Senior Leadership Summit

Positioning Sustainability as Your Ultimate Innovation and Strategy Driver

AASHE’s 2017 Senior Leadership Summit, entitled Positioning Sustainability as Your Ultimate Innovation and Strategy Driver, is an intensive professional development opportunity for senior leaders and their teams to accelerate their sustainability leadership impact by increasing the flow and adoption of new ideas in their organizations. This unique senior leadership session will introduce best in class content that has been validated through senior leadership programs offered through Harvard’s Center for Health and the Global Environment, Sustainable Brands, Greenbuild, PASI, AASHE and more.

The Summit will be led by Leith Sharp, Director of Harvard's internationally acclaimed Executive Education program for Sustainability Leadership, and is especially designed for senior leaders (e.g., presidents, provosts, vice-presidents, or deans). Sustainability professionals can attend along with a senior leader. This event will take place as a post-conference full day session on Wednesday, Oct. 18, 2017 from 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.


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The Value Proposition

This workshop targets innovation, governance and strategic planning processes. It offers tangible approaches for increasing the flow of new ideas through our organizations by enhancing engagement, designing effective de-risking processes and leading agile governance and decision-making architecture. Although sustainability is our test case, the value extends to all complex change agendas faced by higher education leaders because it addresses the work of transforming long-standing organizational identity, culture, structures and processes to unleash new levels of engagement, change, innovation and agility.


The day-long session runs participants through core content, case studies and activities designed to deliver a powerful new sustainability leadership framework for increasing the flow of new ideas through our organizations. Participants are engaged in content around group intelligence and learning; effective de-risking; complex stakeholder engagement; organizational agility; and shared purpose. In the program, sustainability is positioned as the ideal adaptive challenge for helping individuals, organizations and communities develop a new kind of organisational fitness that will help us collectively evolve beyond outdated organizational systems that are either too top down or too bottom up, too fragmented, rigid or disempowering.

What Past Attendees Are Saying 

“This session helped me expand my sense of how much change we can handle as senior leaders – especially when you launch things into a tired/exhausted organization.”

“I want my organization to get beyond that mindset that this is just the way we do things around here”. I would like the ideas in this session to become just the way we do things around here”.

“I’ve done a lot of work in strategic planning. The conversations about sensing and process mapping in this session got me thinking more productively about how we can make strategic planning more inclusive of the sensing and the adaptive engagement up from across the organization and wider community. We simply need more of this to balance with the top down.”

“This session helped me see how we could process map our governance system forensically and forwards to design better decision-making pathways for new ideas. Powerful.”

“I love hearing this content and mining in different ways each time. This is my third. Every time I get more from it.”

“Mandate capital is finite. Very true – and as a provost working with faculty it’s really true – almost no mandate capital is available. Higher education is the perfect venue for working out how to leader through the use of an adaptive operative system – designed to handle complex stakeholder engagement and de-risking processes.”

“I’m concerned that higher education is adopting a lot of business processes – when in reality our organizations and our collective wisdom and engagement is so important. This session has given me pause for thought. Have we just sucked up too much from corporate processes? Is there a chance and need here to return to more of the scholarly deliberation to that we can do the deep sensing, pattern recognition and organizational process design that sessions like this offer?”

“This the future of the senior leader.”

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We would like to sincerely thank this year's Senior Leadership Summit sponsor: 


Thank You to Our 2017 Sponsors