If you’re looking to get up to speed on the latest developments in your field, hear inspiring keynotes from thought leaders, or rub elbows with other professionals, conferences are the place to be. But with so many options out there (and probably a limited budget for attending them), choosing which conferences to devote your time to can be challenging.
So, we decided to do the legwork for you and made a list of what we think are the coolest conferences to go to in 2018. Whatever your industry (or budget), you’re sure to find the perfect option for you.
Just a note: Because we’re looking for so far into the future, we don’t have all the dates and prices yet, but we’ll update this list at we get them.
Check out these conferences if you want... General Inspiration
New York, New York; Nov 14-15
Come hear an amazing group of inspirational speakers who are paving their own way and challenging traditions in business. You’ll be inspired by fresh ideas, start rethinking the status quo, and leave ready to tackle your own business challenges in creative and innovative ways.
New York, New York; May 8-10, 2019
Having big ideas is great, but they’re not worth anything if you can’t, well, make them happen. That’s what 99U is all about. You’ll hear from leading creative visionaries on how they’ve found success—and leave with a toolbox full of ways to turn your idea into a reality.
Dates TBA 2019
Connect with women from around the world during this two-day event. At Forbes Women’s Summit, you’ll be able to sit in on conversations around leadership, politics, and entrepreneurship with leaders like Anne Friedman, Cecile Richards, Kerry Washington, and more!
London, England; Dates TBA 2019
Price TBA (includes accomodations, apply early for full funding)
One Young World is all about connecting young leaders with the intention of creating lasting positive change around the world. If you’re game to tackle some of the globe’s most pressing issues—from climate change to conflict resolution—with leaders from all around the world, this is going to be right up your alley.
Check out these conferences if you want... To Learn About Tech
Austin, Texas; March 8-17, 2019
SXSW brings together entrepreneurs, creatives, innovators, and influencers for a sneak peek into the future of technology and digital creativity. You’ll get to rub shoulders with some of the best minds of the startup world and learn about the newest websites, games, and startups—all while having a great time in the trendiest city in Texas.
Dates TBA 2019
The Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing is the place to go to be inspired and empowered as a woman in technology, whether you’re a student or a senior industry specialist. The conference includes panels, workshops, presentations, and more centered around the hottest areas in technology right now, including data science, security, gaming, and wearable computing.
Berlin, Germany; Nov 29-30
TechCrunch Disrupt is often named the hottest tech conference of the year. It features pitches from up-and-coming startups, rock star tech speakers, and a series of panels to get you inspired for the future of tech.
Laguna Beach, California; Nov 12-14
The WSJ.D conference brings together renowned CEOs, aspiring entrepreneurs, industry experts, and more for three days of inspiring debate and discussion about technology in today’s world.
Whether you’re looking to experience emerging trends in tech, are looking for a job in the field, or just want to have a little fun with your other tech enthusiasts, Techweek is the place to be. The conference aims to help enable the “innovation ecosystem” by bringing together the tech community under one roof to enjoy everything from speakers to a startup expo to a hiring fair and more.
Check out these conferences if you want... To Be a Sales & Marketing Expert
London, England; Nov 14-16
Social Media Week is a global conversation about how we can achieve more in an hyper-connected world. With events in cities around the globe, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to connect with other organizations that are innovating in the social space, collaborate on solutions for the future, and make an impact with social media.
Orlando, Florida; Oct 2-5
Are you a B2B marketing nerd? Then get ready to head to the Business Marketing Association’s annual conference, where you’ll spend four days discussing the latest and greatest in the marketing industry, from content marketing to growth hacking and more.
Content Marketing World wants you to be able to make content that inspires your audience, and it will help you get there with speakers from places like Kraft, Microsoft, Facebook, Cisco, and many other major brands doing cool things with content marketing. You’ll leave with more new ideas (and connections) than you know what to do with.
Seattle, Washington; July 15-17
$799-$1,299 for Early Bird
MozCon brings you three days of fascinating speakers and workshops focused on social media, SEO, analytics, content strategy, and much more. Connect with an awesome community, get to know other up-and-coming disruptors, and join in on the party afterward.
San Francisco, California; Nov 13-16
If you’re curious about creating amazing content, using big data in your business, or seeing just how big your marketing influence is, don’t miss out on the B2B Marketing Forum. The event is filled with presentations and breakout sessions where you’ll be able to mingle, network, and grab your share of cool marketing swag.
Check out these conferences if you want... To Be Better at Customer Service
New York, New York; October 4-5
Do you want to learn how top corporate companies launched successful media strategies? Hear from speakers’ real-life experiences to find out how you can “deliver unified and frictionless customer experiences” and train your team to understand a customer in today’s world.
16. Call Center Week
Las Vegas, Nevada; June 24-28
Talk all things customer care at Call Center Week. Join them for keynote speakers, workshops, site tours, lunch and learns, and more to learn everything you need to know about thriving in the customer service space—today and in the future.
Check out these conferences if you want... To Learn About Entrepreneurship
How should you find the right co-founder, get media attention, pitch investors, and launch a product in the early days? Join 1,500 entrepreneurs and investors at The Startup Conference to find out! It’s one of the largest tech conferences in Silicon Valley, so you’ll get to meet lots of cool startups and their founders.
18. Grow Conference
Do you have dreams of changing the world? Meet other bold innovators, thinkers, and entrepreneurs at the Grow Conference, created by Inc. magazine, where you’ll problem solve real-time during panels and deep-dive workshops. Leave inspired with new connections and endless creative solutions that will grow your venture.
Do you feel particularly inspired by memorable stories? The Business Innovation Factory might be your match—hear over storytellers and innovators talk about their experiences disrupting business as you know it. Be blown away by the design thinkers and storytellers who have transformed the world through business model innovation.
