Pallotta to return to Thought Leaders Luncheon

National nonprofit thought leader Dan Pallotta, whose TED Talk has received more than three million views, will keynote Easter Seals of Southeast Wisconsin’s Thought Leaders Luncheon for a second year.


The luncheon, in its sixth year, unites executives from both the nonprofit sector and the for-profit sphere “around issues that affect both of them,” said CEO Bob Glowacki.

The event brings together leaders from all backgrounds who “want to solve social issues or problems that are plaguing our Milwaukee community,” Glowacki said.

Easter Seals, which exists to support people with disabilities in living independently and contributing to the community, welcomed Pallotta to the signature event last year to personally deliver his popular speech on “The way we think about charity is dead wrong.”

That speech is grounded in a philosophy that too many nonprofits are “rewarded for how little they spend – not for what they get done,” as Pallotta states.

Pallotta, who is well known for helping devise the multi-day charitable event model, asserts that a double standard separates the operations of for-profit and nonprofit ventures. While for-profit companies have expansive resources for marketing, risk-taking and capital, nonprofit organizations are bound by limited budgets and slim resources – and yet they are expected to make lasting impact on enormous social and community issues.

Easter Seals is bringing Pallotta back by popular demand as his 2013 address resonated with attendees, according to Glowacki.

“People still seem to be wanting more,” Glowacki said. “They didn’t leave with their questions answered.”

They have more “floating around in their heads about what he was talking about,” Glowacki said.

During this year’s luncheon, scheduled for Wednesday, Nov. 5, Pallotta will dovetail off his presentation last year and discuss “The Why of Innovation.”

BizTimes had an exclusive interview with Pallotta earlier this month, when he opened up about the keys to great innovation.

“An unspoken purpose of it in a lot of the business literature is to win, is to crush the competition,” he told BizTimes. “I think the best innovation comes from a much more powerful place than that. It comes from a desire to contribute to the lives of others.”

Pallotta’s speech will cater to both nonprofit and for-profit leaders in the throes of innovating their services, products, mindsets and workplaces. At the core of his speech will be a push to innovate for the sake of broad social issues, according to Glowacki.

In the nonprofit sphere, Glowacki hopes Pallotta’s words encourage leaders to really start thinking about ways they can leverage innovative technology to advance their missions and realign their services as needed.

Beyond technology, he also hopes Pallotta’s speech opens attendees up to the prospect of innovative collaborations as well as compels attendees to apply some of what they learn to their networks with the mindset that “we can’t keeping doing things the way we’ve been doing things.”

“My goal every year, and I have a hand in selecting the speaker each year, is that the attendees will leave with new ideas that challenge their conventional wisdom and that those that self select to be at our event will do something,” Glowacki said.

With a capacity of 400 attendees, the Thought Leaders Luncheon is still accepting registrations through Monday, Nov. 3. The luncheon will begin at 11 a.m. with networking and will be held at the Hilton Milwaukee City Center, located at 509 W. Wisconsin Ave. in downtown Milwaukee. Admission costs $60 for individuals.

As in past years, BizTimes Media is serving as the media sponsor of the event.

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