As we start 2021 we see continued challenges but also continued resilience and hope, too. Like you, I’ve attended dozens of Google Meets, TEAMS meetings and Zooms—some with colleagues on the job, at virtual meetings with folks from around the country. And, yes, those cocktail Zooms to catch up over drinks or a special meal with personal friends and family to stay a little sane.

One of the most interesting virtual interviews that I watched of late, though, was just last month, as many industry executives gathered during the virtual Vision Council Executive summit.

Among the good topics and conversation there, one convo truly wowed me, changed my perspective and led to some new ideas. That was the discussion between a respected, accomplished and curious industry leader, Reade Fahs, CEO of National Vision Inc. and Priya Parker, the TED speaker and author of “The Art of Gathering.” Her book was written prior to the pandemic year, interestingly. But, wow, her fundamental message about ways to define what makes a great personal or professional gathering took on amplified meaning within the environment we’ve been in these many months.

Parker has said “We often spend more time planning logistics than thinking about the elements that make a gathering sing—the human ones. And now, when we may not be able to be in the same physical space, it’s more important than ever to have the tools to create human connection.”

As the interview with Fahs illuminated, it’s providing a clearly communicated purpose and focus to the gathering that makes it enjoyable, memorable, and actionable. Her work is helpful to each of us. She said, “A gathering is a unit of time you can shape, it’s three or more people coming together, that has a beginning, a middle and an end. It’s a gathering when people come together to do something they couldn’t do alone—in other words, a wedding is a gathering, a funeral is a gathering, a board meeting or sales conference is one.”

Parker explained that many people make a mistake in assuming that people feel the purpose of a gathering is shared or known, but that’s not always the case. The pandemic has radically changed the meaning of gatherings—from risky and scary to important and essential.

Think about it and think about how we all will want to redefine the essence of “gatherings” as we proceed this year. As Parker said, look to create meaningful connections despite significant obstacles.

If you have the chance, listen to the Parker-Fahs discussion on-demand. Get the book. Sign up for the newsletter at

Energize yourself to find new ways to be together—and let’s look forward to using those learnings when we do—in real life—get to be physically together again.