Olympic champion, entrepreneur and mother Allyson Felix, seen here in Lima, Peru, in 2017, will be interviewed by Paciolan president and CEO Kim Damron at PACnet ’22. (Aaron Heredia/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
“Too much good stuff” on tap for Paciolan’s first in-person conference since 2020
A healthy turnout is expected in Huntington Beach, California, for PACnet ’22, the annual conference put on by Paciolan and first in person since the pandemic broke out across the U.S.
This year’s event, after a virtual version in 2021, is themed “Reimagining Experiences.”
The action begins Sunday morning with the HACnet Golf Tournament at Monarch Beach Golf Links in Dana Point. A welcome reception follows on Sunday evening at the Hyatt Regency, the conference venue that’s located across Pacific Coast Highway from one of America’s most famous surfing beaches.
The dates and conference venue were changed from Feb. 6-9 at the Marriott Newport Beach due to hotel renovation delays, but attendees will now find themselves even closer to the Orange County coast, within view of the ocean and earshot of crashing waves as temperatures are forecast warm into the 70s and beyond. The hotel room block is sold out.
Craig Ricks, Paciolan’s chief marketing officer, said around 525 attendees are expected, which he called positive considering the omicron surge threatened to keep more people from registering and it’s the first time the conference is in person in two years. The last in person conference in 2020 drew about 750, the largest turnout ever, he said
“We were just fortunate on timing,” he said. “It’s been very serendipitous that were able to move the dates back. I’ve been religiously watching the COVID tracker and it’s been dropping very quickly, as quickly as it rose.”
After Monday’s 6:30 a.m. PACnut 5k Run (only a nut would get up that early at PACnet), Paciolan president and CEO Kim Damron and chief technology officer Keith White will deliver welcome remarks and the conference-opening keynote followed by a Paciolan product update from White.
The conference’s traditional In-N-Out Burger lunch precedes the rest of the Monday sessions, which follow a dual track of personal development and revenue generation.
“We want to give people the opportunity to reinvest in themselves,” Ricks said of the personal development track.
As for the revenue track, he said the live event industry is still in recovery mode and the pandemic has altered consumer behavior, so sessions will address things like how to price and market products and tickets, or data-driven decision making.
One of the conference highlights will come on Tuesday when seven-time Olympic champion Allyson Felix is interviewed by Damron in an afternoon keynote conversation.
“We were looking at some of the themes of the conference and she seems like the perfect fit,” Ricks said. “One, she obviously is a stellar athlete. A lot of the attendees at PACnet work in sports and college sports specifically. She went to USC, where our CEO is an alumnus of. We actually have USC athletic director Mike Bohn speaking on Monday as well (on a panel with UCLA athletic director Martin Jarmond). So, there are a lot of ties there and she has a great story. She is an entrepreneur. She started her own shoe line. The thing that is super interesting to us and to our industry is her perseverance as an athlete and as a mom. She went to five Olympics and the last one she competed as a mom. She is also going to be the commencement speaker at USC as well, we understand.”
In a Monday session moderated by Paciolan Product marketing director Callista Nurimba, life coach Jaci Anderson will offer advice on defying burnout.
“Our goal is to have too much good stuff,” Ricks said. “We want you to have to bring three or four people to really observe it all. We do that intentionally. So, we’ve got some tracks for marketing and sales; getting into our platform — we always use PACnet as a launch point for new product initiatives and sharing our insights; we’ll do a lot of focus on mobile; and then for us, arts and college athletics, they’re mostly nonprofits, so we will offer a fundraising track because it’s critical for those nonprofits and was especially critical when there weren’t any tickets to sell because of the pandemic.”