Harwood COO Ben Spaisman shares his experience at the Summit
A personal reflection about the Harwood Summit
Having spent my entire career in the private sector I was intrigued by Rich's mission to make a difference in this country. While my main task was to operationally realign the organization for rapid growth and expansion, I quickly realized that to achieve success would require a certain shift in my traditional business thinking.
I learned that the Harwood Summit was Rich's iconic event and presented an opportunity for Rich to interact with leaders from the public and private sectors. It was Rich's way of creating a special place for these leaders to come together to reflect on and discuss some of the fundamental challenges faced in our work for the common good. In planning for the 2013 Summit I studied the history of this event and talked with a number of former attendees to sharpen our messaging and customize the event programs.
I must tell you that I greeted this entire endeavor with a healthy dose of skepticism. Having attended more leadership retreats and workshops than I care to remember, I thought that this would simply be a non-profit version of the usual retreat hype with a "touchy feely" element added to it. So when I arrived at last year's Summit it was with tempered expectations.
Nothing could have been further from the truth. I found the Summit to be one of the most interesting leadership events that I have ever been a part of. No PowerPoint presentations, no "smartest guy in the room" competing for attention. Just a very special place. A unique mix of people – younger, older from different sectors, working on different issues at different points in their professional lives. All seemingly resonating around a common sense of purpose.
It was truly a transformational experience for me and as I told Rich afterward, "it actually rounded some of my edges." I met some fascinating leaders who I know I will be able to consider as friends and colleagues going forward. I left feeling re-energized and with greater clarity on some really thorny issues that impact what I do.
I'd love for you to join us this year. If you want to recharge your batteries in a world class setting, do some personal reflection and spend some time with like-minded people, who are tired of business as usual, I can assure you that you will enjoy this unique event.
I look forward to seeing you there!