2018 Future Leaders Forum: Helping Young Professionals Think Creatively and Succeed

2018 Future Leaders Forum: Helping Young Professionals Think Creatively and Succeed

The inventor of the digital camera, a 2015 Academy Award winner, a futurist, and a celebrity chef with a passion for “clean” food will be the keynote speakers at the 2018 IEEE Future Leaders Forum, 26-28 July, in Austin, Texas.

You’re right. It’s emphatically not a technical meeting!

This one-of-a-kind event for students and young professionals encourages young engineers to think creatively, and realize that good ideas can come from unexpected places. Innovative leaders deliver thoughtful content, and the Forum adds interactive sessions to the program, as well as networking opportunities, during social activities that reflect the culture of Texas Hill Country.

“Today’s technical professionals have different motivators, expect a workplace much different from past ones, and communicate in new ways,” says IEEE Member and Forum Chair Nicole Skarke. “The first Future Leaders Forum, held two years ago in New Orleans, drew 300 participants, who learned about innovation and leadership in a fun, engaging program. We’re hoping for even more this year in Austin — attendees can expect to gain valuable new insights to help them succeed.”

The four keynote speakers at the 2018 Future Leaders Forum are:

Steven Sasson, who invented the digital camera at Kodak, and contributed to other important digital imaging projects. He holds 10 key patents in digital imaging. In 2009, Sasson received the National Medal of Technology and Innovation, from President Barack Obama.


Larry Hornbeck, who received an Academy Award in 2015 for the digital micromirror device (DMD) or DLP chip. The technology, which he invented at Texas Instruments, led to globally revolutionizing motion pictures — from 35 mm film to digital cinema.


Maxim Jago, a filmmaker, screenwriter and futurist, who consults for several media technology companies. Jago will describe and discuss future technologies, social change, using media technology for storytelling, and future social paradigms.


Chef Patrick Stark, a Food Network favorite, who founded the Mohawk Militia — a philanthropic organization that teaches and employs veterans to grow clean, organic, non-GMO food. Stark is also an avid musician, and has his own band.


Sandra L. Robinson, 2018 IEEE-USA President, will welcome attendees on Thursday evening, 26 July, at the opening dinner at the Bullock Texas State History Museum.

The main venue for the forum will be San Jacinto Hall, which is on the nearby campus of the University of Texas (UT) at Austin.

In addition to the keynote speakers, other highlights of this year’s Future Leaders Forum will include four interactive workshops designed to stimulate discussions on issues of importance to students and young professionals. The themes of the workshops are: Lead, Empower, Adapt and Design. At the Lead session, Samantha Snabes and Krenar Komoni, each the CEO of their own successful startups, will share their perspectives on being both an innovator and a leader.

At the Adapt session, Nancy Martin, who headed GE technical education for many years, will host a discussion by startup and small-business experts Courtney Gras, Chelsea Collier and N. Nagesh Rao. The Empower session will feature: talent acquisition expert Michael Junge; UT professor and next-generation polymer plastics innovator Walter Voit; and creative technologist Chris Mahoney. Speakers at the Design session will be: technology innovator and visionary Brent Lunceford; maker and CAD Software Infrastructure Engineer Natalia Baklitskaya; and aerospace expert Terence Yeoh.

In addition, participants can attend workshops aimed at meeting various interests — including a Makers World wearables workshop; developing “creative literacy” for business; touring the University of Texas engineering lab; and learning how IEEE can help with career development.

“Our two evening events — at the State History Museum, and at a landmark German beer garden — will give everyone an enjoyable taste of Texas Hill Country culture,” Skarke says. “Both are great spaces for networking, as well as providing a sense of what this part of Texas is about.”

Through 30 April, the early bird registration fee for IEEE Members is $295. On 1 May, it will increase to $395. Non-member registration before 30 April is $395, and increases to $495 as of 1 May. Registration, travel and hotel information, including affordable campus housing, is at https://futureleaders.ieeeusa.org/register/.

Complete information about the 2018 Future Leaders Forum is at http://futureleaders.ieeeusa.org/.

Helen Horwitz is an award-winning freelance writer who lives in Albuquerque, N.M. She was with IEEE from 1991 through 2011, the first nine as Staff Director, IEEE Corporate Communications.

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