The Inside Scoop: What CEOs Are Discussing at Forum 2016

Photo by: J Stuart Harris

As you walk to your next workshop at Forum 2016, you may come across a sign that reads “For CEOs Only” and wonder – who is in that room? What are they discussing in there?

As someone who has helped coordinate exclusive CEO workshops and networking lunches, I am excited to provide a peek inside the world of the CEO Track.

InterAction’s Forum is a prime opportunity for busy InterAction member CEOs to engage with their peers beyond emails and conference calls. Some lead organizations with billion-dollar budgets, while others manage a staff of 20. Their organizations work on a range of issues including providing emergency humanitarian assistance, developing sustainable communities, advancing human rights, and addressing climate change.

While participating CEOs represent the diversity of the NGO sector, many are interested in one overarching theme: change.

Last year, CEOs candidly discussed how many organizations need to create transformational change, in order to have the biggest impact. They brainstormed new types of donors NGOs should engage with in a shifting aid landscape. Also, due to the American public’s increasing skepticism of NGOs, the CEOs shared ideas on ways individual organizations – as well as the sector as a whole – can improve our narrative to increase the public’s support.

This April, CEOs will continue the critical dialogue on the need for change. Civil society leaders from the United States, Germany, Malaysia, and the United Kingdom will kick off the CEO Track by asking: in a world with increasing wealth, inequity, and violence how can NGOs adapt and evolve to advance human wellbeing? The sessions following this contemplate related questions. Here are a few: 

  • How are major donors shifting their strategies to focus limited resources towards decreasing poverty and inequity? How can NGOs learn from this and adapt their own strategies to yield greater results? 

  • If we all believe that successful development is ultimately driven by local communities, should donors mainly fund locally determined initiatives? If so, what is the role of NGOs in this model?

  • And as NGOs increasingly operate in fragile and often conflict-ridden states, how do we strike the right balance between ensuring staff security while effectively providing emergency aid and eliminating extreme poverty?

If you want your organization’s leadership to debate these critical topics, encourage your CEO to register and join the discussion. All other professionals are welcome to participate in over 40 other workshops and four high-level plenary sessions. Organizations that send more than 10 staff members will receive a group discount.

Forum 2016 is an opportunity for NGOs and partners to participate in vibrant discussions on how we can create progress in a changing world. How will you and your organization’s leadership engage?

Editor's Note: This blog is part of a month-long series from InterAction staff, highlighting the various opportunities Forum offers to participants.

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