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Stretch Leadership
and Management

December 6-7, 2018

Stretch2018 is over but slides and videos are available in the Speakers section. Enjoy!

Stretch the frames of leadership

Stretch is a leadership and management conference to learn from the best and stretch yourself. Join us in Budapest, Hungary this December and get inspired by stories from leaders in great organizations as they talk about the challenges of leadership and management.


08:00-09:00 Registration and breakfast
09:00-09:30 Opening
09:30-10:15 Anjuan Simmons: Lending Privilege
10:15-11:00 Bill Jensen: The Future of Work Begins with Us
11:00-11:20 Break
11:20-11:45 Ashira Prossack: Managing a Multi-Generational Workforce
11:45-12:10 Michael O'Toole: Emotional Intelligence in Managing Mega-Projects
12:10-12:45 Szabolcs Biró & Péter Orbán: Data-driven Leadership
12:45-14:15 Lunch
14:15-15:00 Stacey Jenkins: Understanding and Improving Team Dynamics: Using FBI Negotiation & Active Listening Skills
15:00-15:25 Sharon Steed: Creating a Culture of Empathy
15:25-15:50 Ryan Kerr: Micro Goals Lead to Massive Changes
15:50-16:10 Break
16:10-16:55 Robert Byssz: Screw Agile transformation, transform yourself instead!
16:55-17:40 Tomasz Dubikowski: 7 Deadlier Sins of Leadership
17:40-23:00 Dinner & Party
08:00-09:15 Registration and breakfast
09:15-10:00 Carmen Simon: The Science of Stories That Spark Action
10:00-10:45 Richard Lewington: Augmenting the Reality of Education for the 21st Century
10:45-11:05 Break
11:05-11:50 Dr. Rochelle Carr: Breaking the Excuse Barriers in Leadership
11:50-12:35 Stephen de Villiers Graaff: Extreme Leadership
12:35-14:05 Lunch
14:05-15:05 Alf Rehn: Leading Innovation: Change the Culture, Change the Game
15:05-15:50 Jennifer Wadella: The 10 Commandments of Community Organizing
15:50-15:55 Raffle
15:55-16:15 Break
16:15-17:00 Matthew Philip: Culture Add Over Culture Fit
17:00-17:45 Heiko Fischer: Management Beyond Bullshit and Buzzwords - Entrepreneurship, Common Sense and AImee
17:45-18:00 Closing


Alf Rehn
Friday 14:05-15:05

Leading Innovation: Change the Culture, Change the Game

In our hyper-competitive and fast-moving age, the capacity for renewal and innovation is a critical competency for nigh-on any organization. At the same time, we are seeing bigger and bigger problems with innovation and organization’s capabilities when it comes to harnessing this. In his keynote, professor Alf Rehn will discuss the key contemporary innovation problems organizations face, how strong innovation cultures can counteract these, and what innovation leadership is required to thrive in a turbulent age.

About Alf
Anjuan Simmons
Thursday 09:30-10:15

Lending Privilege

Privilege is access to societal and economic benefits based on a characteristic you possess. The most well understood forms of privilege are the ones most people don't choose for themselves like parental, racial, gendered, and physical privilege. However, there are also selected privileges like religion, gender identity, and education.

This session will teach you how to lend your privilege. You’ll learn three types of privilege lending including credibility lending (where you attach your name to a project being undertaken by someone without privilege), access lending (where you provide access to a position, location or event), and expertise lending (where you give the opportunity to be recognized as an expert). These different types of privilege lending will be illustrated through well known examples and concrete examples of how they can play out in the technology industry.

About Anjuan
Ashira Prossack
Video PDF
Thursday 11:20-11:45

Managing a Multi-Generational Workforce

There are now four generations of employees working alongside each other as Generation Z makes their entrance into the workforce this year. Combined with Millennials, these two generations will make up 75% of the workforce by 2025. It’s important that we learn not only how to manage this new generation, but how to manage the dynamics of a multi-generational workforce as well.

This session will take a closer look at managing Millennials and Gen Z and successfully integrating them into the workplace. You’ll learn how to tap into the full potential of Millennial and Gen Z talent, maximize the benefits of a multi-generational workforce, and overcome generational conflicts. We’ll explore strategies to increase employee engagement and retention, boost productivity, and build strong teams. We’ll also break down some of the most common generational myths and their impact in the workplace.

