The SOAR Summit, presented by Appalachian Wireless and the Appalachian Regional Commission, will feature various keynote speakers. The two-day event returns to Pikeville at the Appalachian Wireless Arena on October 19-20.
Instead of one keynote speaker, we’ve put together a lineup of quick and inspiring talks featuring subject-matter experts from Appalachia and beyond. All speakers will take the stage during the afternoon plenary sessions held each day.
Let’s take a look.
Let’s talk about data and a 10-year vision for Eastern Kentucky
Mark Rembert loves data. More importantly, he shares it in a way that brings perspective and understanding while ditching the boredom of a barrage of numbers and charts.
Mark serves as Director of Research and Knowledge for the Center on Rural Innovation and has worked closely with us over the past two years. He’ll share data on Eastern Kentucky from a community perspective and how to fully understand where we are at and where we might want to go.
Colby Hall, SOAR’s Executive Director, will lay the foundation of a 10-year vision for the region during his remarks. Colby will cast the vision with measurable outcomes in alignment with the SOAR Blueprint.
What must we do to be competitive in a global and digital economy?
The final day of the SOAR Summit will feature dynamic keynotes from Robert Schena, Co-Founder, Chairman, and CEO of Rajant Corporation, Ben Ledo, from Make My Move, and Janice Way, President of Leadership Kentucky.
Robert has made Rajant Corporation a household name in Eastern Kentucky. He also leveraged the investment into space science engineering at Morehead State to create a pipeline of talent that is driving Rajant’s development of mesh networks across the globe.
Robert will share what we must do as communities to recruit the businesses of today and tomorrow.
Through Janice’s leadership and that of the Whitaker Foundation, the Appalachian Regional Commission, and SOAR, the BRIGHT Kentucky program launched in 2019. The BRIGHT program was built for young and emerging leaders in Eastern Kentucky.
Janice will share how the program is impacting the region now, and the plans to build greater capacity with leaders across the region.
Ben Ledo, from Make My Move, will speak about remote work and how it can impact Eastern Kentucky.
Congressman Hal Rogers, our Co-Principal Officer, will participate in a panel discussion on a variety of issues, including long-term flood recovery, with leaders from across the region.
Find your Focus at the Summit
Along with dynamic plenary sessions, you can find your focus with a variety of focus sessions and workshops each day at the SOAR Summit.
View the complete list of sessions and workshops HERE. We will devote two days of focus sessions on Community Broadband and Planning intended for community and economic developers and elected officials. The Department for Local Government is offering 10 credit hours of training for the Summit.
Some of the Focus Session highlights include:
- Panel discussions on Obesity Prevention and Tobacco Use Prevention led by the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky
- Second Chance Employment and Re-Entry
- Establish Remote Work as a Sector in Eastern Kentucky
- Social Media Workshop with Kentucky Small Business Development Center’s JC Phelps
- Community Entrepreneurial Ecosystem Workshop with the Center on Rural Innovation’s Molly Pyle
- How to craft a Winning Pitch with Keyhorse Capital’s Kelby Price
Speed Pitch Competition
Another first for the SOAR Summit is our first-ever Speed Pitch Competition on the morning of October 20 at New Beginnings Fellowship Church (just next door to the Appalachian Wireless Arena).
This pitch competition isn’t about your business plan or projection. It’s about your passion and your idea. Share your proposal in two minutes or less for a chance to win a $500 first-place prize.
Want to pitch? Pre-registration is strongly encouraged. Complete our short application HERE.
Join us for Appalachia’s Premier Event
There’s not an event like the SOAR Summit anywhere in rural America. It is Appalachia’s premier event. Why?
- The programming.
- An Exhibit Hall featuring more than 100 interactive Exhibits.
- Expansive networking opportunities.
- The SOAR Summit Reception.
Registration is just $70. If you are reading this, use the promo code BLOG at checkout to lock in the $50 price through October 10.
Your ticket to the Summit is all-inclusive. It includes:
- All programming
- The SOAR Summit Reception, presented by the University of Pikeville
- The SOAR Summit Exhibit Hall, presented by MAI Management Advisors
- Breakfast, lunch, and snacks each day with many locally sourced products
If you are a student or teacher, email Karen Roberts Prater at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn how you can attend the Summit for free thanks to the support of Toyota Tsusho. Also, if you are a high school teacher, contact us to learn about transportation stipends provided to schools.