Story of the Day

For Work Expert and 4Front Ambassador Joe Thurman, it’s all about the human element

As founder and CEO of People-First Management Consulting firm Jobber Group, Joe Thurman is literally a people person.

He has more than 10 years’ experience in the human resources sector, with the past six years focused on talent strategy, scale up, HR tech and building inclusive cultures. Working with hundreds of technology firms, he has helped tech companies identify and hire effective leadership and align their workforces to drive business success. He also sits on the board of the Colorado Technology Association.

Thurman will bring that experience to bear as 4Front’s Work Ambassador. So we caught up with Joe to talk about this role, and how the human element drives technology innovation.

What made you interested in becoming an ambassador for 4Front? 

When I think about the future of work, it’s the space that I live in – it’s what I eat, sleep and breathe. The future of work is something I’m extremely passionate about and that crosses into building inclusive cultures, understanding how people can be aligned with work that really matters to them. When people are aligned from a mission and vision and a passion perspective, that’s when people will do their greatest work. For a lot of things that we’re talking at 4Front, that’s really important.

How do you think an event like 4Front could create a positive future?

4Front is different because we are bringing together different industries, different verticals, different people from different stages in their careers. Once we put those all in the same room we can really begin to come up with new ideas and create what I like to call a collective impact to solve real world challenges. When we see competing organizations come together with diverse mindsets and thinking styles innovation can truly take shape, I think that’s what 4Front is bringing to the table.

What unique perspective do you hope to bring to 4Front? 

The human element. When we talk about work, sometimes we get into the function or the tactical thought of human capital. I think when we talk about work in particular, it’s really important to understand that human element from every side, culture, impact, mindset. Innovation is needed, technology is everywhere and changing the world through the next latest and greatest truly is amazing. But it’s not amazing if we leave people behind in the workplace. And that is a big part of what I want to bring to the 4Front conference, is the human-centric people-first view of that.

Can you tell us a little bit more about yourself than what’s on the current site? What are your passions? What makes you tick?

I believe everyone should have the opportunity to go after something they care about. We spend a lot of time at work. It’s a majority of our time, and I think life’s too short to just have a job. Everyone has the ability to have an impact on something bigger. At Jobber Group we focus our work on using technology to augment and amplify human impact, not removing the human element. Amplifying our ability to make better decisions when it comes to people is my person passion. In that space we are dealing with unconscious bias training one day, leadership strategies another, and interview amplification technology all in the same conversation. I’m very passionate about people having purpose in life, and that’s not above anybody’s pay-grade. Everyone can have purpose. That’s what keeps me up; that’s what I’m passionate about, what makes me tick.

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Story of the Day

Educator and 4Front Ambassador, Mathew Portell, Is Taking On the Future of Education, One Classroom at a Time.

How do you prepare the next generation of leaders and innovators for dealing with problems that might not even exist yet? Mr. Portell may know the answer.

When Mathew Portell became the executive principal of Fall-Hamilton Elementary in downtown Nashville, he took a different approach. Everything in his school, from trauma-informed curriculum to ambient lighting choices, is designed to meet students’ social, emotional and educational needs. His transformative teaching and mentoring practices have been proven extremely successful, resulting in a better academic performance, stronger faculty support system and more confident, well-adjusted kids eager to take on the future. Fall-Hamilton’s success story is that of innovation in action—exactly what 4Front is all about.

Aside from teaching kids and mentoring his fellow educators, Mathew’s other passion is cycling. In 2008, he combined both interests to form an award-winning non-profit called Ride for Reading, an organization that has distributed over 500,000 books to underserved children via bicycle. In 2018, he started Paradigm Shift Education, an international consulting company that provides trauma-informed educator training. Recently, we asked Mathew to tell us a bit more about his goals as an educator, as well as what he hopes to accomplish at 4Front.

What made you interested in becoming an ambassador for 4Front?

The idea of bringing together professionals from four different sectors to share ideas in order to collectively and collaboratively focus on innovation is something I could not pass up. Education is the bedrock for all innovation as children are being prepared for jobs that do not even exist. Educators are often excluded from global innovation conversations, even though we are on the front line of producing innovators and thinkers. To be in a space with like-minded professionals who want to visualize the future with endless possibilities is exactly where I want to be. As the education ambassador, I am honored to be a part of 4Front.

How do you think an event like 4Front could create a positive future?

When collective focus, synergy and collaboration are at the forefront of any organization—a company, school or conference—there is sure to be a positive outcome. By tapping into diverse perspectives and experiences, 4Front is opening countless opportunities for what our future can be. We must reimagine how we live, learn, work and play through a different lens and 4Front can serve as the platform for planning and creating a positive future. 

What unique perspective do you hope to bring to 4Front? 

As a veteran educator, I have been a teacher, instructional coach and school administrator in elementary, middle and high schools. In the past five years I have led an internationally recognized trauma-informed elementary school that’s changing how we educate and support children. Because of this work, I have been given the opportunity to travel and speak, throughout the country and internationally, about the impacts of childhood trauma and how school innovation is imperative to the success of all children. The approaches that my school, Fall-Hamilton Elementary, has established have traveled the globe and impacted countless children. I believe now is the time to shift the paradigm and visualize what education should be for all kids.

