We’re living through a time like no other in history, where individuals are rethinking their relationship to work and life, and organizations have been given an opportunity to adapt to a new future that is anything but clear. We do know that the pandemic, the pressures of modern corporate life, the extremes of social media, and an always on, always available culture have brought us to a breaking point. Some call it the The Great Resignation, other call it The Great Reshuffle... Lawrence Levy calls it the Great Opportunity.
Throughout his career, Lawrence witnessed the pitfalls of modern corporate culture: how often they are driven exclusively by performance metrics, acquisition, and growth at all costs. Although that mentality still produces an enormous amount of prosperity, it also has hidden costs: stress, lack of fulfillment, and lack of self-worth. Lawrence could see that something was missing in this equation. After building Pixar into an animation powerhouse, he left to study ancient Buddhist philosophy. Along the way, his eyes opened, his resistance dropped, and he began to see that the ideas in these traditions, discussed by these ancient philosophers and masters, are like a code. A treasure map to our own capacity to wake up and see the world in a whole new way.
In this talk Lawrence shares his journey through Silicon Valley, Hollywood and Buddhist meditation and philosophy, encouraging us to gain more perspective on our lives, to understand that there is more than one path through our challenges, whether organizational or personal, and that if we want to bring about meaningful change to our organizations and to our lives, we have to reach for it. Lawrence discusses the relationship between organizational culture and innovation, his view of mindfulness (hint: it’s good...but don’t overplay it), and what the philosophers he loves have to say about living our lives (hint: don’t make the quality of your life a side show...it’s the main event). “We all have the capacity to shine,” Lawrence says. “We just have to know how to turn the lights back on.”
In this talk, Lawrence shares the never-before-told story of Pixar's improbable success together with his personal journey beyond Pixar. How does a company go from being on the verge of failure to one of the most extraordinary organizations in history? What are the secrets behind Pixar’s success? And how does it reinforce its organizational values, culture and brand on a day-to-day basis?
Lawrence shares with audiences his story of how he worked with Steve Jobs and the Pixar team to create a highly improbable roadmap that transformed the sleepy graphics art studio into one of Hollywood's greatest success stories, and how your team can benefit from these principles. Lawrence also shares insights from his personal journey and their relevance to our personal and professional lives.
Join Lawrence as he takes you and your team on an awakening and insightful journey to discover the powerful secrets of Pixar’s legacy.
Why is the working world under the siege of stress? Why does well-being feel so far out of reach for so many of us? In this renewing talk, Lawrence Levy introduces audiences to The Middle Way—a new (yet very very old) way of looking at where stress comes from, and how it can be overcome.
Drawing on ancient philosophies that are now being proven by neuroscience, Lawrence begins by explaining the two sides of our lives: the bureaucrat and the creative. When we spend all our time in bureaucrat mode (making sure we get through the day-to-day), we’re too focused on getting things done, and we may wake up one day and wonder if we ever truly lived. When we spend all our time in creative mode (living, loving, laughing, creating, and enjoying), we can lose momentum and become frustrated by our lack of success. When we’re stuck in either of these places, we’re stressed and agitated. That’s why we must turn to The Middle Way: a philosophy of harmonizing these two ideas.
Lawrence will share his strategies for achieving The Middle Way, drawing on real-life examples of organizations (like Pixar) and people who have been able to draw this fine line. When you achieve The Middle Way, says Lawrence, you can open the door to something new. You can build a great organization and live a great life.
When The Right Honourable Julie Payette first started dreaming of becoming an astronaut, there were no female astronauts to look up to. In fact, there were no Canadian astronauts at all. Julie grew up to become the first Canadian to board the International Space Station and to participate in an International Space Station assembly mission. She flew missions aboard the space shuttles Discovery and Endeavour. She also completed training as a military pilot on the CT-114 "Snowbird" jet and holds a commercial pilot’s license. Not bad for someone who was once told to consider becoming a flight attendant instead of an astronaut. In this talk, sit back and let Julie take you on an incredible journey. As she describes her awe-inspiring career, she candidly reflects on the experiences and lessons that shaped her life. She reveals how she learned to face and overcome adversities, and shares her personal strategies for adapting to change. It’s an unforgettable keynote delivered by one of our most inspiring role models.