You’ll leave with a new outlook on generational differences and solutions you can implement immediately.

About Ashira
Bill Jensen
Video PDF
Thursday 10:15-11:00

The Future of Work Begins with Us

We in the STRETCH community are part of the disruptive Fourth Industrial Revolution — creating amazing new ways of working never before possible!

That means we are the in-the-trenches translators between people and digital transformation. When we lead transformation projects, we help our companies and entire supply chains create the future of work.

With that power, comes great responsibilities. More than ever before, we need to understand how our projects impact others, how we are empowering the world, and even the unintended consequences of our work. Many of our users are challenged to keep up. We are leaders for all, not just power users and early adopters.

In this highly engaging session, Bill will detail how today’s disruptive heroes — you! — can create a future that amazing for all of us! He will focus on how new emerging technologies impact people, their behaviors, and their needs. Super-empowering technologies require far more empowerment from leaders and, for some, far more help in going through personal change and transformation.

This session is about leading people through change and transformation while doing digital transformation projects.

About Bill
Carmen Simon
Friday 09:15-10:00

The Science of Stories That Spark Action

There has been so much hype lately on the impact of storytelling in business communication. We keep hearing the buzz about the brain being wired for stories. We know the importance of setting, character, and action. This is why we devour news, novels, and movies. We know all this. But there is so much more. For example, not all stories are created equal. While we tout the "memorability" factor of stories, it is possible for the human brain to forget them. How many stories do you really remember from the past week?

To influence others' action, we must ask: what makes a story memorable? And what is the optimal amount of narrative we can use when you communicate dry or technical information? After all, we want to be memorable and credible. Join this keynote to find out the latest brain science research on storytelling and how to best apply it to influence others in business settings. Specifically, you learn how to:

  1. Explain, from a brain science perspective, what makes a story forgettable.
  2. Use three science-based techniques that are mandatory to making any story memorable; and
  3. Provide the brain with elements it needs to encode a story so it is memorable long-term and actionable.

About Carmen
Heiko Fischer
Resourceful Humans
Friday 17:00-17:45

Management Beyond Bullshit and Buzzwords - Entrepreneurship, Common Sense and AImee

The Way from Human Resources to Resourceful Humans is one about turning Followers into Leaders, about evolving the industrial approval management towards a new logic of veto leadership. This keynote will provide an insight into real life projects about enabling companies to focus on making contributions to the Customers instead of wasting time with bureaucracy. How can technology help to implement new habits and structures for autonomous teams, where are the limits of technology, why there will be no more HR and how a VR submarine and an AI that is a little girl called AImee will revolutionize Leadership.

About Heiko
Jennifer Wadella
Friday 15:05-15:50

The 10 Commandments of Community Organizing

Welcome to the advanced class on community organizing. You’ve got a decent amount of members in your group, you hold events fairly routinely, maybe you’ve pulled in some legit speakers at your last conference or event … and you want to do more. This talk will focus on community organizing for growth and longevity by building out teams, improving communications, implementing processes, and most importantly will discuss how to maintain sanity in your work-life-volunteer balance. If you’ve ever had to answer the question “Oh, this ISN’T your full time job???” - this talk is definitely for you. If you’re just starting out organizing and don’t want to fall flat on your face, this talk will be very pragmatic for you.

About Jennifer
Matthew Philip
Video PDF
Friday 16:15-17:00

Culture Add Over Culture Fit

Many organizations stress culture fit for their new employees. But by emphasizing culture fit — the person’s assimilable qualities — we lose sight of the person’s additive qualities — prior experiences and new ways of thinking and working — that bring energy, creativity and improvement. Let’s add!

About Matthew
Michael O'Toole
Morgan Stanley
Thursday 11:45-12:10

Emotional Intelligence in Managing Mega-Projects

Developing and leveraging Emotional Intelligence (EI) within a Project Team is vital to the successful completion of mega-projects. However, EI has been difficult to teach. This session draws on a real-life example to illustrate how EI proved crucial to the success of a mega-project.

