Power of collaboration
A networking and thought-sharing event and spin-off engagements in Bermuda have had a greater impact on the community than had been expected.
The event was led by Jared Kleinert, one of the most connected individuals of his generation. It was the first time the Meeting of the Minds has been held outside the US.
As he reflected on the event, a separate public seminar at City Hall and talks at two schools, he said: “There was a local impact that we did not have before. Bermuda will be a case study.”
Mr Kleinert, is coauthor of the book 2 Billion Under 20 , founder and author of 3 Billion Under 30, and a TED Talk speaker.
Meeting of the Minds is promoted as one of the top millennial-led “mindshares” in the world. It has also been held in a number of US cities and brings together entrepreneurs, chief executive officers, corporate sector leaders and others to network and share tips and experiences.
The three-day invite-only event in Bermuda was based at the Hamilton Princess, and was given a Bermudian-twist that included an evening cruise reception, the opportunity to try cliff jumping, and sampling Bermudian cuisine and drinks, such as dark ‘n’ stormies.
However, at the heart of the event was the sharing of ideas, information, inspiring experiences and the benefits of networking. There was a separate public seminar by Mr Kleinert at City Hall. He also visited CedarBridge Academy and Berkeley Institute to meet and speak to students, and distribute copies of 3 Billion Under 30.
Mr Kleinert, 22, who was named “most connected millennial” by USA Today, said: “I was pleasantly surprised by the general interest in my work on the island. It was a unique opportunity to solve problems, and to have an effect on the community.”
There were many takeaways from Meeting of the Minds Bermuda, but Mr Kleinert said number one was the power and potential of collaboration, particularly when paired with the relative ease of accessibility to many parts and layers of society in Bermuda when compared to larger places.
“There is a demand for local entrepreneurs to meet face to-face on a daily basis,” he said, adding that those who collaborate — rather than horde their ideas — will be the ones who will thrive and be winners.
Among guest speakers at the event were Stacey Ferreira, co-founder of Forge, coauthor of 2 Billion Under 20, and a Forbes 30 Under 30 honouree; Bill Allen, former chief HR officer of Macy’s and founder of Allen Advisers; and Adrian France, co-founder of Odyssey Media.
Ms Ferreira’s background includes an inspiring story about how she and her brother managed to meet Sir Richard Branson and pitch a programming-centred business concept to him. The business magnate subsequently gave the concept his backing.
Lanan Bascome attended the Meeting of the Minds event in order to meet Ms Ferreira. She is the managing director of Bermudian-based ADL Compliance Ltd, and said for her both Ms Ferreira and Sir Richard are inspirational figures.
She was thrilled to have a one-on-one meeting with Ms Ferreira, and she felt the event had been of great value as it provided the opportunity to have “one-on-one conversations with people who have successful businesses and are taking it to the next level”.
The events were co-hosted by Bermuda’s Anthony Mocklow, founder and chief innovation officer of Par 3 Consulting. He said: “There’s a great opportunity in Bermuda for genuine collaboration for bigger results.”
He said the event met and exceeded his expectations “by a factor of one thousand”.
He explained how it had been “Bermudianised”, adding: “We had the youth BEDC competition winners. The Hamilton Princess did an amazing job as hosts. Team Bermuda did a phenomenal job. We have started something that will have a significant legacy and inspire people.”
Mr Kleinert’s public seminar at City Hall was part of the Bermuda Underwater Exploration Institutes’s series of talk events, while the Meeting of the Minds Bermuda event was presented by the Bermuda Business Development Agency and the Bermuda Economic Development Corporation.
Sean Moran, interim CEO of the BDA, said: “The forum provided a unique opportunity for local business leaders and entrepreneurs to mix and share ideas with a diverse and talented group of overseas delegates who travelled to the island to attend.”
He said the concept “promoted out-of-the-box thinking, and as Bermuda looks to fintech and next-generation investors, it seems a natural fit. We hope to partner with Meeting of the Minds again to bring it back to Bermuda next year.”
Enthusiasm was also expressed by Erica Smith, executive director of the BEDC. She said: “Six Enterprise Bermuda Incubator businesses were able to meet entrepreneurs and subject-matter experts and network with them to further their businesses and entrepreneurial aspirations.
“The ‘Minds’ they were able to meet were world-class, exceptional, and highly successful in their own entrepreneurial endeavours and without that partnership I am not sure they would have ever been able to meet them.”
Ms Smith said her team also benefited from Mr Kleinert’s knowledge on how to build a network. She said that knowledge will now be used to assist the organisation’s clients. She added that the BEDC representatives were able to benefit from the experience “through participating in a deep dive into our most pressing challenges and being able to leverage the collective knowledge of these exceptional Minds to solve those challenges”.
Ms Smith said: “The experience allowed me to build opportunities for the future and create an entirely new network, both locally and internationally, that I can leverage for the benefit of Bermuda’s local entrepreneurs.”
She recommended the MOTM experience to entrepreneurs looking to build their network and take their business to the next level, and added: “I look forward to partnering with Jared and Anthony and Meeting of the Minds in the future.”
Speaking of the experience of holding a Meeting of the Minds in Bermuda, and the spin-off talks at City Hall and the schools, Mr Kleinert said: “It was very inspiring. It’s great to have such an impact. Hopefully we can come back.”
The Meeting of the Minds event was also supported by the Bermuda Tourism Authority, Hamilton Princess, Harbourside Holdings, and Premier Tickets.