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Congratulations to everyone that participated in the PCMA Convening Leaders 2018 Walking Challenge! 
Below is an interview with the top stepper, Charles.  You can also check out photos and the great results from the Challenge by linking to:  PCMA CL18 Challenge Highlights
Charles, can you tell me a little bit about yourself?

My name is Godwin Charles Ogbeide. I am an Associate Professor at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) in the Department of Tourism, Conventions, and Event Management. At IUPUI, I am also involved with physical education and exercise science. Essentially anything to do with well-being and health. This is a good mix for me because I also have a background in healthcare and exercise is one of my big passions.

One of my hobbies is running. I like running. I like doing marathons. I have done several marathons including the Indianapolis Monumental Marathon. I try to run as often as I can. I have completed about 6 marathons. I am really behind; by now, I should have completed 12. However, my daily responsibilities have slowed me down from reaching that goal. However, I look forward to completing many more marathons.

Godwin Charles Ogbeide PhD, MBA, Associate Professor of Strategy & Hospitality Director, Events & Tourism Institute President, Central Federation CHRIE

Whenever I have an opportunity to exercise, either by running or walking, I take advantage of the opportunity. When I am traveling, I try to get on the treadmill as often as I can. When I am at conferences, I try to walk as much as I can. I climb stairs – I do what I can to remain healthy and stay young. I also want to be able to bend and touch my toes without stress or pain and do pushups as much as possible. One way for me to maintain good health is through running and regular exercise. When I saw the Walking Challenge at PCMA Convening Leaders, it was a no-brainer. It was fun and I had a great time being part of the Walking Challenge!

Have you been to Convening Leaders in the past? 

I have attended PCMA Convening Leaders many, many times. I have been very fortunate to be associated with PCMA. I won an innovation award some years ago. I was Chair of the Faculty Task Force for 2 to 3 years in a row. This year, I was selected as a Life Time Achievement Honoree and will be in Washington D.C. this May to receive that honor with a few others. I was recognized due to my mentoring, volunteering and contribution to the industry.

In addition to being recognized by PCMA for your contributions to the industry, what else were some of the highlights from the event for you this year?

The Walking Challenge! It truly motivated me. I didn’t participate in last year’s Walking Challenge because I didn’t know about it until well after it had started. I was looking forward to the Walking Challenge this year – I wasn’t going to miss it! When I heard that it was going to be at this year’s Convening Leaders, I said “Yes!” I will participate this year. I was pumped up!


Another highlight for me was the Guinness World Record attempt to form the largest human musical instrument. We were in Nashville, the music city – it was fun!

And of course, my Life Time Achievement award was very special to me. It was an honor. Also, I want to mention some of the presentations were outstanding. My participation in the Faculty Task Force this year was also great. I was able to reconnect with a number of my friends, peers and industry partners. It was a wonderful opportunity. A truly beautiful event for me personally.    

Congratulations on being the top stepper at PCMA Convening Leaders Walking Challenge with 83,635 steps over 2 days. How were you able to achieve that incredible number of steps and what motivated you to walk that much at the event? 
One of the biggest motivations was intrinsic motivation. Meaning that I really want to be part of this Challenge and I believe I can walk a lot of steps. When I started, I wasn’t thinking about walking eighty three thousand steps. I was thinking I would like to be one of the top 3 steppers. The different step goal levels and rewards motivated me as well. When we registered, the first 500 participants received a work out towel. So, first I thought, why not register? The first 60 steppers to achieve 30k steps received a light-up running arm band. That motivated me! I thought to myself I can be one of those 60! The next level was the first 40 steppers to hit 40K steps won a packable water bottle. Hey, I thought to myself, I am already at 30K, that is just 10k more steps. I typically walk 10k steps a day.   I can do it! The next step goal was 50k. The prize for this level was a 1 Night Stay at a New Hotel in Cleveland. This motivated me to hit that step goal.


Strategy was also important. The leader board that displayed the 25 top steppers over the course of the event was extremely motivating as well. The first day, the top stepper had a lot of steps. I thought to myself, if I am going to make the top 3, I better up my game! I ended the first day in the top 5. The competition was also on with those who ranked below me and were starting to close in. The next day – a number of people passed me on the leaderboard. That lit the fire in me and made me want to step more. I stopped taking the shuttle and instead walked from my hotel to the event. I would not use the elevator. If I had to take an escalator, I walked up it! I upped my game. The evening of the second day, after I walked back to my hotel, I was not done! I walked around the hotel and then I found the gym. I got on the treadmill and walked. I was pumped up! I was going to be in the top three – that was my goal! My personal goal, the other competitors and the rewards at each step goal level is what really motivated me.

With all that walking, were you still able to be engaged at the conference and get value out of the event? 

I was definitely very engaged in the conference! As a PCMA Life Time Honoree, I met many people who congratulated me on receiving the honor. I was constantly networking.  I met with Deborah Sexton, the previous PCMA president and CEO. I met with the new chairman – we had a great time! I was part of the Faculty Task’s force. I ran a round table discussion. I facilitated a group of students twice.  


That’s not all – I participated in the educational part of the conference. The difference between me and some of the other Walking Challenge participants – I would not sit. Not at all! During presentations, I stood in the back and stepped in place. I listened to the presenter, standing, stretching my legs, walking in place. I made sure I was in the very back and not distracting anyone.   


I also went to a number of receptions. At the receptions, I also did not sit. I walked around. At the closing reception, when most people were sitting, I was stepping to the music! I was dancing! It’s all about strategy.


What did I do least? Sitting!  I wasn’t just stepping for the rewards – I was stepping for my health! I thought to myself, the more I step, the more I reduce my blood pressure. Good for my health! The rewards were extra – I was going to do it anyways.

Your overall impressions of the PCMA Convening Leaders Walking Challenge?

Wonderful! Splendid! Amazing! You know why? Prior to the event, the Walking Challenge was promoted well. PCMA got behind the Walking Challenge; they really supported it.  I looked forward to the Walking Challenge. It was a major part of the event.


A lot of people participated in the Walking Challenge and had a great time. There were a lot of contenders. The other Walking Challenge participants motivated me to up my game! The leaderboard really motivated me. When I saw the leader board and people passing me, I said to myself “Charles, you need to step more!”. One evening, I walked and walked around and around the convention center – up and down levels. I wanted to go up the leaderboard! It really was a wonderful and fun Walking Challenge.

Anything you would like to add?
I want PCMA to continue the Walking Challenge. I will look forward to it every year! Thank you for a wonderful experience!
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