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Dear Shannon

11 can't-miss impact conferences that are just around the corner

Grab your calendar for these networking and thought leadership opportunities.

Dear Shannon is a career advice column for sustainability professionals and wannabe professionals. If you have a question for Shannon, send it to [email protected].

Dear Shannon

I am looking to improve my skills, networks and maybe even speak at a conference this year. What are the best ones for the impact agenda?

Thanks in advance,



Great idea to start to build your personal profile by speaking at conferences and networking at them to build your wider connections. The internet can be overwhelming when it comes to the top events and conferences and it will depend a bit on where you live or can travel to. Here, I’ve compiled a list of high-quality and forward-thinking impact events for sustainability leaders in the coming months:

Sustainable Brands Leaders Journey 

Sept. 11–14 (Thimphu, Bhutan)

For the first time, Sustainable Brands is hosting this executive workshop to connect like-minded leaders who want to apply the happiness index to drive a better business. This three-day master class will explore how Gross National Happiness can be applied to business leaders and global economic development.

Social Enterprise Alliance Summit ’17

Sept. 18–20 (Los Angeles)

Create opportunity, build community and explore innovation with social enterprise experts for three days in southern California. Social enterprise is on the verge of a breakthrough at this 19th annual event.


Sept. 19-21 (Santa Clara, California)

VERGE 17 is where technology meets sustainability. Join more than 2,000 professionals bringing together the public and private sectors to explore the latest technologies and tools that help accelerate the green economy.

SOCAP ’17 

Oct. 10-13 (San Francisco)

SOCAP is the world's leading conference on social capital markets. For the 10th time this event is bringing together impact investors, business leaders and problem solvers from around the world to discuss the intersection of money and meaning.

Companies & Causes Canada 

Oct. 11 (Toronto)

This year’s conference is themed "The Power of Purpose." Learn to leverage sponsorship and corporate fundraising trends, get your questions answered by pros and get the latest insights toward the hottest consumer attitudes. The full-day event is a killer networking opportunity in Canada that showcases corporate and nonprofit alliances.  

S.H.E. Summit 

Oct. 19–20 (New York)

Celebrate and accelerate the advancement of women and gender equality with 50-plus leaders and drivers. The summit aims to inspire everyone to rise to their highest potential and lift all genders in the process. Speakers include leaders from Ellevate Network, Deloitte, TED and JP Morgan Chase.  


Oct. 24–26 (Huntington Beach, California)

The BSR Conference is one of the world's most influential sustainability events. In its 25th year, the "How Business Leads" themed conference will present compelling examples of how the private sector is setting ambitious goals, using sustainability to innovate and advocating for public-policy frameworks that enable greater progress on climate, inclusive economy and other crucial topics.

Sustainable Brands 

Oct. 30–Nov. 1 ( Copenhagen)

Redefine "The Good Life" with Sustainable Brands in Copenhagen. Get the freshest from-the-field research and learn how you can strengthen your brands performance while delivering a positive social impact.  

SRI Conference 

Nov. 1-3 (San Diego)

The 28th annual conference on Sustainable, Responsible, Impact Investing’s agenda includes: "The Cost of a Climate Change Comb-Over," "ESG Data / Ratings: New Kids on the Block" and "Impactful Matchmaking." Thought leaders, investors and investment professionals from all corners will convene to gain and share knowledge and strategies that align financial performance with positive change. Join from afar with #AllinForImpact 

Sustainable Brands New Metrics 

Nov. 13–15 (Philadelphia)

This three-day Sustainable Brands event will explore the emerging economy with case studies, macro trends and inclusive business metrics. New Metrics '17 will have five key tracks: Strategy & Operations, Finance & Investor Relations, Marketing & Communications, HR & Employee Engagement and Supply Chain Innovation.

Prepping for next year? Then get ready for:

GreenBiz 18

Feb. 6–8 (Phoenix)

The GreenBiz conference defines the trends, challenges and opportunities in sustainable business. You will leave with big ideas as well as practical tools for the office. Past speakers include Hannah Jones (Nike), Ellen MacArthur (Ellen MacArthur Foundation) and Yvon Chouinard (Patagoinia). I’ll be joining and hosting a workshop. Subscribe to the GreenBiz email list to get updates ahead of the event and stay tuned for news about my workshop.

Remember, many of these events blog and livestreamed sessions, so you still have a lot to gain from following them even if you can’t attend in person. If you can, I’d love to hear how it goes. If you’d like some bespoke networking advice or help on your elevator pitch or networking strategy, please contact me.

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