What’s YOUR next big thing?

At CSR Communications, we’re the experts at helping socially-conscious businesses and mission-driven organizations achieve their next big initiative and rapidly expand their impact.

That’s why we launched the Next Big Thing Executive Forum. This monthly series brings together small groups of C-Suite executives and senior leaders for off-the-record, peer-to-peer, idea exchange conversations. We cover topics essential to defining, designing and successfully realizing your “next big thing,” whether it’s a new strategic initiative, internal policy shift or significant organizational transformation. There’s no fee to participate and no sales pitch at the event.

If you’d like to Request an Invitation to our next event, please click the button below and submit the pop-up form.

Next Big Thing Executive Forum

Recent Forum Topics

April 2024

the word resilience as a foundation for 3 pillars and a block labeled success at the top

Upcoming! Implementing Change in High Stakes-High Stress Environments: What executives need to know to get results without revolt.

Every leader has a mandate for change this year, from major reinventions and growth goals to small improvements or minor process fixes. And while change can be difficult in any workplace, it’s especially hard when the stakes are or feel higher – we make a mistake and really, really bad things happen – or when the culture is intense and high-pressure with high expectations. In this context, even small behavior changes or a new, seemingly innocuous policy change, can put employees into fight, flight or freeze mode. Join peers for a virtual conversation on getting the results you need while avoiding unnecessary risk.

When: April 24th | Live via Zoom | 11:00am ET – 12:15pm ET

March 2024

the word resilience as a foundation for 3 pillars and a block labeled success at the top

Is Your 2024 Plan At Risk? Warning signs to pay attention to in Q1 that will help you course correct starting now.

Many organizations fail to implement their annual strategy and achieve their goals because they don’t realize they’re off track until it’s too late.

Join this virtual conversation where we’ll share the early warning signs that don’t show up on your dashboard and aren’t captured in your KPIs, but do indicate you’re at risk of missing your 2024 goals.
Of course, we’ll share a few things you can do now to get your plan back on track.
Share your experience and learn from peers facing similar challenges.

When: March 26th | Live via Zoom | 11:00am ET – 12:15pm ET

February 2024

the word resilience as a foundation for 3 pillars and a block labeled success at the top

Trends Among Trends: What executives must know now to keep pace (or stay ahead) of where the world is heading in 2024

4,110,000,000… That’s the number of results Google spits out in response to the search “2024 trends.” Every major publication, and many minor ones, for every industry and field, publishes trends in January. If you’ve wondered how anyone can possibly keep up with even the most relevant ones, let alone make time for trends outside one’s industry or field, then this Forum is for you. We’ve done the heavy lifting with a meta-analysis to discover the trends among the trends, the patterns that transcend industries and fields, and the forces driving the opportunities and risks for 2024. Join fellow executives to discuss insights and ideas for what these trends among trends mean for your organization this year at The Next Big Thing Executive Forum.

When: February 28th | Live via Zoom | 11:00am ET – 12:15pm ET

January 2024

the word resilience as a foundation for 3 pillars and a block labeled success at the top

Using AI To Make Us More Human: The Future of Business Communication

Ever wished you could clone yourself? Well, now you can (sort of). When used well, technology allows us to expand access to information and enhance communication. And strategic uses of AI can allow us to be more human (not less!) by giving us more ways to build relationships.

Start 2024 off with a discussion of possibly one of the coolest PhD theses ever. If you can only make one of our events this year (and I hope you can make them all!), this is the one!

Join Dr. Jill Schiefelbein to explore:

  • The cutting-edge digital avatar technology
  • Her hot-off-the-presses research on its effectiveness in a variety of business applications
  • Why your organization shouldn’t miss the opportunity to be on the forefront of this movement

When: January 24th | Live via Zoom | 11:00am ET – 12:15pm ET

December 2023

the word resilience as a foundation for 3 pillars and a block labeled success at the top

Developing Talent for an Unpredictable Future: What executives can do to boost the ROI from their training programs in 2024.

