Aileron’s Director of Research & Development, Nicole Luisi, shares the beginnings of Summit, why she’s passionate about the conference, and how it helps her find harmony in her everyday work.
Nicole, you were one of the driving forces behind the inaugural conference last year. What inspired you and Aileron to launch Summit in the first place?
We’ve built our services around the clients we have the privilege to serve. We’ve had good traction with our various courses, workshops, and coaching session —but we wanted something more for the community. Or better said, our community wanted more from us.Before Summit, there wasn’t an opportunity for the whole Aileron business community to gather, learn, and inspire one another. And people across the country we’re asking our team for something that sounded an awful lot like a yearly conference—our clients tend to give us the best ideas! And so, Summit was born.
Besides the name change—LIFT to Summit—what else has changed for the second annual conference?
We thrive off of client feedback and are driven by their needs. While we were thrilled that LIFT sold-out, we knew we could make improvements for this year’s conference. So, we turned to our clients, asked a lot of questions, and gathered some super helpful suggestions. Specifically, people let us know that they wanted more time to actually do the work. As a result, you’ll see a lot more space for work—including breakout sessions that help you apply insights immediately to your business.
You’ve attended a lot of conferences—some good and some not so good. What was important for you as you considered Summit 2018?
I think they’re two extremes that conferences can easily fall into: sit & listen, or network & connect. Both of these aspects offer value but, like anything good, there can certainly be too much of one or the other. When we designed this year’s conference, we wanted to hit somewhere in the middle.
Perhaps the primary driving force was our guiding belief that, “the genius is in the room.” This belief needed to come through in the schedule, speaking line-up, and overall feel. Summit is about unleashing the potential that already exists—not just telling you to do more of this and less of that. Learning happens when the whole room participates. I believe Summit 2018 will offer community-centered learning that creates powerful conversations for our attendees.
As the Director of R&D, you’re familiar with the word “busy.” How does Summit help you stay calm, focused, and clear as you lead a team?
I’m a firm believer in Dr. Deming’s evaluation that, “96% of problems in business are systems driven and only 4% are people driven.” There is a process for each problem we face. That’s something I rely on each day when I feel stress or frustration. I have learned to go through a system of identifying what I’m thinking, feeling, and how that could impact my actions.
That approach alone has the power to transform potential pockets of stress into moments of opportunity. And I learned this approach through the proven systems represented at Summit. Each year, I get reminded of ways to digest external challenges and be mindful of how I behave as a leader. It’s refreshing, inspiring, and energizing.
What would you say to people considering coming to Summit?
First, the Aileron system you’ll get is so empowering. I use it every day and it helps me reframe in our constantly changing world. And you don’t even have to use it in business—it’s great for your whole life. People have used the lessons from our conference to build better a better family, to be a better parent, and to create a successful business. Second, we have some truly amazing people coming to Summit this year. These people are not just great business leaders, managers, or strategists—they’re simply wonderful people to know and meet. Personally, I’m looking forward to three conversations happening this year.
Clay Mathile and Tom MacLeod discussing how an owner and hired president collaborated to lead a world-renowned company
Mary Miller sharing how she fixed her “people problem” by focusing on solving her people’s problems
Dr. Kelly Crace sharing the purest form of motivation and how to use it in your daily life