A few years ago, the Technology Division at Morgan Stanley embarked on a massive, multi-year infrastructure project. Projects of this size are often delivered behind schedule and may run over budget. However, the MS infrastructure project not only delivered financial benefits, but was also completed on time, within budget, and without any operational disruption to the business. What was the distinguishing factor for this project? How was the project team able to deliver excellent results and also manage risks so well?

The answer is Emotional Intelligence (EI) –the ability to effectively process and integrate emotion with reason. The importance of Emotional Intelligence grows with the size and complexity of a project. Mega-projects have many moving parts, large teams, and a long and complex lifecycle. While standard project management processes are a basic requirement, possessing EI is vital when it comes to delivering a mega-project.

As Artifical Intelligence (AI) matures, workforce demands will dictate a shift from hard skills to EI. The next generation of leaders and Project Managers will need to be emotionally intelligent. Yet, EI has traditionally been difficult to teach because it is highly context-sensitive and there are few ‘rules’ that work in every situation.

About Michael
Richard Lewington
Plain Concepts
Video PDF
Friday 10:00-10:45

Augmenting the Reality of Education for the 21st Century

In fewer than 50 years we have seen massive changes in the classroom.

From chalkboards to videotapes, the introduction of computers to interactive whiteboards, and now the implementation of Augmented Reality and Artificial Intelligence.

But how much learning value can AR & AI actually offer students beyond the “WOW factor”?

Are we just rehashing old teaching methodologies and redressing them up with the latest technology? Or should we be exploiting AR & AI’s potential as a tool rather than just another medium?

Additionally, by integrating 21st-century skills and gamification into our design thinking, we can push the potential of educational applications to the limits!

Richard Lewington explores these topics and discusses what we should be doing about them.

About Richard
Robert Byssz
Video PDF
Thursday 16:10-16:55

Screw Agile transformation, transform yourself instead!

Which was first, agile organizations or Agile methodologies? Why do companies believe the best way to become more adaptive (i.e. agile) is to implement Agile methodologies? Did the companies, who are leading the pack in digital transformation focus on implementing Agile or on something else? Do companies know at all what Digital Transformation is about?

I will share with you what I have learnt and collected both from my own transformation experience and from what my peers have shared with me. All my peers, who I interviewed are responsible for global / regional (agile/digital) transformation just like myself. I have collected misconceptions and mistakes about this topic and will help you to guide yourself and your organization to the direction where the leading companies are heading to.

About Robert
Dr. Rochelle Carr
Video PDF
Friday 11:05-11:50

Breaking the Excuse Barriers in Leadership

Excuses, excuses, how many of us have them? Breaking The Excuse Barriers In Leadership addresses how to overcome barriers that hamper creativity and clog our ability to positively influence others in leadership contexts. We will explore in depth how to cast aside unproductive habits that hinder our full leadership potential. In particular, the talk will focus on how to:

  1. Overcome the fear of something new
  2. Recognize that leadership is a continuous stretch – Tension is Good
  3. Be intentional about achieving growth
  4. Choose a different path: stop running into dead ends
  5. Reshape your character to facilitate personal growth
  6. Acknowledge that capacity is predicated on growth
Leadership is far more than interpreting a company’s mission and objectives and translating these into individual actions. Rather, it is an activity or set of attributes capable of producing powerful transformation, along with the ability to unleash innovation and development for both the leader and employees. As such, leadership development is an essential personal growth investment in today’s upward-moving business climate, as is the recognition that what’s worked in the past will not always work today. Yet it’s not about simply recreating the wheel – it’s about mindfully changing our approach. Leaders who are prepared to adjust by breaking excuse barriers are those who achieve personal and professional growth, greater employee engagement, and complete projects successfully.

After attending this discussion, participants will be better equipped to recognize, articulate, and execute strategies to eliminate excuse barriers in their own leadership. They will gain a greater sense of awareness about their individual leadership strengths and areas for growth, a deeper understanding of team dynamics, and greater confidence in applying meaningful strategies to help a group achieve its goals.

