Program - 2023 ICF Global Summit


Summit Program

October 25

On the first day of the ICF Global Summit, attendees will split into one of two tracks for a day-long workshop on either engaging with indigenous peoples or sustainability. Prior registration is required for each track - email Matthew Owen at [email protected] if you have any questions.

Option 1: From Cultural Revival to Economic Opportunity: Broadband for the Eskasoni Nation

Location: Hogan Lovells (390 Madison Ave, New York, NY 10017)
Time: 10:00am - 4:00pm

The Eskasoni Nation is a band government of the Mi'kmaq First Nations, located in Unama'ki, Nova Scotia, Canada. Most of its nearly 5,000 members live on the Eskasoni reservation. For all its natural beauty, the reservation faces the challenges common to indigenous communities in industrial nations: marginalization, limited employment opportunities, educational deficiencies and cultural erosion. In response, the Nation has partnered with Rogers Communication to deploy a fiber-to-the-premise network on the reservation as the first step in a cultural and economic development drive.

In this charrette, attendees will hear from Eskasoni leaders and Rogers executives about the goals, progress and results of the project, and learn about the challenges and opportunities faced by the Nation. With guidance from experienced charrette leaders, they will then collaborate on developing and presenting feasible concepts for using the network to expand economic opportunity, create employment and new enterprises, and support a better life for the Eskasoni people.

Featured Charrette Leaders include:

  • Chief Leroy Denny, Eskasoni Nation
  • Luigi Ferrara, CEO, Brookfield Sustainability Institute
  • Jacob Kessler, Director, Business Development & Account Management, Brookfield Sustainability Institute
  • Rob McCann, Founder, Clearcable





Option 2: How Finnish Communities Turn Sustainability into Quality of Life and Economic Value

Location: Consulate General of Finland (605 3rd Ave #35th, New York, NY 10158)
Time: 10:00am to 3:00pm

Finland is a highly developed Nordic nation whose northern Arctic region is undergoing some of the most rapid warming on Earth due to climate change. In 2001, the country was one of the top five greenhouse gas (GHG) emitters on a per-capita basis, but Finland has recently set what is probably the world’s most ambitious climate target, aiming to be net zero by 2035 and net negative – absorbing more CO2 than it emits – by 2040. National targets are important, but the work of sustainability happens on the local level, in homes and businesses, logging camps and industrial facilities.

This charrette-style workshop offers a unique opportunity to hear about innovative efforts by cities and regions to contribute to net zero and net negative goals while accelerating citizen engagement and enhancing quality of life – and proving that sustainability goes hand-in-hand with generating new employment and new companies in the booming environmental sector.

10:00 - Welcome and introduction

Speakers include:

  • Robert Bell, Co-Founder, Intelligent Community Forum
  • Lou Zacharilla, Co-Founder, Intelligent Community Forum


10:10 - PRESENTATION - Introduction to Finland: Economy, Environment and Culture

10:30 - CASE STUDIES - Local Sustainability Programs in Finnish Cities and Regions


12:00 - Lunch Break

13:00 - PANEL DISCUSSION - Getting to Net Negative

Intelligent Community leaders share challenges, strategies and insights on transitioning communities to not only reduce carbon emissions to the point of neutrality, but to potentially become sustainable enough to remove more carbon from the atmosphere than they produce. Join us to explore the path forward for creating more sustainable, climate-resilient towns, cities, and regions.

Speakers include:

  • Michelle Crandall, City Manager, City of Hilliard, Ohio, USA

13:45 - PANEL DISCUSSION - The Economic Development Opportunity in Sustainability

Making your community or region a cluster for businesses that will benefit from the demand for environmental sustainability, from alternative energy to emissions control, electrification, greentech, cleantech and carbon removal.

Speakers include:

  • Dario Paixão, CEO, Curitiba Agency for Development and Innovation
  • Donna Gillespie, CEO, Kingston Economic Development
  • Robert Bell, Co-Founder, Intelligent Community Forum (Moderator)



15:00 - Closing

What you will take away from a charrette at the ICF Summit?

The charrettes offer attendees a chance to share their expertise and discover new ideas they can use. Most importantly, they create the opportunity to build the kind of personal relationships that only arise from working together. The charrette audience will meet in two different locations, each moderated by charrette leaders, to keep the number of groups to a reasonable size.


Evening: The Top7 Reception

On the evening of October 25 at 5:30pm, all attendees from both workshops will converge at the Taipei Economic & Cultural Office on 42nd Street for The Top7 Reception.

The event will feature speakers from ICF, 2022 Intelligent Community of the Year New Taipei City, and its host, the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office.

This exclusive networking event will be an evening of celebration for the Top7 Intelligent Communities of 2023, and will provide attendees the change to develop relationships with the full range of attendees from multiple cities and nations.

The Reception ends at 7:30pm, and attendees will then have a free night for dinner and the delights of an autumn evening in New York City.


October 26

9:00 am – 5:00 pm

Attendees gather for a series of presentations, panel sessions and extended networking breaks that continue the relationship-building of the day before. The focus of the day is on the opportunities available to small and midsize cities and rural regions – in a Broadband 2.0 economy – to replicate the economic dynamism once available only to big urban centers.

Registration opens at 8:00am. Coffee and refreshments will be available.

