Big conferences take place this month, future forums plan their agendas

Two big events will close out 2009:

• The United Nations Climate Change Conference—COP 15, arguably the year’s most anticipated event, is taking place now through Dec. 18, at the Bella Center in Copenhagen. A projected 15,000 attendees will convene in an assembly-format to discuss a range of climate change issues and draft a global treaty to supplant the Kyoto Protocol. Attendees will include senior government officials from the majority of the world’s nations, including of the 192 countries that are currently signatories to the treaty; UN staff; and representatives of NGOs, business associations and observer organizations “duly admitted by the Conference of the Parties (COP).” The conference agenda is expected to include several hundred sessions and speakers.

• Yale’s CEO Leadership Summit winter edition will be held on December 17, at the Waldorf-Astoria hotel in New York. Despite the academic provenance of the forum, it is not a “university event.” Rather it is a top-tier CEO venue, with attendance limited to approximately 100 senior-most executives and academics. Summit aims to bring “together top executive leaders to encourage leading scholars to share their perspectives, and promote further research in the field of leadership.” Past speakers have included John Eyler, former CEO, Toys “R” Us; Ivan Seidenberg, chairman and CEO, Verizon; and Stephen Schwarzman, chairman and CEO, The Blackstone Group. Counterpart event held in the summer.

Meanwhile, several noteworthy conferences are beginning agenda planning this month:

Financial Times Innovate Summit organizers will begin agenda development in mid-December and continue on into January. The primary focus is on speakers and topics that reflect the program’s interest in trends and developments in product and process innovation, as well as new business models for innovation. The four-year old program will be held next on November 10 and 11, 2010, in London.

• Another London-based executive visibility program is the Global Leadership Summit produced by the London Business School and taking place next July 5 at the school’s campus. Agenda planning will begin this month, with the organizers looking for speakers and topics that address innovation, transformation, and change management in global organizations. The 2009 theme was “Leadership in Challenging Times.”

• The Women in Leadership Conference hosted by the University of California’s Haas School of Business is a premier platform for women executives with West Coast-based firms. Speakers are corporate executives at the EVP level and higher, and topics focus on “the understanding and appreciation of women’s roles in business.” Agenda development will begin in early December and continue into January. The conference will be held March 13, 2010, in Berkeley.

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