Epigenetics? Nutrition? Social entertainment? Or environmental footprint? Food futurist Dr. Irwin Adam serves up the truth about food and how the decisions we make are not only changing us as individuals, they are also changing the world at large and significantly impacting global climate change. Combining a background in engineering, biology, and technology with his passions for eating and design, Dr. Adam explores global eating futures.
Food is often relegated to the realm of nutrition, which is important to understanding the health impacts of the food we eat, but the impact of our eating decisions extends far beyond the ideas of fats, proteins and carbohydrates. Food is made up of many functional and bioactive compounds, some of which over the last decade have been discovered to augment the ways our genetic information and our genetic code is interpreted. Though our genetics are predetermined, their interpretation can be varied over the course of our lifetime through physiological, chemical, and emotional experiences. This experiential imprint, called the epigenome, is written as a layer of interpretive code over the existing biological blueprint of DNA. Changes in the epigenome in essence open and close the nearly three meters of DNA coiled up in every human cell, making specific genes available or unavailable for transcription.
This is the biological way in which food and food experience transforms us as individuals, and accumulating evidence demonstrates that these transformations are passed on to our future generations. This is a molecular memory of all the things we eat and experience and has become the basis of movement in epigenetic eating: choosing foods for their genetic implications rather than purely for their nutritional implications. Inevitably this food transformation journey of us as individuals leads one to ask what foods might be best and where they come from and of course, how are they produced?
Food decisions are transforming not only the course of our lives at an epigenetic level–they're also transforming all living organisms on earth. Food links biology, the environment, and our future, and now is the time for action. As humans we are responsible for climate change. It is up to us to use better food production practices that minimize our food footprints. Let’s ask more questions. Let’s label food products with nutritional information and ecological impact information. Let’s recognize that food gives us the ability to create and the ability to destroy. Let’s take a moment before each and every bite and consider the high stakes of how the foods we consume will biologically transform us, the world around us, and the future.
It’s about dispelling the toxically masculine myths and redefining boldness. Gia shares hilarious, gut-wrenching, and resonant stories and a framework that illustrates and inspires us to live boldly in our everyday lives.
The majority of creatives struggle with imposter syndrome. Gia’s simple yet powerful frameworks for identifying your creative sweet spot and making sh*t happen with her WWADBD and 5-a-day methodology.
Whether it’s virtual meetings or creating content, it’s about creating a powerful context for who you are and what you do. Showing up in your full authentic amazingness is a learned skill that Gia can totally teach you. From lighting and tech, to the 4 horsemen, to the 5 monsters, Gia’s roadmap takes the intimidation out of creating and helps you shine with your full beam of brilliance.
Gia’s framework for how to be a big deal is magic. She covers everything from uncovering your Why, What, and How as well as the system for getting attention, mentors, clients, and PR. The, “If you build it they will come,” mentality doesn’t work. Gia guides you through how to make a visibility machine to give you and your work the spotlight it deserves.
“I like to build things to solve problems,” says Ananya Chadha. “I question assumptions ... because there’s nothing you can’t do.”
In this electrifying keynote, teen innovator Ananya Chadha shares some of the newest tech she’s excited about right now—like dissolvable plastics, brain-to-Internet or brain-to-brain interfaces, and machine learning and Artificial Intelligence—and why it’s on the cusp of changing our day-to-day lives. She shares her remarkable personal story and path to prestige and opportunity at such a young age. And, she identifies key lessons we can all use to help us embrace a growth mindset, let go of past assumptions, and learn about and create things we never thought were possible.
“My personal goal is to push humanity forward,” says Ananya—and she’s already doing it. Won’t you join her?
It was only a few years ago that being a privacy-sensitive organization was considered cutting-edge and maybe even risky. Now, it’s become a critical part of doing business safely, ethically, and well. In this essential talk, author and privacy expert Dr. Ann Cavoukian guides you through exactly what your organization needs to do to tackle the pressing issues of privacy, security, and big data. If you build privacy into your operations and technology—if you embrace privacy by design—you prevent privacy harms and data breaches, you develop a trusted relationship with your customers, you save money, and you gain a competitive advantage. “I want you to view privacy as a positive,” says Dr. Cavoukian. “It breeds innovation and it builds trust.”
