Phil O’Brien, a distinguished entrepreneur, catalyst, and “connector” (www.philobrien.com) who is visiting New York to explore new projects, joined our Steering Committee on January 4th and shared his characteristically high-spirited responses:
I recently had the pleasure of attending a planning session of a new group, Conversations New York session, at Penn Station (in a table at the back of TGI Fridays). It was a diverse group (as would be expected from the melting pot of New York) – all committed to getting the art of conversation going in New York. They have a lovely statement that outlines their aims:-
IMAGINE…Hundreds of New Yorkers coming together in small groups of neighborsand fellow citizens to discuss topics of intensive interest…Hosted at no cost and at convenient locations and times…Aided by simple guiding principles…Inspired by the city’s grand tradition of robust conversation…Our vision is to inspire, organize, publicize, facilitate and celebratea renaissance of healthy dialogue in New York City.
At that small table were people dedicated to Socratic Learning, getting fellowship for seniors in the population through conversation, diversifying the conversations of blind people from just always talking about fund raising, simply getting people to “Talk to me”, encouraging the immigrant population of the Upper West Side to start conversations again in the Hungarian Pastry Shops and generally stop technology separating us.
I’m hoping that in my time in New York to help the group with its aims. They are already excellent catalysts for the conversations of New York. On their site – there is a calendar of monthly events, and they track the activities of over 50 groups creating conversations in New York. If you are in New York – please take a look at the calendar and join the conversation!
As I said in my last post “I’d like to help you explore through conversations with strangers your undiscovered genius, maybe add fire to your “mild rage” or give you a whole new perspective. I believe this could change you, the people you meet and maybe the world for better – and help us all rediscover our art!” These guys are doing a great job at this.
The group is truly committed to open, diverse conversations. Ron Gross, the inspiring Chairman of the group, expressed it well: “We work hard at making sure conversations are open to all – we know how easy it is for birds of a feather to flock together. We need different perspectives.”
Watch this space for more words and pictures on the Conversations of New York…