9:00 - Welcome and introduction

Speakers include:

  • John Jung, Co-Founder, Intelligent Community Forum
  • Lou Zacharilla, Co-Founder, Intelligent Community Forum


9:10 - PRESENTATION - Making the case: the middle of nowhere really is no more

The devastation of the global pandemic had one major positive impact: it drove employers to accelerate the use of digital technology to redesign how and where a substantial portion of all work takes place. Connectivity, cloud services and collaboration tools suddenly became critical infrastructure. That began to unlock the grip of big cities on talent, innovation and growth, making the economy “flatter” and opportunity more available wherever people with the right skills, knowledge and connectivity gather. In this presentation, ICF co-founders make the case for a future very different from the past two decades of accelerating concentration in the biggest cities. Presented by Robert Bell, Co-Founder, Intelligent Community Forum

9:30 - PANEL - Success strategies for workforce development and talent retention

What is the “right workforce” for a community? In principle, it is one that meets the needs of today’s employers for quantity and quality – but also one that constantly improves people’s skills and prepares them for the jobs and entrepreneurial opportunities of tomorrow. It is hugely challenging to get right and, in this panel, we hear from the educational and workforce development leaders of communities of different sizes how they are supporting today’s requirements and preparing citizens for tomorrow.

Speakers include:

  • Mark Tremayne, Director of Innovation & Extended Learning, Hilliard City School District
  • Kirby Dearth, Economic Development Administrator, Dublin, Ohio, USA


10:15 - Networking break

11:00 - PANEL | Designing an economy that attracts investment and grows businesses

If you were designing your community’s economy from the ground up, what would it look like? It would have a mix of small, midsize and large employers ranging from traditional and stable companies to entrepreneurial risk-takers in leading-edge fields. They would be active partners in education, government, culture and recreation, and have access to the talent they need in sufficient numbers. Most companies would have local roots and decision authority instead of being branch operations run by remote managers. And they would form a network of customer-vendor relationships that forge a competitive advantage all can benefit from. In this panel, economic developers describe the opportunities and challenges they face in turning this picture of an ideal economy into reality.

Speakers include:

  • Cr Terry Landsberg, Portfolio Councillor for Economy, Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia
  • Dan Mathieson, Former Mayor, City of Stratford, ON, Canada
  • Wendy Dupley, Past President, Economic Developers Association of Canada (Moderator)


11:45 - PRESENTATION - Technology for community

To be announced

12:00 - Lunch break and networking opportunity

13:00 (1:00pm) - PANEL - Digital tools for putting the citizen first

The 2022 Intelligent Community of the Year describes its smart-city strategy as using technology to “relieve the burdens of living” for its people. Technology can be powerful or paralyzing, empowering or perplexing, useful or an active nuisance. Local governments have the opportunity and responsibility to deploy technologies that truly put the citizen first while protecting their privacy. In this panel, city leaders reveal the priorities and processes they bring to providing citizens and organizations with digital tools from collaboration software to AI.

Speakers include:

  • Sumon Acharjee, Chief Information Officer, City of Markham, Ontario, Canada
  • Dario Paixão, CEO, Curitiba Agency for Development and Innovation
  • Rob McCann, Founder, Clearcable (Moderator)


13:45 (1:45pm) - DIALOGUE - Urban centers in a distributed economy: managing the impacts

The year 2017 began a period of rising net migration of the most educated workers from high-cost metro areas in the US, a pattern evident across industrialized nations where broadband and digital tools are reliable and affordable. What at first seemed a transitory impact of COVID is increasingly viewed as a lasting change. Speakers address how major cities are working to reimagine and revitalize the urban center for the Digital Decades ahead.

Speakers include:

  • Adam Grossman Meagher, Senior Vice President, Neighborhood Strategies, Planning Division, New York City Economic Development Corporation
  • Paul D. SelverPartner and Co-chair, Land Use, Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel LLP


14:30 (2:30pm) - Networking break

15:00 (3:00 pm) - PANEL - CIO Roundtable

Municipal CIOs and private-sector executives discuss and debate the challenges of IT infrastructure, policies and services for the public as digital services become increasingly crucial, vulnerable to attack and crime, and a forum for both collaboration and intimidation.

Speakers include:

  • Doug McCollough, CIO, City of Dublin, Ohio, USA
  • Raimundo Rodulfo, Director of Information Technology and Chief Innovation Officer, City of Coral Gables, Florida, USA
  • Moez Chaabouni, Jury Chairman, Intelligent Community Forum (Moderator)


15:45 (3:45pm) - PRESENTATION - Technology for community

To be announced

16:00 (4:00pm) - PANEL - How DOES Taiwan Do It? And Why Are Others Inspired by It?

In this presentation and panel discussion, we explore how Taiwan– home to two dozen Intelligent Communities and most of the world’s chip manufacturing – has built a technology sector on which the world’s digital services depend. This blend of entrepreneurship, hard work, smart policies and an affirming and supportive culture offers lessons for local leaders everywhere about creating an ecosystem that drives progress in spite of geographic, diplomatic and political barriers.

Speakers include:

  • Maggie Chao, Deputy Division Director, Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI)
  • Debra Lam, Founding Executive Director, Partnership for Inclusion Innovation
  • Lou Zacharilla, Co-Founder, Intelligent Community Forum (Moderator)


16:30 (4:30pm) - PRESENTATIONS - Success stories from Intelligent Communities

In a rapid-fire series of presentations, officials of Intelligent Communities describe an individual project, its successes and lessons learned, for comment by ICF co-founders and analysts.

Speakers include:

  • Alison Burgess, Director Communications and Engagement, Durham Region, Ontario, Canada
  • Bob Ferguson, Executive Director, Sustainable Living Coalition, Fairfield, Iowa, USA
  • Robert Bell, Co-Founder, Intelligent Community Forum (Moderator)


17:30 (5:30pm) - CLOSING


18:30 (6:30pm) - Intelligent Community Awards Dinner

The Green Fig, YOTEL New York, 570 10th Avenue at 42nd Street, Manhattan

More speakers to be announced soon.