Top authors and business coaches are the executive trainers in these roll-up-your-sleeves sessions on innovation, creativity and business growth. Check back in February for 2018 Master Classes. (Admission requires Master Pass or All Access badge active on day of Master Classes.)

Thursday | May 4

10:15 AM – 11:45 AM


The definitive Master Class for ambitious mothers and women who want families, presented by one working mother to another. For many women in their 20's and 30's, the greatest professional hurdle they'll need to overcome has little to do with their work life. The most focused, confident, and ambitious women can find themselves derailed by a tiny little thing: a new baby. While more workplaces are espousing family-friendly cultures, women are still subject to a "parenting penalty" and high-profile conflicts between parenting and the workplace are all over the news: from the controversy over companies covering the costs of egg-freezing to the debate over parental leave and childcare inspired by Marissa Mayer's policies at Yahoo and carried through Mark Zuckerberg's high-profile paternity leave.

Author Allyson Downey—founder of weeSpring (the “Yelp for baby products,”) and author of Here’s the Plan: Your Practical, Tactical Guide to Advancing Your Career During Pregnancy and Parenthood, dives into this Master Class with vim and vigor, offering an inventive and inspiring roadmap for working mothers steering their careers through the parenting years. Get insights into the practical aspects of ladder-climbing while parenting, from a seasoned expert who has produced events for thousands of people--and fundamentally understands the challenges inherent in balancing family with the fast pace of event planning and execution.
Presented By:
  • Allyson Downey, Author, "Here’s the Plan: Your Practical, Tactical Guide to Advancing Your Career During Pregnancy and Parenthood"

Friday | May 5

10:45 AM – 12:15 PM


With so many choices available to consumers, many of them find it difficult to make any choice at all.

Fact: The choices we give people define how we interact with them, what they buy, how they align with brands. Question? Are we giving our customers too many choices?

Psychology professor and bestselling author Barry Schwartz provides ample evidence that customers are faced with far too many choices on a daily basis, providing an illusion of a multitude of options when few honestly different ones actually exist. The conclusions Schwartz draws will be familiar to anyone who has flipped through 900 eerily similar channels of cable television only to find that nothing good is on. Whether you sell a healthcare plan, consumer electronics device or jeans, Schwartz, drawing extensively on his own work in the social sciences, shows that a bewildering array of choices floods consumers’ exhausted brains, ultimately restricting them instead of freeing them to buy something.
We normally assume in America that more options ("easy fit" or "relaxed fit"?) will make consumers more likely to buy, but Schwartz shows the opposite is true, arguing that offering customers too many choices actually goes so far as to erode purchase intent and brand affinity. Part research summary, part introductory social sciences tutorial, part self-help guide, this Master Class offers concrete steps on how to understand the art and science of choice—in your personal life and at work. Synthesizing current research in the social sciences, Schwartz makes the counterintuitive case that eliminating choices can greatly reduce the stress, anxiety, and busyness of your life—and your customers’ lives. In accessible, engaging, and anecdotal prose, he offers practical steps for how to limit choices to a manageable number, have the discipline to focus on the important ones and ignore the rest, and, ultimately, derive greater satisfaction from the choices you do make.
Presented By:
  • Barry Schwartz, Swarthmore College professor and author, “The Paradox of Choice: Why More Is Less”
2:00 PM – 3:30 PM


If your message is vivid and memorable, your customers will see and remember it, right? Not necessarily. In this Master Class, Dan Simons, creator of the famous “invisible gorilla” psychology experiment, uses real-world stories and startling demonstrations to demonstrate an important truth: Our minds don’t work the way we think they do. We think we see ourselves and the world as they really are, but we’re actually missing a whole lot.

Again and again, we think we experience and understand the world as it is, but our thoughts are beset by everyday illusions. We create events and film TV spots on the assumption that people will notice when something incredible happens right in front of them, right? We’re all sure we know where we were on 9/11, falsely believing that vivid memories are seared into our minds with perfect fidelity. And as a society, we spend billions on devices to train our brains because we’re continually tempted by the lure of quick fixes and effortless self-improvement.

The Invisible Gorilla reveals the myriad ways that our intuitions can deceive us, but it’s much more than a catalog of human failings. Chabris and Simons explain why we succumb to these everyday illusions and what we can do to inoculate ourselves against their effects. Ultimately, the book provides a kind of x-ray vision into our own minds, making it possible to pierce the veil of illusions that clouds our thoughts and to think clearly for perhaps the first time.
Presented By:

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