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The Leading Change Conference 2017

Held in partnership with Grantmakers of Western Pennsylvania, the Leading Change Conference is an opportunity for participants to become stronger advocates for and leaders of change.

Event Details

We all want to support nonprofits in the best possible way. But being a productive partner with nonprofits—and giving them the support they need most—often requires some type of change in how our organizations operate. Although change efforts can be difficult or even seem insurmountable, we know that grantmakers can harness their personal agency and affect change, no matter their role or position in the organization. Attend the Leading Change Conference 2017 and gather with peers who are on the same journey, looking for ways to build their leadership skills and influence their colleagues, organizations and the field. You’ll explore your own role and immediate sphere of control, learn skills that will increase your own capacity to address organizational beliefs or behaviors, and return home equipped with tools, frameworks and a peer community that will help you lead the desired change.

Start: Monday, November 13, 8:00 AM Eastern

End: Tuesday, November 14, 2:30 PM Eastern

Westin Convention Center Pittsburgh
1000 Penn Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15222

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Want to learn more? Scroll down to find more details about registration rates, the conference program and what to do while you’re in Pittsburgh.

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Reserve your spot and join us in Pittsburgh for the Leading Change Conference 2017.

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Before you attend the Leading Change Conference 2017, take a few moments to review the conference policies.

Registration Rates

Priority Registration
(GEO Members Only)

July 18 – July 31

GEO Members $750

Early Bird Registration

August 1 – August 7

GEO Members $750

GWP Members $850

Early Bird Registration
(All Eligible Participants)

August 8 – August 11

GEO Members $750

GWP Members $850

Nonmembers $1,050

Regular Registration

August 12 – October 31

GEO Members $800

GWP Members $900

Nonmembers $1,100

Late Registration

November 1 – Conference

GEO Members $900

GWP Members $1,000

Nonmembers $1,200

Program Highlights

Honing “Self” as an Instrument of Change

Start your conference experience by reflecting on your role and what you bring to your organization. As you think about your role, you’ll hear stories of individual grantmakers who are leading change from various roles in the organization through having courageous conversations, deepening engagement with stakeholders, strengthening the quality of their relationships and mobilizing others behind their vision. The opening session will also feature the first of three Home Team Meetups to allow you to connect with and hear from peers and explore together how your identity intersects with your ability to lead change at your organization. After leaving the opening session, you’ll select from breakout sessions covering topics such as navigating change, leading change on racial equity and self-care.

Leading Mission-Driven Organizational and Team Change

Once you have an understanding of your personal agency, choose one of five afternoon breakout sessions where you’ll learn skills such as: moving faster and acting bolder, optimizing ways to introduce change in a complex environment and applying the lens of adaptive leadership. You’ll then engage with your peers in Home Team discussions and activities designed to examine how organizational history shapes current perceptions and affects how internal change happens in organizations.

The Role of Grantmaking Organizations in Leading Change

On the second day of the Leading Change Conference, you’ll begin by exploring how risk factors into organizational action and change efforts in the final Home Team Meetup. In the final round of breakout sessions, you’ll learn how your organization can be a field wide supporter of change by engaging in collective leadership, intentionally pursuing trust-based philanthropy and cultivating organizational patience. You’ll end your conference experience by hearing from Jocelyn Sargent of the Hyams Foundation, Tara Houska of Honor the Earth, and others in the closing plenary to explore the ways grantmakers can provide the best support to systems change work. You’ll leave with concrete steps to tackle your desired change.

Scroll down to read draft conference session titles and descriptions listed in chronological order or click here to view the full print program.

Sunday, November 12

1:00 - 6:00 p.m. Registration
4:00 – 6:00 p.m. Early Arrivers Happy Hour

Monday, November 13

7:30 a.m. – onward Registration
8:00 – 10:30 a.m. Opening Plenary Breakfast: Reflecting on Purpose (Home Team Meetup #1)
10:30 – 11:00 a.m. Break
11:00 a.m. – 12:15 p.m. Breakout Round A: Honing “Self” as an Instrument of Change
(choose one of five options)
12:15 – 12:30 p.m. Break
12:30 – 1:30 p.m. Networking Luncheon
1:30 – 1:45 p.m. Break
1:45 – 3:15 p.m. Breakout Round B: Leading Mission-Driven Organizational and Team Change
(choose one of five options)
3:15 – 3:30 p.m. Break
3:30 – 4:15 p.m. Home Team Meetup #2
4:15 - 4:30 p.m. Break
4:30 – 5:30 p.m. Active Hour (optional)
5:30 – 7:30 p.m. Reception

Tuesday, November 14

7:30 – onward Registration
8:30 – 9:45 a.m. Networking Breakfast & Home Team Meetup # 3
9:45 – 10:15 a.m. Break
10:15 – 11:45 a.m. Breakouts C: The Role of Grantmaking Organizations in Leading Change
(choose one of five options)
11:45 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. Break
12:00 – 2:00 p.m. Closing Plenary Luncheon: Grantmakers’ Role in Supporting Systems and Community Change
The Westin Pittsburgh, site of the Leading Change Conference 2017

How to join us

All conference programming will take place at the Westin Convention Center Pittsburgh. There's a lot to see and do in Pittsburgh, and we're excited to see you there.

Find out about travel details

Networking Opportunities

Through both formal and informal activities, GEO conferences offer a great opportunity for participants to make connections with their peers, hear fresh ideas and ask questions related to shared challenges.

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Participant Roster

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Grantmakers of Western Pennsylvania

Our Regional Partner

Grantmakers of Western Pennsylvania is where grantmakers come together to exchange, learn, debate and collaborate - all to make the most positive impact in its region.

Learn more about Grantmakers of Western Pennsylvania
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Conference Planning Committee

  • Philip Li, Robert Sterling Clark Foundation (co-chair)
  • Brenda Solorzano, Blue Shield of California Foundation (co-chair)
  • John Brothers, T. Rowe Price Foundation
  • Annie Hernandez, Frieda C. Fox Foundation
  • Pia Infante, Whitman Institute
  • Sindhu Knotz, Philanthropy Northwest
  • Barbara Leonard, Maine Health Access Foundation
  • Jenny Nielsen, Grantmakers of Western Pennsylvania
  • Anita Patel, Bush Foundation
  • Elissa Perry, Management Assistance Group
  • Candy Solovjovs, Meyer Memorial Trust
  • Amanda Standerfer, Lumpkin Family Foundation

Conference Host Committee

  • Gregg Behr, The Grable Foundation (co-chair)
  • Grant Oliphant, The Heinz Endowments (co-chair)
  • Susan Brownlee, The Fine Foundation
  • Kathy Buechel, The Benter Foundation
  • Diana Bucco, The Buhl Foundation
  • Kate Dewey, The Forbes Funds
  • Sylvia Fields, Eden Hall Foundation
  • Cathy Lewis Long, The Sprout Fund
  • Yvonne Maher, The Pittsburgh Foundation
  • Sally McCrady, PNC Foundation
  • Mary Phan-Gruber, Jefferson Regional Foundation
  • Sam Reiman, Richard King Mellon Foundation
  • Joni Schwager, Staunton Farm Foundation
  • Barbara Sieck Taylor, Grantmakers of Western Pennsylvania
  • Kristy Trautmann, FISA Foundation


Major Supporters

Additional Supporters

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