by Neel Hajra, President & CEO
CEOs in CaptivityI’d like to start off by introducing a startlingly cool new technology call Presenter Cam. In a nutshell, it’s a picture… taken by a presenter (me)… of a bunch of CEOs chatting. Cool, huh? I’m hoping that this is the next disruptive thing in conference technology.

Alright, on to the Independent Sector / Council of Michigan Foundations 2009 Joint Annual Conference.

Pre-Conference (Tuesday)

There were a lot of separate tracks going on, and mine was really all about Next Generation Nonprofit Leadership.

Fellows Retreat

The afternoon started with a 3 hour NGen Fellows Retreat. The 12 of us got to know one another, and started conversations around what sort of project to take on for the next half year.

What I Learned: Leadership Deficit? What Leadership Deficit? Seriously, based on the other 11 Fellows in the room, I can honestly say that the nonprofit sector seems to be in good hands now and in the future. Sweet.

EPIP / YNPN Session

The Emerging Practitioners in Philanthropy and the Young Nonprofit Professionals Network put together an outstanding large group discussion where young professionals and veterans alike talked about challenges and solutions for career development in the local nonprofit sector.

What I Learned: First, that there’s a need for a YNPN in the Detroit area, and I’m glad that it’s in the works. Second, that the idea of a ‘personal board’ is really compelling – an individual should convene an advisory group that can help him/her develop networks and a personal brand. I thought that was a cool way of looking at it.

NGen Speed Networking

The evening wrapped up with a very good speed networking event among NGen (under 40) participants. It was 3 minutes with one person, then on to the next. It was loud, it was boisterous, it was effective, and it was… loud.

What I Learned: Speed networking is a great tool to form some initial networks, which in turn empowers and emboldens young professionals at the main conference. Several people commented to me the next day that they enjoyed knowing people at the conference instead of feeling like being on the outside looking in. Conferences, take note: it’s fast, it’s easy, it works!

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