Kinetic Dinners

I started Kinetic Dinners with the sole purpose of connecting outstanding people. What starts with a few commonalities and the shared interest to create incredible things – whether in tech space, maker space, business, or personal relationships – blossoms into electrifying conversation and often results in making life-changing connections.

Since the guest list is carefully curated, the dinners are by invitation only. If you would like to be considered please fill out the brief form below and tell me a few things about yourself, your business, and your interests. You can also list your preferred city, venue, and time for the dinner – although we cannot guarantee booking at your preferred restaurant or date, we are always looking for great people and new cities to make connections. All applications will be considered.

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March 15, 2017. Pembroke, FL.

It seems like Kinetic Dinners is nothing but gluttonous good times with friends, but it is also a lot of work. Reaching out to people I barely know (or not know at all), coordinating everyone’s schedules, doing my pre-dinner homework takes real effort. Luckily, the efforts always pay off tenfold as I am fortunate to rub shoulders with some of the smartest and most resourceful people, and every once in a while I get to meet a real living breathing legend.

When I reached out to my childhood friend Saman and invited her to reconnect over dinner and share her wisdom and advice acquired during a long fruitful career as an immigration attorney, I never expected to meet an NBA legend as a bonus!

Saman invited Kenny Anderson to dinner, and, although I normally do my research prior to the dinners, I stayed away from my laptop and resisted the urge to go a quick google check on my phone. I did it deliberately as I didn’t want the star-struck disposition to influence our conversation or my impression of Kenny. Needless to say, the dinner went wonderfully, with non-stop conversation and real curiosity and interest. Kenny was a gracious and humble guest, a far cry from the flashy athlete stars and an absolute pleasure to hang out with.

Naturally, I googled away once I got home. Feel free to marvel in one person’s awesomeness just like I did:
Kenny on Wikipedia
Follow Kenny on Twitter

Watch his documentary by visiting Mr. Chibbs – Basketball is easy, Life is hard.

Saman, although not having achieved the legend status in the sports arena, is a real shining star in her field, Immigration Law, as well. Check her out on LinkedIn.

March 7, 2017. Dallas, TX.

The first March Kinetic Dinner set a high bar for the entire month. I had the pleasure of sharing dinner and ideas with three masterminds who basically wrote the book on rebranding and revitalization.

Jason Krell and Anne McKinnon are partners in At Large Communications, a PR and Branding company based out of Calgary, Canada. They have successfully branded and rebranded 25 companies from a wide variety of industry sectors in North America over the past 3 years.

Peter Yobo is a consultant with TYG Consulting and specializes in helping organizations realize financial and operational improvement through organizational, process and technology change. He works with companies that have been successful in the past but need help discovering groundbreaking and innovative ways to service their clients.

Not surprisingly, there was was a lot of synergy on the table as my guests bounced knowledge and ideas of one another. For example, an interesting fact learned at SAP presented at the Cult Gathering Conference in Banff, Canada that companies that do good are the companies who are doing good. Investors even use this metric to select companies that would thrive. But the most unexpected and memorable insight of the evening was the fact that 40% (!) of Google employees do not have a college degree, challenging the widespread belief that college is a necessary step on the way to success.

February 23, 2017. Dallas, TX.

If you’ve ever met me, I’m not good at this thing called “moderation” once I find incredible stuff – and Kinetic Dinners are no exception. The third February dinner brought together thinkers and doers and just all-around outstanding people.

Chelsea Masters is an intellectual property and commercial attorney with a background in copyright, trademarks, and transactional business law. Chelsea also finds time to volunteer and advise non-profits in her spare time.

Jason Osborn is a designer of engaging brand and product experiences. In his own words, over the past twenty years he has designed award-winning experiences across brand identity, print, web and mobile. In crafting these experiences he designed, illustrated, photographed, written, strategized, pencilled, wireframed, coded, hired, managed, cultivated and launched – talk about a renaissance man!

Robby Whites is a founder of Clarus Glassboards, family friend, and the man that introduced me to classic rock while we were in high school. As co-founder, Robby has held every title from janitor to marketing analyst to customer service specialist to glassboard quality control team member. Robby holds a particular passion for marketing and was the architect of the Clarus brand and aesthetic.

Every dinner is an opportunity to learn and expand my horizons, and this dinner was especially enlightening. Two particular things will have a life-long impact on me:

  1. Learning that Rodney Dangerfield started is stand-up comedy career in his 40s (just imagine the courage!). It’s never too late to start living the life you want.
  2. Chelsea shared how she works to stop apologizing for her life – what a novel and grand concept. I aspire to be the person who can turn “I’m sorry for being late” into “Thank you for your patience”. I’ve completely adopted this for my life as well. It’s a work in progress, so thank you for your patience!

February 20, 2017. Dallas, TX.

This picture is bullshit. I am not that short. >=(

February had no intention of letting up, so I, in the typical fashion, decided to bite off more than I can chew and add another dinner to my already packed schedule (hey, the quality and quantity of one’s social connections has a direct correlation with health, and I’m all about health! Don’t believe me? Read more here.)

On a chilly February evening, three outstanding minds braved the elements and presented me with the gift of their company.

John Bielamowicz is a president of a successful commercial real estate brokerage specializing in office, industrial and land in North Texas, who made a spectacular and admirable career climb from a loss prevention super at a retail store (the guy who makes sure you don’t walk away with unpaid merchandize) to ordering business cards with “President” on them.

Bowie Hogg is a Sales Executive for HR outsourcing company Aon Hewitt and Arlington School board member. In addition, Bowie possesses the most enviable LinkedIn recommendations from those who had a chance to work with him.

