Innovation expert Clayton Christensen says that the increasingly complex and dynamic external environment requires every organization in every sector to innovate in new ways. Innovation comes from the organizational capacity to associate with operations and experiences outside our normal routine and areas of familiarity.

The Disruption Dialogues offered by the Center for Leadership Excellence not only provide great insight and appreciation for the incredible organizations thriving here in the Mohawk Valley, but also provide common learning for organizations in different sectors to share in uncommon experiences through virtual, half-day immersions filled with a blend of local experts and nationally recognized speakers and organizations that maximizes organizational learning.

Think of it as a “high-intensity workout” for your organizational culture and senior leaders to experience and bring new insights back to feed and nurture innovation within your organizational culture.

Upcoming Disruption Dialogues

Damon Williams

The Workforce is Multi-Everything 2023

Featuring Dr. Damon A. Williams, Chief Catalyst for the Center for Strategic Diversity Leadership and Social Innovation

THURSDAY, MARCH 30 / 8:30 - 10:15 A.M. / ZOOM

Strategies for diversity, equity, and inclusion are important, but only begin to capture what will really be needed as the future workforce continues to diversify at a rate that rivals changes in technology.

This event features Dr. Damon A. Williams, a visionary and inspirational leader, and one of the nation’s recognized experts in strategic diversity leadership, youth development, corporate responsibility, and organizational change. One of the original architects of the Inclusive Excellence concept in American higher education, Williams is author of the best-selling "Strategic Diversity Leadership: Activating Change and Transformation in Higher Education" (2013) and co-author of the first book written on the CDO role, "The Chief Diversity Officer: Strategy, Structure, and Change Management" (2013). He is a global thought leader having worked with more than 1,000 colleges and universities, Fortune 100 companies, foundations, and government agencies, as keynote speaker, strategist, educator, and social impact leader. Williams is currently chief catalyst for the Center for Strategic Diversity Leadership & Social Innovation and a Senior Scholar and Innovation Fellow at the Wisconsin Equity and Inclusion (Wei) Laboratory of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he previously served as Associate Vice Chancellor and inaugural Chief Diversity, Equity, and Educational Achievement Officer.


Thursday, March 30, 2023; 9 - 10:15 a.m., via Zoom


$99 per person

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Past Disruption Dialogues

Reimagining Work 2022

Featuring Heather E. McGowan, Future-of-Work Strategist, Speaker, Executive Consultant, Lecturer, and AuthorHeather McGowan

Leaders today must acknowledge and respond to the fundamental shifts that lay the foundation for effective leadership: From managing people to enabling success, from viewing peers as competitors to seeing them as collaborators, from applying extrinsic pressure on workers to unlocking intrinsic motivation, and from driving productivity with unquestioned authority to inspiring value creation by leading with empathy. In this talk, participants learned about the five interlocking trends that brought us the empowered workforce: The Great Resignation, the Great Refusal, the Great Reshuffle, the Great Retirement, and the Great Relocation collectively delivered the Great Reset. These trends, building for a decade prior to the pandemic, saw employees leaving jobs; restructuring where and how they work, accelerating retirement, and reordering the role of work in their lives. We sit at a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to unleash more diverse and equitable human potential by rethinking our approach to both the supply (education) and demand (work) of human talent.

This event featured Heather E. McGowan. Future-of-work strategist, thought leader, researcher, and author McGowan is one of the leading voices on the Fourth Industrial Revolution. She is a sense maker, a dot connector, a deep thinker, and a pattern matcher who sees things that others miss. McGowan gives people the courage and insight that illuminates their path forward. She’s transforming mindsets and entire organizations around the globe with her message about how the next phase of work will focus on continuous learning, rather than simply learning once in order to work.

