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Charting a Course for Change: Five Lessons Learned from the 2024 CECP Summit

By Nicole Rotatori, Manager, Events, CECP

The 2024 CECP Summit: Purpose + Persistence event brought together nearly 300 leaders in senior social impact, corporate responsibility, and sustainability from the world’s leading global companies like IBM, Wynn Resorts, Visa Foundation, and more.  

This gathering provided a vital platform for leaders to convene, connect, and exchange insights, challenges, and triumphs. It also gave them invaluable opportunities to glean wisdom from subject-matter experts, nonprofit organizations, and CECP staff on many relevant topics. Sessions explored issues that companies are currently facing to realize a return on purpose including using data to guide social impact programs, community investments in sustainability, best practices and predictions in DEI, measuring social investments, the future of volunteering, communicating sustainability, and more.  

The outside world may not know that we are a mighty team of six people working behind the scenes to curate a rich experience for our companies. Admittedly, the CECP Summit holds a special place in my heart and the palpable energy and sense of camaraderie feel truly unmatched. 

I share here five key takeaways from the 21st CECP Summit, along with recommendations for other event professionals planning big annual events: 

  1. The return of in-person events: In-person gatherings are back and the preferred way to meet. There’s simply no substitute for engaging face-to-face with peers, conversing, sharing ideas, and, yes, even exchanging hugs. 
  2. Roundtable discussions foster engagement: One distinguishing feature of CECP’s approach is roundtable seating in the mainstage and breakout rooms. This setup is deliberate and encourages attendees—despite the large audience—to engage in conversations, digest together what they’ve just heard on stage, forge new connections, and exchange ideas and challenges. 
  3. Extended breakout sessions: Attendees expressed great appreciation for the opportunity to participate in longer, more immersive breakout sessions. These extended workshops lasted 75 minutes, as opposed to the typical 60, and allowed participants to both gain valuable guidance from speakers and presenters and delve deeply into case studies or hands-on exercises.
  4. Dynamic mainstage sessions with accessible speakers: The mainstage programming maintained a brisk pace with sessions ranging from 20 to 40 minutes while ensuring that each topic remained fresh and engaging. Speakers at the Summit were also very accessible and approachable for questions and discussion following their presentation. A few even took the occasional selfie with attendees – raise your hand if you got a pic with Liev Schreiber! 
  5. Authenticity in speakers: Perhaps the most well-received aspect of the Summit was the presence of speakers who are actively driving impact through their work. Attendees were inspired by these individuals’ successes, but also how they candidly discussed the obstacles they’ve faced and moments they needed to make a course correction, as well as actionable steps for attendees to implement in their own work. 

Planning the 2024 CECP Summit is always a special experience because we support corporate leaders’ unwavering dedication to creating positive change in the world through professional development, new connections, and a place to share ideas. 

Check out the 2024 CECP Summit Flickr album to view photos of the event.