When life feels overwhelming, where do we turn? Award-winning performer, recording artist, and musician Christa Couture thought she had lost it all: two children, a marriage, and even a leg (seriously). When she moved across the country to start again, she eventually made a new life for herself—one that includes a book deal, a beautiful and healthy child, and a loving partner. But this isn’t your typical turnaround story. This is a real life, real-time reflection on mental health, hope, and resilience. Christa reveals how every moment of her past still affects where she is now, and how grief and mental wellness are an ongoing, daily effort. We don’t simply “get over” mental health issues; we must find a way to live harmoniously with our past and allow darkness and light to each have their own rightful place in our lives. We must allow life to disappoint us; to surprise us; to delight us. Like when Christa had her first slow dance at age 35, and she finally learned: “It turns out the robot leg can totally dance—and I can too.”
Musician and author Christa Couture has seen her fair share of hardship. Through her son’s heart transplant, his death, his brother’s single day of life, the amputation of her leg as a cure for bone cancer, abortion, divorce, and a move across the country to start over after it all, she has come to know every corner of grief — especially the bittersweet truth that resilience is borne of suffering.
In this keynote-slash-musical performance, Christa shares her remarkable life in story and song. She’s funny, she’s raw, she’s passionate, she’s authentic—she holds nothing back in her inspiring, soul-stirring talks. And she teaches us a fundamental lesson: “There is not always hope,” she says. “There is often hope.” A small but critical distinction that helps us live a more meaningful life.
Dr. Irwin Adam has worked on some of the most innovative experiential projects we’ve ever seen. The award-winning Wndr Museum in Chicago brings beauty and imagination together in immersive experiences. The Museum of Ice Cream reinvents a historic brand with sensory installations. The Stella Artois Sensorium engaged all five senses in a stunning dining event and transformed customers’ feelings about a luxury brand.How can you create this same kind of magic for your business? In this fascinating talk, Dr. Adam expands on the concepts of “personalizing the personal” and experiential marketing. He looks at customer experience from an innovative new lens, opening your eyes to infinite possibilities. What can you do to wow and excite your customers? How can you develop and promote experiences that are truly innovative? How can you create a campaign that’s a historic event for your brand? How can you make your customers feel the emotional connection that’s triggered when something is just for them? Join Dr. Adam and prepare to see the game-changing power of customer experience.
Why is an egg yolk that’s been tinted blue more likely to taste like mould? And why does ice cream taste creamier if you’re holding a soft piece of cotton? Thanks to researchers like Dr. Irwin Adam, we now know there’s much more to taste than just sweet, sour, salty, and bitter. A creative scientist and food futurist, Dr. Adam is studying and creating multi-sensorial food experiences. His overwhelmingly cool talks introduce audiences to a new way to look at food—and to a future where tasting food may look very different than what we’re used to. Audiences will take home Dr. Adam’s lessons on creativity and innovation and bring them back to the office; learning from one of our top scientists about iteration and transformation. This is innovation you can literally taste.
What exactly is cross-modal personalized eating? It’s the future of food: the ability to choose the nutritional content or taste or texture you need and want. And it’s happening already. “It’s not 10 years from now—it’s next year,” says Dr. Adam. “We’ve already seen a bleeding veggie burger, and people are working on cellular agriculture: chickenless eggs, cowless milk, lab-grown steak [...] We’ll be able to make lettuce more salty, more sweet, more earthy, more green-tasting, whatever that means. Imagine you’re vitamin B-12 deficient; you’ll be able to get a special B-12 tomato.”
This eye-opening talk is essential for anyone in the farming or agricultural space. The depth and urgency of Dr. Adam's wide-ranging research will excite and inspire you—and prepare you for the opportunities that lie ahead.
What does it take to enact change? To lead others to make a difference? To be better, more purposeful human beings? To inspire others, at home and at work?
Acclaimed ski mountaineer and activist Caroline Gleich has made it her life’s mission to pursue a life of outdoor adventure while taking action on the issues that matter to her most. Whether that’s climate change and air quality in her home state of Utah, cyberbullying and sexism online, protecting public lands, and much more, Caroline brings her formidable endurance to all the causes she cares about. In this energetic and uplifting keynote, Caroline shares leadership strategies and motivational messages that inspire audiences to adapt, overcome, and make big things happen.
