‘Sip Sessions’ Aim to Empower People to Create the Future They Want

Connecticut Magazine

A sip of wine, a sip of beer, a sip of an idea. It’s perhaps the best way to describe the difficult-to-explain Sip Sessions gatherings happening around the state.

Sip Sessions came about as a result of us discovering some things in our work with organizations,” says Sip Sessions mastermind Brent Robertson, co-founder and partner of Fathom, a strategy and creative consultancy which began as a digital branding and marketing company 15 years ago.

The keystone idea of the monthly sessions, during which thought leaders facilitate group conversation based around a topic, is to shape your own future, not merely navigate the path already in front of you. Mostly held around the Hartford area, the sessions are free but registration is required and they usually fill up. Everyone is encouraged, but not mandated, to bring a beverage to share. “It’s a way to taste a new experience,” Robertson says. “And that’s why we encourage everyone to bring and share not just a beverage, but themselves.”

Of course not everyone present imbibes, and Robertson says the intent is not to reduce people’s inhibitions. “There are other things at work that have people take their walls down.”

I attended a Sip in April at the Copper Beech Institute in West Hartford led by Suzi Craig, senior director of strategic partnerships and policy at Mental Health Connecticut. (The session leaders, topic and venue change each month.) People who arrive early grab a drink and engage in small talk, and it’s immediately clear Sip Sessions has a group of regulars. About half of the 75 or so in attendance are repeat sippers.

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Photography by Mike Marques of Arbor Light Studio