UPDATE (3/11/20, 1 p.m.): Considering the spread of coronavirus, the UNC Kenan-Flagler Busines School has decided to postpone the Technology and Business Strategy Forum to an “as-yet undetermined date.” The event was originally scheduled for April 16.

Sue DiMaggio, external affairs associate of the Frank Hawkins Kenan Institute of Private Enterprise, wrote to TechWire in an email, “Given the continued uncertainty of the COVID-19 situation, the status of university operations at that time, and the national impacts on travel, we’re confident this is the right decision.”

Attendees should check the event website for updates.


CHAPEL HILL – Next month, UNC Chapel Hill’s Kenan-Flagler Business School will host a forum with debate-style panels addressing how policy-makers and business leaders can manage the challenges posed by AI, blockchain, quantum computing and other emerging technologies that are redefining traditional business operations and strategies.

The UNC Technology and Business Strategy Forum will be held April 16 from 10 a.m. – 6:30 p.m. at the Carolina Inn in Chapel Hill. It’s hosted by the Kenan Institute of Private Enterprise, a non-partisan business policy think tank affiliated with the Kenan-Flagler Business School.

Chelsea Donahue, assistant director of UNC’s Rethinc. Labs program and one of the forum’s organizers, says she expects a turnout of around 150 to 200 attendees. She hopes the audience will walk away with a better understanding of what the key technological drivers of business strategy will be going forward.

“Technology and data are fundamentally altering how companies make strategic decisions and investments,” Donahue said. “With this forum, we created an opportunity for academic, industry and government professionals to come together to shed light on how they are approaching some of the difficult questions they are facing as they adapt.”

To open the event, Kenan-Flagler Business School Dean Doug Shackelford will lead a fireside chat with Cathy Bessant, chief operations and technology officer of Bank of America. They’ll discuss how emerging technologies are transforming business processes in the financial services sector.

Throughout the day, a series of panels will cover corporate responsibility in AI accidents, social bias in AI, breakthroughs in quantum computing, security risks in IoT, governance and organizational barriers of blockchain, how cryptocurrency is competing with cash, personal data and privacy laws, and how companies can protect employees as advanced technologies transform the workforce.

Rodney Sampson, executive chairman and CEO of Opportunity Hub (OHUB) and nonresident senior fellow at Brookings Institution, will deliver a closing keynote.

The list of panelists includes a diversity of leaders in banking and finance, blockchain, cybersecurity machine learning, quantum computing and other industries. Speakers hail from Red Hat, IBM, SAS Institute, TransEnterix, JP Morgan, Ripple, Binance, Syngenta Corporate Ventures, the North Carolina Blockchain Initiative, and other companies and organizations both national and local.

Several speakers are also professors in the Kenan-Flagler Business School.

Donahue added, “As a team at the Kenan Institute, we will gain insight from executives and policy makers into how Kenan-Flagler’s research and curriculum can best address the needs of the business community in this time of unprecedented change.”

Registration is available here. General admission costs $225. UNC faculty, students, staff and full-time government employees can attend for $175.