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Business in the Dark

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When you think about being in the dark, you think about fumbling or not knowing where you're going. But that wasn't the case at the House of Beautiful Business - Vancouver Chamber this past week. "Business in the Dark" uncovered an evening of possibilities, opportunities and conversation. It focused on the mystery of business – in a hopeful and curious way.

Garfield Wilson was the first in the eclectic mix of speakers, scientists, storytellers and performers who gathered to share stories. He opened the evening with a soulful rendition of "Lilac Wine". How does that fit into business, you may ask? Well, according to Garfield finding your passion in business is like finding your perfect love.

Storyteller Tina Overbury dissected the appeal of mystery and called upon all of us to think about our unique superpower. What are we designed as? Maybe we are in the dark about our own talents…? Her talent for weaving humour into thoughtful conversation was apparent – who else can talk about the Scooby-Doo gang and share insights about her life as a mom while relating it to business?

Christina Benty called herself a story dismantler and an Asset Management Evangelist who comes forth to shed light on the mystery of government. Turns out many people are in the dark about government work, including those who work in it!

Did you know that studies have shown that brain activity in a storyteller’s brain is mimicked in the listener? Dolphin Kasper challenged us to think about listening as a superpower and getting rid of preconceptions. Just think what we'd be capable of, if we really started to listen? Sharad Khare, interviewer extraordinaire, led an interesting discussion with Julie Foxcroft about the future of AI. Julie currently works at IBM to create better solutions so humans can make better decisions. Will robots take over the world? Julie thinks in the future machines will be assisting us but it’s up to us to bring our best human forth.

During the musical interlude, Eva de Zwart brought the average speaker age down a few notches, but her talent with the cello was on par with the rest of them.

Data scientist, amateur dancer, and past teepee dweller- these are all titles that can describe Simon Goring. His conversation about wicked problems, racist AI devices and sexist washing machines is difficult to summarize but one question stands out: “What decisions are you making every day that seem neutral but are causing harm to others?”

Towards the end of the evening, Charlene Sanjenko shared a powerful and intimate family story that reminded us that life is a gift. Some of the parting thoughts she left with us were: “We see greatness in others before we see it in ourselves,” and “Now is the time for stronger together. Let’s focus on hopeful solutions to regenerate the planet and bring people together.”

The evening ended with a performance art piece by Pamela Masik who integrated dance and painting into a novel art form. A unique finale for a unique event.