From the moment I was invited to On Cue by my dear colleague and friend Shahir-Kassam Adams I was intrigued. I had no “clue” what to expect other than it would be memorable. Not your typical investment group’s gathering where you meet the a series of distinguished authors and artists, a Marathon bombing survivor, gallerist from Shanghai that specializes in women’s art, hip-hop musicians, the head of Forbes, and bio-chemists all in an hour. Did I mention the complimentary manicures from Mini-Luxe served up at the restaurant?
Ironically after having had this on my calendar for four months when I arrived my name was not on the list. They accommodated me with a nametag that stated “VIP” and that made for a wonderful opportunity to be creative with my introductions. After several versions, I settled on something that is actually quite true – I have so many hats that they didn’t know what to put on the name tag. But what I loved is the number of people that said “nice to see you again” so clearly I felt welcome. In fact, I felt quite at home with this wonderfully diverse group of people celebrating the full extent of human capacity to create and grow. In the words of Tony Tjan, the Managing Partner, “the diversity of the people invited……underpins our belief that the very best ideas and breakthrough innovations come from multidisciplinary minds coming together toward a common point of view on the future.” The setting, another pillar of the program – The Boston Public Library’s newly renovated Johnson Building with WGBH broadcasting live from the lobby.
The points of view were indeed rich and thought-provoking. In the first session, the room was dark, the music began and an internationally acclaimed visual artist (Shantell Martin) began to draw to the music. Close to my heart, the first panel focused on “Cultural Truths and new Artistic Integrity.” Among the many epiphanies of this discussion – a freedom of sharing that has emerged from all the digital channels of communications. Artists being able to connect directly with their audiences vs. being restricted to the old art eco-system; Opportunities for art to be commercial and meaningful at the same time. Regie Gibson (literary musician) and DJ Jazzy Jeff incredibly articulate on the topic of collaboration and how essential it is to perpetuate this tradition in music – themes completely transferrable many genres of art, business, and life.
It took me a bit to realize that the next session was led by a speaker who was visually impaired. This exceptional individual, author Isaac Lidsky and his family suffered congenital blindness but it actually opened his eyes to “see” in new ways, own your own reality, and encourage others to follow suit. He was followed by the powerful storyteller/film-maker Andrew Morgan who documented “The True Cost” film that exposed the fashion industry. The end of the story, however, an interesting twist. Use this experience and knowledge not just to address the injustices, but to reinvent the fashion industry, find creative opportunities to launch something new. Like everything else that followed – the day cast an optimism and belief in the human spirit that was simply contagious. Due to unfortunate timing, I had to leave after this session – yes, to oversee one of my many projects – the launch of the inspirational children’s book “The Girl Who Ran” the story of Bobbi Gibb the first woman to run the Boston Marathon. It’s about breaking barriers and inspiring others to do so. I trust my new friends at Cue Ball will understand!