Unconscious bias is an inherent or learned stereotype about people that we all form at some point in our lives without even realizing it. It’s a lived, embodied experience. We behave from that place when we encounter something that doesn't align with our experience–there's an inner conflict or a clash. It can show up as a twist or a tightness in your stomach, a twist in your throat, an uncomfortable feeling when you encounter someone you perceive as different, and in a split second, we form an unconscious thought or belief about that person. “It’s totally normal to feel this way,” says Luke Anderson, Founder of StopGap, the social innovation project that has changed the conversation around accessibility and inclusivity.
Luke Anderson urges people not to hide from that feeling, but to lean into it. “We need to give ourselves a permission slip to acknowledge our fears that come up in these situations, examine those feelings, and then ask better questions.”
In this talk, Luke uses humor, stories from his lived experience, guidance on how to connect such as creating access intimacy, and useful practices like empowering language use to help you clock your unconscious bias, and ultimately, be a better ally.
Ten years ago, social innovation and social enterprise were foreign concepts. Why would a business care about anything other than making money? Now, the pendulum has swung the other way. As socially innovative products and companies began to crop up, corporations started to wake up to a new reality. Today’s consumers are not only demanding that companies do good, they are using their dollars to prove that corporate social responsibility and social innovation can fuel massive growth.
In this talk, Luke Anderson explains the rise of StopGap, the social innovation project he founded that has changed the conversation around accessibility and inclusivity in Toronto. Luke will introduce your audience to the concept of social enterprise and how it has the capacity to unite business and social change. He will share the moving story of the accident that inspired StopGap, and how great ideas often come from a place of need. And, he will reveal how and why businesses must embrace the mindset of social innovation to succeed.
Success can be found on a spreadsheet, says Luke. But it can also be found in your community. When businesses take on the challenges facing the people around them, real change can—and will—happen.
Luke Anderson is the epitome of change-maker. He saw a problem that affected not only him, but many others around him—and he did something about it. Creating a more accessible world has long been viewed as an unwieldy, unfixable issue. Governments have been hesitant to legislate businesses to be accessible, and costs to voluntarily improve accessibility have historically been prohibitive. Not anymore, thanks to Luke’s StopGap Foundation and its Ramp Project.
In this moving talk, Luke shares the story of the accident that led to the creation of StopGap. He tells audiences how to lead by example; how to let their actions speak for them; how to overcome the barriers they will inevitably come across. Luke’s story will ignite a spark inside every single member of your audience. Making an impact in this world, he says, can be much simpler than you may think.
Kelly Sue DeConnick is one of the most renowned comic book writers working today. Among many other projects, her long run on Marvel’s Captain Marvel heavily influenced the billion-dollar box office film, and she’s currently the first woman to ever have an extended run on DC Comics’ Aquaman. But as a woman in a heavily male-dominated industry, making the art she wanted to make has often been a challenge. “Our culture is constructed to set women against each other—to pretend as though we are all competing for a single seat at the table,” says Kelly Sue. “And that’s just not the case.”
In this provocative keynote, Kelly Sue shares exactly why it’s so powerful to see someone on screen who’s a little more like you. She reveals why she created the hashtag #VisibleWomen, opens up about being a vocal feminist in the age of social media, and describes how Captain Marvel has inspired a whole new generation of girls. It’s a compelling talk that moves us to get active in our communities, start telling our own stories, and know that we have to do the work to see change happen. “I don’t want anyone to sit down,” Kelly Sue says. “The job is not done yet. Everyone needs to be able to see themselves as a hero.”
What makes you curious?
When Duke Stump answered that question in college, the answer was forestry and philosophy. His guidance counselor was baffled. “Where are you going to go with forestry or philosophy?” “I don’t know,” said Duke, “but it feels so right.” It was that same sense of adventure and curiosity that led Duke on a journey from Nike, to Seventh Generation, to Lululemon; from meeting his wife, Molly, to becoming a parent, to teaching grad school, to coaching his daughter’s soccer team... each new unknown in this winding road led to an unexpected yet deeply rewarding surprise along the way. There’s a red thread that permeates these moments in life: the beauty of not knowing. Along the journey, Duke has become one of the most sought-after CMOs, a leadership coach, and an observer of corporate cultures and team building. He’s on a mission to build cultures where people do their best work. "I lead brands by creating the conditions for magic to happen,” says Duke. “That involves inviting the unknown.”
