Guest column: Imagine Solutions: What a Difference a Day Makes

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Guest commentary

What do the presidents of Shell Oil Co., CVS/Caremark, GE, FedEx, Allstate, LinkedIn and MIT — among more than 100 other world leaders — have in common that's uniquely Neapolitan? Leaders affiliated with these and many other of the world's most successful organizations all have been part of Imagine Solutions.

On Feb. 11, 27 more respected thought leaders will be in Naples to provide insights, network and inspire Southwest Floridians once again.

On this one day, beginning at 8:45 a.m., speakers known for addressing critical issues will take the stage at the Naples Philharmonic Center for the Arts to invigorate conversations and link learning with action. Imagine Solutions speakers are all already changing the course of history for the better, from energy issues to working to end child labor and improving education. You have seen, heard or read about all 27 of them in the last 18 months on television, on the Internet and in our newspapers and magazines.

During our conference, attendees will have an opportunity to learn more about these thought leaders, their "big ideas," their insights and their solutions. Speakers include the young founder of Free the Children, Craig Kielburger, recently featured on "60 Minutes," who started a movement which now has 3 million children involved — a quest he began when he was just a child himself. Duke Energy Chairman and CEO Jim Rogers will speak to the topic of energy, while we also welcome the most honored engineer in America, professor Robert Langer of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Attendees will also have the opportunity to hear from Daniel Franklin, executive editor of The Economist, and MIT President Susan Hockfield, along with fellow historymakers NASA astronaut Catherine (Cady) Coleman and Nature Conservancy President and CEO Mark Tercek.

Our other 2013 Imagine Solutions speakers include Shirley Ann Jackson, 18th president of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and former chairperson of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission; Paula Aspell, senior executive producer and director of the WGBH Science Unit of "Nova"; Norman R. Augustine, retired chairman and CEO of the Lockheed Martin Corp.; Eric Newton, vice president for journalism and media innovation and senior adviser to the president for the Knight Foundation; Larry Kramer, president and publisher of USA Today; Philip K. Howard, founder of Common Good and author of "The Death of Common Sense: How Law is Suffocating America;" Tyler Mathisen, co-anchor of CNBC's "Power Lunch" and host of CNBC's "High Net Worth;" Ellen Moir, founder and executive director of the New Teacher Center; Darell Hammond, founder and CEO of KaBOOM! community playground builder; Jim Marggraff, inventor of the LeapFrog FLY Pentop computer, creator of LeapPad Learning System and founder of Livescribe; Chris Rainier, documentary photographer and co-director of the National Geographic Society's Cultural Ethnosphere Program and All Roads Photography Program, and leader of National Geographic's Enduring Voices Project; Shelby Coffey III, trustee at he Newseum; Ellen Levy, Ph.D., vice president of corporate development and strategy at LinkedIn Corp.; Mickey Edwards, vice President of the Aspen Institute, and author of a new book, "The Parties Versus the People: How to Turn Republicans and Democrats into Americans;" Jamie F. Metzl, Asia Society executive vice president; Amir Abo-Shaeer, MacArthur Fellow, educator and physicist; David Jones Jr., former chairman of the board at Humana and chairman and managing director of Chrysalis Ventures; and special guests Gospel for Teens and magician and inventor Franz Harary.

People who attend Imagine Solutions might very well get involved in projects they learn about at our conference. The speakers are the spark; lunch provides an avenue for networking and further discussion, which leads to a deeper understanding of the issues. The result is that attendees leave Imagine Solutions more knowledgeable, invigorated and ready to take positive action globally and in their own communities.

For that reason, part of our mission is also to make opportunities available to local nonprofit leaders to attend the conference, where they may be inspired to share what they've learned within their own philanthropic organizations.

This year Imagine Solutions is partnering with national media to host sessions. "Nova" will host a session on innovation and the Knight Foundation will host the "Future of Information." We've also partnered with the Phil, enabling us to offer multiple learning events at a facility that is a perfect environment for bringing outstanding thought leaders to Southwest Florida.

If you are curious, want to engage in hearing "big ideas" on our most important issues and talk with thought leaders who are making a difference and meet other interesting people in our community, join the greater conversation and learn more about what these game changers are doing to create a better world.

© 2013 marconews.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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