About

15 Toasts is a dinner series for global leaders from business, government, and civil society. Serving as “safe spaces,” the dinners invite them to step outside of their day-to-day activities and the official protocol to engage with other leaders in a rich, personal dialogue on valuesleadership, and identity.

Often attached to high-profile gatherings, the dinners give 15 guests the permission to be vulnerable, engage as human beings in an open and genuine conversation, and surprise one another and themselves. The dinners raise awareness of issues that might be too big and elusive to be captured by formal agendas but deserve deep reflection and meaningful exchange. They also are intended to build trust among leaders and create spaces where people are able to bring their “full selves” to the table.

  • Abu Dhabi11.17.201315 Toasts to a Good Life
  • San Francisco5.21.201415 Toasts to Fear
  • Stellenbosch8.27.201415 Toasts to Dignity
  • New York10.8.201415 Toasts to Rebellion
  • Dubai11.8.201415 Toasts to the Stranger
  • Amsterdam5.12.201515 Toasts to Romance
  • Berlin7.2.201515 Toasts to Escapes
  • Copenhagen8.15.201515 Toasts to Happiness
  • Abu Dhabi10.3.201515 Toasts to Risk
  • Los Angeles10.7.201515 Toasts to Collateral Damage
  • New York2.11.201615 Toasts to Faith
  • San Francisco3.3.201615 Toasts to Borders
  • Shanghai3.16.201615 Toasts to Courage
  • Washington, D.C.4.17.201615 Toasts to Vulnerability
  • London5.8.201615 Toasts to the Fourth Industrial Revolution
  • Banff (at TEDSummit)6.27.201615 Toasts to the Disrupted
  • Hamburg7.18.201615 Toasts to the Right Problem
  • New York9.7.201615 Toasts to Origins
  • New York9.10.201615 Toasts to the Fellow Traveler
  • Charleston12.30.201615 Toasts to America
  • Abu Dhabi11.17.201315 Toasts to a Good Life
  • San Francisco5.21.201415 Toasts to Fear
  • Stellenbosch8.27.201415 Toasts to Dignity
  • New York10.8.201415 Toasts to Rebellion
  • Dubai11.8.201415 Toasts to the Stranger
  • Amsterdam5.12.201515 Toasts to Romance
  • Berlin7.2.201515 Toasts to Escapes
  • Copenhagen8.15.201515 Toasts to Happiness
  • Abu Dhabi10.3.201515 Toasts to Risk
  • Los Angeles10.7.201515 Toasts to Collateral Damage
  • New York2.11.201615 Toasts to Faith
  • San Francisco3.3.201615 Toasts to Borders
  • Shanghai3.16.201615 Toasts to Courage
  • Washington, D.C.4.17.201615 Toasts to Vulnerability
  • London5.8.201615 Toasts to the Fourth Industrial Revolution
  • Banff (at TEDSummit)6.27.201615 Toasts to the Disrupted
  • Hamburg7.18.201615 Toasts to the Right Problem
  • New York9.7.201615 Toasts to Origins
  • New York9.10.201615 Toasts to the Fellow Traveler
  • Charleston12.30.201615 Toasts to America

How it Works

Each 15 Toasts dinner has its own theme, such as

15 TOASTS to Dignity
15 TOASTS to Trust
15 TOASTS to Friendship
15 TOASTS to Fear…

but follows the same format.

Each exclusive event brings together two hosts along with 15 guests, leaders from business, government, and civil society who are seated around a single table in a private setting. The hosts open the gathering, welcome everybody, frame the theme of the evening, and ask each guest to give a toast devoted to the theme at some point during the evening. As a special twist — providing a strong incentive for keeping the round of toasts moving — the last one must sing his or her toast.

“I’ve never said this out loud before.”

The dinners follow the Chatham House Rule, and quotes and key insights can only be shared without attribution.

How it Started

We invited 15 fellow participants at a World Economic Forum Global summit in Abu Dhabi to join us for an intimate "unconferenced" dinner. We wanted the evening to feel more like a wedding than a panel. We wanted our guests to be moved and connected when they left. And we wanted to create a space in which leaders who were typically on guard had a chance to simply break bread together and talk about the things that mattered most to them.

At first we thought we would simply pose a question and moderate a lively conversation among the 15 guests. But we realized that this put a lot of pressure on the facilitators. So one of the guests, Anand Giridharadas, helped us create an alternative format: we invited each guest to offer, at some point over the course of the meal, a toast to what they thought made up “a good life.”

A magical evening unfolded. Participants shared deeply intimate stories, spoke honestly of death, and of what they cared most about in life. The group was able, for an evening, to connect to one another in a deep and meaningful way and explore a topic that mattered most to them. It was deep but not heavy, someone remarked. Hearts, minds, and bellies were all full.

How to Host Your Own 15 Toasts Dinner

We believe the world would be a better place if power and vulnerability had a seat at the same table, and perhaps even clinked glasses. Our mission with 15 Toasts is to create more “safe spaces” for leaders that allow them to be vulnerable and bring their full selves. We hope that the 15 Toasts dinners we host ourselves will inspire you and others to host their own; in fact we would love to grow a community of 15 Toasts hosts worldwide!

The format is relatively straightforward, however, the presence and stewardship of the hosts are deeply important and can make or break the evening. If you would like to host your own 15 Toasts dinner, please be in touch. We would be happy to share with you the things we’ve learned about what helps shape and make the evening and prepare you to successfully host your own.

In return, we would very much like to learn from your dinner and would appreciate if you could share with us your own hosting experience. And we would be delighted to feature highlights from your 15 Toasts dinner here on this site. This will help other hosts and us all to promote the 15 Toasts idea and community.

We’d love to hear from you at tim@thebusinessromantic.com
tim

Tim Leberecht

Tim is a marketing and brand strategist, the founder of The Business Romantic Society, and the author of the book “The Business Romantic” (Harper Business, 2015).

priya

Priya Parker

Founder, Thrive Labs

Priya is the founder of Thrive Labs and designs disruptive spaces for individuals and organizations to envision, articulate, and embody their purpose.

A joint initiative by Thrive Labs, The Business Romantic Society, and the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on Values