And Client VIP Day
I built a business around my top values — — adventure and beauty. Early May, I host the next 8 Woman Mastermind Dinner in Montreal. Audio here if you would rather listen to this
Villa Marie is my favorite town for a few reasons:
- It’s a quick one hour flight from New York City. Europe, without the jet lag
- Home to Luna Yoga. My workouts are a daily joy and I maintain my practice at this beautiful studio in Old Montreal when I land.
- Home to one of my favorite restaurants. Da Emma is located in a subterranean stone space on Commune Street, girding the waterfront. Roman dishes. Great wine list. I discovered it in the dead of winter in 2014. I love the story: It’s a former women’s prison.
- Home to the David, which allows me to live like a local when I visit. Not an Airbnb. Not a hotel.
- Home to one of my biggest chapters of members, outside of NYC
Why in a private space?
10 women — -some familiar, many new — — will be gathered round the table in a private home for this dinner. We have a private chef making 3 types of “bouchees” while we talk. I now insist on hosting in a private home or dining room because the evening is conversation-driven. If members can’t hear, the exercise is lost.
What’s the conversation design you host?
I created a very specific style of conversation design after years of attending women’s events that left me frustrated and unfulfilled.
- They weren’t properly curated. You have been to events, where he or she just can’t be bothered to talk to you? I invite women who uphold my values of thoughtfulness, kindness and a propensity to share resources. By the time, women get to the VP, Parter, Principal, 7-figure business owner level, they are seasoned in their leadership, so these are the profiles of women I invite with a view to have the same level of conversation. Each woman attending is either an existing member, or has come recommended.
- They weren’t properly moderated. I was at a dinner recently which turned into trauma therapy. The business conversation we had prepared for, never happened. I was disappointed because there were so many intelligent brains at the table and I was eager to hear from them. At my table, I want to hear the loudest person in the room. I also want to hear the quietest person in the room. As a recovering journalist who has moderated one too many CEO panels, I say, “Let’s pause there,” to shut a line of conversation down when the point has been made. Should the runaway train continue, the promise of the evening is lost.
- No idea who will be in the room. I’ve bailed on an event before. I didn’t know who would be in the room. In the 30 day lead up to the event, I publish a landing page private to the attendees only. It shares a profile and photo of each, with current focus, current goals, what she doesn’t want (nobody asks this) and her challenge. This way, there is less ‘discovery’ and more rolling up the sleeves and true masterminding at the table. Each woman attending is also encouraged to be thoughtful and make bullet points ahead of time in response to the challenges posed.
- Don’t start on time. Don’t end on time. To me, observing the time is the most respectful think I can do for my guests. I love guests who are thoughtful and arrive early.
How the evening will go?
Once everyone is seated, I start by introducing myself and why I do the work I do. I didn’t have an independent advisory board when I was building a career as a business news anchor. Where was the playbook on how to hold an audience with a CEO in the commercial break? Today, I formalized the playbook by creating the Women’s Leadership Lab. But the members and the idea exchanges are the information gold. Not me.
Just after the pandemic, I asked, “What did you learn about yourself in the last 18 months?” as the intro question. But we are past that time in our lives.
So, I today start light: “What is your latest ‘happy?’ In other words, what made you smile today? Then I ask, “Why do we need more women leaders?” A woman at the Mastermind dinner in Marrakech shared a study from McKinsey, citing the runaway financial returns for the company who chose to put more women in leadership. “What is the biggest obstacle to women’s leadership?” An attendee at the Boston dinner remarked, “Ourselves. Imposter syndrome.”
Finally, I present each woman’s challenge and welcome 3 suggestions from the table on how to potentially solve it.
I also am doing a day of one on one strategy with a client. Inside look at my VIP day with her in Montreal here