Lisa Kay Solomon gave a talk at my school tonight about “designing meaningful conversations.” (Lisa, an alum, is back in Philadelphia for her high school reunion and recently published a book on the same topic.) She was a phenomenal presenter. She framed her talk by looking at the lost opportunities of agenda-packed corporate meetings that bludgeon employees with endless PowerPoint presentations and dilute progress into action items that are little more than window dressings. While many of her examples were targeted at a corporate audience, the themes of creative leadership, of designing experiences rather than disseminating information, and of developing a safe environment for discovery all resonated with my approach to working with students.
Lisa, if you’re reading, I was the enthusiastic head-nodder in the fourth row.
But I didn’t realize the relative impact of her talk until I compared notes with two parents in the audience immediately afterwards. Both parents were fired up, ready to take Lisa’s ideas back to their offices and revitalize their next board meeting. They were energized to reexamine the linear rut of “progress” in their corporate culture that may not be progress at all.
And for a moment I was able to pause and take in the joy and the challenge of being a teacher: Continue reading