Check out these conferences if you want... To Be a Better Recruiter
Orlando, Florida; Oct 15-17
Are you looking to hire the best talent? If so, the ERE Recruiting Conference may be for you. Join in on workshops and sessions that discuss all the challenges you face every day, and meet fellow recruiters to talk shop during these two days of networking and sharing.
21. HRO Today Forum
National Harbor, Maryland; May 6-8
Everyone talks about building a flexible, talented, and engaged team, but how exactly do you do this? Bring your entire team to the HRO Forum to hear speakers from MGM Resorts, American Airlines, and other global firms talk about how to make your HR services more effective.
Check out these conferences if you want... To Learn About Media, Publishing, & Writing
Join the Adobe InDesign team and other InDesign, Photoshop, Illustrator, DPS, ePub, and PDF gurus for the annual PePcon. Sessions cover everything from how to best deliver content to CSS/HTML boot camps. You’ll walk away an expert in everything related to publishing and design!
Los Angeles, California; Jan 24-25
Do you consider yourself an active member of the blogosphere? Don’t pass up this chance to collaborate with a community of writers and blog affiliates creating opportunities for women in education, community, and economic empowerment. BlogHer is open to all levels of bloggers, and, after endless opportunities to network, you’ll be well on your way to building the future of blogging.
If you’re a journalist or educator, or just looking to sharpen your storytelling skills or learn more about entrepreneurship, mobile, and data, Journalism Interactive is for you. The interactive workshops create a real community that encourages hands-on training—meaning you’ll be oh-so well-versed in the frontiers of digital journalism by the end of this two-day event.
Newport Beach, California; Mar 7-10
Looking to broaden your journalism and investigative skills? Come hear industry leaders speak in over 100 panels, interactive classes, and discussions on everything under the sun (but primarily in government, business, healthcare, and the environment). You’ll be able to cover any story on any topic in the future, guaranteed.
Taught by three high-profile bloggers, this two-day blogging workshop takes you step by step to brand, monetize, and personalize your blog. You'll not only learn how to create amazing content, but also how to secure book deals, magazine columns, or any other publishing agreement you could imagine. You’ll be well on your way to being a next-generation blogger!
Check out these conferences if you want... To Improve Your Design Skills
27. Converge SE
Columbia, South Carolina; Date TBA
Looking to be fascinated and inspired by the future of design? Converge is bringing together people who work with technology in the most creative ways in this three-day immersive workshop experience. You’ll work with everything design, UX, game design, business, and marketing-related and hear from some awesome keynote speakers—not to mention enjoy the delicious food, drink, and parties afterward.
28. HOW Design Live
Chicago, Illinois; May 7-10
Does a four-day extravaganza in print and web design, package design, thought leadership, creative team management, and small business management sound exciting to you? Don’t miss out on this chance to meet innovative thinkers and become a part of an amazing community of designers and freelancers who will define the future of design.
London, England; Sept 19-21
Web designers and developers will love this action-packed inaugural Generate New York conference hosted by net magazine, the leading print and digital publication for web designers. What could be better than a bunch of web design enthusiasts gathering together to spark new ideas, insights, and experience-sharing stories?
30. IA Summit
Passionate about user experience? The IA Summit is a must-attend to get your fix of everything user design, information architecture, and content strategy. Completely community-driven, this event brings you incredible keynote speakers and workshops on user experience to help you share what you know and learn what you don’t.
Check out these conferences if you want... Something a Little More Niche
Cambridge, Massachusetts; Apr 26
Passionate about sustainability and global environmental challenges? Explore the interaction of sustainability and cities at the annual Sustainability Summit, led by students of MIT during Earth Week. Leaders in government, finance, technology, and climate change will provide an overview of future trends so you can participate in role play simulations, workshops, and more.
32. Ceres Conference
San Francisco, California; April 29-May 1
Hear from top sustainability leaders on how they’ve worked to build a sustainable global economy. All in the name of building the next generation of sustainable businesses, the Ceres Conference brings all discussions about corporate sustainability, sustainable agriculture, and climate resiliency under one roof.
Multiple Cities, Throughout the Year
Get inspired by the annual Sustainable Brands conferences that use environmental and social innovation to drive business and brands. You’ll leave this conference with a completely different idea of what's possible for socially responsible business.
Los Angeles, California; Oct 1-2
Looking for an immersive, hands-on experience that will teach you everything fashion PR-related? Look no further—all levels of experience are welcome at Fashion Confidential, and not only will you receive pitch guidance, but you’ll also participate in lectures and activities on fashion PR campaign strategy, speed networking, one-on-one reviews, and much more.
35. ASCAP Expo
Los Angeles, California; Dates TBA
Whether you’re a songwriter, composer, or producer, the ASCAP Expo has a place for you! The expo builds a community from the most successful music creators today that you can’t afford to miss. You’ll learn from, network with, and be inspired by some of the most promising music professionals. All those celebrity Q&As, career building workshops, DIY sessions, performances, demos, and more will be right up your alley.
Brooklyn, New York; Oct 2-5
Fascinated by the intersection of music, business, and technology? The Musictech Summit may be for you! Participate in the summit to find the most promising music-tech startup, listen to inspiring speakers, and connect with some incredible industry visionaries.
37. SEAT Consortium
$599 for Early Bird, Prices TBA
Get ready for this exclusive three-day event covering everything in sports, including marketing, social media, CRM, technology, and more. Whether you’re representing the NFL, NHL, NBA, MLB, or almost any other sport, you’ll truly get an experience of collaboration, innovation, strategy, and everything in between—not to mention a fantastic network of the most connected sports professionals.
Photo of conference courtesy of Caiaimage/Sam Edwards.
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