Sparks of Inspiration: Summit Series, StartingBloc, and Sarah Kay

Before I begin posting about my travels & exciting thoughts & ideas I’ve come across so far, I would like to give a shout-out to the various influences over the past few months that brought me to this path, and piqued my interest in the concept of connection:

1. Summit Series

As anyone who has attended a Summit Series event knows, these people are basically pro’s when it comes to this whole idea of connection. Not only are they a group of incredible individuals open to connecting with anyone on a personal level, the team at Summit seem to have a magical knack for creating events where attendees feel a deeper connection to each other and their own personal goals than many of them have ever experienced before. Anneke Jong even calls Summit Series “the greatest accelerator and incubator of friendships in the world.”

My relationship with the team at Summit Series began with my reputation as “the girl who just showed up,” after I literally just showed up unannounced on the doorstep of their house in Malibu one day in early January. Without going into full story-telling mode,  I became the girl who interned with them for a week, staffed the Basecamp event in Tahoe, and recently has been working on small projects with them in a few other cities.

In working with the Summit team I not only learned a couple (or maybe more than a couple) of key tips on creating these connections, I also found myself personally feeling connected to everyone around me on a much deeper level, including the team, event staff, and a few attendees, allowing for incredible conversations and an overwhelming amount of  thought-provoking ideas. Still trying to wrap my head around exactly how they do what they do at Summit, but Basecamp was probably the first big event that got me thinking specifically about the connections I make in life, and how meaningful they can be.

2. StartingBloc (LA ’12!)

Oh StartingBloc, words cannot express how much I love you. But seriously, attending the StartingBloc LA ’12 Institute in Santa Monica, California, was definitely one of the most influential events of my life. I have never felt that much love for a group of 90 people before (many of which I have yet to get to know!), and I cannot commend the StartingBloc team enough for creating this incredible space that is the Institute for Social Innovation.

While Summit Series got me a bit hooked on the concept of connecting in theory, StartingBloc provided me with the perfect avenue for action. I connected with people who continue to leave me in awe each and every day with their incredible dreams and the way they just seem to make things happen. After feeling the crazy-connectedness of the amazing class of LA ’12 fellows, and with the advice of a couple of key friends at the Institute, I realized that it was time for me to start a journey to explore these ideas further. Looks like I’m finally following through on my sticky note goal, thanks to all of the fellows who have been holding me accountable!

3. Sarah Kay & Other Reasons I’m obsessed with “Getting to Point B”

  1.  The letter “B” has it’s own degree of importance to me as it has been a part of my nickname growing up, Shira Bee (which has recently resurfaced amongst my close friends).
  2. The concept of going from point A to point B: a journey, an expedition to find an answer. I also love the double meaning of the sound “bee” – both the letter and the verb to “be,” which can bring us into a whole philosophical discussion about the idea of going on a journey to “be,” rather than to reach any particular destination.
  3. The theme/title of one of my favorite TED Talks by Sarah Kay (if you haven’t seen it you should check it out, NOW/right after you finish reading!)

She begins,

“If I should have a daughter, instead of “Mom”, she’s gonna call me “Point B.” Because that way, she knows that no matter what happens, at least she can always find her way to me….”

And that’s exactly it, we can always find a way back to Point B (or “Be”). It’s home base. It’s our history, where we come from and where we’re going all at the same time.

In later posts I will likely go into a bit more detail about Summit Series and StartingBloc individually, as they are clearly relevant to my journey both on a personal level and a more practical one. In the meantime I’m going to move on to some posts about the incredible conversations & interviews I’ve been having lately around the theme of connection. Look out for some LA 12′ fellows, some NYC change-makers, and some great summit staffers to come!

Until next time,


Shira Bee

Categories: Uncategorized, Why Connection? | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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