The Alliance for Strong Families and Communities invites you to share your knowledge, promising practices, and solutions that respond to the pressing adaptive challenges we face by presenting at the 2018 Senior Leadership Conference , to be held Feb. 24-27, 2018 in New Orleans.

A recent study revealed that social sector leaders are searching for professional growth opportunities and seek to continuously develop into high-impact leaders. Regardless of whether you are an emerging or a more seasoned leader, this year’s SLC will offer learning, skill building, and networking opportunities—providing a complete Alliance leadership experience. Keep your gears well-oiled to maintain relevance and achieve impact within your organization and communities served.

Though entering its 50th year, SLC is not stalling out. For 2018, presenters will choose from several new presentation formats and five requested topic areas related to current adaptive leadership challenges and opportunities. Share your knowledge, strategies, and stories that will enable participants to better address the challenges they face. All presentations should help to develop of social sector leaders so that they can realize their impact and relevance in co-creating with communities and working with fellow leaders within their organizations, and across organizations and sectors to achieve their missions.

Submit proposals through the online form by Aug. 18.

Contact the Alliance Conferences and Meetings Department with questions or for more information.

Selection Process and Deadlines  

All workshop proposals must be submitted online  by Aug. 18. All proposal content submitted should be of high quality, reflective of the most important, complex, and emerging issues facing the sector as listed below.

All required information must be included for proposal consideration:

  • Contact information for all presenters
  • Biography for each presenter, no longer than 200 words each
  • Requested topic
  • Presentation title
  • Presentation format (for “Design Your Own,” describe the format/delivery methods used to engage the audience)
  • Presentation description, no longer than 350 words
  • Three to five learning objectives
  • Level of content (high-level introductory, intermediate, or advanced)
  • List of prior presentations

Workshop selections will be made by the Senior Leadership Conference Council, which is comprised of executives and directors from the Alliance network. Submitting a proposal does not guarantee acceptance. Individuals will be notified Sept. 22 if their presentations have been selected for inclusion in the conference.

The Alliance will not permit any presenter to use his or her presentation to make a sales pitch for any specific firm, publication, or service. Presenters are not paid for their participation.

Presentation Formats

The 2018 Senior Leadership Conference’s breakout sessions will feature several new formats to enhance the learning, sharing, and networking experience. Brief orientations will be held in the fall to prepare presenters to deliver compelling presentations in their specific formats. Workshop timeframes can range from the bite-sized 30-minute session to a more in-depth 90-minute workshop. All presentations must align with one of the requested topics.

All presenters should allow ample time for group interaction and Q&A. Past evaluations have made it clear that conference participants prefer hands-on workshops with clear takeaways, rather than the lecture format. Panel discussions be limited to three presenters.

Speed Solutions: At the start of each 30-minute session, two presenters will briefly share a leadership problem or challenge they faced. Afterward presenters will lead a discussion during which participants will comment on how they would address the problem/challenge. At the end of the session the presenters will reveal how they dealt with the problem/challenge and outcomes of their decisions.

Speed Reading: Share a must-read leadership or nonprofit management book. These 30-minute design sessions will kick off with two presenters briefly sharing the overall theme/message of a favorite leadership read and then guiding a follow-up discussion with participants on the books’ takeaways.

Campfire: These sessions begin with up to five presenters and participants seated in a circle of chairs. The presenters will pose a leadership idea, opportunity or challenge, and after the 30-minute introduction, the focus will shift from the presenter to the audience. For the remainder of the 60- or 90-minute session, the presenter will become the facilitator and invite responses to comments and questions from those around the room, letting the audience dictate the ultimate direction of the conversation.

Talk Show Panel: These 60- or 90-minute talk show panels, consisting of up to three panelists and a moderator, are a great way to showcase multiple expert opinions on a topic in a short amount of time. Feature different perspectives, offer alternative solutions to problems, and start new conversations with this engaging format.

7-14-28: The 7-14-28 format generates rapid-fire presentations. Share a great idea, something unexpected you have learned, or anything that sparks your imagination. During 60- or 90-minute sessions, up to three presenters will have seven minutes to speak using a deck of no more than 14 slides that use a 28-point font size or larger. After presentations are delivered, participants will split up into small group discussions around the topics presented. The 7-14-28 format allows speakers to focus on the essentials of their subject and participants the chance to enjoy multiple presentations in one session.

