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Sep 2, 201410:10 AMOpen Mic

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Wanted: Local leaders looking to make an impact (and enjoy some dessert)

A couple of years ago Jody Glynn Patrick, a mentor (and now friend) of mine, wrote a blog post for In Business about an idea that she and her friend Lisa Nelson had had. Jody and Lisa would schedule a monthly dinner at restaurants around town and invite 10 local leaders. The twist was that the guests wouldn’t know who else was invited until they all showed up.

You can read more about the original “Dinner With Lisa and Jody” event here.

I had the privilege of attending one of these dinners, and it was an awesome experience. I met people I never would have otherwise met and shared ideas and experiences with people who had many unique viewpoints. It was also the starting point for many valuable connections in my professional network.

Now that Jody is happily living in Illinois with her husband, Kevin, I feel like someone needs to keep this great idea going in order to give local leaders an opportunity to connect on a more personal level.

As the president of CONNECT Madison, the interests of local young professionals are always top of mind for me. I’d like to take this idea a step further and encourage not only established professionals, business leaders, and community leaders to RSVP but also young professionals and emerging leaders. How often do you get the chance to share dinner conversation with a local CEO or organization president?

This is a unique opportunity for people of all generations to have a meaningful dialogue and address important issues. Who you surround yourself with is who you become, so be intentional about creating a network of smart, inspiring, and positive people. If you are a current leader or a young professional who is looking to make a positive impact in our community, this is one dinner that you definitely won’t want to take “to-go”!

If you’d like an invitation to an upcoming Impact Dinner event, email me at jennaatkinson1@gmail.com. I’m building a list of area movers and shakers and I’d love to add your name.

Jenna Atkinson is the president of CONNECT Madison and an In Business columnist. Check out her latest IB column here.

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Make your voice heard with IB's "Open Mic." Send your blog entry to Online Editor Jason Busch at jason@ibmadison.com for consideration.

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