Philanthropy411 is currently covering the Communications Network and CommA Fall 2010 Conference in Los Angeles with the help of a blog team, which is part of the conference’s 2nd annual Gorilla Engagement Squad. This is a guest post by Cindy Schulz, Director of Public Affairs and Strategy at The Cleveland Foundation.
by: Cynthia Schulz
There’s nothing quite like being here in LA experiencing the conference versus reading about it on the blog. It has been a rare treat to see, hear, and talk with James Surowiecki, Steve Lopez, Neal Baer, Tracy Gary, Lucy Bernholz, and Sendhil Mullainathan – up close – and absorb it all in a relaxed state of mind.
Listening to Steve’s account of his life-altering friendship with Nathaniel Ayers, a homeless, schizophrenic, Juilliard-trained musician was better than reading the book or watching the movie. Tracy urged us to take donors on site visits, where they will take away more than any website can deliver. To find knowledge, James directed us to create work teams of people diverse in all ways including cognition, saying that in homogeneous groups, “the more they talk the dumber they get.” Young and hip Sendhil shared that he enjoyed the best dinner of his life a few months ago when he accidentally dropped his blackberry in the toilet and, without it, was fully present with friends.
It is a reminder for me that there is no substitute for connections and conversations of the human kind.