Last year we boarded Summit at Sea on 9 November in a daze. Nobody slept (or slept well) the night before; we all were embarking on this ship-board creative conference under the new reality of president-elect Trump without any clear sense of what our future held. The experience turned out to be a crucible for us to process and hatch ideas for when to resist and how to move forward. Now almost a year later it’s again time for Summit’s flagship event, but this time instead of a ship the community will occupy a four-square-block campus in downtown LA. The move will make the four-day event more accessible for speakers and attendees, promising an even more elevated conversation and experience. Confirmed speakers like Jeff Bezos, Shonda Rhimes, Brene Brown, Reed Hastings, Malcolm Gladwell and Sir David Adjaye will be among the 100 talks and discussions. And in true Summit form there will be more than 65 wellness classes, 40 performances and 12 different chefs preparing locally-sourced cuisine for the community. When asked about the transition from sea to land and the impact last year’s conference had, Summit co-founder Jeff Rosenthal simply stated that each year is about “revolutions, not evolutions.” What remains the same, however, is a philosophy Rosenthal calls “shaving down the pedestal,” a practice meant to integrate speakers with the community through dialog and participation.
So what’s revolutionary about this year’s Summit? Cari Levison, Lead Content Producer for Summit, shares, “We’ll hear from community organizers and activists, prolific artists and renowned neuroscientists all to address the question we’ve been asking since November, how do we come back together?“ She elaborates, “We’ll be joined by the governors of Washington and Colorado to address the stark split between urban and rural communities in their states. Renowned spiritual teacher, Marianne Williamson will point to leaders like Martin Luther King and Nelson Mandela to remind us that spirituality is a profound and essential political tool and Arthur Brooks, President of esteemed conservative think tank, American Enterprise Institute will outline the Conservative vision for rebuilding and reuniting.”
Programming for the Summit team doesn’t seem to be the biggest challenge given the name they’ve established for themselves. This year the greatest effort, according to co-founder Ryan Begelman, is creating a campus environment in downtown LA. “We’re tapping in to the rich history of theaters in LA with the Orpheum as our epicenter. And we’re moving from the chosen limitations of a ship to creating our own limitations with the DTLA campus.” While it might sound counter intuitive, creating limitations is necessary to foster a sense of community—especially in an urban setting where boundaries are easily blurred. This year attendees will be spread among nine hotels, attending talks in four different theaters and gathering in over 75,000 square feet of outdoor experiential spaces.
We’ll be on site for Summit 2017 in downtown LA and look forward to sharing our insights. For anyone interested in attending, it’s not too late to apply as registration closes on 9 October. There’s also a just-announced scholarship for emerging female entrepreneurs.
Images courtesy of Summit