Meeting of Minds

 In Culture, Feature

The St. Louis Regional Chamber unites STL innovators for an evening of ideas and discussion.


ALIVE and the St. Louis Regional Chamber brought together 25 of St. Louis’ boldest minds on March 2 at The Dark Room in Grand Center in celebration of innovation and entrepreneurship in St. Louis. And—true to form for the diverse set of St. Louis visionaries—guests shared far more than a delicious meal.

Ideas related to economic growth, attracting and retaining talent and fueling creative minds were discussed over courses that included carrot and ginger demi soup, German-style potato salad with kale and flash-fried braised pork, beef short ribs and chocolate cake with a port whip and caramel sauce. Keeping with the innovation theme of the evening, ALIVE hosted a live Twitter chat through which both readers and guests could follow along with the discussions. “When good wine, amazing food and bold minds meet, anything can happen,” ALIVE tweeted at the start of the dinner. As it turns out, we were right.

As guests enjoyed the delectable courses by Chef Ben Sarver, several gave speeches honoring the night’s attendees and the St. Louis Regional Chamber’s efforts to inspire a greater St. Louis. St. Louis Regional Chamber President and CEO Joe Reagan shared an inspiring message of progress that encouraged everyone in the room to “fail forward fast”—a phrase that quickly became a lasting mantra not only of the evening but of discussions occurring long after the night drew to a close.

St. Louis Regional Chamber Vice President of Innovation & Entrepreneurship Jason Hall shared thoughts about the future of innovation in the city and called on those at the dinner to address St. Louis’ and the region’s areas for improvement with speed and creativity. He also introduced the concept of “mindswarms,” an initiative brought to the table by dinner guest Bill Donius that would gather thought-leaders in a room for a casual riff on one another’s ideas to see what impactful and feasible projects might eventually take form. It’s these very conversations, Hall acknowledged, that are helping entrepreneurs take the kinds of risks needed for St. Louis to become a true leader of innovation—a toast that the bold minds of the evening were more than happy to make.

Guests in Attendance: Michael Allen, Preservation Research Office; Samuel Achilefu, Wash U School of Medicine; Melanie Bernds, Donald Danforth Plant Science Center; Tom Cohen, NanoDx; Jason Deem, South Side Spaces; Bill Donius, author; Paul Freiling, FIRST Robotics; Patty Hagen, T-REX; Maggie Hales, CityArchRiver; Jason Hall, St. Louis Regional Chamber; Kelly Hamilton, ALIVE; Atul Kamra, consultant; Dr. Wilson King, SLUCare; Joseph Klaesner, Wash U School of Medicine; Blake Marggraff, Betaversity; Michael Palmer, Code Red Education; Dr. Nadeem Parkar, SLUCare; Lindsay Pattan, ALIVE; Kelly Pollock, COCABiz; Joe Reagan, St. Louis Regional Chamber; Donn Rubin, BioSTL; Agnes Scoville, Pacidose; Elizabeth Tucker, ALIVE; Randy and Jeff Vines, STL-Style; Jennifer Wiley, ALIVE;  Steve Young, Synek.  











Photo credit: Wesley Law

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