SLC Snapshots: Presenters will deliver in a TED Talk-style presentation and lead a follow up discussion with participants. Each presenter will be allowed to present for five minutes. After all presenters have spoken they will lead small-group discussions with participants on their topics.

Design It Yourself: Suggest a workshop format of your choosing. Consider a traditional presentation, world café, or other style. The format will be left up to you—just remember, adults have a hard time learning from 90-minute lectures. Keep your session as participatory and engaging as possible.

Requested Topics  

Learning from the successes of others is valuable, but presenters who will use an example from their organizations as the center points of their presentations must be able to pull out the takeaways that transcend local climate, contracts, and norms so that all can benefit from the experience.

Together with the Alliance Senior Leadership Conference Planning Council, the Alliance has identified the following topics for which we seek proposals for conference presentations.

Topic 1: Leadership Development  

Presentations related to leadership development should focus on adaptive leadership, with an emphasis on mobilizing people to tackle tough challenges and thrive.

Leadership Subtopic: rEvolutionary Leadership Model

This exclusive model for change leadership enables individuals to address adaptive challenges and achieve lasting change by guiding them in investing in the four internal capacities:

  • Cognitive Capacity. The conscious intellectual ability to anticipate, perceive, understand, and analyze factors in the environment that may drive the need for change
  • Emotional Capacity. The ability to emotionally process factors that might contribute to change and harness resulting empathy, passion, courage, and resolve as motivation to work for change
  • Spiritual Capacity. The ability to clearly envision the preferred future state and the belief that achieving that future state is not only attainable but a moral obligation
  • Behavioral Capacity. The ability to foresee and implement the observable and measurable actions that will set change into motion

Leadership Subtopic: Handling Adaptive Challenges in Our Sector

Ronald Heifetz calls the tough, seemingly recalcitrant problems facing our sector today adaptive practice or adaptive work. According to Heifetz, "Adaptive work is required when our deeply held beliefs are challenged, when the values that made us successful become less relevant, and when legitimate yet competing perspectives emerge." Leadership must be exercised by many people at multiple levels in an organization for progress to be made on tough problems. Leaders in the system must learn new ways to work to make the change sustainable

Leadership Subtopic: Winning Recipes for Dealing with Uncertainty in Our Sector

Issues related to workforce development and recruitment to finding new funding models to financially sustain the sector are just a few of many challenges we face as leaders. But solutions and strategies have been employed throughout our sector in addressing these challenges.

Topic 2: Building Sector Sustainability

Share your knowledge about how the sector can position itself for sustainability and survivability for the future. Sub-topics could include:

  • Partnerships: Mergers, acquisitions and alternatives
  • Alternate funding sources, social entrepreneurship, and enterprise development
  • Surviving new payment models

Topic 3: Commitments of High-Impact Nonprofits

Share stories, case studies, or examples of how the Commitments of High-Impact Nonprofits framework has had an impact within your organization and communities served. Because the Alliance for Strong Families and Communities believes that organizations do not achieve impact by accident but through dedication and rigorous attention to high standards, we’ve identified the Commitments to serve as a blueprint for impact:

  • Leading with Vision
  • Governing for the Future
  • Executing on Mission
  • Partnering with Purpose
  • Investing in Capacity
  • Measuring that Matters
  • Co-Creating with Community
  • Innovating with Enterprise
  • Engaging All Voices
  • Advancing Equity

Topic 4: Advancing Equity  

The Alliance envisions a world where society and its systems (e.g. education, criminal justice, health care, housing, and the economy) are just, fair, and inclusive, enabling all people to participate and reach their full potential. We believe in the dignity and humanity of all people. We strive for a healthy and prosperous society that promotes all people having equitable access and opportunity regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, differently-abled. Share your insights, work, and results on advancing equity in a meaningful way.  

Topic 5: Self-Care for Leaders, Teams, and Organizations

We talk about self-care all the time, but most of us are not successful in it. Leaders in the sector work many hours, often late into the evening and on weekends; we experience burnout at high levels; and we set up ourselves up for unrealistic expectations related to workloads and to each other. To take care of others we must first take care of ourselves. As a leader, it can be easy to prioritize others’ needs over your own. Share your experiences, programs, and success in achieving and sustaining self-care.