7 No-Nonsense Reasons to Attend a Conference

5 min
Conference Stage

As professionals, we are all busy. It’s hard enough to balance work, social, and personal obligations and still feel like a functioning human at the end of the week. Often times extra events, vacations, and even professional development opportunities fall to the wayside because we’re simply too busy to add anything else to our plate. We feel this at Classy, and we know our community does too.

That’s why we know it’s a big deal to commit to a conference like the Collaborative. As hosts of a three-day event, we understand that attending means days off of work and time away from family. But this is what gets our adrenaline pumping: If 1000 inspirational individuals are leaving their daily routines behind and joining us for a week, we better give them something great—something worth their time. This year, as we worked extremely hard to deliver that.  

“Worth it” means different things to different people, but we have learned a few things over the years and we’ve come pretty close to understanding what’s universally viewed as time worth spent at an event. The secret sauce? The best events foster a community that both inspires attendees and supports them during the time they are present and beyond.

We were thrilled when we were able to sit down with seven of our Leadership Council members to get their thoughts on why events like the Collaborative + Classy Awards are important for social entrepreneurs professionally, but also the sector in general.


Image of Shivani Garg Patel, Principal of Skoll Foundation

When I started to talk to funders and other entrepreneurs at events like the Collaborative, I started to feel like ‘wow,’ I am not alone in my experience. It was a huge weight off my shoulders and provided an opportunity to learn from others.

Watch the Full Interview Now →


Image of Blake Masters, President of Thiel Foundation

Try to meet as many interesting people as possible. Everybody you meet, especially as you get older, has had a lifetime of experiences that you haven’t had. They’ve probably made themselves expert in some discipline that you might not know anything about.

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Image of Kate Brandt, Lead for Sustainability at Google

There’s something special about getting people together to have a cross-pollination of ideas, to develop new partnerships, and to recognize the incredible hard work that these people do every day to make our world better.

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Image of Clara Brenner, CEO & Co-Founder of Tumml

It’s important to celebrate social innovators because so often in the social space we are our own worst critics. The perfect are often the enemies of the good…the more that we can bring a positive lens to the work that they are doing, I think the better off we’ll all be.

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Image of Thane Kreiner, Ph.D., Executive Director of the Miller Center

I would like to see innovation encouraged further in that people imagine it beyond technology…I think that taking a broader view of innovation would be extremely helpful to all of us in the social entrepreneurship and impact investing ecosystem.

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Image of Daniel Lurie, Founder & CEO of Tipping Point Community

The social innovators that we are seeing coming together in Boston are an example of all the things we can do better for our community and our society.

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Image of Ben Rattray, CEO of Change.org

When brought together with other entrepreneurs, it really elevates people’s perspective of what’s possible, and both builds connections for relationships while also enabling us to amplify our collective impact.

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