Spark conference to explore innovation and disruption

Workshops feature CEOs of 3 hospital systems,

leader of Eureka!Ranch innovation think tank

Cleveland Leadership Center’s Spark: Grit to Great virtual conference on September 2, 2021, will challenge business and community leaders at all levels to explore innovation and disruption as ways to move their organizations and the community forward.

“The past 16 months have proven how vital it is for companies and organizations to change their mindsets, take risks, and spark new ways of thinking and doing things,” said CLC President and CEO Marianne Crosley. “Going forward, continuous innovation will be a necessity and we all need the tools to succeed and move forward.”

Crosley said Spark will help participants return to their workplaces with new approaches to identify areas for change, approach problems creatively and collaboratively, and take action with positive results.

The event will be 7:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.  via a conference app called Whova. Tickets ($75; $25 for students; $300 for an organization for up to six individuals) include advance access to virtual networking and Community Board chats, conference sessions, and post-event recordings. Registration is at

Featured sessions are:

  • A fireside chat with Akram Boutros, President and Chief Executive Officer, The MetroHealth System; Dr. Tomislav Mihaljevic, Chief Executive Officer and President, Cleveland Clinic; and Dr. Cliff Megerian, Chief Executive Officer, University Hospitals. Moderator is Monica Robins, Senior Health Correspondent, WKYC-TV. They will discuss how health care systems responded to the pandemic with trust, creativity, and unprecedented partnership to meet community needs.
  • Opening keynote by Maggie Nichols, CEO & President, Eureka!Ranch, an innovation think tank and training company that has helped foster a systemic approach to innovation at companies such as American Express, Coors, Mattel Toys, P&G, and Taco Bell.
  • Closing keynote by Jeremy Johnson, the first President & CEO of the new Assembly for the Arts. The nonprofit alliance was created by collaboration among several organizations to provide a unified voice, set goals, and represent shared priorities for the creative economy with a focus on advocacy, cultural policy, and racial equity.

Other workshops will cover: Discovering New Perspectives, Reframing Challenges, Daring to Fail: A Recipe for Success, Cultivating Innovation, and Driving Change through Inclusion. A spotlight session, Kickstarting Infectious Action, will showcase how small, grassroots initiatives can build momentum and create big changes that make a difference.

Spark: Grit to Great is presented by the Cleveland Leadership Center and co-sponsored by Glenmede and Marcum, with support from Lubrizol.

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 Event details

  • What: Cleveland Leadership Center’s Spark: Grit to Great innovation conference co-sponsored by Glenmede and Marcum, with support from Lubrizol.
  • When: Thursday, September 2, 2021, 7:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. An in-person reception later in the day will have a separate ticket and be available first-come.
  • Where: Virtually on the Whova conference app
  • Cost: $75; $25 for students
  • Information and tickets:
  • Twitter and Facebook: @cleveleads

About the Cleveland Leadership Center (CLC)

The Cleveland Leadership Center’s mission is to build a continuum of civic leaders committed to our community’s excellence by serving as a catalyst for civic engagement. CLC inspires and connects people to transform Cleveland by developing leaders of all age through learning and community engagement opportunities.

Media contact

Michael E. Bennett, Vice President of External Affairs
Work: (216) 592-2426, Cell: (216) 408-3874