Growing up in Ireland, I have very fond memories of great conversations and spirited debates with my family, friends, and visitors to our home. It allowed for great learning and good times and helped to broaden my perspectives at a tender young age.
When I came to California, I missed the camaraderie and the spontaneity of authentic conversation. Often my colleagues and friends interacted in ways that were either accidental or transactional. Our conversations followed typical lines of “what do you do for a living?” and “where do you live?”. Technology has certainly allowed us to communicate across great distances and do great things, but has inhibited and limited our ability to connect face-to-face. Accordingly, this lack of human encounter has made our world anonymous and lonely. Humans beings are social creatures who seek and need a sense of belonging and real, genuine connection.
I was determined to restore the lost Art of Conversation. Remembering a sense of magical fun and free spirited adventure I enjoyed as a child, I took on a personal quest to re-establish and re-create the social connections of a simpler time … a time before technology took over our world. My research led me to the Age of Enlightenment when the French Salons prevailed.
These 18th century Salons became popular gathering places for men and women who desired education, enlightenment, and entertainment; primarily run by hostesses called Salonnières. The Salonniere selected her speakers, chose the topics, and invited the guests to the Salon gathering. She also acted as the mediator directing the flow of the discussion; invited opinion from different participants and made appropriate introductions.
I’ve attended many lecture events which consist of a speaker presenting his or her topic and leaving immediately after. I noticed, however, there was an overwhelming amount of people who would stay after the presentation to get a word in with the speaker or seemed to want to hear more insights and wisdom from those who attended. Realizing this need for further discussion, Blue Stockings Salon takes a different approach: I will often lead a question-and-answer segment after the speaker finishes, and then invite discussions among Guests. We all aspire to have incredible experiences, and so I thought: “what if I could really delight people by connecting them in the most incredible ways with great speakers and do good in the process?” The result is a rich, enlightening evening of stimulating conversation, potential new perspectives and sometimes paradigm shifts.
I enjoy being a modern-day Salonnière, encouraging curious minds in an inviting atmosphere to enjoy meaningful, authentic conversations. I strive to engage all guests in conversation, and make sure merriment is the order of the day! I like to think of my role as akin to the conductor of a symphony….our members and guests are the orchestra who make the music!
Our Mission is to connect like minded people in a highly social, interactive environment; to revive the art of conversation, spirited debate and exchange of ideas (in the same spirit as the 18th Century French Salons). We encourage genuine social engagement and connection on meaningful topics with today’s thought leaders in elegant social settings.
While our Salons are by invitation only, sharing your Contact Information will give me the chance to extend a first-time invitation to you.
“The evening was filled with intellectual stimulation and joy. Norene is a fantastic host, very personable and energetic and immediately made me feel at ease – I felt at home and knew I was joining a fantastic group of like minded yet diverse people. The discussion was very candid and members easily shared very deep seated insights and emotions, which is unusual for meet ups and extremely refreshing. For example, the members were very open about their perceptions on the issue of gender leadership differences and it created a shared feeling of trust and comfort to participate without fearing social judgment. The speaker was equally brilliant and gauged the audience quite well. Every member I met was immediately very friendly, welcoming, and of very high caliber. The food and drink choices were equally excellent. Simply put, I had a most spectacular evening!” Michael Heinrich, Stanford – Guest