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What we do

We provide strategic consulting services on all aspects of creating and managing high-impact, purpose-driven summit meetings and membership communities. Our work is rooted in decades of involvement with initiatives that engage and connect influential people across business, government, philanthropy, sports, media, and entertainment. From developing strategies for membership organizations to advising on top-level events, Needham Partners draws upon  our deep experience with world’s most important membership communities and summit meetings.

Consulting services include:

  • Membership community building and summit meeting business strategy
  • Strategies for overall development of membership programs, conferences and events
  • Virtual event and program advisory
  • Content development, including program ideation and editorial research
  • Speaker identification, speechwriting, and scripting
  • Advisory on audience and member recruitment and retention, and executive relations
  • Marketing, branding, and public relations strategies

About Us

Needham Partners is an extraordinary network of seasoned professionals with expertise in all aspects of
high-level conferences and membership programs.

John S. Needham, Founder & CEO

John Needham has long worked with leaders at the highest levels of business and government, including in his capacity as a senior executive with Fortune, as the CEO of the Clinton Global Initiative, and subsequently in the company he founded. John has developed or directed a wide range of high-impact initiatives, including The Wall Street Journal CEO Council, the Clinton Global Initiative, the Microsoft CEO Summit, the Fortune Global Forum, Fortune’s Brainstorm conferences, the Fortune Most Powerful Women Summits, the TIME 100 Gala Dinner and TIME 100 Summit, and the Paulson CEO Council for Sustainable Urbanization.

 In 2005, President William J. Clinton named John the first CEO of the Clinton Global Initiative. Over the next two years, he helped to build CGI into one of the world’s most influential membership organizations, focused on addressing global challenges including poverty, climate change, education, and global health.

Today John Needham is President of Needham Partners, working with a select group of top-level clients. Needham Partners is a full-service company based in Westchester County, NY, that specializes in building membership communities, creating and managing summit meetings (in-person and virtual), and other purpose-driven initiatives that engage and connect influential people across business, government, philanthropy, sports, media, and entertainment.

A graduate of Yale who completed the Advanced Management Program at Harvard Business School, John is also engaged in nonprofit activities and lives in Bedford, NY, with his family.

President Clinton commended Needham as follows:
“Throughout your time at CGI, you’ve drawn upon your unparalleled energy, experience, and expertise to share a wealth of wonderful ideas—and you have inspired many new ones as well. CGI began as something of an experiment, but guided by your leadership and wisdom, it soon gained acclaim that transcends geographic, political, and cultural boundaries. Quite simply, we could not have done it without you. You represent the very finest in what we, as Americans, have to offer both domestically and abroad.”

“John Needham has made a larger contribution, by far, than any single individual, onstage or off, to Fortune’s events over the decades.”
-Adam Lashinsky, Executive Editor, FORTUNE

Clients & Events

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The Fortune Global Forum is an annual by-invitation-only meeting which convenes the CEOs of the world’s largest corporations–the Fortune Global 500–with government leaders, innovators, and other selected experts to explore the key issues shaping global business. It was created in 1995 by John Needham.

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Hosted by Alice Walton, the Summit at Crystal Bridges was held in conjunction with the groundbreaking “State of the Art” exhibition.

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The CEO Initiative is a forum for corporate leaders committed to addressing major social problems as a part of core business strategy. The Initiative grew out of an historic meeting of 100 CEOs with Pope Francis at the Vatican in 2016, and is based on a belief that infusing broader purpose into corporate strategies has become increasingly important in attracting talent, deepening bonds with consumers, and steadying corporate reputation in an era of declining trust.

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The Microsoft CEO Summit, hosted by Bill Gates and Satya Nadella, brings together an extraordinary group of 100 of the world’s preeminent CEOs in a private setting to explore the emerging trends that are shaping global business and the world at large. Needham Partners has been the meeting’s lead consultant, focusing on program content.

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The Most Powerful Women Summit is an annual gathering of one of the world’s most extraordinary leadership communites, convening the preeminent women in business, along with select leaders in government, philanthropy, education and the arts.

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Focusing Capital on the Long Term Summit convenes CEOs, chief investment officers, policy makers, and experts to discuss how to nurture long-term thinking and investment decision-making.

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The Clinton Global Initiative (CGI), founded by Bill Clinton, addressed global problems, including climate change, poverty, education, and global health. The annual meeting brought together more than 1,000 leaders from business, government, and nongovernmental organizations. John Needham, as the first CEO of CGI, led the initiative from 2005 to 2007 and established the membership organization as an ongoing “catalyst for action.”

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The Paulson Institute CEO Council for Sustainable Urbanization is the first multi-industry, CEO-led, bilateral group designed to advance sustainable urbanization. Needham Partners worked closely with the Paulson Institute on the launch of this initiative.

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An ongoing membership organization, the CEO Council brings together 100 of the world’s leading CEOs and the most senior policymakers to debate and decide on action plans for addressing key public policy issues. Attendees work in small task forces, utilizing collaborative technology to drive consensus on key issues. Needham Partners worked with the Wall Street Journal to create and launch the CEO Council in 2008 and served as the managing producer.

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Fortune’s Brainstorm series was launched under the direction of John Needham in 2001, and has grown into a number of annual by-invitation-only events including Brainstorm Health; Brainstorm Finance; and the flagship summer retreat for leaders from Fortune 500 companies, the top emerging entrepreneurs of the tech world, and the most important investors who finance them: Brainstorm Tech.

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Convened by McKinsey & Company, the Global Infrastructure Initiative assembles leaders of companies, countries, cities, and global institutions to co-create new methods of delivering infrastructure for the 21st century. Needham Partners worked with McKinsey & Company to launch and manage GII.

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Needham Partners worked with TIME to launch a live event extension of the annual TIME 100 list of the most influential people in the world. The event spotlighted the outstanding progress select TIME 100 leaders are making and encouraged cross-disciplinary collaboration toward a better world.

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