We are busy preparing for the Greek America Foundation’s 3rd National Innovation Conference (NIC) in Toronto, the weekend of May 2-4. Every two years, right about now, while we make plans for the event, begin announcing our speakers and start publicizing our activities, the same question always pops up from random people.
Why is a Greek organization hosting an innovation conference?
The answer is simple, and the same one I give all the time. It’s simple.
We own innovation. It’s ours. The ancient Greeks were the world’s greatest innovators— on so many levels. Innovation is very much a Greek ideal and coincides well with the foundation’s mission to “promote, preserve and perpetuate Greek heritage, history and ideals in North America.”
We created NIC to bring together like-minded people thirsty for knowledge and networking. From the first NIC in Chicago, our goal was to create a fertile landscape for the exchange of ideas— almost like a modern-day Athenian Agora, where radical ideas were exchanged and argued amongst the restless citizens yearning for change.
But NIC, more than just an innovation conference, has emerged into a conference of inspiration and ideation.
People from throughout the world have met, interacted, created business partnerships and continued long-standing and substantive cooperations— all from NIC.
We design the conference surgically, with well-timed speaker presentations, ample networking breaks so participants can meet speakers and share input and exchange business cards. We host an opening night reception as an ice-breaker so people can meet in advance of the conference and culminate with an awards reception, honoring Greek America’s Forty Under 40.
Imagine the electricity during the weekend— a gathering of some of the world’s greets innovators and thinkers, coupled with the individuals selected as “Forty Under 40” winners— young, driven and successful and all seeking to change the world around them in one way or another.
We have put together an amazing slate of speakers for the weekend and are excited about the response thus far. Speakers will include entrepreneurs like Andreas Souvaliotis and America’s favorite cupcake bakers, Katherine and Sophie from Georgetown Cupcake. We’ve also asked inspirational speaker and adventure traveler Leon Logothetis to share his amazing story and philanthropists like Danialle Karmanos, who has introduced the power of yoga to thousands of inner city youth in Detroit with her charity “Danialle Karmanos’ Work it Out”.
I invite you to join us in Toronto the weekend and partake in one of the most important projects our community offers to its constituents. Details are on the NIC website. We’ve secured special discounts and rates with Porter Airlines and the Sheraton Hotel in downtown Toronto.