Leadership Summit: My final one

Well, let me be clear: This was my final Leadership Summit as the chair of the event.  I will definitely be returning as an attendee.

Two years ago, David Hussman asked me if I wanted to chair this event (he was the current chair) for the next four leadership summits. As I had already been an attendee and speaker for this event, I was honored and excited.

Chairing the Leadership Summit is very different than chairing the Agile Alliance Agile2017 conference. For this event, I’m a team of one.  There is no submission process.  I select the speakers.  I decide the format.  I determine and communicate the deadlines. I facilitate the summit.

What I loved the most:

  • Purpose: Leaders often go to a conference focused on what is needed for their customers, for the organization and/or for their team.  There needs to be a space for leaders to focus on their growth to truly achieve those aspects.
  • New Speakers: My target was to have two coach/trainers and two practictioners as speakers each time.  One of the two practitioners was often brand new to speaking – to sharing their journey.  I absolutely loved being able to pay it forward by providing an opportunity to grow themselves.
  • Experienced Speakers: I also was able to work with people that I greatly admire and respect. I’m able to chair the summit and learn from people that constantly challenge me to grow.  I think back to the people that spoke over the past two years and I smile.
  • Techwell organizers: Seriously, they are the nicest and most helpful team of people.  I absolutely look forward to seeing Allison, Lee, Paige, etc.  I’m very grateful for all of their support.
  • Duration: Being able to chair four summits in a row was refreshing.  I enjoyed being able to learn and tweak from one event to the next event.

What I would have done differently:

  • Paired Speakers:  I did this a couple of times but I wish I would have done more.  Had an experienced speaker pair with a new speaker to deliver.  This could have scaled even more the aspects that I loved the most.
  • USBs: Every summit, we provide a USB drive with all of the session slides loaded.  In order to not have speakers submit their materials 6 weeks before the event, I (with wonderful helpers over the years) would then spend over an hour loading ~150 USB drives the day before the event.  I didn’t really explore if there is something more valuable and less time consuming.
  • Transparency:  In writing this post, I realized I have not shared the behind on the scenes for this role.  Yet, I did for the Agile20xx conference roles.  I am not sure why but I wish I had been sharing.


Dave, as always, I am forever grateful for the support and opportunities to kick ass.

On Friday, I passed the baton to Bob Galen.  I know he will take the Leadership Summit even further. Personally, I can’t wait to attend.

To all the attendees and speakers over the past two years, THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart.

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