Agenda for ThinkBig2018

We will spend time identifying, discussing, brainstorming ideas, and perhaps even resolving the issues and landscape VPs are likely to confront in the advancement office of 2025.

So participants can more fully digest and implement some of the ideas from our conference, we plan three to four sessions, where participants can grapple with the issues they face in their professional lives through the lens of our speakers. We’ll follow an iterative model to collaborate and construct tangible ideas for turning the big thinking of our speakers into things you can adopt personally and/or at your institution.

Sunday, September 16th

  • We will kick things off with observations, critiques, and suggestions for what the world of higher education advancement needs to be doing to change and be ready for 2025.  Our keynote is Jeff Selingo is a New York Times bestselling author and named one of LinkedIn’s “must-know influencers” of 2016.  He a regular contributor to the Washington Post and a special advisor at Arizona State University, where he is the founding director of the Academy for Innovative Higher Education Leadership in partnership with Georgetown University.

Monday, September 17th

  • Leadership – We’ll hear separately from Adam Bryant and Elise Foster, two noted thought-leaders, who have studied leadership in action outside of academia and bring insightful and refreshing perspective.  They’ll cover transformative leadership, core qualities that set high-performers apart, skills that build and foster a culture of innovation and high-impact outcomes and more.
    • Adam Bryant conducts interviews with CEOs for Corner Office, a twice-weekly New York Times feature column about leadership and management (and title for his first bestselling book).
    • Elise Foster is co-author of “The Multiplier Effect: Tapping the Genius Inside Our Schools”.  Elise began her career as an engineer, managing high-profile global projects.  Soon she took an interest in how organizations work and ways to optimize the full capability of every employee and now a leadership coach who enables education and business executives to unlock their personal potential and to use their intelligence to make everyone around them smarter, more capable, and more successful. She is well-versed in the field of leadership and collective intelligence.
    • After their presentations, Adam and Elise will team up to engage with participants in a moderated, interactive audience feedback session, where we’ll discuss and distill actionable tactics participants can use upon returning to campus.
    • Human Capital – Twenty years ago, talent management was a pat on the back; today, entire staff positions are devoted to it.  Cara Stein, is Senior Vice President, Chief Talent Officer for NBCUniversal, where she has been a trailblazer in how the company retains and hires talent, has developed a series of Leadership Development Programs from the ground up, and is currently re-imagining the early career development programs.  She is a 25-year veteran of William Morris Endeavor, Stein last oversaw operations and human resources for the WME New York office.
    • Diversity and the Workforce: its Complicated Context.  Deborah Bial, president and founder of The Posse Foundation and a MacArthur Fellow, will lead a workshop that will examine the country’s changing demographics and how these are represented in U.S. institutions of higher education and the workforce.  Participants will engage in a dynamic, interactive workshop that will provoke discussion about how diversity – in our current social climate –  plays out in the workforce.  The session will include discussion about our responsibility as leaders.  How does diversity influence the work we do and the decisions we make?
    • A key element to the afternoon session will include participant discussion and feedback to identify and distill actionable tactics participants can use upon returning to campus.

  Tuesday, September 18th

    • Strategic Thinking:  Creativity, Disruption, and Big Data – Partners in Innovation or Deterrents to Getting Work Done?  These terms frequent board retreats, donor visits, and campaign planning, but what do they really mean and how can you harness them for daily inclusion and impact in your office?  What is practical for bringing lofty, creative ideas from the theoretical and into the executable inside your program.  Two to three (TBA, in negotiation) distinguished speakers will provide the perspective and insight.  Among them, Natalie Nixon, a design strategist and a hybrid thinker, with a diverse background in service design, anthropology, and fashion.  Natalie is a Fellow at the Paris d.School and the Founding Director of the Strategic Design MBA program at Philadelphia University.  She is the editor of Strategic Design Thinking: Innovation in Products, Services, Experiences and Beyond and a regular contributor to Online Magazine on creativity and design thinking.  We are in negotiation with other speakers who are noted for their expertise around disruption, the “new-social” world, big-data, and more.
    • After their presentations, Nicole and the other TBA presenters will team up to engage with participants in a moderated, interactive audience feedback session, where we’ll discuss and distill actionable tactics participants can use upon returning to campus.
  • Trends – Facebook and LinkedIn have become defacto directories; virtual co-exists with real, donor-advised funds the new tax code, and crowdfunding are changing the giving process and experience. We hope to have one or two high-level executives discussing the business side of why they see a profit-future in the higher education sector; what are the opportunities they see for their business; what do they tell their own investors and boards; what is the pitch they made to secure venture capital funding?