annual planning committee. I loved the details and challenges so much that I focused on those aspects of association management for most of my career.
PSD: As the Director of Education at the Society of Critical Care Medicine (SCCM), I manage a team of 14 who plan the education, logistics, and CME and testing for an annual meeting of 6,000+, four summer meetings with 100-500 attendees each, and 25+ committee meetings held during the rest of the year. My entire career has been in the association world, where I have worked for state, national, and international organizations, the last 16-1/2 years with the SCCM. Prior to the SCCM, I worked for the American Academy of Dermatology, National Retail Federation, Smith Bucklin, American Podiatric Medical Association, Illinois Podiatric Medical Association, and the Illinois Library Association.
MM: What do you like most about the industry?
PSD: I love the fast pace and variety of the work, the strategizing, and focusing on the future. I’m planning events for 10 years from now, trying to determine what venues we will need to accommodate the hot topics that will be trending in the medical community, anticipating the new technologies that will be most important for my members (and trying to understand that technology myself!), and creating learning environments that will be most impactful for my members. As with most industries, we are teaching multiple generations, so my team is continually experimenting with ideas on how to give the members the most education in an environment that will have the most impact for Millennials, Gen-Xers, and Baby Boomers.
MM: To what do you attribute your success?
PSD: The Lord gave me special skills which I have been able to share with many people over my 30+ years in association management. He has opened doors for me that have helped expand my leadership skills, creativity, and provided opportunities where I have had the most impact.
MM: Can you describe a time when something didn’t go as planned at an event and how you overcame the situation?
PSD: The SCCM’s 2013 Congress was held in San Juan, PR, and on the day before we were to open registration, we learned that the truck holding all of our printed materials had been stolen and torched! Fortunately, the local printer was able to reprint the registration and course materials, a day late but better than never. We shared the attached photo with many members who were shocked to see the torched truck and appalled that anyone would want materials that were only relevant for our meeting attendees.
MM: What is the best advice you have ever received/given?
PSD: I tell my team to treat others as they want to be treated, to tell the truth, follow the rules, admit to their mistakes (since we all make them at some point in our lives!), and to enjoy what they are doing. I have to answer to the Lord at the end of my life, so I do my best to follow His rules, and to set an example for others.
MM: Tell us about the most complicated event you have helped plan.
PSD: Nearly every event I plan has some complexity to it, making it unique and challenging. We had to relocate our annual meeting from New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina, had to help our current meeting co-chair return quickly to Puerto Rico from a planning committee meeting to help with patients in her hospital during Hurricane Maria, and had to adjust AV equipment for an opening plenary speaker when he showed up with his presentation on a slide deck, years after we had retired slide projectors from our AV inventory! My logistics teams and I have developed contingency plans which have come into play at some point over the years.
MM: How do you keep up on industry trends?
PSD: Many news magazines, such as Midwest Meetings, provide the latest industry updates, and I share every issue of the magazine with my staff. I follow PCMA and ASAE daily news briefings, follow meeting and education blogs, and participate in webinars on the latest trends in the meetings industry.
MM: What is your favorite snack at a meeting/event?
PSD: Water, water, and MORE water to stay hydrated during the long days of a meeting. And at the end of an event, I have a nice glass of white wine to celebrate the success of the meeting.
Read Pamela's 'Meeting by the Numbers' on the Winter 2017 digital edition.