Can you tell us a little bit more about yourself than what’s on the current site? What are your passions? What makes you tick? What quirks do you have?

I have a remarkable family! I am the birth father to an amazing 9 year old boy and a foster father to two remarkably resilient boys who are 6 and 9. I find my self-care and spiritual motivation in cycling. Although my riding is much more limited now, it is still a significant part of me. In 2008, I combined my passions for cycling and education and founded Ride for Reading, a national non-profit organization that has donated over 500,000 books to children, via bicycle, in low-income schools. In 2018, I used my Ride for Reading experience to start Paradigm Shift Education, an international consulting company that provides professional training for educators on the impact of childhood trauma in kids. Making a positive impact on the lives of others makes me tick! It’s what inspires me daily and serves as my motivation. Also, I’m slightly obsessed with building Lego. As an adult whose brain rarely slows down, sitting down with a large Lego set allows me to calm and create. I find it therapeutic!  

Interested in meeting Mathew and other experts in media, health, connectivity, technology and more? Be sure to reserve your seat at 4Front, June 23-24, in Denver, CO.

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4Front 2020: How Will Technology Impact the Way We Live in the Future?

Last year, we talked about the future of work and how we’re planning to use the 4Front platform to address questions surrounding the evolution of technology in the workplace. Today, let’s think about the impact of evolving and future technologies on our lives outside of work.

At 4Front, we’ll have a whole track dedicated to this topic, called “Live,” so if you’re interested in the future of healthcare, biotech, transportation, city planning, climate, shopping, IoT, security, smart homes and more, be sure to clear your calendars for June 23–24, 2020. This event will be held in Denver, Colorado, and it will be the premier destination for getting an unbiased, 360-degree look at the impact of future innovation on all aspects of our lives, regardless of industry.

What We’ll Talk About

The “Live” track encompasses a great variety of industries and technical solutions to all kinds of human problems inside and outside the home. Smart homes will make life a little less hectic. Self-driving cars will safely get us from point A to point B. Biohacking technologies will help eradicate chronic diseases. The list goes on. Our goal at 4Front will be to take a look at all these innovations through the lens of one single future and accelerate progress by sharing information and addressing common challenges such as digital security, safety, sustainability and networking requirements.

Here are just some of the topics we’ll discuss:

Biohacking: Upgrade your Brain, Body and Human Nature

Speakers: Mirela Alistar, David Ishee, Aubrey de Grey
How can we be healthier, happier, stronger and live longer? Biohacking is the science (and art) of upgrading ourselves by controlling the environment inside and around us so that we have full control over our own biology. Some biohackers are doctors, some are PhD’s, some are complete amateurs, and their ways of trying to hack our bodies and biology are as diverse as they are. Join Aubrey de Grey, English author and gerentologist, Dr. Mirela Alistar, Professor at CU Boulder and dog breeder David Ishee to explore the future of biohacking.

What and How Will We Eat?

Speakers: Alyssa Whitcraft
You’ve heard of genetically engineered foods, the impact of agriculture on climate change and the fact that food is scarce for our most vulnerable populations but abundant for the privileged. Those who feed us are already pondering the future of food, considering bold ideas–from trying new methods of growing food, adapting to new demands in consumer preferences and making food sources more sustainable–to better feed massive populations. Join this panel to hear how leaders in the industry are resolving some of the greatest challenges inherent in nourishing our communities. 

The Tipping Point: Quantum

Speakers: Shohini Ghose
If quantum isn’t part of your strategic plan in 2020, you’re already behind. Can quantum enable safe transfers of data, breakthroughs in cybersecurity, drug development and financial modeling? Moderated by Shohini Ghose, president of the Canadian Association of Physicists, co-editor in chief of the Canadian Journal of Physics, and the director of the Laurier Centre for Women in Science, this panel will discuss the latest benefits, threats and opportunities in quantum and how it will affect your business strategies.

Why You Should Attend

If you’re reading this, we can safely assume you’re interested in one or more topics mentioned above. Or maybe you’re a futurist, entrepreneur, policy maker, influencer or expert in a particular field where technology plays a pivotal role. No matter what your actual job description is, if you make decisions, you’re instrumental to 4Front’s success. Unlike any other conference, 4Front is not industry specific. We rely on a variety of professionals from different industries coming together to share their experiences and visions for the future. 4Front is where you can build important connections and forge new cross-industry collaborations that will drive significant progress in the right direction.

Why You Should Sponsor a Track

One of the best ways to drive the strategy of the future is by sponsoring a track. It’s a one-of-a-kind opportunity to widen your sphere of influence, showcase your innovations, attract new business opportunities and lead discussions on the topics that matter the most to your business.

As a 4Front sponsor, you’ll be able to:

  • Contribute content to the main stage and introduce keynote speakers.
  • Design an immersive experience that showcases your thought leadership.
  • Gain the attention of the brightest minds in the industry, including CEOs, founders and other entrepreneurs like yourself.
  • Drive the conversation with other decision makers by hosting your own panel.
  • Get invaluable media exposure, put yourself at the forefront of your industry and much more!

To discuss potential sponsorship opportunities and agenda ideas, please contact Jeff Metzger, CableLabs Director of Live Brand Experience.

You can learn more about our vision of the future in our recent Near Future video. You can read more about 4Front and register below. See you there!

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