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Launch Event Recap

To celebrate the launch of the publication, Abernathy partnered with Lessons Learned to host an intimate, private launch event in New York City on Saturday, March 14th, 2015.

Lessons Learned is a live storytelling event series founded by Wes Kao. The invitation-only event series features a curated speaker lineup, intimate setting, and stories from smart people about hard-earned lessons.

Abernathy Magazine x Lessons Learned

Following the Lessons Learned format, the Abernathy launch event featured 10 speakers who gave 5 minute live talks about their own personal stories, lessons, and struggles about identity and race.

It was a very special evening that I’m thrilled to have been a part of.

Our distinguished speakers

This event would not have been possible or worth doing without the involvement of our incredible speakers, several of whom traveled from other states on their own dime to be with us.

Charles Davis
Charles Davis


Nhadya Salomon
Nhadya Salomon


Alex Hardy
Alex Hardy


Michael Parrish DuDell
Michael Parrish DuDell


Desmond Seymour
Desmond Seymour


Rachel Rodgers
Rachel Rodgers


Carmen Sognonvi
Carmen Sognonvi


Garfield Hylton
Garfield Hylton


Ryan Dalton
Ryan Dalton


Chevon Drew
Chevon Drew


Ernest White II
Ernest White II


Willie Jackson
Willie Jackson


You can view the full photo set (snapped by Kara, who I’d highly recommend) here.

So, how did it go?

We’ve gotten overwhelmingly positive feedback about the stories shared on Saturday. There were laughs, there were tears, there were hugs, and most of all, there were important conversations.

Many people have asked when the next live event of this type will be. It’s unclear to me whether getting into the events business will further the Abernathy mission, but what is clear is that this event would not have happened without my friend Wes Kao and her organization, Lessons Learned.

Wes has developed a system for creating safe spaces for small groups of less than 50 people to come together and share stories about tough topics. She’s continued to hone the event structure, flow, speaker process, storytelling advice, etc as a science and art. She’s honored that it’s attracting ever more amazing people like yourselves to come together and meet each other.

If you’re interested in co-hosting your own “Lessons Learned x Your Organization” small group event, she would be happy to share everything she knows. You can reach Wes at wes@weskao.com.

Wes Kao
Wes Kao
Willie Jackson and Wes Kao
Willie Jackson and Wes Kao

Where was the event?

I’d be remiss if I didn’t give a special shout out to Daniel Jarvis for hosting the event at his beautiful apartment. Thank you.

And thanks to everyone who attended.

By Willie Jackson

Willie Jackson is an inclusion strategist who empowers thoughtful organizations and the leaders who run them. He currently serves as Director of Diversity & Inclusion at Equity Impact Group, Founder and Publisher of Abernathy, and is a frequent writer and speaker on the topics of workplace equity, global diversity, and multicultural millennial leadership.

wjackson@abernathymagazine.com | Subscribe to the Abernathy newsletter.