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Lead On: Independent Sector 2013 National Conference

July 29, 2013

Billed as the premier conference for nonprofit, foundation, and corporate giving professionals, the Independent Sector Annual Conference is coming to New York City on September 29 through October 1, 2013.

Independent Sector members represent tens of thousands of people working at nonprofit organizations, foundations and corporations who advance the common good in, and represent the interests of, communities nationwide. IS sponsors ground-breaking research, advocates for public policies that uphold a robust nonprofit and philanthropic sector, and creates unparalleled resources for the sector.

This is the first time that the Independent Sector conference is taking place in New York City, and the Host Committee, Program Committee and staff are pulling out all the stops to make this the biggest and most successful conference in IS history.

While the "summer sale" for reduced registration has already passed, there are plenty of opportunities available for full scholarships for individuals who cannot afford to attend otherwise. The application process is easy, and this is a terrific way for professionals from small and medium nonprofit organizations to attend. Just visit the IS web site at for details and the on-line application process.

The conference opens with a plenary session entitled, "Leveraging the Power of Innovation" with a discussion between Judith Rodin, president of the Rockefeller Foundation, and musician Wynton Marsalis on the innovative practices of foundations and the arts. Also featured will be a performance by Wynton Marsalis and a trio from Jazz at Lincoln Center.

That evening, the host reception is at the Brooklyn Museum, one of the oldest and largest art museums in the country. Attendees will be transported to the museum from the New York Hilton Hotel, and they will have access to exhibitions and performances at the museum.

The following day's program includes a plenary session on "Our Common Purpose," a shared understanding of challenges that we face as Americans and the goals that we seek to achieve as a nation. The discussion will be moderated by award-winning journalist and NPR host, Maria Hinajosa, and it will include IS President Diana Aviv and Rockefeller Brothers Fund president Stephen Heinz. Also featured will be spoken word artist Daniel Beatty.

That evening, the winners of the John W. Gardner Leadership Award and the American Express NGen Leadership Award will be honored at a gala dinner at the conference site.

Finally, the closing luncheon plenary will feature American Express CEO Ken Chenault and Harlem Children's Zone president Geoffrey Canada -- who were roommates in college – discussing their leadership styles and philosophy. In addition, Reverend Dr. Calvin O. Butts, pastor of the Abyssinian Baptist Church of New York, shares his thoughts on leadership, and violinist Adrian Anantawan also performs.

In between these plenary sessions are dozens of break-out sessions, including a CEO Track for CEOs of IS member organizations and C-Suite sessions for COOs, CFOs and other senior leaders as well as numerous opportunities for other nonprofit and philanthropy leaders to meet and learn from each other.

American Express is one of the conference sponsors, and I'm on the Host Committee, so plan to join us in New York for the IS Annual Conference from September 29 through October 1, and apply for a scholarship today at

If you have a question or comment, please share it here. Alternatively, follow me on Twitter at @timmcclimon and comment there.

P.S. Did you know that there are also pre-conference programs for emerging leaders and public policy leaders? See the IS web site for details.


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