Predictive outcomes (if I do X, Y will happen) are comforting, but the reality is, that's not how the world works. As much as we want to think we're in control, we're not. “There's a freedom that comes with letting go and reframing the need to be in control. I live my life around the beauty of not knowing.”
Feeling the angst of needing to have all the answers?
There's a balm for that. It's this talk.
Duke Stump would like you to forget everything you know about business, branding, and marketing. Your business isn’t about spreadsheets—it’s about soul.
In this revolutionary session, Duke shares what he’s learned in the past 30+ years of helping build iconic brands including NIKE, Seventh Generation, and lululemon. How do you understand and embrace the human side of your business? How do you build a powerful brand that stands for something meaningful? How do you earn effortless loyalty from your customers?
“My vision is to spark a revolution of new thought for what it means to be human in business,” says Duke. “Let’s show up with compassion, vulnerability, courage, and honesty.”
Do you talk to kids about the hard stuff?
Do you protect?
Do you tell them the truth?
“Kids are struggling to learn how to cope with real life,” says Jelani Memory. “Parents worry they might break their children in half...but they need to understand what it means to be called the N-word or when someone dies.”
As the founder and CEO of A Kids Company About, Jelani has published kids’ books on topics including racism, anxiety, gender, climate change, adoption, abuse, bullying, and much more. He believes talking to kids about hard stuff (and good stuff, too, like gratitude, leadership, creativity, and optimism) prepares them to become healthy, happy, and aware adults.
In this essential talk, Jelani helps parents, educators, social workers, librarians, healthcare workers, and anyone who works with kids learn how to tackle tough topics. Discover how to connect with kids, meet them where they’re at, and give them permission to ask questions about absolutely anything.
Our future hangs on these kids. Join Jelani and see what happens when you start a conversation revolution.
Vulnerability. It’s what makes us human — but it’s never on the list of what organizations value.
Entrepreneur Jelani Memory has led two venture backed companies, raising almost $40 million. He’s currently the founder and CEO of wildly successful media brand A Kids Company About (his latest collab with LeVar Burton just dropped).
What’s his secret?
Being a leader who is actually empathetic. Who understands his people, and demands more from them. Who is a disruptive force. Who insists on innovation. Who isn’t afraid to try, fail, try again, and succeed. Who makes navigating the now a priority.
In this deeply insightful talk, Jelani shares his entrepreneurship journey, and hands-on tips for leadership, growth, and scale. He will take you on a behind-the-scenes tour of A Kids Co’s fascinating book writing workshop design. His energy, his empathy — this entrepreneur’s way of life — is not only inspiring, it’s infectious.
When a leader has self-confidence, they often have vision. They are innovative. They challenge the status quo. They change the world. But—self-confidence can sometimes lead to ego; to arrogance; to conflict. In this talk, Lawrence Levy presents the balancing factor: collaboration.
Drawing on the careers of famed figures including John Lasseter and Steve Jobs, Lawrence describes how a focus on collaboration can ensure an organization’s success. He talks about mastery and humility; listening and understanding; and the importance of selecting the right team of people. He provides strategies your organization can start using the very next day. Audiences will leave this talk inspired to commit to a new way of looking at and working with each other.
Entrepreneur Jelani Memory has led two venture backed companies, raising almost $40 million. He’s currently the founder and CEO of wildly successful media brand A Kids Company About (his latest collab with LeVar Burton just dropped).
What’s his “secret?”
Being a leader who is actually empathetic. Who understands his people, and demands more from them. Who is a disruptive force. Who insists on innovation. Who isn’t afraid to try, fail, try again, and succeed. Who makes navigating the *now* a priority.
In this essential talk, Jelani shares his entrepreneurship journey, and hands-on tips for leadership, growth, and scale. His energy — his entrepreneur’s *way of life* — is not only inspiring, it’s infectious.
Follow along on our adventures as we interview the best speakers on earth, tell epic stories, share event planners’ best kept secrets, and uncover industry insights.
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