About Rochelle
Ryan Kerr
Video PDF
Thursday 15:25-15:50

Micro Goals Lead to Massive Changes

Micro Goals isn’t just for leaders and game changers, it’s a way of rebuilding momentum or changing direction in your life for anyone. Human desire for instant gratification & success has quick wins & failure shortly behind it. This simple system helps reverse engineer massive wins in a sensible way, mentally setting you up for success and internally giving you a sense of momentum.

About Ryan
Sharon Steed
Video PDF
Thursday 15:00-15:25

Creating a Culture of Empathy

The most successful endeavors all follow the same general trajectory: a decent idea executed flawlessly by a cohesive team of hard workers. No matter the project, everything can be achieved following this general guideline. But the exact thing that can create global companies, solve impossible problems, and bring ideas to life is also the same reason why so many companies fail. That thing is us. People. But when we’re at our best, there isn’t anything we can’t do. So how do we optimize collaboration? How do we work better together even if we don’t see eye to eye with everyone on our teams? And how do we create a culture of empathy when all we can see about everyone around us is our differences?

Sharon Steed explores empathy in an unusual way: from the perspective of a stutterer. Sharon explains what empathy is (and what it isn’t) and gives you the tools you need to create a culture of empathy on your team.

About Sharon
Stacey Jenkins
Crux Conception
Video PDF
Thursday 14:15-15:00

Understanding and Improving Team Dynamics: Using FBI Negotiation & Active Listening Skills

Stacey has more than two decades of teaching and instructing. His areas of experience include incorporating psychology in addition to hostage negotiation methods, to achieve higher levels of leadership, team and group effectiveness. this concept has proven sound and efficient in regards to producing advanced degrees of success in the areas of administration performance and consumer awareness.

Stacey's approach derives from his experience as an adjunct professor (psychology & group dynamics) and experience as an interrogator/profiler and hostage negotiator. His proficiency with said skills has allowed him to assemble a method, which will integrate your HR, business, sales, and corporate sectors. Stacey’s research and practice will assist companies, organizations, and groups by merging psychology in consort with Active Listening Skills (ALS), which will result in an accelerated-advance technique, devised to build rapport as well as enhanced recruiting methods.

About Stacey
Stephen de Villiers Graaff
Video PDF
Friday 11:50-12:35

Extreme Leadership

The only meaningful measurement for a leader is whether the team succeeds or fails. Nothing else matters. In fact, everything you currently believe is valuable is simply a byproduct of you, as a leader, creating an environment where success is inevitable. But to achieve this state, organisations need to approach people, leadership, hierarchy, management and delivery very differently. Human systems and Agile environments are at their very best, non-linear and fluid. Loosely coupled networks replace rigid structures and reporting lines. Traditional management is simply ineffective and counter-productive in this space. We need a fundamentally new approach to people dynamics to succeed. Part of that journey is embracing extreme leadership.

About Stephen
Szabolcs Biró
Szabolcs Biró
EPAM & Ericsson
Video PDF
Thursday 12:10-12:45

Data-driven Leadership

We live in a world deluged with data and inundated with information, yet when we need to make leadership decisions about people in our organizations, we still feel we don’t have enough substance to rely on. How can this be?

When it comes to taking over a new team or appointing new leaders, just what data can you rely on? What sort of information flows through your team? How do your internal relationships function? Wouldn’t it be great if you could visualize these relationships? Think of what you could learn from such maps.

Using sociometric explorations, we will guide you through the theory of mapping, providing a practical guide and descriptive examples from 25- and 85-person organizations.

About Szabolcs
Péter Orbán
Péter Orbán
EPAM & Ericsson
Video PDF
Thursday 12:10-12:45

Data-driven Leadership

We live in a world deluged with data and inundated with information, yet when we need to make leadership decisions about people in our organizations, we still feel we don’t have enough substance to rely on. How can this be?

When it comes to taking over a new team or appointing new leaders, just what data can you rely on? What sort of information flows through your team? How do your internal relationships function? Wouldn’t it be great if you could visualize these relationships? Think of what you could learn from such maps.

Using sociometric explorations, we will guide you through the theory of mapping, providing a practical guide and descriptive examples from 25- and 85-person organizations.

