Good People Dinners: Conversation, Connection and Community over a Specially Prepared Meal
Several years ago, Raman Frey wondered: why are people in large cities seemingly lonely?
Seeking to get to the bottom of this question, Raman started doing some research. He read a lot of books and spoke to a lot of people. He came to the conclusion that the nature of socializing and “networking” had a lot to do with it.
In a typical networking party, everyone has to be “on” and present themselves in the best possible light. “Putting on a facade is exhausting. A lot of us would rather stay home than go out and have to present a persona that’s not really us,” says Raman.
While Raman respects that people may prefer to spend a quiet night by themselves at home, he sought to change the nature of gatherings. Raman wants it to be OK to leave your work in the office. For one night, you can stop talking about the “next big thing” you’re working on or the idea behind your new start-up.
Putting work aside and genuinely connecting with other humans is what Raman sought to create. “We confuse achievements or possessions with things like community, belonging or friendship,” says Raman.
Good People Dinners
These findings led Raman to launch Good People Dinners in 2012. According to the Good People Dinners website, “It’s where you forge the beginnings of new friendships.” Raman organizes three types of Good People Dinner gatherings:
- Dinners, which are invitation-only gatherings of 30-40 people in venues across the Bay Area. Each dinner has a meal prepared on-site by a professional chef and a speaker who shares a unique perspective.
- Corporate Salons, which follow a similar format as the Dinners, but are sponsored by a company. Sponsors invite the guests, which include customers, partners, friends and prospects.
- Adventures, which feature an overnight Adventure Dinner at a venue in the wilderness. The dinner is served family style and the next morning, a hot breakfast is served to send guests on their way.
Building and Engaging a Community of Engineering Leaders
At Lohika, our client contacts are typically Engineering leaders, including VP’s of Engineering (VPE). We strive to bring together a community of Engineering leaders who can network, connect and collaborate over shared ideas and shared challenges.
When Cindy-Anne, our Head of Marketing, discovered Raman and the Good People Dinners, she saw the potential of using these dinners to foster such a community. Cindy-Anne decided that Lohika would sponsor a series of Corporate Salons with Raman.
In 2019, we hosted seven Good People Dinners in San Francisco, Seattle and New York.
For select dinners, we co-hosted with other Altran companies: Frog, Synapse and Altran.
The schedule of the Lohika Good People Dinners are as follows:
- 6:00 – 6:45 Cocktails
- 6:45 – 6:55 Introduction by Raman and Lohika
- 6:15 – 7:15 Speaker presentation
- 7:15 – 8:30 Family style feast
- 8:30 – 9:30 “Popcorn conversation” over dessert
- 9:30+ Convene to a local bar to continue the conversation (optional)
Our chefs have included Emily Kessler, Megan McCulloch, Francis Ang and Michael Tsai.
Our speakers have included Lucian Tarnowski, Founding Curator of Civana, Dorie Clark, professor at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business and Carley Hauck, founder of Living Well Awake.
We’ll be hosting many more Good People Dinners in 2020, in the Bay Area and beyond. The Good People Dinners are free to attend. Are you interested in joining us? Email Cindy-Anne at email@example.com.
Good People Dinner Photos
Here’s a photo reel of a Good People Dinner that we hosted in October in New York City:
Our final Good People Dinner of 2019!
🧭 Naked Kitchen, SF
🤲 @RamanFrey (host)
👩🍳 Megan McCulloch (chef)
👩🏫 Carley Hauck (speaker)
Thanks to all who attended last night and this year.
We have more dinners planned for 2020. Stay tuned! 👋 pic.twitter.com/HMjD0iUBNt
— Lohika (@Lohika) December 5, 2019