2nd Annual Forward Thinking Summit

Loading Events


This year’s theme, Transforming the Workplace of the Future: A Commitment to Wellbeing and Inclusion challenges the public and non-profit organizations to (re)imagine, define and lead in shaping a future workplace that empowers individuals to reach their fullest potential. In a fast-changing economic and political environment, organizations’ vision, mission, and values that initially invited the passion of their key members tend to fade and become distant from the day-to-day operations.

The busy, outcome-driven, competition- and efficiency-based organizational cultures often limit their members’ skills and resources to the immediately assigned tasks, efforts, and measurable outputs. In crisis situations like what we have seen in the dual pandemics, many organizations have operated on survival mode and could not afford to keep or promote an organizational culture that enhances employee safety, stability, sense of belonging and justice, especially pertinent when working to elevate and enhance supports for Black, Indigenous, People of the Global Majority.

Employee wellbeing and inclusion are foundational to organizational innovation and productivity. The “Great Resignation”—the mass exodus of workers from the labor market—that we have witnessed during the pandemic may be indicative of the chasm that exists between organizational talent management and personal growth and life-work balance. The viability of public and non-profit organizations’ contribution to public/social good could be questioned with the potential of declining workforce loyalty to the common cause of advancing social and racial justice as well as equity. Organizational leaders inadvertently face a conflict between the moral and business imperatives—between re-envisioning leadership to invigorate the vision, mission, and values and to maintain financial stability for organizational survival and growth. The former may entail leaders transforming self and other members and building the culture of inclusion and care and latter doubling-down on the core operations that are necessary to rebuild and scale while downsizing less relevant or essential components. As such, specific attention will be given to innovative approaches and strategies that enable public and non-profit organizations to maximize human potential through a win-win solution to these challenges.

Abstract proposals should include innovative approaches and strategies designed to ‘transform’ employee health, mental health, financial, and social wellbeing and inclusion in the workplace. We invite ‘transformative’ ideas for process-focused organizational practices and culture development based on wellbeing and inclusion where innovation, productivity, and system change become natural byproducts. Such empowerment-based employee engagement could not only increase commitment and reduce intention to quit but also help employees thrive and reach their full potential with creativity and purpose. Presentations on promising or evidence-based practices are strongly encouraged. Presenters are asked to submit to one of four NSWM domains according to the domain that is most aligned with the focus of their abstract: (1) Executive Leadership; (2) Strategic Management; (3) Resource Management and (4) Community Collaboration. Domains are defined in detail on the following page. Abstracts should address workplace wellbeing and/or inclusion, as the theme(s) as an essential intersection with the selected domain in the proposed submission.

The summit provides a forum for participants to learn, network, and collaborate in new and creative ways. Such generative interaction moves us toward a future of ensuring more socially and racially just practice with an even greater impact


All proposal submissions should be 500 words maximum with an abstract of 50-100 words. Presenters must include resume/CVto fo, contact information and credentials along with the workshop title, aim, and objectives (e.g., knowledge or skills outcomes). All accepted presenters are asked to submit electronic material such as a paper before the summit if they want their work to be considered in a special issue of The Network for Social Work Management’s journal Human Service Organizations: Management, Leadership and Governance. Notice of these deadlines will be provided when proposals are accepted. Given the limited number of presentation slots and the desire to promote collaborative participation, we highly recommend proposals (e.g., workshops, papers) that include more than one presenter/author.

Each proposal must indicate the following:

Domain (choose one): 1) Executive Leadership, 2) Strategic Management, 3) Resource Management or 4) Community Collaboration.

Theme (choose one or more): 1) Wellbeing, or 2) Inclusion


Proposals are invited in the following formats listed below:

60-Minute Workshops: Workshops are designed to introduce the audience to strategies, methods, skills, or practice orientations that are in alignment with the mission of the organization and summit theme. Workshops may include demonstrations and time for skill practice and acquisition. Priority will be given to Action Workshops that clearly state the outcomes and desired actions needed to achieve these outcomes. As a variation of the Workshop format, the creation of Catalyst Labs is encouraged. The intent is for presenter(s) to bring their impact issue and design a lab where participants are engaged to help to solve a primary question or problem. Please only include those who will attend the summit as a presenter.

Individual 30-Minute Presentations of a Paper: These are 25-minute presentations allowing for 5 additional minutes for questions and discussion. Presentations on similar topics will be paired so each session will include two sets of presentations. Multiple presenters may present a paper but must do so within the time allotted. Please only include those who will attend the summit as a presenter.

Impact Talks: Impact Talks are 15-minute pre-recorded forward-thinking talks inspired by the TED Talks format. They will occur at scheduled times, with the authors present to discuss their work.  Each Impact Talk should focus on your vision for transforming the workplace of the future from a leadership perspective. An Impact Talk can only be given by ONE person. No exceptions.

In your proposal application, please indicate if you are willing to present your material in an alternative format if it is not accepted for the presentation format you selected.

Go to Top