Consider checking out The Big Table this year to benefit your team.

Columbus is a remarkable place. It's a place where the for-profit, non-profit and governmental sectors communicate, collaborate and produce remarkable results. Why is Columbus so productive and resilient?  Because so many who live here aren't afraid to consider what life is like outside their own backyards. Our community is smart, open and incredibly kind, and we actively pursue ways to lift each other up.

On Wednesday, May 17, The Columbus Foundation will catalyze thousands of residents to participate in the second Big Table, a day where people will inspire each other to build a strong and connected community. Encouraging your team to participate in The Big Table is good for the community, but it's also good for your business. Here’s why.

1. Team Building

First, The Big Table provides an easy and effective opportunity for team building. Each conversation involves 8 to 12 people who engage with the help of a toolkit. A discussion can happen anywhere, any time, and allows for engagement both within and among departments. Conversations can be as short as one hour and the topic is straightforward: How do we make our community better? Participants spend their time talking, listening, learning and inspiring each other. The experience provides the participants with a fun and efficient way to meet and get to know each other better and improves their ability to authentically connect with an eye toward productive results.  

2. Career Development 

Second, when your team members participate in a Big Table conversation, they use and improve communication and problem-solving skills that are just as critical to strengthening your business as they are to strengthening the community. During a Big Table conversation, participants are asked to listen to others with the goal of broadening their own perspectives and learning new things. Instead of dwelling on the existence of negative issues, they are encouraged to focus on community assets that can be used to help and improve those adversities. Participants share creative ideas for making the community strong and commit to make positive impact through their own actions. 

3. Networking

Third, The Big Table provides an excellent opportunity for your team to network with clients, outside colleagues and other community members. There are no rules regarding who may participate in a conversation together, so The Big Table provides a fun and substantive opportunity for your team to interact with a wide range of people who they would like to know better in an inviting and cordial environment. By sharing their unique knowledge, talents and perspectives during the conversation, your team members will show others how valuable they will be as a service provider, collaborator or problem solver in the business environment as well.

At its core, The Big Table and your business rely on the same valuable assets—your people. It shares your goal to challenge those people to be their best selves, value the good in each other and create a better future. Together, we are all better.

Kelley Griesmer, J.D., is Senior Vice President and Manager, Walter Family Philanthropy at The Columbus Foundation. To host or join The Big Table, visit Questions? Email