Opening Keynote Session
Sunday, January 30 – 5:30-7:00 PM
Stop Asking, “How Can I Help?”: Connecting Meaning and Purpose to Solving Big Problems
“How Can I Help?” is a well-intended question that typically creates actions resulting in martyrdom, burnout, and malaise that prevents real innovative thinking and creative solutions. As stewards of your institutions, advancement staff need to find the meaning and purpose behind their work. In this talk, Laura Gassner Otting reignites your enthusiasm and innovation, teaching you how to connect with what brought you to this work in the first place, and creating contagious confidence around communicating that message to colleagues and prospects alike.
Laura Gassner Otting
Washington Post Best Selling Author and Motivational Keynote speaker, Laura Gassner Otting, inspires people to push past the doubt and indecision that keep great ideas in limbo because her presentations make listeners think bigger and accept greater challenges that reach beyond their limited scope of belief.
She delivers strategic thinking, well-honed wisdom, and perspective generated by decades of navigating change across the start-up, nonprofit, political, as well as philanthropic landscapes. Laura dares listeners to find their voice, and generate the confidence needed to tackle larger-than-life challenges. She leads them to seek new ways of leading, managing and mentoring others.
Laura’s entrepreneurial edge has been well-honed over a 25-year career that started as a Presidential Appointee in Bill Clinton’s White House, where she helped shape AmeriCorps.
She left a leadership role at the respected nonprofit search firm, Isaacson, Miller, to expand the startup ExecSearches.com. Laura also founded and ran the Nonprofit Professionals Advisory Group, which partnered with the full gamut of mission-driven nonprofit executives, from start-up dreamers to scaling social entrepreneurs to global philanthropists. In 2015, Laura sold NPAG to the team that helped her build it, both because she was hungry for the next chapter and because she held an audacious dream of electing our nation’s first female president.
Along the way, while serving on Hillary Clinton’s National Finance Committee, she was asked to do a TEDx talk which became so popular that it launched a speaking career. Laura has spoken across the United States and internationally to universities, companies, conferences, accelerators, TEDx, and the US Military.
She is the author of Mission-Driven: Moving from Profit to Purpose (2015) and the Washington Post Best Seller Limitless: How to Ignore Everybody, Carve Your Own Path, and Live Your Best Life (2019). She lives with her husband, two teenage sons, and troublesome puppy outside of Boston, MA.
Closing Keynote Session
Wednesday, February 2 – 9:45-11:00 AM
Embedding Innovation Into Everyone’s Data
Innovation is not something that happens by chance. It’s the result of building an environment in which it can thrive.
Duncan Wardle knows a thing or two about fostering an environment of innovation. During his time as the Head of Innovation for a company known for redefining pretty much every industry they touch – The Walt Disney Company – Duncan’s decades of success weren’t merely a matter of luck or chance. No, his results were a direct reflection of his ability to create an innovative culture, and ensure that everyone on his teams were put in a position to let their inner creativity run wild.
In his Embedding Innovation Into Everyone’s DNA keynote, Duncan will share the exact steps and strategies used to create such an environment. Your team will learn how to create safe spaces for taking creative risks, ensure everyone on your team is empowered and thinking like an entrepreneur, and transition from the ideation stage into action. He’ll also share a creative problem-solving tool called “What Else,” which will prime your organization to discover innovative ideas each and every time you set out to tackle a challenge.
In the end, your team will walk away from this keynote with a fresh outlook on their day to day tasks, and be ready to approach them with new levels of creative thinking, allowing innovation to flourish.
As Head of Innovation and Creativity at Disney, Duncan and his team helped Imagineering, Lucasfilm, Marvel, Pixar and Disney Parks to innovate, creating magical new storylines and experiences for consumers around the globe.
As founder of iD8 & innov8 he now brings his extensive Disney experience to audiences around the world using a very unique approach to Design Thinking that not only places the end user at the core of the creative thinking process, but also looks in new and usual places to uncover insights for innovation, helping people capture unlikely connections, leading to fresh thinking and disruptive ideas
Delivering a series of keynotes, workshops and ideation forums, his unique Design Thinking process helps companies embed a culture of innovation into everyone’s DNA.
He is a multiple Ted X speaker and contributor to Fast Company Magazine. He teaches Master Classes at Yale, the University of North Carolina, Duke University and the University of Florida. In 2008 he received the American Citizen of Choice Award at the White House. In 2014 he was awarded an Hons. Doctorate from Edinburgh University in Scotland. He also holds the Duke of Edinburgh Award presented by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth.