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CEOs and Celebrities Help Promote a More Human Workplace

Organizations as diverse as media giant the New York Times and Globoforce, the recognition company, are bringing in big names in business, academia and even entertainment to promote workplace transformation and human-focused leadership.

The New York Times’ New Work Summit, Feb. 29-March 1, at the Ritz-Carlton, Half Moon Bay, CA, features Marc Benioff, Chairman and CEO of Salesforce; Ursula Burns, Xerox Corp. Chairwoman and CEO; and other company presidents and diverse experts in sessions moderated by New York Times journalists Adam Bryant, its Corner Office columnist; Charles Duhigg, a senior editor and author of The Power of Habit; and Jenna Wortham, a staff writer.

Globoforce’s WorkHuman 2016, May 9-11 at the Orlando World Center Marriott, features actor, author and activist Michael J. Fox; Harvard University social psychologist Amy Cuddy; renowned business thinker Gary Hamel; and happiness expert Shawn Achor, among others.  

According to the New Work Summit website, the event “is designed to help today’s most promising business executives lead the strongest teams and drive maximum growth.” In addition to the aforementioned CEOs, speakers include “neurologists, technologists, scientists, architects, organizational psychologists” and others who will share “research and analysis about how to inspire, manage, and lead in a fast-changing global environment.”

Times reporters will lead on-stage interviews with the speakers to help “explore and assess the most advanced, scientifically grounded ideas about optimal personal and team performance,” and interactive sessions will help attendees apply the findings to address current challenges. The findings will be reported in a special issue of the New York Times magazine and following the event.  

The summit is sponsored by some of the companies whose CEOs are presenting, but others are welcome. Attendance is by application only, and the website does not list the cost. We attempted to reach the New York Times for comment and received no reply about the vision or cost of the program at the time this post was published.

While the New York Times’ reporting certainly will elevate attention to a more human-focused leadership, Globoforce has even bigger ambitions, starting with an even bigger-name speaker at its event, the entertainer Michael J. Fox. According to Julie Zadow, Executive Director of WorkHuman 2016, “WorkHuman is a movement, and we celebrate it annually at our WorkHuman conference. Basically, the world of work is changing, and more than ever, we know workers are looking for meaning, fulfillment and camaraderie in their work. And we know that the companies that create these work environments are the ones that consistently attract and retain the best people, and see the greatest human and business results."

The most successful companies, says Zadow, “are learning to build more human work cultures. They are creating workplaces where employees do their best work, all the while feeling appreciated for what they do and for who they are and what they need at a very human level.” Research supports these efforts, she notes, “but leaders are still struggling with exactly how to take that first step to build this kind of workplace, and then – once it takes root – exactly how to best grow it and showcase it.”

The annual WorkHuman conference, she explains, creates “a forum where human resources and business leaders can come together, share their experiences, and learn from the world’s leading minds about how to build a WorkHuman culture, and bring it back to their organizations.”

The speakers, Zadow notes, were selected to “help us reframe how to lead with optimism, conquer fear in high-pressure moments, perform at our best, and empower those around us to do the same. Ultimately, the workplace should be a place where employees can feel human, know that they have the opportunity to develop to their full potential, and be the best version of themselves at work.”

The program attracts human resources and business leaders from the U.S. and elsewhere “to share ideas; and exchange best practices on what it means to “WorkHuman,” and why it matters,” Zadow explains.

The conference fee is $1,195, including sessions, meal functions, and receptions, and all business executives are welcome to attend.

For more information on the New Work Summit, go to
For more information on WorkHuman 2016, go to

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