Q & A With the Mastermind Behind 2015 NACD Global Board Leaders’ Summit
The 2015 NACD Global Board Leaders’ Summit is less than a month away. Earlier this week, I had an opportunity to sit down with my colleague Erin Essenmacher, the mastermind behind our annual conference, to get the inside scoop on this year’s big event as the final touches are being added.
Q: The 2015 Global Board Leaders’ Summit is coming up in just over three weeks. In one sentence, can you describe what this event is and why directors should attend?
A: The Global Board Leaders’ Summit—NACD’s annual conference—is the largest, most comprehensive director forum in the world, bringing together 1,200 of the world’s top directors, innovators, thought leaders, and governance experts for peer exchanges and thoughtful discussions on the most significant issues impacting the boardroom today.
Q: What are some of those issues, and how will they be incorporated into this year’s format?
A: When it comes to shaping the curriculum and choosing the focuses for our events, we consult our members directly to understand what challenges they are facing on their boards and what keeps them up at night. This year, some of the top-of-mind issues for most directors we speak with are M&A, shareholder activism, cyber governance, competitive disruption, and enterprise risk. In response, we’ve created customized learning tracks at Summit, where directors can tailor their conference experience around these issues and many more.
Q: What can attendees expect at this year’s Summit? What’s new or different, and which popular elements are you carrying over from last year’s event?
A: Innovation and leadership are key themes of the 2015 Summit, and they have influenced how we’ve reinvented our signature programming, which incorporates many new features:
- A new state-of-the-art venue in downtown DC
- A pre-conference Diversity Symposium on “next” practices that align board composition to globalization, disruptive technology, innovation, and other twenty-first-century challenges
- Innovation Nation—a space where attendees can view demos, ask questions, and get hands-on with the trends and technologies that are transforming every industry
- Small Takes on Big Ideas—short talks from groundbreaking CEOs and other leaders about the technologies and innovations that are changing the way we will live, work, compete, and do business.
- Topic-specific learning tracks geared to key committee, company type, and industry
- More opportunities for networking and peer exchange in small group roundtables focused by topic, committee, and industry
- More Board Committee Forums and expanded power-breakfast offerings
- Access to a complete digital record of session content on the NACD website after the Summit
Q: What topics will this year’s event emphasize, and how will speakers explore those topics?
A: In addition to programming on cybersecurity and corporate risk—two hot-button issues—we’re doing a deep dive into boardroom diversity, with a half-day Diversity Symposium kicking off this year’s Summit. We’re also applying a boardroom lens to aspects of technology, globalization, big data, shareholder activism, leading through disruption, value creation, CEO succession planning, mergers & acquisitions, disclosure and liability, compensation, and much more.
To get a better sense of just how much ground we’ll cover at Summit, I encourage interested parties to check out the descriptions of our 75+ sessions in the complete Summit agenda.
Q: What are the most compelling reasons for directors to attend?
A: To learn. To network. To be inspired. To get concrete takeaways that they can use in their boardrooms to leverage strategic advantage and manage enterprise risks. And above all to advance exemplary board leadership.
Prepare to gain new connections, insights, and information. Prepare to be inspired.