Making a New Ascent: The first Ascent Conference was held in 2018 and has since grown into an annual gathering of 1,500 in New York City which arms mid-market SaaS company CEOs “with all the connections they need to grow a company.” Over the past year Ascent has also hosted meetups on the West Coast. And now the organizers have decided to hold a second event in San Francisco.  Taking place from 23 – 24 May the inaugural Ascent Summit will gather 1,000+ SaaS executives “to enjoy peer-to-peer networking and content sessions led by some of the leading thought leaders in the space.”

Fortune Favors the Founders: Last week, Fortune announced that they are launching the Fortune Founders Forum, an extension of its Brainstorm Tech membership community. Fortune will offer this new membership to “a select group of entrepreneurs and rising stars in business and technology,” and host their inaugural gathering (in partnership with Threshold Ventures) on 9 – 10 July in Park City, Utah – just prior to the start of the annual Fortune Brainstorm Tech conference.  According to their announcement, the Founders Forum will “explore key topics of the day, including what happens when markets turn volatile; how to hire, fire, and raise money during a recession; and which skills founders need to transition from a peacetime CEO to a wartime CEO.”

Speaking Opportunity: In its 13th year and produced by the Content Marketing Institute, Content Marketing World/CMW is moving to a new home for 2023 in Washington, DC from 26-29 September. CMW brings together marketing leaders, content creators, communications experts, agencies, and creative professionals from around the world. From now until Sunday 19 March, experts with a story to share can submit to speak. What make a good proposal for a CMW session? Submitted topics should be original, actionable, and offer both a real-world perspective while also looking ahead to the future. Accepted formats include 40-minute breakout session, 90-minute masterclasses and workshop, and 3-hour deep dive workshops.

Conference Manager Q&A: Financial Times Live Global Conference arm is known for bringing “influential global leaders together in one place to dissect, discuss and debate key issues that are happening right now.” As FT’s Content Manager for Industries & Diversity, Grace Older leads programming for events like June’s Women in Business event in London and the NYC counterpart conference in October and recently shared what it’s like to program events in today’s shifting conference environment.

Speaker Strategies: What makes a great conference session?

A great conference session is one that gets the audience thinking in new ways, provides them with key takeaways they can use in their roles/business to become more competitive and has them involved in the discussion (either via polls or Q&A). I also enjoy seeing sessions that use data and innovative research to support and reinstate the relevance of the topics being presented.

Speaker Strategies: What excites you about FT events in the future?

I’m excited to see what we can do with networking. The pandemic really taught us the value of human connections, whether it’s creating them online or in-person. There is still so much to be done in the event tech space, and I’m looking forward to seeing how we develop new ways for people to consume our content, network, and share ideas.

Speaker Strategies: What is the most important trait of a good speaker?

We look for individuals who are industry shakers and able to bring new and interesting perspectives to the discussion. We want our panelists saying something newsworthy. If you get to the end of a session and you’re inundated with audience questions, you know they’ve done a good job.

Speaker Strategies: What do you love most about your job?

I really enjoy seeing an event come to life, especially for in-person conferences. There is nothing more satisfying than seeing a positive reception to the speakers you’ve got on stage. In my role I cover such a diverse array of topics (everything from future EV battery technology to the future of retail stores), so I love learning something new every day and recruiting speakers whose work will directly impact future societies and ways of doing business.

Coming Up Next Week: Describing itself the “premier annual event for sustainable business leaders,” GreenBiz23 gets underway 14 February in Scottsdale to help organizations achieve net zero, advance the circular economy, elevate social justice, and build resilient supply chains. Kidscreen returns to an in-person summit when it’s held 12-15 February at the Miami InterContinental. Featuring sessions from producers, creators, programming execs, and digital media experts, Kidscreen serves the ecosystem of decision makers in the global kids entertainment industry. Kicking off 15 February in the Bay Area, DeveloperWeek draws more than 8,000 developers and engineering professionals to its hybrid conference lineup. This week’s in-person program at the Oakland Convention Center will be followed by a virtual agenda the following week. Under the Tech Super Show umbrella, ITEXPO celebrates its 40th event since 1999 when it runs 14-17 February in Ft. Lauderdale. Other co-located events here include the new Generative AI Expo, the Industrial IoT Conference, and 5G Expo. And Parks Associates will produce the annual Smart Energy Summit 13-15 February at the Omni Austin Downtown Hotel, designed for leaders from utilities, state & national regulators, telecom & security companies, retailers, and OEMs.