While we can’t predict the future, we do know that the pace and volume of change will only increase. Middle managers hold the key to unlocking human potential at work and, specifically, to revitalizing, reenergizing and reimagining their teams. For every dollar organizations spend on technology (think, AI…), they need to invest an additional $9 in talent development (identifying people with the right skills; developing the right skills; enabling proper change-management processes; and creating the conditions for people to live up to their potential). How do you ensure that type of investment will yield the desired results?

Our last Forum of 2023 is a success showcase featuring Shadae Hospedales, HR Director-Business Partner for Baltimore City Mayor’s Office of Employment Development, and Stacy Reyan, Chief People Officer for the economic consulting firm, Bates White. They’ll describe the ROI they’ve achieved on their manager training programs and share the lessons, structure, format and techniques that contributed to their results.

Time: Thursday, December 7th, 11:00 AM-12:15 PM Eastern Time

October 2023

the word resilience as a foundation for 3 pillars and a block labeled success at the top

The Hidden Costs of Annual Performance Reviews (& The 3 Biggest Risks of Initiatives to Change Them)

210 hours (nearly 5 weeks!). That’s how much time, on average, each manager spends each year on annual performance reviews. Employees each spend about 40 hours a year. All that, and only 5% of managers and 10% of HR leaders find the annual appraisals effective. Those are the (shocking) obvious costs. What about the costs we don’t see? Over the past 10 years, big companies, including Deloitte, Accenture, Adobe and Microsoft, have done away with traditional performance reviews. But most employers – large, small and in-between – maintain the practice. Join  fellow executives (including some who’ve experimented with performance management options) on Wednesday, October 25th at 11:00am ET for an off-the-record, virtual conversation about what the status quo is currently costing your organization, the pros and cons of different approaches, and the risks to pay attention to when you implement any change to the process.

 

May 2023

the word resilience as a foundation for 3 pillars and a block labeled success at the top

The Future of, well…, Everything!: Key Insights from The Wall Street Journal’s Future of Everything Festival & a 3-day deep dive into AI

Flying taxis (here sooner than you think). Biometrically verified identity (in unexpected places). Elimination of the clipboard (and all those forms!) at your next doctor visit. Tech that could radically change unemployment and quality of life for people with total hearing loss. A basketball that never needs air (and the mindset behind its development). In many ways, the future’s already here. ChatGPT reached 1 million users in 2 days (it took Netflix 3 years!). It may have risks and downsides, but it won’t go away. It’s time to step into the unfamiliar, unknown, expansive space that’s calling us to stop thinking in small bites and start dreaming big. YOU are essential to creating the best possible future for us all. Are you ready? Join me and your fellow executives to explore how we prepare for (and create!) what’s next.

April 2023

the word resilience as a foundation for 3 pillars and a block labeled success at the top

Succession Success: What executives & board chairs can do in the next 30 days to ensure a healthy leadership transition (whether it’s happening in 6 months or 6 years)

The Great Resignation has reached the C-suite, with executives predicting a surge in retirements and departures in 2023. This surge is part demographics, part economics, and part pandemic stress. Whether you know an executive transition is eminent, one’s recently happened, or you just like to be ready for when one does, this conversation is for you. We’ll be joined by Eric Dawson, PhD., co-founder and former CEO of Peace First, now CEO of RIVET, who will share his recent research on founder-successor transitions. Specifically, he’ll reveal insights from 16 case studies on the relationship between social entrepreneur founders and successors with a focus on four themes: the context of the transition, and the qualities, process of creating, and roadblocks and enablers of successful partnerships. As always, we’ll have participants with rich personal experience to share as well. Join us for thoughtful conversation and actionable insight to ensure succession success in your organization.

January 2023

the word resilience as a foundation for 3 pillars and a block labeled success at the top

Waiting to Exhale: What executives can do in the next 30 days to safeguard your own emotional well-being and create a well-balanced 2023 for yourself and your team.

