Real Leaders

Real Leaders UNITE 2024 – Day 2: Explosion

A Meeting of Giants

Day 2 exploded right off the bat. Real leaders gathered rejuvenated and ready for another day of collaboration with their peers. Yet who could really be ready for a panel that included Felecia Hatcher, CEO of Black Ambition; Allie Burns, CEO of Village Capital; and none other than “The Shark,” Daymond John. Julie VanNess, CEO of Real Leaders, opened with a speech discussing the journey of Real Leaders, and how her passion for impact business, in tandem with Real Leaders Founder Mark VanNess, ultimately culminated at UNITE. She then introduced moderator Kevin Edwards and the panel of these three industry giants, who discussed everything from how to pitch your company to what to look for in a capital partnership.

After taking questions from the rapt audience, Edwards introduced the next activity, the Real Leaders pitch competition. Two entrepreneurs, Elikem Tettey-Tamaklo, COO of Therapeutic Innovations, and Chloë Cheyenne, founder and CEO of COMMUNITYx, both had five minutes to make their pitch to the panel and to answer questions from them. We won’t tell you who won — you’ll have to wait for the video to release — but needless to say, it was an absolute whirlwind.

A Difficult Decision

After this, everyone was faced with a number of difficult choices. Multiple world-renowned speakers were giving unmissable talks, all of which you’ll be able to watch soon. Below are a list of the speakers and their topics.

Lisa Bodell, CEO of FutureThink — Killing Complexity

Stedman Graham, Chairman & CEO of S. Graham & Associates — Identity Leadership

Peggy Shell, Founder and CEO of Creative Alignments — Fueling the Energy that Runs our World: People

Michael Whelchel, Co-Founder and Managing Partner of Big Path Capital — Redefining Capital for CEOs: Impactful Transitions, Raises, and Exits

Keren Eldad, CEO of With Enthusiasm Coaching — How to Blast Past Impostor Syndrome and Truly Lead

Brad Stevens, Founder and CEO of Outsource Access — An Ironic Talent Solution: How to Retain and Attract Internal Talent by Outsourcing

Matthew Weatherly-White, Chief Investment Officer of Align Impact — Shaping the Future of Capitalism

Mackey McNeill, Founder of MACKEY — Essentials for a Regret-Free Exit

After these groundbreaking sessions, everyone had a chance to catch their breath and freshen up before the main event. People gathered for cocktail hour to mingle and take their turns being interviewed on the red carpet by Kathryn Deen, Real Leaders magazine’s managing editor. Under the bright lights and cameras, these stars shone bright.

UNITE Gala Dinner

As the gala dinner began, Edwards introduced one of the harder-hitting speeches by Geoff Davis, of Sorenson Impact. Davis told the story of the conception of Sorenson, how he overcame a life-threatening disease, and ultimately what it means to be dedicated to impact work. Yet nobody could be prepared for what came next.

A video shot from the point of view of an astronaut marooned in space, on a mission to align the stars of the impact community. He hears that Real Leaders have gathered from across the globe to UNITE and spread their impact across the galaxy. He goes into hyper drive, crash lands in the San Diego bay and surfs to the shore all the while the winners of the 2024 Top Impact Companies are highlighted on screen. We watch as he dances his way all the way to Kona Kai resort with the final shot showing him enter through the very doors everyone came through from the cocktail reception. Suddenly an astronaut bursts through the actual doors in the back and runs up to the stage. He takes off his helmet. It’s none other than Kevin Edwards, president of Real Leaders. He congratulates all of the Top Impact Company winners and after his speech takes pictures on the red carpet with them. Cocktails, laughter, and bubbling conversation close out Day 2.

Add Yourself to the Short List

Thank you for taking the time to read about Day 2 of UNITE 2024. Please consider sharing it with one leader whom you think deserves to be at UNITE 2025. If you would like to be added to the short list to receive first dibs at pre-sale pricing, please add your email below. Thank you again to all of the people who made this community thrive at UNITE 2024. We can’t wait to deliver another incredible experience in 2025.