Q&A with Leila Berkeley

EVP and Managing Director, Economist Events

All of our events are chaired by an Economist editor. We tap their journalistic expertise, as well as interviews with subject matter experts representing a range of views on the event topic to make sure that we present a balanced and 360 degree view of a topic.

How do you manage 60 annual Economist events on six continents?

We have a world-class team of professionals based in four offices around the world: Hong Kong, Dubai, London, and New York. We assemble an expert team for each event including a programmer who works with an Economist editor to develop the event content, a marketer who promotes the event, and an operations professional who manages all event logistics.

What skills did you bring to the job that have been most useful?

The ability to empower my team to act with their expertise. Each event requires a range of skills, from content and editorial development to direct marketing to logistics and budget management to client account management. As head of the business, I can never have as detailed expertise and knowledge across these functions as the team members responsible for them, so leading the business requires supporting the team to develop their own knowledge and setting them up to succeed through strong collaboration on each event.

What are some of The Economist's longest standing events and how do you keep them relevant?

Every event we run, whether the first or the 25th annual, can only be successful if we are presenting an agenda that is at the forefront of the topic. All of our events are chaired by an Economist editor. We tap their journalistic expertise, as well as interviews with subject matter experts representing a range of views on the event topic to make sure that we present a balanced and 360 degree view of a topic.

Our longest running event is our Mexico Summit, which looks at the Mexican economy and national agenda in the context of the global economist and forces. Each year’s agenda explores the forces impacting the political and economic agenda for the country.

What are some of your newest events and how did you decide to focus on them?

We are always looking for emerging issues that are likely to be driving global business, political, and economic agendas in the years to come. In the past year we launched three such events:

Our Climate Risk Summit explored risks that climate change poses to corporations and governments, such as the impact of extreme weather events on supply chains.

Our event on antimicrobial resistance analyzed the actions needed from the pharmaceutical industry as well as policy makers and others to combat the global threat of this issue.

Our Asia Trade Summit looked at the factors behind the rising barriers to free trade, and what is next for global trade.

What are some of the key things you have learned managing The Economist Events?

Consistent with The Economist’s position as a global media outlet, each of our events takes a global perspective on the topic being discussed. This is one of our most unique and valuable propositions to our event attendees and sponsors, but an event cannot be successful if it does not also include discussion of the local impact of the topic.