Why Would Anyone Call a Leadership Conference a Festival?

Karolina Iwa
4 min readApr 25, 2017


[I am writing this as a co-founder of Leadership Festival. As “festival” sounds a bit strange to some for a business event, this article is showing the difference in THE WAY we do it]

Allow us to explain in a couple of words, why this whole thing is called what it’s called. Some seem confused, that a format related to parties meets a subject reserved for business people. Let’s start with some definitions to clarify what is what and why.

A conference is typically a meeting of people who exchange opinions about a topic. It is a meeting of a, usually large, group of individuals and/or companies in a certain field.

A summit is the highest level of diplomatic or other governmental officials.

A festival on the other hand is an event ordinarily celebrated by a community, focusing on some characteristic aspect of that community. It is seen as a holiday celebrating the aspect. (almost quoting Wikipedia here, in case you were wondering)

We know, we have seen it, we have been there, science shows and — you know it too — teams who know how to have fun together do reach better results. And as we want greatness and no less — we cannot imagine doing it without fun. Whatever we do, we check — is it fun? If not, it might not be the right solution. And leadership reserved only to the few — we do not buy into it. We are here to liberate leadership. To make it a concept, which can change its shape or form, so any person who sees a need in the world and decides to act upon it feels empowered to do so.

Why should we focus on purpose driven leadership?

What we are celebrating and focusing on is a new leadership in organisations and in the world. For some time now, work has been missing a deeper meaning. A chance to have a positive impact in the world. A place to live our talents in their full quirkiness. A way to celebrate successes (which leaves you with more than a headache). Finally — a way to celebrate endings with as much grace as the beginnings. This frustration has been stirring the world-at-work pot for a while. As a result we see new, different organisations and leadership happening around us. Like the early flowers when winter is about to finish — it does not matter how many or few there are. What matters is that they are there, so the spring and summer are sure to come.

How long will the shift take?

It will not happen overnight. It will not happen with one person or one organisation, one movement. This event — it also will not be enough. For walking this path alone feels just too heavy at times. And a change like this needs communities meeting over and over again. This is why we are calling all of you. To share what we experience, to witness each other in our struggles, to celebrate and appreciate progress, to find a common language, to listen together to the field and understand what is needed now in the world.

Can business & fun go together?

We choose to name this event a Festival to clearly show — we will not only talk to your frontal lobe — the analytical brain. We plan the whole thing as an experience, where your various senses, various learning styles, various tempers and personalities can be triggered and inspired. So expect talks and workshop, alongside with reflective journaling, networking at the garden party and naps in the sun as well as tinkering sessions. In creating the event, we are thinking of the little things that make an experience, like food, music and visuals, cause we heard some great minds saying, that you know the quality of a solution by its beauty.

Get involved!

It is the quality of people & encounters, that attracts. Even more than the content, we think sometimes. They say, by reading our posts, in the way we communicate about the event, in the energy people feel from us when we meet, they find a certain quality. We are happy to hear that. And as for you — if by reading this article you feel the urge to explore what we mean, you might want to join one of our monthly meet-ups. This is exactly what we are doing them for — to show what we mean with the Festival and to see what we mean when we are co-creating together. So you get it by now — it might take intuition to comprehend it fully.

And if you know what you need to know already — that this is the event you have been waiting for a long time — get your early bird pass and be there with us!

If you wanna find out even more, check out our website www.leadershipfestival.com or contact me personally.



Karolina Iwa

Senior Facilitator. Co-Founder of Leadership Festival. Exploring Leadership & Organisational Culture. Making companies thrive.