Interview with Melinda Crane: Moderating the Global Female Leaders Summit

Moderating a high-profile conference like the Global Female Leaders Summit is no easy feat, but for Melinda Crane, it's a task she's taken on with enthusiasm and dedication.

In an interview, she shared her personal account of how she became involved with the summit and the challenges she's faced over the years. From last-minute cancellations to the pandemic, Crane has had to manage a variety of surprises and difficult situations, but she remains committed to ensuring the conference is timely, lively, and interactive. As she prepares for the upcoming summit, she reflects on the key topics and highlights attendees can expect to explore. Read on to discover more about the Global Female Leaders Summit and the role of its moderator.

Speaker Melinda Crane

Chief Correspondent | Deutsche Welle TV, USA/Germany

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The Beginning of Moderating the Global Female Leaders Summit: A Personal Account

You moderated the Global Female Leaders Conference for the first time in 2015. Do you remember how this happened?

I was approached by the Management Circle team because Sigrid Bauschert, who in the meantime is a much-esteemed colleague and friend, had seen me moderating the Deutsche Bank’s Women in European Banking Conference. One look at the Global Female Leaders agenda was enough to convince me that I was eager to be involved in this very high-profile women’s network. I replied to Management Circle’s inquiry by saying (I still have the initial email) that it looked like “a very impressive event indeed, and on a topic dear to my heart!” I still feel the same way today.

Managing Surprises and Difficult Situations: Reflections on Moderating the Global Female Leaders Summit

Did you face any surprises or difficult situations during the summits? How did you handle them?

There is no big, ambitious, complex conference like this one that does not come with surprises or difficult situations. Mostly it’s last-minute cancellations by high level speakers we’d all been excited about. I won’t name names here, but there have been a few such disappointments over the years. The funny thing is, that at first you think that losing a particularly renowned speaker will leave a huge hole in the program that everyone will notice. In every case, though, our fantastically flexible organizing team has found excellent alternatives and/or shifted a few slots around. And in the end, one hardly notices. In fact, such last-minute changes sometimes make the agenda even better. We have so many fantastic women talking about so many important, timely subjects that GFLS is rewarding and inspiring no matter what adjustments have been made behind the scenes. So probably the most difficult situation we ever faced was not those last-minute surprises, but the pandemic, and the fact that it forced us to cancel two years in a row.

The Evolution of the Global Female Leaders Summit: A Moderator's Perspective

How has the Global Female Leaders Summit evolved over the years, in your opinion?

I think we are keeping getting timelier, livelier, more interactive, and more wide-ranging. Truly, every year I leave thinking “wow, this time was truly unsurpassed.” And the next year I feel the same.

Preparation Priorities: A Moderator's Approach to The Global Female Leaders Summit

What is most important to you in the preparation of the moderation for The Global Female Leaders Summit?

I try to do deep dive research on all the issues and speakers I’ll be introducing so that I can introduce them in a way that will put their topic into context for the audience and help draw links between the different themes of the event as a whole. That research is also essential to structuring a panel that really elicits all the panelists key messages and brings them into constructive dialogue with one another. The outstandingly professional support from the organizing team is crucial for my preparation; they provide me with essential background that helps me target my research.

Previewing the Global Female Leaders Summit 2023: Key Topics and Highlights

Which topics will be discussed at the Kempinski Adlon Berlin on April 24th and 25th, 2023, and what are you most looking forward to?

As you might expect, we’ll be talking about the economic and political ramification of the turbulent geopolitical situation we find ourselves in. And the climate crisis is a major focus, because even though the Russian war on Ukraine and the world economy’s jitters sometimes seem to sideline climate, we aren’t letting that stop us from asking how we can address this planetary emergency. We’ve also got a fantastic range of spotlight talks and panel discussions exploring technology trends in general and AI in particular, including the ramifications of ChatGPT. Top women executives in sectors ranging from food to fashion, from automotive to entertainment, will share their insights into trends and strategies. And what I’m most looking forward to I honestly can’t say – the program’s so good, it’s simply too hard to choose!

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