The inaugural Ignite & Inspire Leadership Conference emphasized AI integration in business and the irreplaceable value of human capital.

The inaugural Ignite & Inspire Leadership Conference (IILC) took place from May 8-10 on the picturesque Mackinac Island. There was significant participation from Concordia University Wisconsin and Ann Arbor (CUWAA) faculty, staff, and students, whose involvement underscored the institution’s commitment to continuous learning and professional development. Dr. Amber Gray, one of the co-creators of the IILC, shared insights into the conference’s outcomes and future.

Theme Selection, Implementation, and Presentations

The theme of the conference was carefully chosen by the planning committee, focusing on the increasingly important and often misunderstood concept of Artificial Intelligence (AI). “The goal was to try to blend the ideas of AI and how we can use it in a business while focusing on what AI can never do, and what makes our human capital so valuable,” Dr. Gray said. The sessions aimed to blend these ideas, emphasizing both the potential and limitations of AI in the business world.

The conference featured a diverse lineup of presenters who shared their expertise on various topics related to the theme. Their insights helped attendees understand the practical applications of AI in business while also appreciating the unique contributions of human intelligence. For a detailed list of presenters and their presentations, please click here.

Biggest Takeaway from the Conference

The primary takeaway from the conference was the invaluable opportunity it provided for attendees. The serene setting of Mackinac Island allowed participants to reignite their passion for lifelong learning and be inspired to bring new ideas back to their organizations. This environment fostered a unique blend of relaxation and intellectual stimulation, crucial for personal and professional growth.

Integrating AI with Human-Centric Approaches

To bridge the gap between AI and human-centric approaches, the conference provided numerous tips and strategies. The keynote speaker’s introductory presentation delved into practical ways to integrate AI into business without losing sight of the essential human element. Additionally, the keynote speaker and conference speakers addressed best practices for leveraging current technologies while preserving the core of human potential. This balance is crucial for ensuring that technological advancements enhance rather than overshadow human abilities. The detailed presentations can be accessed here.

Origins and Future of the IILC

The IILC was conceived by the School of Business to address the need for ongoing professional development without the necessity of pursuing additional degrees. “The conference will be offered annually and focus on a new leadership topic, engaging the audience with fresh ideas and inspiring them on their journey towards continuous improvement,” Dr. Gray remarked.

Looking ahead, the IILC is poised to become a cornerstone event for professionals seeking to upskill and stay abreast of emerging trends in leadership and business. Each year, the conference will introduce new themes and ideas, ensuring that it remains relevant and impactful.

Favorite Moments

One of the standout features of the conference was the networking opportunities it offered. “The networking opportunities are a great way to meet others and hear what challenges and successes they are having,” Dr. Gray explained. Attendees could connect with peers, share their experiences, and build valuable relationships that extend beyond the conference. These interactions provided a platform for exchanging ideas, discussing industry challenges, and celebrating achievements.

Want in?

The Ignite & Inspire Leadership Conference (IILC) is an effort of Concordia’s Office of Continuing Education and the Batterman School of Business. Learn more about other continuing education offerings by clicking below.