Foremost Forums in March

What's happening in leadership communication this month: events taking place, and conference planners starting their planning.

By Terry Catchpole, Executive Chairman of the Catchpole Corporation executive visibility strategy consultancy. Visit

Bet you didn’t know that in Iceland, March 1st is known as Beer Day, with many bars staying open virtually all night long. Hey, we’ll drink to that! And raise a glass to the excellent forums listed below that are taking place this month. Cheers!

Foremost forums upcoming

Confluence (March 12; Santa Clara). Event aims to "help companies pave their path ahead by providing insights on the convergence of various pillars of globalization: talent, tools and technology, and ecosystem." Representative topics include: Leveraging an ecosystem of partners, startups and academia; working with global counterparts across the organization; managing new and evolving roles; and adopting latest technologies and methodologies in product development cycle. 2015 theme: "Technology Organizations for Tomorrow – Agile, Digital, Global."

University of California at Berkeley Haas School of Business Women in Leadership Conference (March 14; Berkeley). Conference aims to provide Bay Area businesswomen with information on career options, and professional and personal development strategies. Representative program topics include: Making your mark on industry; and making your mark on your personal life. The 2015 theme is "Empower Me, Invest in All."

TED Conference (March 16 – 20; Vancouver). Conference was founded in 1984 as a forum for discussion of trends and developments around the three pillars of technology, entertainment, and design, and their convergence as it impacts social, political, cultural, and economic life. Organizers characterize the forum as a place where attendees "gain an understanding of how your own work fits into the larger web of knowledge." 2015 theme: "Truth and Dare."

BIL Conference (March 20 – 22; Vancouver). Event is self-described as "an ad-hoc conference for people changing the world in big ways." Representative topics include: Allowing the power of connection to help business grow; the diffusion of medical evidence; a practical scientific guide to cognitive enhancement; find love and a life partner using science and technology; and how to reboot the US government.

Dent Conference (March 22 – 25; Sun Valley, ID). Conference has a self-described focus on "the magic and science of visionary leadership and groundbreaking success." Program "aims to translate the success of great leaders in business, politics, or charity into a set of lessons for those who would 'put a dent' in the future." Representative topics include: Things that cannot be delegated; and invention by insight – seeing the solution that already exists.

Wall Street Journal's ECO:nomics Conference (March 25 – 27; Santa Barbara). Conference positions itself "at the intersection of business and the environment." The invitation-only event aspires "to address the most urgent issues in energy, clean tech, public policy, and corporate initiatives." The program's motto: "No PowerPoint. No pontificating. No hot air." Representative topics include: Extreme innovations; the natural gas bonanza; solving environmental threats; and the connection between sustainability and private equity.

Boao Forum for Asia Annual Conference (March 26 – 29; Boao, China). Event supports the organization's mission of being "the most prestigious and premier forum for leaders in government, business, and academia in Asia and other continents to share visions on the most pressing issues in this dynamic region and the world at large." Representative topics include: Real estate dialogue: economists versus developers; green energy – public-private partnership; financial reform and innovation: risks and opportunities; and the future of the Internet – Web 3.0?.

Economist Innovation Forum (March 26; Chicago). Forum aims to "expand and possibly overturn established thinking about what innovation is, where it comes from, and how to make it work." Program addresses such topics as better ways to nourish entrepreneurial activity inside large and small organizations; how to understand the risks associated with innovation; and what systems and structures needed to fuel innovation.

Simmons Leadership Conference (April 2; Boston). Conference is self-described as the "world's premier leadership event for women." The event's goal is to foster "an enduring tradition of dialogue and discovery among ever-growing audiences of business and professional women." Event addresses such topics as leveraging leadership opportunities; global healthcare; and responsible leadership.

Noteworthy conferences beginning agenda planning this month

Anita Borg Institute has issued a call for participation for its Grace Hopper Celebration (GHC) of Women In Computing Conference taking place October 14 – 16, 2015 in Houston, with a proposal submission deadline of March 20, 2015. Conference was developed to "bring the research and career interests of women in computing to the forefront." Named after computer pioneer Admiral Grace Hopper, the conference "aims to connect, inspire and guide women in computing and organizations that view technology innovation as a strategic imperative."

Global Initiatives will begin agenda development for its Business for the Environment (B4E) Climate Summit being held June 23 – 24, 2015 in London. Summit aims to "gather thought leaders from industry, government and NGOs to share innovations and strategies for achieving zero-based targets and transformative climate solutions." Policy discussions are designed to lead directly to recommendations for action on the part of businesses and governments. Representative topics include: Transport and mobility; agriculture and forestry; IT; renewable energy; and consumer goods.

CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) Asia will begin solidifying the agenda for its summit scheduled for October 7 – 8, 2015 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Summit focuses on the challenges and strategies related to the implementation and integration of CSR into Asian business operations, with examination of best practices case studies. Representative topics include: Socially responsible investing; business-NGO partnerships; carbon foot-printing and solutions; climate change and business responses; and sustainability within the supply chain.

Fortune is currently soliciting speakers for its Global Forum being held November 2 – 4, 2015 in San Francisco. Forum is an invitation-only event bringing together "the heads of global business – the chairmen, presidents, and CEOs of the world's largest companies – on the dynamic frontiers of international commerce," and, while global in scope, "spotlights the region in which it is held." Program is described as offering a "journalistic perspective [providing] unique insights into the key trends and dynamic people that are driving business."

Gazelles will begin solidifying the agenda for its Growth Summit, presented by Fortune, taking place October 20 – 21, 2015 in Dallas. Summit focuses on the theme that "it has never been more important for leaders of growth companies to make the right decisions about people, strategy, execution and cash." Program focuses on professional development and how to manage for continued growth. Representative topics include: Increasing leadership capacity and performance; building transformative companies; and creating new growth engines through business model innovation.

National Urban League will begin developing the agenda for its conference scheduled for July 29 – August 1, 2015 in Fort Lauderdale. Conference aims to address "the most critical issues confronting African Americans and urban communities and to strategize about empowering solutions." Representative topics include: Building education partnerships – support, achievement and opportunity; pathways to success – changing the lives of imprisoned youth through jobs and justice; and essential health habits for living longer.

Net Impact will begin agenda development for its conference being held November 5 – 7, 2015 in Seattle. Conference aspires "to discuss a vast array of innovative ideas that will create social and environmental value for our future." The conference challenges attendees to "examine the organizational processes, strategies, and capabilities that enable sustainable value creation," with representative topics including: Creating a "more-than-money" career; evolution of the sustainable business leader; connecting consumers with action – and your brand; past and future of sustainable supply chain management; how partnerships and passions can fuel sustainability initiatives; and fair trade in the era of social entrepreneurship.

Claudia Chan's SHE Global Media and 92nd Street Y will be solidifying the agenda for its She Helps Empower (SHE) Summit taking place May 6 – 7, 2015 in New York. Summit aims to provide "a global conversation and celebration of female potential and possibility that is accessible and relevant to women everywhere." Representative topics include: How to use speaking to grow a business; the power of women helping women – mentorship and beyond; and the new business model – social good required.

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