Founder, Conferences That Work
Based in: Marlboro, Vt.
Additional Roles: Segar provides meeting design and facilitation services globally, and is the author of three books on meeting design: “Conferences That Work: Creating Events That People Love”; “The Power of Participation: Creating Conferences That Deliver Learning, Connection, Engagement & Action”; and “Event Crowdsourcing: Creating Meetings People Actually Want and Need.” He’s also founded two nonprofits, and is and has been a board member of numerous associations over the last 30 years.
How I got here: “I’m on my fifth career, so far. Born in England, I began as a postdoctoral researcher in high-energy particle physics, working on the largest particle accelerators in the world (at the time). After falling in love with Vermont, I emigrated to the United States and founded and owned a solar manufacturing company in the 1970s. Moving back to academia, I was a professor of computer science, which overlapped with consulting on information technology for small- and medium-sized businesses and nonprofits for two decades.
I’ve always been drawn to creating conferences in the areas in which I'm professionally involved. (For example, I convened some of the earliest solar energy conferences in the United States.) Over the years, I’ve developed a conference process that participants seemed to love, so I decided to write about what I'd created. When my first book came out in 2009, I suddenly found myself immersed in the meeting industry, and I’ve loved working in and being a part of this community ever since.”
Greatest career accomplishment: “I’m especially proud of two things. One is to have been given the privilege and responsibility to design and facilitate hundreds of in-the-moment meeting experiences that have changed people’s lives. The other is my attempt to share what I’ve learned and continue to learn through decades of designing and facilitating meetings via my three books and over 10 years of weekly blog posts.”
A specific improvement I’ve made: “When I began championing meeting designs that maximized participation, learning, connection, engagement and action, our industry was still mired in traditional meetings where speakers lectured to passive audiences. I like to hope that my work has helped to move the meeting industry to a greater awareness of the importance of such designs, especially now that the rise of online has precluded the need to travel to obtain broadcast content.”
What I do outside of work: “I read extensively, do yoga, meditate, volunteer at and support multiple nonprofits, listen to a wide range of music, love to sing and dance, and hope to travel extensively again when COVID-19 is no longer a serious threat.”
What I'd tell my younger self: “Stay curious and open to new experiences, and you’ll continue to learn more about who you are and about being yourself as time goes on.”