GRIT, The Creative Coast’s innovation conference, brings together the best and brightest entrepreneurs, technologists, makers, creatives, leaders, and change agents in the region. Formerly called Geekend, the 2023 event is returning after a two-year hiatus as GRIT, and will include exciting keynote presentations, panels, and access to new ideas and people to spark attendees’ momentum. The event is set to take place from January 26th to 28th at the Savannah Cultural Arts Center.

Mariah Hay, former CXO at Help Scout and VP of Product at Pluralsight, will take the stage as a keynote speaker. Hay will share her experience designing products for tech education, the choices her teams have made to avoid weaponization (i.e. – using data about an individual’s learning patterns to judge them and block opportunities for jobs and advancement), and how human centered design can inform the ethical underpinnings of our missions, our companies, and our bottom lines.

In Hay’s former role as Chief Experience Officer at Help Scout, a customer support platform for small and medium businesses, she led all of R&D (including engineering, product management, and product design) across eleven domestic and international teams, delivering a product that boasts a 20%+ trial conversion rate within a B Corp business model. Under her previous leadership roles as the Vice President of Product and Head of Practices at Pluralsight, they successfully launched its technology learning platform in June 2016, and by mid 2017, it was serving more than 40% of Fortune 500 companies.

Matthew Mottola, CEO of The Human Cloud, will speak on the digital, remote and decentralized model of work, what it means for the future of work, and how leading companies are taking advantage of this inevitable workforce transformation as experts predict over 50% of the workforce will be self-employed freelancers in the next five years. Mottola is a global leader on the digital, remote and decentralized model of work and led over 50 Fortune 500 companies to spend up to $100 million on freelancers from leading the Microsoft freelance toolkit. He founded the venture-backed Venture L, a shopify for independent professionals to grow their businesses and published The Human Cloud, 2021’s leading book on how technology is transforming work, with HarperCollins.

The GRIT Conference will continue to announce speakers and panelists on its social channels (@gritconference) and website,

The event is also an opportunity for eight startups to pitch their endeavors to a panel of judges for the chance to win over $10k in cash and prizes during Startup Stage. Companies interested in competing should submit an application by December 19, 2022 at 5pm. Applications can be found at

Those interested in attending the GRIT Conference can purchase EARLY, Early Bird Tickets for only $49 through December 15th. On December 16th, the ticket price will increase to $99. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit


About the GRIT Conference
The GRIT Conference is an event organized by The Creative Coast in Savannah, Georgia. The two-day conference features and connects leading designers, technologists, entrepreneurs and thought leaders from Savannah and beyond. Sessions showcase Savannah’s achievements in business, tech and the arts, address our toughest challenges, and discuss emerging trends with the goal of providing individuals with access to new ideas and people to spark their momentum. Learn more at

About The Creative Coast
The Creative Coast’s mission is to catalyze the innovation economy in Coastal Georgia. The 501(c)3 non-profit serves the entrepreneurial, technology & creative community of the Savannah region. The organization builds and supports the creative economy in Savannah through educational & social programs that connect and foster local innovation in both large and small companies. Learn more at