We talk a lot about technology and for good reason.

Society, culture and business are all being shaped, changed, and completely reinvented as technology continues to evolve and progress.

Yet, even with the amazing technologic advancements of the past 20 years, relationships are still what matter most in business.

With this insight, we took a new approach last year toward building relationships with customers by inviting them to an exclusive event we named the AT&T Business Summit. And by all accounts it was a rousing success. In fact, companies that attended the 2017 Summit invested more than $700 million in our technologies and services afterward.

Last week, we held our encore performance – our second Summit. The gathering kicked off with a musical performance by a live orchestra, featured Hollywood stars, famous foreign political leaders, best-selling authors, respected international CEOs, and concluded with a concert at AT&T Stadium.

All of this was designed to entertain, yes, but more importantly to enlighten all of us who attended and to better connect us.

Behind the glitz and glamor was a conversation that engaged everyone present. A conversation centered on what’s taking place in the world around us on every level – in our politics, economy, communities, industries and companies.

At the first Summit, our goal was that everyone left with a better understanding of how digital transformation was affecting us and how technology allows us all to do more with less.

This year, we elevated the conversation to how we can prepare ourselves for a future that will look much different than our past. A future with frequent disruption, and not just from technology, but also from people and leaders who are looking to do things better, more fairly and more responsibly.

This year, we debuted a Gender Equality Lounge where we fostered conversations with inspirational leaders to champion equality. Here, we connected, collaborated and helped to activate real change for women and diversity in the workplace.


We invited former elected leaders of global powers and top economists to talk about our ever-changing international political and economic landscapes and how it could impact business.

We talked about the shifting demographics of the workplace. With insight that 73% of millennials are now involved in product or service purchase decision-making at their companies – we took actions to create a more human tone across our brand and at the event to better appeal to an increasingly younger and more diverse set of decision makers.

And finally, we talked about leadership. Not just how to lead to get better results, but how to lead to create better, more-engaged companies, better communities and a better world.

We made a deliberate effort to have these discussions, because we were hosting a group that was nothing short of today’s global business decision makers. This year’s Summit included representation from 22 countries and more than 800 customer companies, representing nearly every industry.

Therefore, we wanted to make sure the important conversations that are shaping our society, also help shape our business world.

And when it was all said and done, I left last week’s Summit feeling more energized and more optimistic than ever about the future of business and our global society.

From what I saw and what I heard, it was clear that today’s business leaders care about building better companies, equipping their people for success and disrupting for good.