Kris Leftwich is an intellectual property attorney specializing in patent litigation. Kris also sits on Sidley’s national pro bono committee and serves as co-head of the Dallas pro bono practice, working with charities, non-profits, community organizations, and other talented lawyers to facilitate fair and meaningful access to the legal system.

Needless to say, I felt a little intimidated surrounded by the three intellectual giants, and I tried to absorb every bit of information and advice they shared – especially the unusual and surprising statistics! For example did you know there was a direct correlation between 3rd grade reading levels and whether that child will end up in jail? Mind-blowing, isn’t it? I relish these dinners as they provide me with opportunity to not only learn new things, but also gain a new perspective on the interconnectedness of the world.

February 9, 2017. Ft. Worth, TX

January brought a bit of lull in the Kinetic series – most of the movers and shakers (including myself) were recovering from a hectic holiday season and focusing on ensuring that 2017 had an outstanding, ass-kicking start. In February, I was anxious to make up for the lost time and scheduled three incredible dinners with the smartest people I could find.

We kicked of February with a spectacular meeting with three exceptional people. You know that like attracts like and we tend to gravitate toward people who are similar to us, and that’s why you see me networking with so many self-made entrepreneurs. However, for this dinner, I decided to shake things up a bit and talk to successful folks who made it while “working for the man.”

Farid Abrishamkar is Senior Systems Engineer at Lockheed working on the (tsshhhh – super secret) F16, huge car guy (he’s not physically huge, but rather involved with all things automotive), proud M3 owner, and former UTA electrical engineering classmate.

Heather Charlton is an accountant at J. Taylor and Associates, lover of yoga and salsa dancing (but not simultaneously), and a collector of cool coffee mugs.

Ali Abbas is an IT project manager at EECU in Fort Worth, and my brother from another mother. We’ve been friends for 29 years (yes, yes, I am old) and now our daughters have been friends for 10 years (second generation friendships FTW).

The dinner was off to the races almost immediately as the energy was almost palpable. Ali, Farid, and I are big trash-talkers, and Heather stood her ground and did not hesitate to punch back. Conversation flowed and sparked like a pinball in a well-oiled machine. It was really interesting to discuss work life with a group of people that have been with their employers for 7, 15, and 17 years. Their perspective on the world that I had left ages ago brought structure and helped me acquire a newfound focus and mountain-moving enthusiasm!

September 26, 2016. Arlington, TX.

Kinetic Dinner #2Kinetic Dinner Series continued with a very creative and extremely well-groomed bunch that I had a pleasure of getting to know better over a hot pot of melted cheesy fondue goodness.

Pugah is a veteran barber who sees herself not just as a skillful hairdresser, but as her clients’ wingman, confidante, and even a bit of a therapist. Pugah, alongside her mom and brother, is working to bring back the concept of a barbershop as a “third place,” where people can come to get their dose of engaging conversation, a useful advice, and walk out with stunning hair as a bonus.

Tangie Nadimi – you can probably tell by her last name… I didn’t keep it completely unbiased and tagged my wife for this dinner. However, in my defense, i did not do it because she is (obviously) lovely and has great taste in men, she is one of the most creative and extraordinarily thinking people I know. Tangie left her corporate job to be a lead parent while simultaneously running a home-based business making customized garments and gifts. No wonder she says she has never worked harder!

Briana Dominguez, like Tangie, left corporate America about a year ago to start a business with a partner, with whom she subsequently parted ways and since done all on her own. The experience, although not entirely pleasant, made her a wiser and more resilient business owner. The group collectively agreed that Bri might be the hardest hustling person we know – imminent tremendous success to follow!

Lisa Nguyen is a mini-mogul owns multiple salons and rents out booths. Her latest project is starting a cosmetic brand , 50% of proceeds of which would go to help kids with special needs. She sites her own autistic daughter as a constant source of inspiration, joy, and pride. Lisa’s signature is making sure that even the tiniest of details are polished and shined, creating an unforgettable customer experience that resulted in hundreds of satisfied repeat clients.
The one thing these brilliant and lovely self-starters have in common is putting in more than your average 9 to 5. Their day often spans 16 hours, and the jobs demand their wear multiple hats, from that of a menial worker to the silk top hat of a CEO. Their hard work and relentless drive is paying off in unexpected rewards of not only building a formidable business, but also creating life-long connections and finding out more about themselves in the process.

August 23, 2016. Dallas, TX.

Kinetic Dinner #1I had the pleasure of kicking off the Kinetic Dinner series with two phenomenal people.

Ken Hanson is a Growth Hacker, Front-End Developer, Rapid Prototyper, JavaScript slinger, NodeJS fiddler, event based analytic  mplementer, pirate metric optimizer (AARRR), experimenter, data nerd, and UX / Service Design advocate. Ken is also a great conversationalist and an all-around fantastic guy.

Katia Delgado is a Researcher Extraordinaire, proficient in all things Market Research, Branding, Targeting, Analytics, and Segmentation, who also speaks data and can translate from statistic to human in a blink of an eye. Katia is also a proud owner of the most contagious laugh.

We kicked off the dinner with a brief introduction and the three hours had flown by without any of us noticing. Without giving the confidential information away, the conversation flowed from sharing work experiences to collecting advice on overcoming present challenges to a brief seminar on self-improvement! Overall, the dinner was a huge success – we managed to create not only palpable energy, but also forged a real connection that will benefit us all for years to come.

We all walked out of the restaurant feeling a little smarter and a lot more optimistic about future goals and opportunities.