On May 13, the East Coast Group conducted our initial Zoom meeting of the pandemic. Given the size and activity level of our group, we knew it would be challenging.
This initial meeting (which started with just a test group of most active East Coast members) had an initial interest rate of over 80%, and the meeting drew approximately 40 members in all. Given the size, we had technical issues to overcome, and had to adjust on the fly. As this initial meeting was social in nature, we did not have an official agenda, and just wanted to allow our membership, who have developed close personal relationships, to connect and reconnect with each other. An online conversation with 40 people just wasn’t possible, but with the help of Zoom (and a lot of advance set-up work) we split the group into 4 separate break-out rooms of about 10 people from the main conference, for separate 15 minute conversations, and then randomly reassigned people so that everyone had a chance to be in 3 separate break-out sessions of about 15 minutes each. Michael Einbinder, Richard Sussman, Elizabeth Dipchand and Aaron Schechter each lead one of the breakout rooms, and despite a few technical issues (we continue to learn as we go along during these unprecedented times), and the always entertaining behavior of Jason Schwarz and Bruce Loren, the meeting went smoothly and gave us all a chance to check in on each other.
The East Coast Group, in our 2 ½ years in existence, has permitted members with geographic symmetry to forge incredible close, meaningful personal friendships and significant business relationships. We continue in our effort to expand the already significant active members of the group, and to deepen those relationships.