2017 Community Networking Meals

Attendees arriving at the 2016 Leadership Education luncheonGet Your Networking On – Break Bread at an ILA Community Meal

by Debra DeRuyver

Debra DeRuyver Photo


Debra DeRuyver is ILA's Communications Director. She has been a part of ILA's story since 1999 and can be reached at dderuyver@ila-net.org.  

If you’re feeling a little overwhelmed at the process of meeting 1,200 potential new colleagues at ILA’s 19th global conference, we’ve got you covered – sign up for an ILA community networking meal and nourish your body while also deepening your connections to newly met peers. ILA’s community networking meals are often mentioned in evaluations as one of the special events people like best about an ILA global conference. Described as “warm and welcoming,” community networking lunches and dinners are an excellent way to enhance your conference experience.

The four lunches offered this year all take place in the convenience of the SQUARE Brussels Meeting Centre (the location of the conference), allowing for easy participation between concurrent sessions in the afternoon.

In addition to networking, the community lunches all have special learning components built into the experience:

On Friday, the Leadership Education Luncheon will include an award ceremony for the Most Publishable Leadership Education Paper, sponsored by SAGE Publishing. Elsewhere at the SQUARE, the Arts & Leadership Luncheon will feature the Leadership Metaphor Explorer© cards, a dynamic, interactive tool designed to stimulate creative, insightful conversations about leadership. At the close of the Arts & Leadership Luncheon, Co-Convener Michael Chirichello invites attendees to, “Let the human spirit flourish as you are transported across time, place, and generations with the song of leadership led by Gloria and John Burgess.

Saturday’s lunches include the eighth annual Women and Leadership Luncheon (sponsored by Magnetrol) — with its featured book raffle and topic-based table talks — and the Ethics Forum Luncheon. According to Lynn Shollen, Chair of ILA’s Women and Leadership Affinity Group, “Each year the Women and Leadership luncheon draws a diverse, cross-sector mix of scholars and practitioners engaged in research and/or practice related to women and leadership, who are interested in identifying possibilities for future collaboration, or who want to spend time with others passionate about the topic.” The Ethics Forum lunch will dive into the Ethical Leadership Style Questionnaire, developed, in part, by Peter Northouse. Peter will be on hand to discuss the questionnaire and all attendees at the luncheon will be invited to complete the instrument.

The five community dinners this year, will all take place a short stroll or cab ride from the SQUARE, giving attendees the chance to get out and experience the heart of Europe. Taking place on Friday evening, attendees may choose to dine with:

Follow the links above to learn more about the restaurants and menus for each networking dinner and to purchase a ticket. Even if you have already registered for the conference, you can add a ticket to a community meal by taking the registration form again, clicking that you've already registered for the conference, and then selecting your meal. Don't wait! Meals often sell out before the start of the conference.

The dinners all emphasize the opportunity for attendees to meet others who share similar interests, engage in conversation, and make connections. As Mary Tolar, convener of the Deans, Director, and Chairs affinity group, emphasized, the idea is to “share ideas, challenges, and experiences with your colleagues. This is an opportunity to connect with others, build relationships, and share a meal.” Ariel Kaufmann, chair of the Public Leadership community, echoed this sentiment, pointing out the unique appeal of ILA’s cross-sector conference, “Whether you are a community, government, academic, or business leader working on leadership for the public good in any way, the community networking dinner will be an opportunity for you to make connections with those engaged in the work of public leadership.”

Gathering together over a meal is one of the most basic human activities. Register today for a community networking meal at ILA’s 19th annual conference in Brussels. Enjoy delicious food and grow your connections in ILA’s community of leadership professionals.

Attendees of the 2016 Latin Leadership Dinner
Arts and Leadership Luncheon
Chez Leon Restaurant

View a short video clip from the 2016 Public Leadership Networking dinner, which took place at College Town Farm in Atlanta!