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The Experience Economy 2021 Image of Shane Meeker

Featuring Shane Meeker, Author, Coach and Founder of StoryMythos

Through changes in our economy over the past 20 years, we all have increasingly gone from simply buying commodities, goods, and services to purchasing experiences. The Experience Economy dialogue is intended to provide participants with an opportunity to explore how some of the best in the business are revolutionizing the consumer experience and taking customer service and loyalty to the next level. Now more than ever, consumers are demanding great brand experiences on top of a great product or service, end-to-end. Shane Meeker, Nationally Recognized Storytelling Speaker/Author/Coach and Founder of StoryMythos, offers up a high-energy, interactive talk on the importance of storytelling in the experience economy.

The event also featured a talk by special guest Tim Hardiman, Owner and Executive Chef of The Tailor and the Cook in Utica, N.Y. An early believer in the rebirth of Bagg’s Square, Tim spoke about how his vision of creating the ultimate dining experience has created success beyond anyone’s wildest expectations.

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Competing on Values 2021  Image of Rich Sheridan

"Lead with Joy and Watch Your Team Fly" 
Featuring Rich Sheridan, CEO and Chief Storyteller at Menlo Innovations and Author of "Joy Inc."

Change is hard. But you won't create a joyful workplace by leading the way you've always led. In this talk, Rich explores his own journey to joy, focusing on how he had to learn to lead in a completely different way and, by doing so, witnessed results that exceeded his wildest expectations.

In 1903, the Wright Brothers achieved sustained, powered, and manned flight for the first time. Shortly after, Orville Wright was interviewed about the feat and he declared that man would never be able to build a plane capable of carrying more than two people. It would be physically impossible. Rich read that story in a book on a 747 from Detroit to London while flying at 35,000 feet, at 500mph, with 50,000 gallons of fuel on board, with 400 passengers and their luggage in perfect creature comfort.

You, the leader, will need to make change, serious change.

Rich uses this example and by analogy, applies it to human teams we are leading. The message is simple: when we finally understand the relevant principles (in flight, or in teams), we can fly to heights and distances that were previously unimaginable. Rich takes you on a journey of change in this talk and brings you to the place he is now — that we stand at the vanguard of understanding what it takes to unleash the human potential of the people who work for us and around us. He explains how the common, unchanging, disengagement statistics are a fundamental failure of leadership and what simple things we can do to get our teams off the ground and flying. 

ben and jerry's logo

rob michalek"Competing on Values"

Featuring Rob Michalek, Social Mission Special Projects Director, Ben and Jerry's

Core values comprise the fundamental elements to defining culture that guide the beliefs, behaviors, norms, and decisions within an organization. The Competing on Values dialogue is intended to provide participants with an opportunity to get out of their comfort zone and stretch their thinking while considering different aspects of organizational culture and the critical role core values play in organizational performance. Like any high-performing machine or organism, the importance of alignment cannot be overstated. logoryo zsun"The Experience Economy"

Featuring Ryo Zsun, The Cultural Maestro,

Through changes in our economy over the past 20 years, we all have increasingly gone from simply buying commodities, goods, and services to purchasing experiences. The Experience Economy dialogue is intended to provide participants with an opportunity to explore how some of the best in the business are revolutionizing the consumer experience and taking customer service and loyalty to the next level.

 shane meeker"The Power of Possibilities: Your Organization's Story and Harnessing What's Possible"

Featuring Shane Meeker, Nationally Recognized Storytelling Speaker/Author/Coach and founder of StoryMythos

The world is changing in complex and fundamental ways. Organizations that fail to develop a creative habit of harnessing the power possibilities will be surpassed by more nimble competitors. This session will provide an accessible framework that when combined with the power of storytelling, will help participants to more intentionally identify possibilities and bring them into actionable realities. 

chris heivly"Embracing Risk"

Featuring Chris Heivly, MapQuest Co-founder and "Start-up Whisperer"

As society accelerates through constant disruptions, organizations must either change or die. Creating and nurturing an agile organization requires a pervasive understanding of the dynamics associated with risk and the capacity to embrace.

Some sectors are more comfortable with risk, with perhaps the greatest examples found in entrepreneurs who constantly assess risk as they put it all on the line to launch new ventures.  How might we learn from entrepreneurs to cultivate an organization full of intrapreneurs—employees working within our organizations that have an entrepreneurial mindset?