Conference Background

Founded and hosted by Stan Schultes and Sara Hand of Spark Growth, since its inception in 2013, the spark Growth Leaders Conference brings together leaders in “one of the most transformative and inspirational conferences I’ve been involved with.” – Jonathan Fleece, author of The New Health Age: The Future of Health Care in America

Many of our guests return year after year counting on Spark Growth Leaders Conference to bring together exceptional content and connections to help them face their upcoming year. Focused on providing a uniquely designed experience to challenge thinking, the walkable, multi-venue location format also highlights the attributes of our host city and the unique expression of what makes them a special place to live, work and play.

About Spark Growth Leaders Conference

We are in a time of unprecedented change, with major new challenges facing us every day. As leaders, thinkers and problem solvers, even the unspoken rules of business and innovation we once used no longer apply. In this information-rich world, context is critical and insight is invaluable.

Don’t miss this opportunity to hear from extraordinary leaders and innovators, “heroes” in establishing innovation cultures as they address the tough issues that are facing us all today. What are the latest trends? What questions should you be asking? Where are they investing their time and money, and why? What can you take away and apply today?

Who Attends

Our attendees come to be challenged to be better leaders. To try out their ideas on other leaders and get direct feedback from practitioners who have been there and done that. We generate cognitive dissonance, which can be uncomfortable but takes the conversation to a completely new level. Here we inspire you to tell your stories, be challenged and encouraged by new ideas, and find the key trends and resources you need to succeed.

We bring together different kinds of attendees who care about innovation, investment, and economic development, from government, education, community and business leaders – all with a global context. These are decision makers who are shaping how their organizations will grow – they’re looking for curated content and the answers to their questions and challenges in a world that is changing so quickly. They’re looking for something different because they are Spark Growth Leaders!

Why Now

In our increasingly global and entrepreneurial world, across sectors we are more connected than ever. Around the world societies empowered by technology are leap frogging ahead and becoming areas of investment in contrast to assistance. Cities are discovering how public/private partnerships accelerate innovation and growth and how impact investing is changing the landscape of investment. Smart is crucial and time is at a premium as powerful new ideas include building Smart Cities and defining how Smart Growth is unique to the place. Innovation districts are creating an environment and atmosphere of collaboration that empowers their citizens to live, work and play as they choose.

Our attendees come to be challenged to be better leaders. To try out their ideas on others and get direct feedback from practitioners who have been there and done that. We create cognitive dissonance, which is uncomfortable but takes the conversation to a completely new level. Here we inspire you to tell your stories, and be challenged and encouraged by new ideas, and by finding key trends and resources you need to succeed.

Our Impact

Spark Growth Leaders brings clarity, purpose and enhanced skills to the challenges you face. You who are changing the game and changing the world around you. You want relevant connections and collaborators to do business with. You have access to true thought leaders who will change the way you think and act. You will not just attend – you will participate in experiential learning and powerful conversations you will find no place else.

Our Mission

To cultivate a network of thought leaders who bring a global context across community, education, non-profit, civic and private sectors – to share, learn and collaborate on best practices for navigating the challenges of an ever-learning, constantly-changing and always-connected world. A world where smart is cool and collaboration is catalytic to positive change.

About the 3.0 Leaders’ Founders

Sara Hand

CEO, Spark Growth

Sara Hand has a diverse business development background across public and private sector enterprises, which includes early stage investment experience. Her motto is “Think Big. Keep it Simple. Make it Happen.” Using agile strategies, Sara drives action-focused agendas and is widely recognized for consistently achieving her goals with grace and confident skill.

An entrepreneur, Sara uses her strengths to find and leverage unique value propositions and create synergistic partnerships. This has enabled her to become a valuable leader and asset to her community and has presented opportunities with the State Department, the United Nations Launch of WED, the 2015 Harvard Future-Ready Economies Summit, International Strategic Doing Leadership Conference and the DWEN 2016 Symposium. Recently, Sara has added the roles of global investment, international market expansion and exits with her Cross Border Angels and Scaale business affiliations.

As founder of Spark Growth and organizer behind the 3.0 Leaders Conference, a gathering of thought leaders across sectors, Sara has the opportunity to regularly participate in conversations around “What our communities need as we move into the future.”

Stan Schultes

CTO, Spark Growth

Stan Schultes is co-founder of Spark Growth, a social/civic innovation enterprise and an expert in Strategic Doing, an agile and action-centric protocol for rapid development and implementation of strategies across organizations and sectors. His current development work is focused on Smart Cities initiatives.

Stan has a passion for creating community engagement between entrepreneurs, investors, and educational resources, and helping early stage companies grow. He is co-founder of 3.0 Leaders which annually convenes thought leaders, and DaVinci’s Faire and BarCamp. He works actively with Manatee Chamber’s Downtown RedevelopmentCommittee and served on the Suncoast Technology Forum Board of Directors and Florida High Tech Corridor Core Council.

Stan is certified by InBIA in Business Incubator Management, internationally recognized as a technology expert, and has earned the coveted Microsoft MVP award13 years running. As an entrepreneur and professional technologist, he has led teams from the Fortune 200 to stewardship of several startups.