Originally Published in Above the Law | June 15, 2018 | By Ed Sohn
Is your legal department actually ready to adopt whatever innovation you are planning?
My last article about conferences and innovation was received with interest on social media, primarily invitations to attend other cooler conferences. Walking into the Consero General Counsel Forum at the impeccable Langham Huntington in beautiful Pasadena, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I left the Forum a few days later convinced of the high degree of value from our investment and impressed with two aspects of innovation: the conference format itself, and a practical discussion about innovation.
Innovation at the conference
Consero has a reputation for facilitating extremely productive discussions between corporate counsel and legal service providers. Counsel attend at the cost of the sponsoring providers, and they agree to meet with the providers that align to their interests. Consero makes this happen through a unique selection system that relies on mutual ranking, so that the business meetings are between parties who have actively expressed a desire to connect to each other.
Natalie Cohen Smith, Senior Vice President at Consero Group, embodies one of the greatest differentiators for Consero Forums: an exceptional service model. From the moment Natalie greets you, she is immediately charming and exudes a high degree of competence. The warmth, competence, and attention from her unflappable team provide a subtle level of seamlessness for all the attendees. This is highly intentional, according to Natalie. “First and foremost, Consero is dedicated to making each event a positive experience for our participants.”
I asked Natalie about the secret to Consero’s success. “People seem to appreciate the strategically curated group of senior-level attendees,” she said. “By gathering a set of executives with common experiences and challenges, the event provides a uniquely potent opportunity for peer-to-peer learning.” Interacting through the sessions and the meetings confirmed this, as it was apparent that general counsel love to engage with each other. One general counsel commented that “this is like therapy for us.” After a great dinner together on the property lawn, everyone seemed eager to continue the conversations inside at the bar.
Consero also weeds out fluffy panels and uninteresting topics by just trying hard. Natalie believes that one of the most key elements of value is “the care we take to bring service providers that offer thought leadership and strategic vision to support the day-to-day and long-term interests of our delegates.” Sponsoring service providers need to “add substantive value.”
So the formula, ultimately, isn’t rocket science: a curated group of senior attendees, a methodology to match parties that express mutual interest, exceptional service quality, and attention to substantive thought leadership. But as is frequently the case, execution is the difference — it is notable that few conferences can pull off that combination of success factors.
See full article here.