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"Business Must Lead" Tops Agenda at 2nd Annual Shift Forum

World and Corporate Leaders Convene in San Francisco Next Month; Focus on Eroding Trust, Need for New Compact Between Business and Society

Published 01-29-18

Submitted by NewCo

NewCo Shift Forum

The collision of technology, business, politics, and culture—with a spotlight on the shifting compact between business and society—takes center stage at NewCo Shift Forum, February 26 - 28th, 2018 at the St. Regis Hotel, San Francisco. The more than 400 top business, policy, education and non-profit/community leaders, including former world leaders, state governors, the head of Facebook NewsFeed, are convening around a “Business Must Lead” agenda.

“The shifts--and rifts--we’re living through have put the existing compact between business and society on notice. In the recently released Edelman Trust Index, two-thirds of respondents said CEOs should take the lead on change rather than waiting for government to impose it. This is the trend echoed in our 2018 ‘Business Must Lead’ agenda,” said Shift Forum host and executive producer John Battelle. “Trust is eroding. Companies that put profit ahead of other stakeholders are bound to fail. In the absence of government leadership, business must pick up the slack.”

A founder of Wired magazine, Battelle convenes audiences to fuel open discourse around business and social issues. Battelle and team have curated an eclectic mix of leaders targeting gender parity both on stage and in the audience. Key underpinnings of each conversation is responsibility and accountability. Shift Forum’s 2018 confirmed speaker line-up includes:

Anat Admati – Prof. of Finance & Economics, Stanford GSB

Bill Anderson – CEO, Genentech

Pat Brown – Founder, Impossible Foods

Carol Christ – Chancellor, UC Berkeley

Chris Christie – Former Governor of New Jersey

John Chambers – Executive Chair, Cisco

Eric Garcetti – Mayor, City of Los Angeles

John Heilemann – National Affairs Analyst, NBC News and MSNBC;

Executive Producer and Host, Showtime's The Circus 

Dr. Sue Desmond-Hellman – CEO, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

John Hickenlooper – Governor of Colorado

Reid Hoffman - Co-Founder – LinkedIn, Greylock Ventures

Kevin Johnson – CEO, Starbucks

Aileen Lee - Founder and Partner, Cowboy Ventures

Karen Lynch – President, Aetna

Adam Mosseri – Head of News Feed, Facebook

Michelle Peluso – SVP, CMO - IBM

Marc Pritchard – CMO, P&G

Sarah Bloom Raskin – Former Deputy Secretary, U.S. Department of the Treasury

Ben Silberman – CEO & Co-Founder, Pinterest

Susan Sobbott – President, American Express

Laura Tyson – Distinguished Professor of the Graduate School, UC Berkeley

Cross-aisle and cross-industry, the Shift Forum is an exchange between established corporate executives, tech and startup founders, as well as the leaders driving policy and political discourse. Participants agree to follow Chatham House Rule, which allows Delegates to use the information received, but not to share the identity or affiliation of those sharing the information unless the rule has been waived. 

“It’s rare for business leaders to get a 360-degree view--an upclose on how innovation impacts business, politics, policy and workforce issues. When it comes to Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), we know it is those diverse views that prompt deeper questions and ultimately drive richer answers,” said Stacey Foreman, NewCo co-founder and executive producer.

Microsoft, Adobe, Dell Technologies and World Leadership Alliance-Club de Madrid are 2018 Shift Forum Pillar partners; Comcast NBCUniversal, EY, Jobs for the Future, P&G, Perkins Coie, and Starbucks are sustaining sponsors.

Senior leaders, including those from tech, business, academia, policy and community organizations are invited to register at Shift Forum. Audience space is intentionally limited to foster open, candid exchange.