The trauma and impact of last 2+ years isn’t over yet. As a result, we haven’t even begun to heal. Many executives fear that they don’t know how to lead in this new environment (even if they were excellent leaders before). And while we’re all paying closer attention to employee mental health these days, the emotional well-being of executives is still often overlooked. In fact, a recent Deloitte study shows around 70% of high-level executives are seriously considering quitting their jobs, largely due to help with their emotional well-being. Megan McCamey, founding president of goBeyondProfit, jump starts our conversation with findings from the 2022 Business Generosity Report: A Road Map for Resilience.  

October 2022

the word resilience as a foundation for 3 pillars and a block labeled success at the top

Bold Commitments, Moonshots & Big Goals: What executives can do in the next 30 days to ensure your organization fulfills its big promises and proclamations

Events of the past couple years have sparked big promises from companies, nonprofits, philanthropy and government alike on issues including diversity, equity, climate change, and, most recently, hunger. Last week’s White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition and Health and next month’s COP27 are the latest triggers for commitments toward a “moonshot.” But we all know, the hard work begins when the press conferences end. What does it take to achieve a “moonshot?” What organizational change needs to happen to launch successful initiatives and fulfill your commitments? What most often gets in the way and how can you avoid mistakes others made in the past? Join other commitment-makers in this discussion designed to turn promises into results.

September 2022

the word resilience as a foundation for 3 pillars and a block labeled success at the top

From Blockers to Backers: What executives can do in the next 30 days to get your mid-level managers engaged, aligned, and taking action on your most important priorities for Q4 (& beyond).

Mid-level managers and supervisors are the bridge between senior leaders’ vision and those frontline employees who make it real. When they’re unclear on the “why”, disengaged, not aligned with the vision, goals and plans, or lacking the skills and tools to fulfill their role effectively, consequences ripple across the organization. This session is for you if you’re about to launch a big new initiative or plan, your team is falling short of its 2022 goals, you’ve got a bunch of newly-hired or newly-promoted managers still adjusting to their roles, or your managers are rockin’ it and you want to maintain that momentum as we head into 2023.

August 2022

the word resilience as a foundation for 3 pillars and a block labeled success at the top

Rethinking Resilience: What executives can do in the next 30 days to boost organizational resilience, insulate against risk and prepare for whatever comes next.

Continued resignations and turnover, looming recession, wildfires, heat waves and monkeypox. What if some of the same actions that prepare your organization for these threats could also position you to grow and thrive? Cross-functional training and position redundancy support business continuity, and they also help team members learn and grow into new roles, improving retention. Agile systems are vital for crisis response, and they also support innovation. Join this conversation to learn from other’s organizational resilience lessons, share some of your own and get my key take aways from the recent U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s “Building Resilience through Public-Private Partnerships” Conference.

July 2022

pile of dollars flowing into open window

Sudden Windfall Shock: What executives can do in the next 30 days to position your organization for catalytic investment and avoid paralysis, conflict and missed opportunity

Baltimore Mayor’s Office of Employment Development (MOED) Chief of Staff, MacKenzie Garvin, will share lessons MOED learned as a recipient of American Rescue Plan funds last year. Unexpected, significant resources, whether Mackenzie Scott donations, venture capital investment, a big new client or government grants, can be a shock that sends leaders scrambling or a stimulus that allows organizations to soar. We’ve identified what makes the difference. This discussion is for you if your organization aims to be the beneficiary of a sudden windfall, is already reeling from an influx of resources multiple times larger than last year’s entire budget, or if you’re ready to think bigger, bolder and more creatively than ever before about radical solutions to problems impacting millions of people and end those problems, for good.

June 2022

meeting with woman in center speaking with concern

Recession-Proof: What executives can do in the next 30 days to prepare your organization for the looming economic downturn

From Wells Fargo CEO to the Federal Reserve Chair and venture capitalists, leading economic thinkers predict a recession is on the way (Elon Musk says it’s already here!). Those predictions shouldn’t send you into panic mode, but they should encourage thoughtful preparation. There are actions you can take now (and probably should, even if the bust is a bust) to minimize the impact and even set your organization up to flourish in 2023. Whether you depend on donations, customer spend, investment growth or tax revenue, now is the time to solidify your financial foundation and seek opportunity where others see only challenges. Join this discussion to learn how other executives are recession-proofing their teams, departments and organizations.