About Péter
Tomasz Dubikowski
Ocado Technology
Video PDF
Thursday 16:55-17:40

7 Deadlier Sins of Leadership

In each part of the presentation we discuss one of the deadly sins. For each sin, I will present a behaviour that we can observe in leaders' work related with this sin and a cognitive bias that makes us, as human, to behave that way. Please find details of each part of the presentation.

  1. Pride – we tend to think we know more than we actually do. This is caused by the illusion of knowledge. The learning is that some of our decisions may be based on opinions rather than facts.
  2. Greed – we tend to pick the most interesting work and lose sight of our team. This may not work due to cheerleader effect. The learning is we may achieve less than we could when we work alone.
  3. Lust – we want everything, forgetting to ask ourselves why we actually need it. In psychology it’s called Cargo Cult. The learning is that we may introduce new tool or processes etc. just because other organizations do or because we’ve heard about them on a conference.
  4. Envy – we prefer our own solutions - the ones we proposed. In the discussion we are affected by confirmation bias and look for arguments (and give them a greater value) that agree with our opinions. The learning here is that we may choose worse solution only because we are the author.
  5. Gluttony – we tend to propose more and more new things. When it’s not enough we create our own, unique solutions. Sometime it’s hard to get rid of them because of Ikea effect, which states that we put a greater value into things we created ourselves. The learning is that we may use worse solutions only because they are ours.
  6. Anger – we get angry in work, but we really look at the big picture due to deflection to the result effect. As humans we tend to evaluate things only basing on the effect, omitting entire context. The learning is that we may make decisions not based on full information.
  7. Sloth – we are lazy and we choose the same ways all over again. This happens due to well-travelled road effect. The learning is that we may achieve no results using the same way again an again.
At the end of the presentation, I show that these wrong behaviours can be changed to good ones (providing examples). This set of good behaviours can be a very good foundation to build an organisation culture supporting agility, autonomy and employee satisfaction.

About Tomasz


How To Boost Your Creativity At Work?
How To Boost Your Creativity At Work?
with Zita Németh & Chris Corbin

at Prezi
on 5th December 2018

Struggling with a complex problem in your business? Then this one-day, interactive experience for business leaders who want to increase their creative thinking skills at work is for you. Let us help you with:

  • Solving complex problems
  • Accelerating change
  • Stimulating innovation
  • Enhancing staff engagement
Creativity, Innovation, Imagination, Renewal:

These are the basic concepts that define our lives in today’s world. Corporations, businesses, individuals have to accommodate changes and moreover, they have to proactively start to change in order to stay in balance, be effective or grow.

We all had our creativity and have it still, even if we do not get access to it.

The Creators of Mindplay™ developed a method and a number of handy to unleash the imaginative and creative ability of everyone in the company to generate ideas, innovate and solve complex problems.

In this workshop we provide you an insight into how imagination works and also show you the tools which you will be able to use for you, for your clients and for your business.

What Will I Learn?

By attending this event you will learn:
  • Why creative thinking is imperative for business success today
  • How to rekindle your imagination and generate creative thinking
  • The mindset you need to maximize creativity
  • How you and your team can combine imaginative and rational approaches to develop viable solutions to complex problems on a daily basis
Why Should I Attend This Workshop?

If you are struggling to encourage innovation, solve complex problems, accelerate change or effectively engage your people, then this workshop is for you.

By combining the imaginative with the rational, Mindplay™ helps you to unleash your creative ability to address such challenges.

Research shows that at the age of five, 98% of us have creative genius. This drops to 2% by the age of thirty. So, in addition to taking the obvious steps of dedicating resources to staying ahead of the game, you need to intentionally invest in up-skilling yourself and your people to rekindle imagination at work.

What’s more, research also shows that the payback for companies investing in this kind of development includes:
  • Tangible cost savings
  • Increase in patentable concepts
  • Increase in viable ideas from those who attended a creativity workshop compared with those who did not
  • A $20 ROI for every $1 spent
Using storytelling, metaphors and visual imagery, you will leave this workshop with a treasury of tools and techniques that you can draw on, no matter what challenges you are facing.

Who is the workshop for?

This workshop is perfect for business leaders, managers, decision makers and coaches who are interested in developing the essential skills of creative thinking and innovation in their organisations.

The workshop addresses key concepts for thinking more creatively. The majority of the focus will be on exercises to help participants to develop their creative skills and mindset plus demonstrate how they can be applied in practice.

