Picture this: groups of three to four people conversing about things that truly matter in a comfortable and spacious living room overlooking Chautauqua Lake.
No gossip, professional schmoozing, speechifying.
If this sounds like an intriguing foreign concept or a step toward muscular civil dialogue — or if you attended the structured networking event on “Change and Transition” in July and are keen for more — join Avivah Wittenberg-Cox for her second such event this summer.
Her theme for this event is “Where We Find Meaning in Life: Food, Family and Friends.”
The logistics are as before: 9:15 a.m. Tuesday at the Chautauqua Women’s Club; all are welcome.
Wittenberg-Cox is the founder of the European and Chautauqua Professional Women’s Networks, and the CEO and managing partner of 20-first, one of the world’s leading gender and diversity consultancies. She has been advising blue-chip companies for more than 30 years.
“I’ve been crisscrossing the globe,” Wittenberg-Cox said. “There is so much work. Our business is insanely busy. I did think that a post-Trump world might throw the topic out, and we’re finding the opposite, that companies are really getting serious about gender balance. … It’s really everywhere.”
During the past decade, Wittenberg-Cox has authored five books covering gender-balanced business, gender bilingualism and women’s careers, including Why Women Mean Business: Understanding the Emergence of Our Next Economic Revolution, and How Women Mean Business: A Step By Step Guide to Profiting from Gender Balanced Business.
She is certified as a professional coach — by the Coaches Training Institute in 2000, and by CRR Global in 2015 — and a member of the International Coach Federation, a coaching oversight body and the world’s largest organization of professional coaches.
Having facilitated numerous structured networking events, Wittenberg-Cox will use coaching and facilitation techniques to make the most of the time she will have on Tuesday morning.
“This is not like a speech,” she said. “We’ll discuss profound questions and have substantive conversations that are deeper than at cocktail parties. … People who really want to deep-dive into slightly deeper subjects should be nourished. And those who really just want to connect with more people in a relatively professional way can do it.”
Wittenberg-Cox said that the Chatham House Rule of confidentiality will apply. Each participant is free to use the information received, but not to reveal the identity or the affiliation of any other participant.
Nevertheless, “nobody has to do anything they’re uncomfortable with, or share anything they don’t want to share,” Wittenberg-Cox said. “It will be small group interactions; groups of three or four around thematic conversations.”
Using her coaching alchemy, she will mix and match these groups, moving people around again and again. She said she will provide profound questions for discussion.
Spending quality time along the lake engaging in substantive, genuinely meaningful conversations in response to thought-provoking questions could be an antidote to the polite chitchat about where one hails from and what brings one to Chautauqua that many find customary.