1. It's about the people.
Quality vs. quantity: We're bringing together an illustrious, interesting mix of social entrepreneurs, innovative business-builders and nonprofit leaders, the dreamers and doers, the thinkers, the visionary world-changers, creators and catalysts. Folks who are having (or will have) real impact in their organizations and their communities. Folks like:
- Tamer Center for Social Enterprise @ Columbia University / Senior Director
- The New School / Associate Director, New Challenge
- Northern Manhattan Improvement Corp / Cooperative Coordinator
- Topical BioMedics / founders
- Music2Life / Executive Director (using music to amplify causes and align supporters)
- Re>Think Local / board and staff
- The Hosh Foundation / Co-director (wellness programs in communities that need it most and can afford it least, reaching over 4500 people in NY and VT)
- Schwartz Heslin Group / Managing Director (blends management consulting with investment banking)
- Burlock Home Goods / Co-founder (social enterprise that employs women who are currently living in domestic violence shelters to make home goods)
2. Case Studies, where the greatest learning happens.
Our most popular sessions last year! An entrepreneur presents a specific, strategic business challenge. A panel of "experts" (we're all experts) and retreat participants alike offer advice based on their experience and expertise. It's a powerful way for the entire group to work together and gain a wealth of practical ideas to deal with the challenges of running a social enterprise.
3. True Confessions, a signature SVI feature.
In which leading entrepreneurs share their trials, tribulations and triumphs. It's sort of like a keynote around the coffee table, or the campfire... without the fire (that comes later!).
Etsy's former VP of Values & Impact Matt Stinchcomb will kick us off Friday night. Matt is now executive director of Etsy.org, a new nonprofit empowering under-represented entrepreneurial populations to build businesses that regenerate the planet, the community, and the self.
Sharon Rowe, CEO & Founder of Eco-Bags Products, will pick up Saturday morning. Sharon has been featured as an environmental pioneer in TIME Magazine, Glamour, and in the award-winning documentary BagIt.
4. Only connect!
People say that the real learning and the true value at most conferences come from the downtime, the unscheduled time, the time between the panels and sage-on-the-stage talks. We build those times into the program as a central part of the format.
We create a more intimate, immersive experience over the weekend than typical conferences. We have a full schedule, but we leave room to breathe, to think, to connect. Bonus: Share stories and commune with the SVI tribe around the evening bonfire!
5. Profound problem solving.
It’s not about cramming new ideas into your head, learning a new tactic or discovering a new resource. It’s about harnessing collective intelligence in an inspired setting to actually work through creative solutions to vexing challenges.
The agenda includes something we call Socialpreneurs Sounding Board, mindfulness-based practices, and a strategic visioning workshop, a vogue-ish high-level exercise for thinking strategically about future direction.
6. Omega Institute.
This all takes place in the inspired setting of one of the world's premier educational retreat centers. More than simply a place, Omega is a global community that awakens the best in the human spirit through innovative educational experiences.
7. Wisdom of the SVN elders.
We borrow the SVI format from Social Venture Network, a highly influential network of accomplished, values-driven business leaders, social entrepreneurs, and impact investors. Many of our presenters are longtime members of the SVN tribe.
Short for De Corazon, Decora is an emcee and poet out of the Hudson Valley. As a founding member of the world-renowned spoken word group The ReadNex Poetry Squad, he completed 8 tours in more than 12 countries and 35 US states. He's won various accolades and awards, including First Place at the Apollo, TV appearances, and being named one of Hudson Valley Magazine’s “Top 9 People to Watch.” He'll rock the mic Friday night.
9. Preeminent partners.
Our partners and sponsors mirror the illustriousness of our participants and presenters. Just look at this group!
** That's not a typo up there. For the uninitiated, "in journalism and blogging, a listicle is a short form of writing that uses a list as its thematic structure, but is fleshed out with sufficient copy to be published as an article" (Wikipedia).