Our Theme:
Community As a Common Enterprise

The National Harwood Summit is a weekend retreat for change leaders working to solve community problems and improve public life. The Summit is hosted each year by Rich Harwood, President and Founder of The Harwood Institute for Public Innovation.

Rich started these Summits in 2007 to give leaders a space where they could wrestle with important issues that affect them professionally and personally, but often get pushed aside. Summit is a time to engage with different kinds of people and not face any pressure to “perform.”

There are no PowerPoints, no microphones, no flipcharts. The conversations are self-generated. The event is capped at 50 people to make sure the conversations are meaningful – and real.

Frequently Asked Questions

WHO ATTENDS
This is a group you won’t normally see together at other professional conferences – local and national leaders, including CEOs of major nonprofits, college and university administrators, faith leaders, foundation executives, private consultants, heads of community-based organizations, journalists and business professionals.

Every year about one quarter of attendees are people who have been before, and we have some that come back year after year. Many Summit attendees form lasting personal and professional relationships.

THE PURPOSE
The Summit is meant to help all of us trying to solve community problems and improve public life get greater clarity on issues standing in the way of progress. We don’t produce reports or other products out of the Summit.

WHAT YOU GET OUT OF IT
People tell us that the Summit helps them do their professional work better and grow personally. It helps leaders stay grounded, it’s the place they come every year to rejuvenate, it helps them get “unstuck” in their work and it’s the boost they often need to engage on their professional challenges with more vigor. Note that this event is NOT a training to learn more about The Harwood Institute’s approach to change. There’s an optional Pre-Summit Session for people interested in our work. 

THE AGENDA
The Summit starts with a reception and dinner at 6 p.m. on Friday and runs through noon on Sunday. During our time together, we place a premium on informal and personal conversation, which we generate together through:

  • Small Group Discussions – Participants to get join two of these sessions based on topics related to the theme. The conversations are real - they are self-generated by the participants and are not formally facilitated. 
  • Common Sessions – these sessions, facilitated by Rich, include everyone, are facilitated by Rich, and often emerge from the small group discussions.
  • Personal Reflections – at each meal, a different group of pre-selected Summit participants will offer one to two minutes of personal reflections. These run the gamut from serious to funny, deeply moving to satirical – but in all cases, they add to the depth and spirit of the event.

Click here to download this year's Summit agenda.

WHAT’S EXPECTED OF PARTICIPANTS?
All we ask is that people engage in the conversations. There’s nothing to prepare in advance.

CAN I BRING A SPOUSE OR PARTNER?
People often bring family members to enjoy the location or in some cases participate in discussions or meals. Contact us if you’d  like to do this and have any questions.

CAN I INVITE SOMEONE ELSE TO ATTEND IN MY PLACE OR WITH ME?
Yes, but please contact us to let us know if you plan to do this.

HOW MUCH DOES IT COST?
It’s $795 plus travel expenses.

HOW DO I BOOK MY HOTEL?
This year’s Summit takes place at the Wild Dunes Resort near Charleston, South Carolina. We have arranged for a group rate of $169/night at the resort. Upon registering for the Summit, you will receive a special link to make your hotel reservation at the reduced rate. If you have questions, please contact us.

 

Dates for the next Summit will be announced shortly!

Space at at the National Summit is limited! Register to early to reserve your spot.


What people are saying about the Summit:

“What stands out is that the Summit is unpredictable. For me that is my favorite characteristic of a meeting, especially a conference. I don’t want to go to something where I know exactly what is going to happen. The unpredictability is in the people I will meet, the connections I will make and the substance.”

SUZANNE WALSH
FOUNDATION EXECUTIVE


"I found the Summit to be a great opportunity to learn from other leaders in other sectors who are driving innovation in their organizations and communities. It’s also a chance to get away from day to day implementation and think ‘big picture’ with a varied and thoughtful group.”

KEITH MICHAEL FIELS
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
AMERICAN LIBRARY ASSOCIATION
 


“I highly recommend The Harwood Summit for any thought leader who wants to make an impact in their community about pressing social issues.  It was a powerful experience for me, both professionally and personally.  I was able to speak safely and transparently about national and global issues with people who want to make a difference. The sharing of ideas and experiences in a small, intimate setting was transformative.”

SHARON ORLOPP
PRESIDENT, ORLOPP ENTERPRISE
FORMER GLOBAL CHIEF DIVERSITY OFFICER, WALMART
 


“We just don’t take enough time as leaders to separate ourselves from day-to-day and find a safe environment to really engage in some thought provoking conversation. The environment in which we gathered really provided a great opportunity to engage individually and to engage in small groups. I loved the reflections.”

MARGIE PIZZUTI
PRESIDENT & CEO
GOODWILL COLUMBUS