NeoCon 2018: Meet the Speakers – Marquee Presentations

NeoCon 2018 is just around the corner! We reached out to some of the speakers of the most anticipated sessions to learn more about their thoughts on NeoCon 50 and their presentations.

Unanticipated Opportunities – A Conversation Between Art Gensler and Cheryl Durst

Keynote [KE1]

  • Date: Monday, June 11
  • Time: 8:00 AM
  • Location: NeoCon Theater, 19th Floor, The Mart
  • Registration Closed: View Live Stream on Grand Stair off South Lobby
Art Gensler – Image courtesy of Gensler | Cheryl Durst – Image courtesy of IIDA

Start your NeoCon 50 experience by sitting in on the conversation IIDA Executive Vice President and CEO, Cheryl Durst will share with industry icon, Art Gensler. We asked Cheryl why she thought this would be a meaningful discussion, especially at a venue like NeoCon. She pointed out that the opportunity to share thoughts and ideas with one of the leading voices in our industry would not only be invigorating, but inspirational.

The chance to find out more behind Mr. Gensler’s entrepreneurial and renegade spirit offers attendees to get a personal view of some of the ideas outlined in Art’s Principles: 50 Years of Hard Learned Lessons In Building a World Class Professional Services Firm.

We had the opportunity to pose a few preliminary questions to him in advance of NeoCon:

Looking back, was there ever a moment when you thought you may have made a wrong turn, professionally?

I have been lucky. I’m sure better decisions could have been made, but I only look forward, not back.

Looking forward – are there three things/predictions you would make about the evolution of the design profession?

Overall, it will continue to change, and technology will have a major impact in that change. The relationship between owner, contractor and designer will also change and, in turn, become more global in practice.

What do you think is the most challenging design problems, architects, and designers may face in today’s rapidly changing and increasingly smaller world (due to advances in technology and communication) may face?

The attraction of unique talent in the profession as, for example, technology companies may be the ones hiring the people that could be best. Additionally, matching compensation will help the best talent stay in the profession.

Seasoned professionals and emerging designers alike will appreciate hearing insights in-person as well as the stories behind the building of a business and how and why developing an infrastructure to support the people that do the work is critical to the success of the entire enterprise. “Design is about people,” and it will be interesting to hear directly how Art has worked to build a successful business by encouraging and developing the energy, expertise, and talent of the employees.


She Said, She Said: Extraordinary Women in Design

Moderated by Cindy Allen, Editor in Chief, Interior Design

Panelists:

Keynote [KE2]

  • Date: Monday, June 11
  • Time: 2:00 PM
  • Location: NeoCon Theater, 19th Floor, The Mart
  • Registration Closed: View Live Stream on Grand Stair off South Lobby
Cindy Allen – Image courtesy of Interior Design

In honor of NeoCon’s 50th Edition, Interior Design Editor in Chief, Cindy Allen shines a bright light on those who dared to enter the “boys’ club” of architecture and design, voicing their struggles and victories. Now, as they lead some of the world’s most prodigious firms, we hear their vision for a more inclusive future.

We caught up with Cindy to get her thoughts in NeoCon 50 and her keynote event:

How many years have you attended NeoCon?

I’ve been attending for 20 years. I started working at Interior Design in June – it was baptism by NeoCon!

What was it like the first time you went to the show?

Today, the whole world wants to talk about workplace. I laugh because we have been covering it for 86 years. So, when I first went to NeoCon, I was excited to be with so many like-minded creative and business types, all dedicated to the cause. Boy oh boy, times have changed. I remember that you had to fax your registration to attend NeoCon!

How do you think the event has evolved over the years?

The influence of residential and hospitality have changed the face of workplace design — the lines have completely blurred — so as you can imagine it’s a whole new conversation. Designers have always been generalists, but now they are seamlessly weaving in and out of segments and pushing design forward in the process.

What are you most looking forward to this year?

Since you asked…I’ll be delivering the keynote, hosting the fifth annual HiP Awards, broadcasting Interior Design Live, filming video tours, producing three show dailies and being inspired by all the great new design. Whew! As you can see, I stay busy.

Let’s talk about your keynote and panel discussion. Even though more women are ascending in leadership roles of many firms, is it still a “man’s world” or is the inclusive future attainable?

I think we are seeing glimpses of a more inclusive future already. Since I became editor in chief in 2001, I have inducted 21 female Hall of Famers — a far higher percentage of females than were ever inducted before. Part of that is the industry evolving and the other is taking special care to celebrate women in design. We are publishing more female designers and architects than ever before. As you know, our NeoCon keynote is titled “She Said, She Said”, and I’ll be talking with three luminaries and friends, Interior Design Hall of Famers Robin Klehr Avia, Anda Andrei, and Gisue Hariri. That said, I love talent in every way, shape, form, or sex.

Do you think women approach design differently than men? In a leadership position, I wonder if they approach business decisions differently.

We will find out at my keynote on June 11 at 2 pm!

Do you think the #MeToo Movement is affecting the design world? Do you think this will come up in the conversation?

I’d like to think the design industry is a bit more evolved as it is comprised of extremely creative, dynamic, forward-thinking people: women and men. I hope everyone who attends the keynote are inspired by these strong women – I know I am! Follow me at @thecindygram for updates!


The Wired Future

Nicholas Thompson, Editor in Chief, Wired

Keynote [KE3]

  • Date: Tuesday, June 12
  • Time: 8:00 AM
  • Location: NeoCon Theater, 19th Floor, The Mart
  • Register Now

The story of how science and tech will change our lives is one of the most important in the world. And no one’s more equipped to tell it than Nicholas Thompson. A veteran editor, he revolutionized The New Yorker’s online platform and transformed the magazine. Now, as the Editor-in-Chief of Wired, he’s working at the forefront of digital innovation — championing tech’s role in making the world a better place.

As the new Editor-in-Chief of Wired — one of the most prestigious positions in the world of technology — Nicholas Thompson is staking out a bold, optimistic vision for covering, and responding to, the changing realm of digital culture. From artificial intelligence to entertainment, privacy to social media, ethics to war, Thompson leads the news cycle — and in talks, he champions the ways tech can enhance our lives, both as a quick-witted, brilliant keynote speaker and as a charming, provocative host.

Image courtesy of WIRED

We asked Nick for some thoughts on facing the NeoCon audience, the largest gathering in the A&D and commercial design/real estate/furniture industries:

I love the challenge of giving a talk to designers and architects: you know they’re going to listen closely to what you say and look closely at your slides too—and also that they’ll be able to turn everything upside down, inside out, and all the way around. 

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