What Happens at the Workshop?

You will be immersed in the practice and application of techniques that will begin to build your creative and innovation skills.

Decades of research has proven that imagination and creativity generate richer options for:
  • Expanding and exploring possibilities
  • Asking the right questions
  • Challenging limiting beliefs
  • Finding solutions to complex problems
  • Inspiring commitment to action
There will also be opportunities to work on selected real-time business opportunities or challenges presented by attendees.

What is



Budapest is closer than you think

only a short flight away

Conference venue

Uránia Film Theather See it on a map

Uránia Film Theather is located in the centre of Budapest. It was built in the 1880s as a music and dance hall. The building is a combination of Eastern Moorish and Venetian Gothic styles. It was first used as a movie theatre in 1899, when the Uránia Scientific Society hosted a presentation here, illustrated with moving pictures. The name Uránia has been used ever since.

Uránia is not only a beautiful building but an important landmark too - this is where the first independent Hungarian feature film was shot in 1901, and where the first film screening was held after World War II. Today, Uránia is a showcase for Hungarian film, hosting several film festivals and cultural events.

Sponsors & Partners


Stretch is a non-profit conference. We are looking for sponsors who want to help us make this conference happen.
Take a look at last year's sponsor packages and contact us at


Contact us if you have a question at

Stretch Conference is organized by

Katalin Benkő
Katalin Benkő
Program committee
László Csereklei
László Csereklei
Program committee
IBM Budapest Lab
Bálint Köves
Bálint Köves
Program committee, SPoC
Kinga Fekete
Kinga Fekete
Program committee
Gergely Hodicska
Gergely Hodicska
Program committee
IBM Budapest Lab
Gizella Érsek
Gizella Érsek
Program committee
Bálint Farkas
Bálint Farkas
Program committee
Ádám Boros
Ádám Boros
Event organizer
Attila Balogi
Attila Balogi
Program committee
Dorina Szabadi
Dorina Szabadi
Event organizer
Tádé Arató
Tádé Arató
Event organizer
Medea Baccifava
Medea Baccifava
Event organizer
Barna Mazan
Barna Mazan
Travel and accommodation expert
Edina Németh
Edina Németh
Travel and accommodation expert
András Fehér
András Fehér
Event organizer

Code of Conduct

TL;DR: Be excellent with each other

All attendees, speakers, sponsors and volunteers at our conference are required to agree with the following code of conduct. Organizers will enforce this code throughout the event. We are expecting cooperation from all participants to help ensuring a safe environment for everybody.

The Quick Version

Our conference is dedicated to providing a harassment-free conference experience for everyone, regardless of gender, age, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, body size, race, religion (or lack thereof), color, national origin or genetic information. We do not tolerate harassment of conference participants in any form. Sexual language and imagery is not appropriate for any conference venue, including talks, workshops, parties, Twitter and other online media. Conference participants violating these rules may be sanctioned or expelled from the conference without a refund at the discretion of the conference organizers.

The Less Quick Version

Harassment includes offensive verbal comments related to gender, age, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, body size, race, religion, color, national origin, genetic information, sexual images in public spaces, deliberate intimidation, stalking, following, harassing photography or recording, sustained disruption of talks or other events, inappropriate physical contact, and unwelcome sexual attention.

Participants asked to stop any harassing behavior are expected to comply immediately.

Sponsors are also subject to the anti-harassment policy. In particular, sponsors should not use sexualised images, activities, or other material. Booth staff (including volunteers) should not use sexualised clothing/uniforms/costumes, or otherwise create a sexualised environment.

If a participant engages in harassing behavior, the conference organizers may take any action they deem appropriate, including warning the offender or expulsion from the conference with no refund.

If you are being harassed, notice that someone else is being harassed, or have any other concerns, please contact a member of conference staff immediately. Conference staff can be identified as they'll be wearing branded t-shirts.

Conference staff will be happy to help participants contact hotel/venue security or local law enforcement, provide escorts, or otherwise assist those experiencing harassment to feel safe for the duration of the conference. We value your attendance.

We expect participants to follow these rules at conference and workshop venues and conference-related social events.