General Sessions


Opening General Session | 11 September | 9:00 - 10:30 AM
The Power of Human Connection

The Global Loneliness Epidemic started a long time before the COVID pandemic. In many cases, the pandemic just shifted things from bad to worse.

Enforced remote work, then hybrid work, which has become permanent for many companies, has amplified employees’ already overwhelming sense of isolation. Loneliness becomes a business issue that creates disconnected workplaces and impacts productivity, engagement, and retention.

In this opening session with Simone Heng, learn how reconnecting with your inner self can lead to building deeper, more authentic relationships with others. 

  • The 5 pillars of connection that bring people together regardless of geography, culture or polarized views
  • How to build rapport upon first meeting a stranger
  • A strategic model to keep teams accountable for their connectedness

Get inspired to connect in a world thirsty for connection.

Simone Heng, Human Connection Specialist

Simone Heng
Human Connection Specialist

Speaker: Simone Heng is a human connection specialist and former international broadcaster for, among others, Virgin Radio Dubai, HBO Asia, and CNBC. She is one of the youngest female Certified Speaking Professionals in the world. 

With over fifteen years of experience as a communicator on air, on stage, and one-on-one in different countries, connection is her life’s work.

She has spoken to thousands, and often for Fortune 500 organizations. Her clients include Harvard University, Google, Meta, Amazon, ByteDance, KPMG, Spotify, Salesforce, SAP, Lucasfilm, the United Nations, and many more. Simone and her work have been featured on CNN and in Forbes, SCMP, TEDx, Vogue, Glamour, BBC Radio, Elle, and Harper’s Bazaar, among others.

Her latest book Let’s Talk About Loneliness is published by Hay House and available globally.

Opening General Session Speaker Sponsored By: 



Closing General Session | 12 September | 3:30 - 4:45 PM
The Untapped Value of Human Connection                  

In 2015, keynote speaker Rob Lawless began a journey to make 10,000 new friends. Today, Rob shares insights on the transformative impact of intentional connections in creating positive, inclusive, and empowering organizational cultures.  

Discover the remarkable connections Rob has forged with newfound friends in far-flung corners of the world, illustrating the unexpected ways in which human relationships can transcend boundaries.

Rob's encounters encompass a profound range of experiences, from meeting a survivor of a mass shooting to embarking on a flight piloted by the plane's builder. These encounters have bestowed invaluable insights on him, shedding light on the power of human connection and empathy.

Rob will introduce the FRIEND framework (Family & Relationships, Industry, Entertainment, Needs & Dreams) to facilitate meaningful one-on-one interactions among Summit participants. Rob's adventures underscore the significance of deliberate connections, leaving attendees inspired and equipped to foster a workplace environment where everyone feels genuinely seen, heard, and valued.

Leave this powerful general session with the ability to:

  • Foster a sense of belonging & community

    Leverage the potential of deliberate and significant connections, nurture a heightened sense of unity and belonging within your team.

  • Broaden your collective vision

    Embrace diverse perspectives through intentional interactions; expand your shared outlook and drive innovation.

  • Unlock unprecedented opportunities
    Meaningful connections pave the way for discovering untapped possibilities, enabling you to excel in your respective fields.


Sebastian Terry, Thought Leader & Big Thinker

Rob Lawless
Keynote Speaker

Speaker: Rob Lawless is a 33-year-old originally from Norristown, PA, with a genuine passion for getting to know new people. Graduating with highest honors in May 2013 from Penn State University, he earned a Finance degree with minors in Accounting and Entrepreneurship. Rob then joined Deloitte Consulting as a Business Analyst in Strategy & Operations, fulfilling his dream job. However, after a year and a half, he made a typical Millennial move, accepting a significant pay cut to join RJMetrics, a $24 million venture-funded startup.

At RJMetrics, Rob worked as a sales representative, engaging in daily cold emailing, and requesting 30-minute phone calls to discuss the company's product offerings. Yet in his post-grad life, he missed the authentic connections he'd experienced in college. As a result, he set off on a journey in November 2015, aiming to meet 10,000 people for an hour each for no specific reason. The responses were overwhelmingly positive, and he began meeting people from incredibly diverse backgrounds.

 Following RJMetrics' acquisition on June 20, 2016, Rob, not having a position with the new company, committed full-time to his endeavor and has been making new friends ever since. To date, he's connected with thousands of individuals from more than 90 countries worldwide.

Rob Lawless remains deeply passionate about the value and adventure of connection, is excited to meet the next of his friends and is eager to continue sharing what he's learned from his journey - that every human interaction holds the potential to change your life!