Core Pillars, Key Conversations
Shift Forum exchanges are built around five core pillars that reflect the seismic shifts in business and society today; all have CSR undercurrents. Each topic will be anchored by provocative conversations and expanded by all participants in the room:

  • Politics & Policy. The pace of technology-driven change is dramatically outpacing government’s ability to adapt and is fueling a grand re-negotiation of the contract between society and business. What will be the new framework for our shared social compact addressing issues of inclusion, privacy, human rights? What is the government’s role in regulating the impact of technology on labor, climate and capital? Should companies of a certain size or influence be regulated as utilities are?

  • Future of Work. Policy makers, academics, business leaders and employees are facing the inescapable impact of automation and artificial intelligence (AI) on our most fundamental economic assumptions. While the debate often focuses on whether and how jobs will be lost due to AI, the more immediate issue is that millions of jobs today (drivers, cashiers, warehouse workers, and even white collar knowledge workers) are on a collision course with capitalism’s never-ending quest for efficiency and profit maximization. Will new jobs emerge to replace those that seem certain to evaporate? How can we shift our education system to anticipate the new skills a post industrial society demands?

  • Future of Democracy. Partnering with the World Leadership Alliance-Club de Madrid, the largest forum in the world of former democratic Presidents and Prime Ministers, we’ll hear from a select group of former world leaders discussing the fate--and future--of democracy in North America. A pre-conference roundtable featuring 30 leaders in business and politics will report key discussion takeaways to Shift Forum general session.

  • Business Transformation. Amidst the massive shifts, business must press forward, delivering quality experiences to its stakeholders and managing its workforce, processes, and relationships to partners and communities. What is the role of business in society? Do successful, highly profitable business have a responsibility to manage their balance sheets by metrics beyond profit and revenue?

  • Future of Food. How is the nation’s--and the world’s--trillion dollar food industry evolving  to both feed the world and avoid climate catastrophe? Innovative new food companies are challenging entrenched global brands, many calling for new approaches to sourcing, production, and regulation. How can we close the gap between healthy and affordable food? Who are the players, what are the solutions? What role does has food play in calming (or exacerbating) global unrest?

Press inquiries: stacey(at)newco(dot)co. 

About NewCo
NewCo produces a multi-platform publication, NewCo Shift, illuminating the companies, leaders, and issues driving the transition to a sustainable, positive-impact business ecosystem. NewCo Shift is defining a new approach to business journalism with content from notable writers and thinkers on the key issues impacting global business today. Join the NewCo Shift conversation online at or get our stories delivered to your inbox with the NewCo Daily and NewCo Weekly email newsletters.  

NewCo Festivals operate in more than 16 cities around the world in North America, Asia, Europe and Latin America. They have the focus of a business conference, the feel of a music festival, and the model of an artist open studio. Participants choose which organizations they want to explore and then gather inside the company’s home office, experiencing first-hand how these inspiring organizations drive purposeful transformation in their industries through authentic sessions hosted by founder and executive leaders.

About John Battelle
John Battelle has shaped the course of media and technology, first as a founding editor of Wired, then as the founder of The Industry Standard, and later as the founder of Federated Media Publishing (later sovrn). Over the past three decades, John Battelle has convened dozens of industry-leading executive events centered on the intersection of technology, business, and culture, including the Internet Summit (with Mary Meeker and Bill Gurley), Foursquare (with Steven Rattner), Signal (with Marc Pritchard) and the Web 2 Summit (with Tim O’Reilly). Widely respected as one of the best interlocutors in the business, Battelle’s intimate, deeply researched conversational style engages and challenges speakers and audiences alike

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NewCo celebrates business on a mission, connecting its audiences to the stories shaping business, politics, and culture - a shift beyond profit toward purpose-driven business. We do this through city-specific festivals hosted throughout North America, Europe, and Latin America. NewCo also produces Shift Forum, an executive leadership conference which brings together founders, innovators, and CEOs from fast-growth start-ups and Fortune 500 leaders with an array of experts from the policy and regulation fields to discuss how business can navigate the shifting landscape of rapid technological change and regulatory uncertainty. We expand upon the conversations started at our live events through NewCo Shift, our multi-platform publication Covering the biggest shift in business and society since the industrial revolution

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