man watching conference on laptop
From food and hospitality to retail and fashion, several industries are offering free virtual conferences for participants looking for opportunities to learn and network. — Getty Images/svetikd

These days, when one (conference) door closes, another (virtual) one opens.

While the coronavirus pandemic set off a sweeping cancellation of in-person conferences, trade shows and seminars across sectors, industry players are now hosting a dizzying array of online events to deliver much-needed business intelligence in a rapidly changing landscape.

From exploring the future of banking to soaking up small business leadership tips from Shark Tank’s Mark Cuban, here is a list of business events available online for free.

Leadership: Mark Cuban and others help businesses manage through the crisis

Salesforce’s virtual event series, Leading Through Change, delivers thought leadership tips and resources to help businesses manage during the pandemic. These include topics such as, From Breakdown to Breakthrough: A Game Plan for Brands During Times of Crisis; Stories of Resilience: Mark Cuban Shares Small Business Advice; and Building a COVID-19 Resource Page: Tracking the Virus Through Actionable Data. (Replays available.)

Banking: Navigating the challenges of COVID-19

The Financial Brand’s Banking Transformed podcasts, which have offered insight on navigating digital disruption, are now taking on COVID-19-focused topics.

Podcasts from the industry publication are now exploring where banking was pre-crisis and the impact the pandemic will have on the future of marketing, innovation and digital delivery. They include COVID-19 Will Change The Way Consumers Bank Forever, Banking Must Improve Financial Wellness for All and more.

Manufacturing: Mitigating ‘6 big losses’ in the COVID-19 era

This Industry Week webinar identifies the “six big losses” manufacturing companies are facing in an era when workforces are operating under no-travel and social distancing orders, and “proven best practices” to both address and mitigate those losses.

Diversity: Shaping the future of equity and inclusion via AI and company culture

The pandemic has forced industries to rethink how they conduct business. Against that backdrop, The Mayshad Group, the female-focused media platform/consultancy, explored Using AI & Live Experiences To Shape The Future of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. During the virtual conference, two artificial intelligence and organizational culture and inclusion experts offered solutions on reengineering outdated and ineffective diversity and inclusion initiatives. (Replay available.)

In lieu of its regular luncheons at Arno Ristorante in New York City, The Retail Marketing Society offered the webinar, Retail Finance in the Age of COVID-19.

Branding: ‘What people want from brands during the COVID-19 crisis’

Branding agency the Burns Group has launched a weekly Zoomshop series led by its positive psychology practitioner Alison Earl. With an eye to understanding changing consumer needs and behaviors amid COVID-19, Earl shares insights from behavioral economics and the results of the firm’s proprietary BrandInformer work, in a bid to help brand leaders respond smartly during the crisis.

Fashion: The CFDA’s new ‘Common Thread’ video series

After the pandemic meant canceling New York Fashion Week, The Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA), in partnership with Vogue, launched the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund’s “A Common Thread,” video series on the coronavirus’ effect on the fashion industry.

Founded to both raise awareness and funds for members of the U.S. fashion community whose livelihoods have been impacted by COVID-19, the video series highlights the stories of designers like Prabal Gurung and Caroline Herrera, and the effect the crisis has had on their businesses.

Food industry: Webinar on help for small businesses

The Specialty Food Association (SFA) hosted a free webinar on the government’s CARES Act (the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act) for small businesses. On the webinar, SFA’s outside legal counsel Arent Fox discusses how new support measures like small business loans and grants can help businesses through the crisis. (Available for replay.)

Coronavirus Guide for Small Businesses

CO— is working to bring you the best resources and information to help you navigate this challenging time. Read on for our complete coronavirus coverage.



Digital product experiences: Horizon DX 2020

Mobify’s planned in-person, now (free) online event aims to answer the question: “With endless products and strategies on the market promising CX [customer experience] innovation, how do you know where to focus your efforts?”

The mobile technology provider hosts brands Converse, ASICS and Pure Hockey in panel discussions on how they’re creating digital experiences to turn customers into “lifelong fans,” illustrating via use-case scenarios. (Available for replay.)

Hospitality: Expert shop talk on ‘HFTP Hangouts’

HFTP (Hospitality, Financial and Technology Professionals) is hosting HFTP Hangouts on Zoom, a new series of discussions on a particular segment of the hospitality industry. The Hangouts are moderated by a sector expert who begins with a brief informational presentation, and then turns over the meeting for discussion. The idea is to offer a platform for hospitality professionals to share best practices, solutions and resources for tackling the pandemic’s disruption and beyond.

Retail: ‘Retail Finance in the Age of COVID-19’

In lieu of its regular luncheons at Arno Ristorante in New York City, The Retail Marketing Society offered the webinar, Retail Finance in the Age of COVID-19. The program covers the basics of retail finance; applying principles of retail finance to current market conditions; and addresses the potential “risks and stresses” brought on by the pandemic. (Available for replay.)

NRF: The Cares Act Webinar

The National Retail Federation’s policy experts hosted a webinar to discuss the CARES Act. NRF president and CEO Matthew Shay; David French, senior vice president of government relations; and Stephanie Martz, chief administrative officer and general counsel, unpack the provisions offering economic relief to retailers during the crisis. (Available for replay.)

Technology: Techonomy East conference, new speaker roundtables

Techonomy’s signature spring Techonomy East May conference will now be virtual. Speakers include Linda Boff, GE’s chief marketing and communications officer and Tami Erwin, executive vice president and group CEO of Verizon, among others.

The tech-intelligence platform has also launched new digital roundtable discussions, such as a conversation with Steven Levy, author of “Facebook: The Inside Story,” in a chat about where the platform stands today and where it’s heading.

For more resources from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce:

CO— aims to bring you inspiration from leading respected experts. However, before making any business decision, you should consult a professional who can advise you based on your individual situation.

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Published April 10, 2020