May 2022

meeting with woman in center speaking with concern

Change Reaction: What leaders can do in the next 30 days to prevent change fatigue from becoming change revolt

Chaotic implementation of Covid protocols, bumpy return-to-office experiences, disruptive resignations and new hires, juggling kids’ summer schedules (and the new commute) and the ever-expanding ripple effect of supply chain issues…many teams have hit their absorptive capacity for change. Our polling of leaders in the last 60 days shows that about 20% of teams are experiencing change fatigue, 75% change exhaustion and 5% change revolt. Did you know that eye-rolling and skepticism can quickly turn to increased errors, toxic culture, sabotage and more? Are you responding to your team’s change fatigue in ways that make things worse? Join this discussion to learn what to watch out for and how to pull your team back from revolt.

April 2022

group of 20-somethings smiling and looking at the camera

Here Come the Zoomers! What leaders can do in the next 30 days to prepare for the first shockwave of Gen Z employees entering the workplace this summer.

From communication and engagement with managers to availability of training and professional development, expectations of the Gen Z workforce (those born after 1995) differ significantly from those of the generations before them. Is your organization ready? How open are you, your managers and frontline supervisors to the change required to attract and retain the next generation of team members? Does your organization meet the expected diversity, environmental commitments and social impact that drive Gen Z’s choices as consumers and employees? Deepen your understanding of this generation and walk away with a playbook to jump start the necessary conversations inside your organization as graduation season approaches and the first wave of Zoomers join your team.

March 2022

Businessman sitting at a restaurant table, working on a laptop computer and holding head in hands, stressed out

Escaping Groundhog Day: What Executives can do in the next 30 days to get your team back in the driver's seat & reclaim your strategic thinking time

If you feel trapped in an endless loop of meeting after meeting, crisis to crisis, transactional activity, then this gathering is for you. If you want to get your team back in the driver’s seat so that you can recapture your strategic thinking time and focus on your biggest priorities, then this conversation is for you. If you’re spending too much time on the urgent and (maybe) important quadrant and are ready to shift time into Stephen Covey’s “Quadrant II” activities like planning, prevention, pursuing new opportunities and relationship building, then this month’s forum is for you. I’ll share a few of my best tools and techniques, then we’ll dive into conversation about what’s getting in the way of pursuing your next big thing now and what you can do in the next 30 days to overcome those barriers.

About Nancy Murphy

Nancy’s spent her career saying what others are afraid to – and learning to say it in ways that others will listen. She’s the Founder and President of CSR Communications and creator of Intrapreneurs Influence Lab. Her passion is helping leaders of change within established organizations (intrapreneurs) influence and persuade others so that they can realize their vision for change faster, with less frustration and resistance. From her Catholic school student days challenging stereotypes of girls, to her first job after college convincing nonprofits to engage youth volunteers, or her role as board chair of a global nonprofit attempting to transform the way we do international development, Nancy’s experienced the challenges of leading big change within established organizations. As an “intrapreneur” herself, she made all the mistakes you can make and now helps other learn from them.

Nancy has worked in philanthropy for Steve and Jean Case’s family foundation, as a federal government program officer with the Corporation for National & Community Service, and as a global consultant for APCO Worldwide, where her clients included UPS, Johnson Controls, Target and W.K. Kellogg Foundation. Nancy mentors and advises executives from local governments, federal agencies, global nonprofits, foundations and Fortune 100 companies. As a trainer and speaker, Nancy’s shared her expertise from Kuala Lumpur to Kansas City and London to Las Vegas. Nancy holds a master’s degree in public affairs from University of Minnesota’s Humphrey School, a master’s in health communication from Boston University, and a bachelor’s degree in American Studies from University of Dayton.

Next Big Thing Executive Forum

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