I attended a wonderful event earlier this month on November 10th, in Sonoma County — called Harvest Summit. I go to a lot of events, but this one is truly exceptional. Dubbed an “innovator’s field trip”, it’s a gathering of some of the best and brightest minds in the world today — all hand-invited and curated from across multiple industries. We had representatives from technology, medicine, transportation, food, wine and so much more. This was the second year of this annual event, and both times it’s been held in an undisclosed location at a private wine estate in Sonoma County — in the heart of wine country. Both years, the settings have been beyond inspiring.

The organizer of Harvest Summit is Jessica Kilcullen — who does a masterful job at curating and programming the speakers, the flow, the participants, the sponsors, and all facets required to make this the event I most look forward to attending each year from now on. I love it so much I became a member of the advisory council!

This year, Jessica was up against at least two major obstacles that might have de-railed anyone else. Both took place within a month of the scheduled date of the event (!) First, she was in a bad car accident which left her with a concussion, and shook up members of her family as well. Then, the worst fires ever to hit both California and the whole country(!) struck on October 9th across Napa, Sonoma & Lake Counties. Jessica and her family live in Sonoma County, and her grandmother nearly perished in the fires but was rescued at the 11th hour. Her son’s high school burned down. And the original date of the event was just a couple weeks away. But both Jessica and the Sonoma community at large proved exceptionally strong and resilient, and rather than postpone the Harvest Summit, Jessica pushed it out three weeks and used it as an opportunity to support and galvanize the Harvest participants to give back to the Sonoma community at large who were greatly impacted.

Both the speakers and the sponsors at this year’s Harvest Summit were inspiring. Everyone involved went above and beyond to deliver a first rate experience for the participants — discussing big ideas and sharing ideas around solutions that can be deployed to benefit not just the local community but the whole planet. Talks included the future of work, the future of transportation, cancer moonshots, innovative techniques in the wine and food world, evolution of technology around sports and entertainment, and much more. And we had fun — terrific conversation, networking with amazing people, enjoying terrific food and wine, and even test-driving wonderful cars provided by Audi — the lead sponsor of this year’s Summit. It was fun and inspiring!

I’m already looking forward to next year’s event…in the meantime, we’ve got a community to re-build!

~Kelli

 

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