Human Resources and Manufacturing

TED speaker Sir Kenneth Robinson at BIFMA 2014 conference

The furniture industry’s Leadership Conference is in January in Arizona.

September 6, 2013
| By Pete Daly |
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BIFMA, the contract furniture industry’s trade organization based in Grand Rapids, has announced that acclaimed speaker Sir Kenneth Robinson will be the headliner at BIFMA's 2014 360° Leadership Conference.

BIFMA has just released the speaker lineup for the office furniture industry’s major annual event, which will be Jan. 27-29 at the Montelucia Resort & Spa in Scottsdale, Ariz.

Robinson is an internationally recognized leader in the debate over improvement of education, and development of creativity and innovation. He also is said to be one of the world’s leading speakers who has a huge impact on audiences. More people have seen videos of his famous 2006 and 2010 conference talks than any other speaker in TED conference history.

Robinson, 63, is best known for making an entertaining and moving case for creating an education system that nurtures, rather than undermines, a young person’s creativity. An English author, speaker and international advisor on education to government, nonprofits, education and arts organizations, he was director of The Arts in Schools Project in Britain, professor of arts education at the University of Warwick, and was knighted in 2003 for services to education.

BIFMA said this year’s speakers are all inventors and designers, thinkers and teachers, TED fellows and best-selling authors, and they are world-renowned, award-winning, and enthusiastic about what they do.

The 360° Leadership Conference is an annual gathering of leaders in the contract furniture industry, according to BIFMA, tailored for executives who want to improve the products that create the office workplace and influence the way office work is done.

“As exciting as the speakers are, it is the opportunity to collaborate with peers at the event that really makes the 360° rewarding,” said Chuck Saylor, BIFMA president.

“The conference not only highlights the collegial nature of our industry but also reflects a desire by our members to learn and to be challenged. We motivate each other to do our best work,” said Saylor, who is founder and CEO of izzy+, a company based in Spring Lake that designs and manufactures office chairs, desks, tables, whiteboards and furniture systems.

Other speakers at the 360° Leadership Conference are:

— Geoff Colvin, senior editor-at-large, Fortune Magazine, and anchor of “Wall Street Week” with Fortune on PBS.

— Roman Mars, host of 99% Invisible and PRX Remix and named one of Fast Company’s Most Creative People 2013.

— Primo Orpilla, principal of Studio O+A, Contract Magazine’s Designer of the Year 2011.

— Mark Strauss, president of Interior Design Magazine.

— Skylar Tibbits, director of the Self-Assembly Lab at MIT and a TED Fellow.

Registration for the 360° Leadership Conference can be done online at the conference website, bifmaleadershipconference.com, or by calling (616) 285-3963.

Sponsorships for the conference are available, with information on the conference website. Premium level sponsors are HNI Corp., Knoll, OFS Brands and UL Environment.

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