CSU’s Leadership Institute Moves Forum 2020 to Virtual Format

COLUMBUS — Plans for The Forum, originally scheduled as an in-person event Aug. 24-25, 2020, have been updated. The event, hosted by the Leadership Institute at Columbus State University, will now be hosted online from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. each day the week of Aug. 24-28. The week-long virtual event will feature a blend of new addresses and recorded presentations, including some of its “greatest hits” from the past 14 years.

“While this isn’t the 15th anniversary event we originally envisioned, we are excited about the opportunity to highlight some of the best and brightest minds the event has brought to Columbus,” said Jessica Drake, CSU’s director of marketing and The Forum.

Organizers have reached out to past speakers for follow-up interviews. While the full agenda is still being finalized, the following new presentations and greatest hits have been confirmed:

New for 2020
Jim Blanchard, chairman, JBA Capital, LLC and Ed Helton, Chief of Staff, Columbus State University Chris Clark, president and chief executive officer, Georgia Chamber of Commerce and Todd Groce, president and chief executive officer, Georgia Historical Society

Greatest Hits
Sara Blakely, 2014, founder and owner, Spanx, Inc. James J. Dunne III, 2015, vice chairman and senior managing principal, Piper Sandler Ajaypal Singh Banga, 2016, president and chief executive officer, MasterCard

Thanks to the support of our generous sponsors, The Forum 2020 will be offered at no cost to registrants.

“Leadership development has never been more critical than in today’s pandemic-disrupted environment as we work to re-evaluate our business plans, re-grow our businesses, and re-equip ourselves and our employees with the skills necessary to ensure future success,” said Shana Young, assistant vice president of leadership development and executive director of the Leadership Institute. “We hope individuals and companies will take advantage of this free resource.”

Original plans for The Forum 2020, themed “Leadership in Hindsight,” included announced speakers Frank Abagnale, cybersecurity and fraud prevention expert, and the subject of Steven Spielberg’s 2002 film, Catch Me If You Can; Alexis Ohanian, co-founder of Reddit and Initialized Capital; Kat Cole, chief operating officer and president, North America, FOCUS Brands; and a Dine Around dinner throughout Uptown Columbus.

“We have successfully moved Frank Abagnale and Kat Cole’s appearances to 2021,” said Drake. “We are also working to secure Alexis Ohanian for the 2021 event. Our hope is to continue conversations and incorporate the Dine Around for next year. ”

The virtual event would not be possible without support of Platinum Sponsors Synovus and AT&T; Gold Sponsors Georgia CEO, Georgia Chamber of Commerce and Columbus Ledger-Enquirer; Champion Sponsors W.C. Bradley, Liberty Utilities and 2WR; Ambassador Sponsor St. Francis - Emory Healthcare; and Collaborators Barge Design Solutions, Columbus Airport, Containers By Reaves, Global Teen Challenge, Goodwill Industries of the Southern Rivers, Moon, Meeks, Mason & Vinson, Inc., OmegaFi, Standard Concrete and Townsend Wealth Management.

“I commend the Leadership Institute team for their work in providing this much-needed resource during these unprecedented times,” said CSU President Dr. Chris Markwood. “Instead of canceling or postponing the event, they embraced our brand pillars of cultivating creativity, inspiring collaboration, reimagining education and expanding worlds — thereby furthering CSU’s story of success.”

Though the event is free, registration is required. For more information or to register, visit https://theforum.columbusstate.edu/.

About Leadership Institute at Columbus State University
The Leadership Institute at Columbus State University is a university-based consulting group that provides expertise and training in leadership development, team building, assessments, executive coaching and strategic planning. Founded in 2005, the Leadership Institute has worked with more than 200 organizations and helped develop thousands of leaders. For more information on how we can help your business or organization, visit www.ColumbusState.edu/Leadership.

About The Forum
Founded in 2005, The Forum, hosted by the Leadership Institute at Columbus State University, is the premier leadership event in the region and offers an intimate setting with some of the best and brightest minds in the world. Held annually during the last Monday and Tuesday in August, the event draws more than 1,000 attendees. For more information, visit https://theforum.columbusstate.edu/.