The EDGE Executive Council is a prestigious, invitation-only community of senior executives and thought leaders who engage in expert-facilitated explorations of energy, environment, and sustainability trends with an eye towards generating new insights that help you “see around corners.” 

Designed to foster managerial insight and professional development, the EDGE Executive Council gives members an opportunity to:

  • Discuss and prioritize emerging industry trends in conversation with experienced, well-connected peers from across diverse industries
  • Share best practices, brainstorm, and receive feedback from other senior energy and sustainability professionals, founders, and investors
  • Learn from Duke faculty and invited leadership experts about cross-cutting managerial and innovation best practices
  • Review and commission cutting-edge theoretical and applied research with faculty and students at one of the world’s leading business schools
  • Identify collaboration opportunities with other EDGE Executive Council members around shared challenges and opportunities
  • Advise Duke on initiatives that are responsive to market realities and the perspectives of recruiters, practitioners, and thought leaders

Since 2009, the EDGE Executive Council has convened thought leaders and executives from diverse industries to learn and network with each other.  Past members have included, for instance, senior executives from Deloitte, Microsoft, Chevron, ABB, NextEra Energy, Walmart, Duke Energy, Cisco, Breakthrough Energy Ventures, Fluence, FedEx, Trane Technologies, DTE Energy, Bank of America, and NRG Energy. 

The EDGE Executive Council is distinct from other industry-specific events or executive education offerings in the breadth of its membership, focus on future-oriented and cross-cutting challenges, dialogue-based facilitation, and sustained community of practice model.


Many members have chosen to renew their EDGE Executive Council membership year after year—some for more than 10 years—because of the benefits it delivers to them personally and professionally. 

Membership offers the following benefits:

  • Compelling learning opportunities and practical insights.  Twice a year, the members convene for meetings that include a mix of executive roundtable discussions, presentations, interactive problem-solving, panel discussions, and networking.  Learning experiences have ranged from presentations by Duke faculty on game theory research to panel discussions on the future of energy policy, consultant insights on climate risk reporting requirements, case study discussions on real business challenges, and tours of research labs and entrepreneurship hubs in cities we visit.  Each meeting is unique and custom-designed based on the interests of the current council members.
  • Peer-to-peer community.  The EDGE Executive Council is designed for members to learn from and discuss best practices with other executives in conversations that transcend industry silos—sparking creativity and fostering candid dialogues that are distinct from other industry or professional settings.  Council members become part of a trusted community to brainstorm ideas and challenges with, and gain compelling insights from discussing energy and sustainability topics from the perspective of diverse industries, functions and geographies.
  • First-look access to research and collaboration opportunities.  EDGE Executive Council members have special access to fundamental and applied research from across Duke’s campus.  Faculty share new research findings and explore their applicability with council members at meetings.  It is also possible to explore sponsored research when council member interests overlap with faculty priorities and expertise.
  • Visibility and engagement with top MBA talent.  Duke’s Fuqua School of Business is among the top business schools in the world, with a diverse group if graduate students from around the world.  Membership on the EDGE Executive Council gives your organization heightened visibility with our MBA students, and provides opportunities to connect with students in a variety of ways.  For example, council members can recruit teams of students for consulting projects, sponsor student events during recruiting season or hold office hours during campus visits, as desired.  
  • Affiliation with one of the world’s leading universities. Duke University is renowned not only for its Fuqua School of Business, but also for its prestigious Nicholas School of the Environment, Duke School of Law, Sanford School of Public Policy, and Pratt School of Engineering.  Serving on the EDGE Executive Council is a prestigious addition to an executive resume.
  • Opportunities for corporate branding. Companies that sponsor EDGE financially are recognized as Sponsors on the EDGE website, social media, and other marketing materials. Companies may also choose to participate as sponsors of high-visibility campus events like the annual Duke University Energy Conference, Duke Sustainable Business & Social Impact Conference, and Women in Energy events (along with all associated marketing visibility and sponsorship benefits).  EDGE Executive Council members are invited to work with EDGE staff to design opportunities for brand visibility that meet your organization’s specific goals.


EDGE Executive Council meetings are held in person twice/year. Organized around cross-cutting themes, these meetings provide opportunities for members to discuss issues of timely and strategic importance, typically including at least one block of discussion focused on an energy transition topic, another on climate/sustainability trends, and another on leadership and managerial skill-building.  Meetings include structured networking time as well as presentations by council members, Duke faculty, students, and outside industry experts—as well as a private dinner that brings together council members and special guests.

The Fall meeting (typically held in November) is hosted on campus at Fuqua on a date adjacent to the annual Duke University Energy Conference.  The Spring meeting (typically in April or May) is convened in another metropolitan area, enabling us to draw on different experts and ideas from that region.  Spring meeting locations change from year to year, but have included Boston, New York, San Francisco, Houston, and Washington DC.   

Participation in meetings is not mandatory; however, because these meetings are the primary way members engage with EDGE and other council members, it is expected that members will make their best effort to attend meetings as often as possible.  If a member cannot attend a meeting in person, he/she is welcome to send another participant from the same organization in their place.

At the conclusion of each meeting, EDGE staff prepare a 3-page executive summary for council members that highlights the key insights and discussion points. 

Additional Opportunities to Engage

Between meetings, there are additional, optional opportunities for EDGE Executive Council members to collaborate with faculty, staff and students, as well as fellow council members.  For instance, some members choose to come to campus to recruit Fuqua students for internships or full-time positions. Others opt to collaborate on joint research projects or solicit a team of MBA students for an applied Fuqua Client Consulting Practicum project with their organization.  Others choose to speak on campus or sponsor events. 

EDGE frequently shares opportunities with council members as they arise.  EDGE Executive Council members are also encouraged to speak with EDGE staff about their engagement interests to look for potential collaboration opportunities.  Members can take advantage of these opportunities as frequently or infrequently as they’d like.


EDGE Executive Council membership is by invitation only and is designed to include a diverse range of perspectives, geographies, and industries.  We seek to balance traditional and emerging players from across the entire energy value chain, as well as corporate sustainability leaders, investors, entrepreneurs, thought leaders, and other energy and environment business stakeholders.

We strive to recruit a demographically diverse mix of professionals who represent the range of leaders and workforces we aspire to see in the future. We also seek individuals who are motivated to co-create a dynamic, high-trust, and productive learning community.  We believe that careful nurturing of the council’s culture is a key ingredient in its success.  Council members are asked to consider (but are not obligated to) a minimum 3-year term on the council. 


EDGE Executive Council membership delivers value directly to both the individual council member and his/her company, and is the primary means of operational funding for EDGE.  Members are asked to support EDGE with $25,000 per year in corporate funding.  Some members fund this support directly through their department operating budgets; others facilitate grants to EDGE through their corporate foundations or sponsorship through their corporate recruiting budgets.  Alternatively, some Executive Council members support EDGE as an individual through tax-deductible personal donations. 

We will work with you to tailor the sponsorship request wording and supporting documentation to meet your individual or organizational requirements.  


To discuss your organization’s participation in the EDGE Executive Council, or to nominate a board member, contact Executive Director Dan Vermeer.