It takes more than a year to plan and prep a two-day conference — this was one of the lessons from the first S.H.E. Summit back in 2012. For twelve full months, my team and I sit down with creatives, entrepreneurs, corporate leaders, social changemakers, and we talk about the realities underlining their careers. I dig in to learn as much as possible about what ignites their passion and the kind of gaps they’re driven to fill. These are the conversations that will lead to change and morph our 2-day New York summit agenda.
For 2018 it was important to honor the priorities revealed in those conversations by including more inspiring corporate change agent voices, while not compromising the agenda. What makes S.H.E. Summit so special is that it speaks to anyone who wants to be a leader in their space. Everyone subscribes to the same mission if they’re in those seats — they want to build their legacy by way of strengthening their leadership.
Below I’ve listed out the five-point list I use to build out the S.H.E. Summit agenda. While checking off each item, I focus on a single question — there are 7.3 billion people in the world, how do we ensure that every single person at S.H.E. Summit understands that their impact is both unique and valuable?
Does the programming remind attendees of their agency?
Our goal with every session and on-site activation is to ensure that everyone sitting at the 92nd Street Y understands that their ability to affect change isn’t checked at the door when they walk into work. Instead, we are driven to host an event that facilitates opportunities for networking and conversations that helps them realize that they play a powerful role in their industries ability to move the needle forward.
Are we elevating topics that attendees may not be able to have anywhere else?
S.H.E. Summit is a safe space for entrepreneurs and corporate employees. We create an environment where all attendees can bring their passions and their pain points. Our intention is that the conference programming will speak to each of those. We keep relationships and communications across industries open to make sure we are tuned in to what is relevant in order to be able to weave the threads into the agenda. Whether we’re talking about caregiving or financial empowerment, we aim for conversations that are vulnerable, actionable, and empowering. Like my friend, Susan Schmitz at Dell says, “We can’t fix what we can’t talk about.”
Are we exposing the corporate space to non-corporate thinking?
The S.H.E. Summit stage convenes humanitarians, celebrities, entrepreneurs, and corporate leaders. Having a high percentage of corporate employees in the S.H.E. Summit audience means that over two days we have the opportunity to expose the corporate space to non-corporate thinking. As we map out the agenda we build with the intention of hosting conversations that will help activate and inspire corporate employees to become corporate changemakers.
Are we setting a foundation for larger conversations?
S.H.E. GLOBL is the S.H.E. Summit parent company. S.H.E. GLOBL is the force driving the production of the conference. It’s how we consult year-round to ensure that the conversations that are started at the S.H.E. Summit annual conference are continued and built on. Regardless of how corporate employees choose to build on what they learn, we ensure that over two days that the individuals and teams present have at their disposal a robust toolbox of inspiring ideas and actionable tactics for driving change within themselves, their companies, and communities.
The value of attending S.H.E. Summit is anchored in the value we provide through the agenda. It’s how we help employees feel seen and heard so that they can tap into their agency to spark larger change. Companies sending delegations to the conference know that our mission — our real value is in helping to provide talent with the inspiration that will ultimately support their retention and engagement efforts. S.H.E. Summit is providing the reflection and recharge that we all need to be the change that we want to see.