Wednesday, Aug 16th

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We've all heard that networking is the key to success, but bringing large groups of industry leaders together at the same place and time is no easy endeavor. With busy schedules, tight budgets and the non-stop demands of running a successful business, the feat might seem insurmountable to some—but not to the team at CraigMichaels Incorporated.

With president and CEO Craig Lehmann at the helm, CraigMichaels has become a leading organizer of executive level forums and industry summits. Just ten years after opening, CraigMichaels has been recognized as one of the fastest growing companies in the United States.

It’s about more than just throwing a great event; each summit must engender interactions that cause real change, and each industry has its different priorities. The team at CraigMichaels produces events to cater to fields as diverse as healthcare, education, technology and more. Flexibility is key, and the company has proven its ability to respond to every need. "What sets us apart is a great record of customer satisfaction. It's about how we interact with our clients; we care about the outcomes," Lehmann says.

In October, CraigMichaels is launching a one-of-a-kind summit for the restaurant industry, headlined by former NFL coach and restaurateur Don Shula. In October, they’ll host their annual Healthcare Facilities Summit, where hospital executives from across the country can share ideas about managing care in an era of changing legislation. There’s a retail summit each year as well, where this July, attendees were treated to a live show by famed magician David Blaine. To date, CraigMichaels has successfully organized events where companies like Verizon, LG, Sprint, Philips, Sanyo, Bose and more have attended.

In addition, they offer specially customized leadership programs for organizations because, as Lehmann notes, what goes on within a company sets the foundation for broader networking. His own business is no exception. "You've got to practice what you preach," Lehmann says. "We have great employees who work together well to get things done. We're all a family here."

Because of the exclusive nature of their events—all are by invitation-only and cater to the highest executives in an organization or industry— CraigMichaels strives to ensure that every executive in attendance is challenged with new insights and forward-thinking ideas. To accomplish this, the team invites only the most well-respected speakers to deliver keynote addresses and lead roundtable discussions.

This year's keynote speakers have included Capt. Mark Kelly, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., Cameron Sinclair, Aaron Ralston, and Nido Qubein. Past years’ events have included politicians and dignitaries like President Bill Clinton, Mike Huckabee, and Al Gore.

Whether addressing issues like healthcare, the environment, new technologies or market fluctuations, the value of face-to-face interaction cannot be understated. When executives come together to share ideas, listen to industry experts and engage in open discussions, a dynamic for shaping growth and fostering relationships develops that simply couldn’t happen in front of a computer screen.

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