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Previewing Transformational Ideas

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I’ve attended the yearly Visionary Dinners that Mary Malgoire’s Bethesda, Md.-based advisory firm—Family Firm—hosts for clients, and even spoke at one of them. It’s an excellent way to connect clients to the broader world in which they live, not just the small part involving money and investments.

The casual, low-key event includes a cocktail reception, dinner and a presentation. It’s an opportunity for clients and staff members to learn together while getting to know each other outside the formality of an office environment.

Mary says that although these gatherings, which began in 1998, might focus on ideas with investing implications, their purpose is much broader: to engage, to think, to entertain, to dream. “We look at ideas that have not yet reached the mainstream of society, but which will have a huge impact when they do,” she explains. Topics that have been addressed in the past include:

  • 2010 “Public Policy, Private Lives: The Role of Bioethics in Access to Health Care.” Within five to 15 years, it may be possible to derive eggs and sperm from human pluripotent stem cells grown in vitro. Then what?
  • 2009 “Fulfilling Your Life’s Passion:” Panel discussion
  • 2008 “Avatars and Virtual Worlds: The Telegraph, Telephone, Radio, Television, the Internet … What’s Next?” Bill Bainbridge, National Science Foundation
  • 2007 “The Retirement Transition and the Challenge of Change:” Dr. Nancy Schlossberg, Professor Emerita, University of Maryland
  • 2006 “Radical Evolution: The Promise and Peril of Enhancing Our Minds, Our Bodies, and What It Means to Be Human:” Joel Garreau, The Washington Post
  • 2005 “The Coming Energy Revolution?” Jane Woodward, Mineral Acquisition Partners
  • 2004 “Men, Women & Money: Challenges of the Road Ahead:” Olivia Mellan, money psychologist and author
  • 2003 “China’s Rise: Threat or Opportunity?” Dr. Harry Harding, Dean of the Elliott School of International Affairs at George Washington University
  • 2002 “What’s Next: Thoughts from a Futurist:” Peter Leyden, the Global Business Network
  • 2001 “Biotechnology:” Collins Jones, Ph.D.
  • 2000 “Washington and the Investment Markets: The Beginning of the End of the Good News?”
  • 1999 “The Seven Stages of Money Maturity:” George Kinder
  • 1998 “The Changing Face of Wealth in America: What Does It Mean to You?” John Cammack

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