Davos Full Court Engagement

Many people never step foot in the actual Congress Centre, but rather conduct meetings off-site all day.

At 10 AM  I suited back up for the cold to go the conference centre to meet with the CEO of the largest educational resource distributor in the US. After an incredible and to-the-point 20-minute meeting, I left feeling full of hope about what can come from meetings in Davos. Then I suited up yet again to go to the Belvedere, the best-known hotel in town, and home of many a sponsor and after-hours event. There I met with five others who also work in financial literacy education. It was great to see what others around the world are doing, and how we can help one another.


While at this lunch, I realized how many people never step foot in the actual Congress Centre, but rather conduct meetings off-site all day. There were corridors of make-shift private offices for many a bank and consulting firm to do just that. This was yet another layer of Davos presenting itself. 


That night kicked off several of the major parties. It’s common to bounce from one to another, so I started at Bank of America’s and met some great people. Included among these were some new friends from Atlanta and the CEO of Bank of America, the person whom I’d most hoped to meet while in Davos. Then I went to a private dinner on financial inclusion, and, yet again, was bowled over when I got to meet and connect with the Chairman of MasterCard, among others. Then, back to the Belvedere for several more events. This evening was capped off with a late night dance party with a great live band hosted by McKinsey, where I was joined by twenty Shapers. That was a highlight. I had such fun bonding with my new friends, and dancing alongside executives and dignitaries who may have seemed stuffy otherwise. 


Friday morning came again soon. I’d wanted to attend a televised session to see what that was like, so I went to one on ‘Quick Money, No Growth?’. This featured a panel of finance experts, including Brian Moynihan from Bank of America, and Ray Dalio, one of the richest people in the world and owner of the largest hedge fund. To no one’s surprise, it was a bit dry. I’d imagine that because it was televised and on the record (anything without press is off the record) they were constrained a bit in their answers.


After that, I had a chance meeting with a contributor to Bloomberg’s Business Week, was given some great advice on working with Media, and conducted an impromptu interview. 

I’d also been wanting to connect with the founder of Kickstarter, Perry Chen, and he was kind enough to email me his schedule that afternoon.  I went to his session called ‘Digital Masterpiece’ which also featured the founder of WordPress, Matt Mullenweg, and a really engaging man named Eric Whitacre, who composes virtual choirs that have gone viral. It was, by far, the best session I’d attended, because it was exciting, motivating, and most importantly, authentic.  Perry was kind enough to share some time with me afterwards to talk about his entrepreneurial journey and what makes a good Kickstarter project. I thanked him for not being one of the stuffy ones. 


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