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Iowa Ideas conference to host variety of topics, speakers

Sept. 20-21 event will focus on issues key to Iowa's future; registration now open

Alburnett High School teacher Abbie Parker (left) talks with Troy Miller, executive director of Strategic Partnerships at Iowa BIG, and Iowa BIG students Anyssa Ball and Jemar Lee during a breakout discussion at the 2017 Iowa Ideas conference in Cedar Rapids. This year’s conference will be Sept. 20 and 21 at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Convention Complex in downtown Cedar Rapids. (Liz Martin/The Gazette)
Alburnett High School teacher Abbie Parker (left) talks with Troy Miller, executive director of Strategic Partnerships at Iowa BIG, and Iowa BIG students Anyssa Ball and Jemar Lee during a breakout discussion at the 2017 Iowa Ideas conference in Cedar Rapids. This year’s conference will be Sept. 20 and 21 at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Convention Complex in downtown Cedar Rapids. (Liz Martin/The Gazette)
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CEDAR RAPIDS — Ten subject areas — covering Iowa-relevant topics from education, health care and immigration to agriculture, workforce and diversity — will be featured at this year’s Iowa Ideas conference in Cedar Rapids.

The second-annual conference will feature some 75 sessions with expert speakers and panelists from inside and outside Iowa. It also will include tracks developed in partnership with Diversity Forum and with Next Gen Summit.

Created by The Gazette, the two-day event — set for Thursday and Friday, Sept. 20 and 21, at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Convention Complex in downtown Cedar Rapids — is designed to bring Iowans together to discuss the big ideas and vital questions that will influence the state’s future.

“The idea of the conference is for Iowans to collaborate and discuss how to position the state to succeed in our global economy,” Gazette Executive Editor Zack Kucharski said.

“We’ve worked to bring together at the DoubleTree many people, from all levels of various organizations — from businesses, government entities, academia, not-for-profits, our diverse communities — to discuss the state’s challenges.”

The conference, he added, is not about partisan politics.

“We don’t start with the notion that everything we do today is broken — because it isn’t,” Kucharski said.

A key element of the conference will be opportunities to connect with professionals from other fields. Along with a Sept. 20 lunch and keynote speaker, there will be networking opportunities the mornings of Sept. 20 and 21 and the evening of Sept. 20.

The Sept. 20 evening events include:

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l Pints and Politics, The Gazette’s monthly discussion of current political topics, 5 to 7 p.m., at Theatre Cedar Rapids.

l Next Gen social, with its location to be announced at the conference.

l FUSE, a workout session from 5:15 to 6 p.m. at the hotel.

All three will be free for conference attendees wearing their Iowa Ideas badge.

There also will be a “what’s-next” session at the end of the conference.

Last year’s Iowa Ideas Conference saw approximately 500 attendees.

To view a complete conference schedule, highlighting speakers and panelists, and to reserve tickets, go to iowaideas.com/schedule.

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