Conferences have always been a special breed of human activity. Like automobile hood ornaments, no one is quite certain why they are necessary, but they are.
Some attend to learn or share new facts or discoveries. Others go to teach about a new project or idea. Others are job seeking or career building. Still others use conferences to promote a particular policy agenda or perspective. Some go to sell a product, others to buy. The variations are endless.
Basically, conferences across the world fall into three categories: Category One: crushingly tiresome; Category Two: dynamically informative; Category Three: meetings that birth new ideas, push out innovation, spark movements and give rise to the words and concepts which form our future.
For an imminent Category Three event, check out the 2010 Corporation for Enterprise Development Assets Learning Conference in Washington, D.C. in September. I know, I know...the name is not exactly a heart-pounder, but the content will make your blood race.
A strong and powerful example is the Latino Economic Development Center (LEDC), established in 1994 by a small group of Latino immigrants who formed a Latino congregation, Sagrado Corazón de Jesus (Sacred Heart of Jesus), in South Minneapolis. Today, the Center is pioneering ethnic-based community development with cooperative markets, owned and operated by small business people, that create economic vitality and jobs neighborhood-by-neighborhood.
LEDC Founding Executive Director Ramón León will be at the Innovation Marketplace to show over 1,000 policymakers, researchers, entrepreneurs and innovators working in the private, public, nonprofit and governmental sectors about this on-the-ground model for economic opportunity. For his leadership in revitalizing three communities with coop markets -- Cooperative Mercado Central, Plaza Latina and Global Market -- León was also honored this year with an Opportunity Collaboration Fellowship.
In the exhibit halls of the Innovation Marketplace, the future of America is being re-birthed. Come have an early-bird peek at the new, modern look of American economic grassroots development. The cutting edge social innovations on offer will soon be expanding economic opportunity for all Americans.