Our Authentic Selves

One of Parker’s guiding principles is to encourage guests to show up as their authentic selves. She shares a story where in signature style, she asked guests to share toasts at a World Economic Forum meeting based on a personal experience of “the good life”, thereby transforming the event from a formal conference where guests show their polished “best self,” into an intimate dinner showcasing vulnerability. The clincher was that the last person had to sing their toast — which meant that everyone did their best to ensure they weren’t last. What resulted was moving and real; worlds apart from a typical, stiff economic conference dinner.

“You know a gathering was a success by the smiles on the faces, the energy and the dialogue. That shared meaningfulness. Whether it’s a conference, a dinner party, or everything in between,” says Tanner. Whenever we encourage a sharing of experiences over ideas, something far more personal and free-spirited has room to emerge.

Why Do We Gather?

“We want meaning from so much of our lives,” Tanner says, reflecting. “We want to get the most from our gatherings too. For me, I don’t really care whether we were at a dinner party or a restaurant. I care about the experiences, the conversations, that atmosphere, those things that happened.” Whatever the reason for gathering, one thing is clear; it’s our conscious underlying intention that transforms how we meet. 

The father of philosophy, Aristotle, said that “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.” Nearly two millennia later, his words still ring true on these Greek islands. When the individual becomes part of the collective, we transform into something entirely new. ■