I have hosted dozens of events over the course of my twenty plus years as a television personality. I have always enjoyed doing them. You often meet wonderful people, and considering most events are fundraisers of some kind, you tend to walk away inspired. And very grateful.
The Montreal Dinner Party, held in May 2019, was the first event I ever organized myself. Around a table sat 13 people who are true reminders of how many out there strive to change the world. People who devote their time and energy, despite often boulder-like bureaucracy, to doing good. People who fight to feed and care for children, build better communities, attend to the ill, empower the elderly and serve our veterans. It was remarkable.
In many ways, the Montreal Dinner Party was a celebration of those who attended. The concept is quite simple: gather people from one industry Plank is passionate about (in this case nonprofits), offer an enjoyable dining experience and allow moments and relationships to unfold organically. To be honest I wasn’t sure about the concept at first. A dinner party? With strangers? But Plank founder Warren Wilansky has hosted these before and assured me it made for a lovely evening. I think some of our guests had their own uncertainties prior to coming as well. But I’m quite sure we are all converts now. It was a lovely night filled with meaningful conversation and honest exchanges. It was a very human evening.
I’ve said it before, I truly believe we can all contribute to making the world a better place in whatever way feels good and right. Just having joy and passion for what you do opens doors and creates space. Our dinner allowed these foundations a platform to share, exchange with each other, compare issues and discuss problems. If they wanted, they could also talk with Warren about their digital concerns. But it wasn’t necessary. We just talked. And that was more than enough.
What came from the Montreal Dinner Party were new connections. My hope moving forward is that our lives will intersect in small or grand ways because I was inspired by each one. Plank prides itself on choosing meaningful digital projects. In my three months here I’ve learned meaningful really does mean something here, and it goes far beyond the walls of this agency. To those who trusted their instinct to attend, thank you, it was a joy, and may we meet again.