General Sessions

Sunday, August 2 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM

Opening General Session 

Join us for a new-style Opening General Session to officially kick off WEC. You'll enjoy a spectacular brunch while experiencing cutting-edge education and discovering what MPI has been up to.

Photo provided by Lucas Dawson Photography
The Edge of the Modern Frontier
James Curleigh, Executive Vice President and President, Levi Strauss & Company

The company that has clothed the world since 1873—from cowboys on the frontier, to WWII-era soldiers to James Dean to rock & roll icons like Bruce Springsteen—must figure out how to compete and stay relevant in our rapidly changing times. James Curleigh talks about his experience walking into Levi's Brand on day one as President and how he’s treated it like a 150 year old start-up ever since.

Curleigh will speak about the essential balance between leveraging authenticity with icons like Levi’s 501 while creating excitement with innovative solutions for today’s lifestyle. By combining the authenticity of San Francisco and the entrepreneurial spirit of Silicon Valley, he will demonstrate the "positive collision" between icons and innovation.

He will challenge you to think about what is next for our modern frontier. He will challenge you to re-envision your world by encouraging you to not just chase the landscape, but to change the landscape.

Flash Point provides you a unique format to gain valuable education that is different from anything else we present. On both Monday and Tuesday, in general session style, speakers from outside the industry gather ready to share their 'big idea’, hoping to provide you a unique lens with which to view your onsite experience. Flash Point is a diverse platform of 15-minute presentations, with speakers seeking to impart their insight on you, leaving you ready to find your professional edge.

Monday 10:00 AM – 11:15 AM

The Sharing Economy: Who Said People Wouldn't Sleep on Couches
Evelyne White - BookaLokal co-founder and CEO

Think of BookaLokal as the AirBnb of dining. Rather than book a table in a restaurant, book a spot at a pop-up restaurant, or a dinner party hosted by a local, aspiring chef. Sound crazy? Maybe. Illegal? Maybe. Does that mean we should stop letting strangers from around the world descend on the kitchens of budding chefs and food entrepreneurs to share culture, wine and cuisine? Evelyne will argue “Definitely not”. During this FlashPoint talk, learn about the history and evolution of peer-to-peer companies across various industries, and understand some of the legal challenges they face. Discover how the leaders of this emerging segment are tackling their respective challenges and as a result, reshaping entire industries as we know them. Whether we talk about housing, driving or dining… none of these startups let existing regulations hinder their creativity or motivation to start something new

The Collaborative Economy
Jeremiah Owyang

Mobile and social are converging and powering new opportunities with the collaborative economy – from Airbnb to TaskRabbit and Uber to Lyft – the sharing economy is on the rise. Plus, crowd-funding and the maker movement are enabling people to create their own goods rather than buy them.

So how are companies redefining their business models using the concepts of the collaborative economy? Jeremiah Owyang shares how organizations can not only stay relevant but lead the charge in their own industry.

This Flash Point session reveals three ways you must shift your business to adopt to the collaborative economy. Find out how top organizations can tap into the crowd in every business function – reducing costs and increasing innovation.

Jeremiah Owyang is presented by:
American Program Bureau, Inc.

To Airbnb or Not To Airbnb? That is the Question
Chip Conley

As someone who didn’t have an Uber app before he joined Airbnb in early 2013, Chip Conley will tell his personal story of how he embraced the sharing economy and came to realize the entire way people book their travel will be changing based upon new technologies.

Attend this Flash Point session to find out about the relevance of the sharing economy to the meeting industry and why Chip is more bullish than ever before about the need for people to meet in person.

Tuesday 9:00 AM – 10:15 AM

From Homeless to Harvard
Liz Murray

From homeless to is an unlikely turn of events. Liz Murray’s life as the child of cocaine-addicted parents in the Bronx was bitterly grim. Murray always imagined her life could be much better than it was. Determined to take charge of her life, she finished high school in just two years and was awarded a full scholarship to Harvard University, all while camping out in New York City parks and subway stations. In her talk – a story so powerful it was made into a movie - Murray will take you on a very personal journey where she achieves the improbable and teaches you about empowered conversations to get and stay focused in business and life.

Liz Murray is presented by:
Washington Speakers Bureau and Taylor Made Events

Composing your World, Writing New Music in Your Industry
Kai Kight Innovator, Speaker, Violinist

In this captivating Flash Point presentation, Kai Kight, an innovative violinist and composer, will inspire you to compose a unique path in your life and in the meetings industry. A product of Stanford’s d. school and a virtuosic musician, Kai seamlessly fuses his diverse expertise on creativity into an experience that you cannot miss.

Getting to the Truth
Pamela Meyer - Author of the best-seller Liespotting

Author of the best-seller Liespotting, Pamela Meyer, shares the art and science of getting to the truth. She presents a path toward trust and authenticity that emphasizes integrity, maturity, and the importance of transforming difficult conversations into customer engagement success.

Joining us throughout the conference 

Dave Sharpe: Master of Ceremonies
Returning to WEC for the second year is our Master of Ceremonies Dave Sharpe. Dave has been working with businesses, event management companies, meeting planners and those involved in running conferences, product launches, and corporate functions for over 20 years. If you didn’t meet Dave last year, you will enjoy his professional, engaging style.

Roonie G.: Your Conference DJ
Roonie G. will help set the tempo for our general sessions and will help you discover that multi-sensory stimulation - fusing imagery, pop music and comedy helps attendees increase retention. Hear audience approved Roonie G. and discover how you can incorporate music into any event.