ICYMI: This year we are putting all of our event focus and dollars behind buying dinner for every working woman in America. 

Last Friday, Femily Howe and Mags Amiano aka “The Seesters” hosted our first Chairman Mom dinner in Alameda. It was absolutely phenomenal. There was so much they brought to the dinner that I wouldn’t have been able to bring, wouldn’t have thought of, or wouldn’t have been quite “me” but was so delightfully them.  

In terms of what they were able to bring: The diversity in terms of experience, LGBTQ identity, industry, age, and race. They showed how diverse rooms can be when that’s your number one priority, not a surprise given all the work these two do when it comes to real diversity and inclusion. They advised that future hosts start with diversity first. Make your list of amazing women from underrepresented groups to invite and if there’s room, add in the white/cis/hetero women. The results paid off massively. The conversation was truly mind-expanding. It was a rare dinner where I can honestly say I had a major takeaway and learning from every single attendee. TMI, but I had to use the restroom for about two hours because I didn’t want to miss a single comment. 

All Chairman Mom dinners have a topic, and they picked equity at home. We talked not only about division of labor, but how race and gender and sexuality and divorce and open marriages played into these things, whether or not kids changed things (not all of the women were moms, as with most CM dinners), and how sex and intimacy correlated with these broader issues. We could have easily talked for two more hours. 

In terms of what they thought of that I hadn’t: A simple agenda to set expectations of what the evening would hold, they turned the place cards into adorable custom name tags with portraits of each of us, extra rules of engagement like “step up and step out” to help self-police everyone getting to share and no one person dominating the conversation too much. They also said you couldn’t talk about your job or your kids during the opening small talk/chat. 

In terms of what wasn’t quite me (but I loved and might well rip off…): They did a fun icebreaker where we each told someone something we’d done in the last year that we were proud of. They also had a ukulele sing-along planned and set kind expectations that the dinner ended at 10pm. (My dinners sometimes go until 4am!) They also had an intentionally sober evening, and one of their famous “power ups” at the end, where we all held hands, closed our eyes and sealed in the support and love in the room to take with us. 

What their dinner totally had in common with all the ones I’ve hosted and the many we’ve got planned for the next few months: Single “table” conversation (in quotes, because people grazed an array of crudités and lite bites and cheeses, made plates and gathered in a circle in their living room), a room of amazing women who were unflinchingly honest and open, they didn’t clean their house, and they didn’t try to make a Martha Stewart-esque perfect evening. Most of all, there was that glow at the end of the evening. (AKA: YOU CAN DO THIS!) That sense that you’d been part of something special and enduring. All of the attendees were invited to become part of a private Chairman Mom small group run by the hosts immediately after, and I’m excited to keep in touch with everyone and drive deeper connections. 

Here’s what Femily had to say on Instagram about the night: “This blurry group photo captures the best ENERGY from last night’s rockin, hilarious, and buzzing [intentionally alcohol free] dinner at Seesterhouse! ⁣

We gathered a dozen awesome powerhouse womxn we’d recently met and/or always admired. So many brave voices. Such cool hearts. I’m full of ideas + energy + pride! 🔑 ⁣

Thank you @sarahlacy and @thechairmanmom for kicking off this project to seed ($) dinner parties for 1000 global womxn in 2020! ⁣OMG THIS is the *new* #genderrevealparty – we are revealing the obsession with gender for what it is: outdated, fluid, and oppressive to womxn & all kinds of queer folks!”

THE NEW GENDER REVEAL PARTY!!! I love that. 

They plan on hosting another one at their home in Alameda, one in Sacramento and another in LA in April. (Email dinners@chairmanmom.com if you want to attend or host your own!) 

One other note: Although this dinner was in the Bay Area, I met mostly new women and women I might not have met otherwise. So even for those very connected, don’t underestimate how dramatically these dinners can expand your networks. (And as such, your points of view)

It was also clear the suburb thing is a massively exciting part of this strategy. How often do you get through the sheer BS of work, relationships, maybe a workout, maybe kids only to realize there is no way in hell you are staying or driving back to the city to “network”? 

There were zero last-minute cancellations for the dinner, and several women said that was precisely because it was being held in Alameda. These dinners are all about meeting women where they are, 12 people at a time. (Or 15 in the case of Friday night!) 

Massive, massive thanks to our first hosts and all the attendees for a magical evening. For those 45-ish other hosts in the queue, you’ve got something incredibly special to look forward to!

Today’s new questions on Chairman Mom:

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