In the late 1990’s Mike Thompson was a part of a downtown men’s bible study group. It was by invitation of Phil Kapela who was hosting the group that Mike was introduced to the First Friday Club of Chicago (FFCC). Thompson doesn’t remember his first FFCC lunch, but what he does remember is that the First Friday Club caught his attention because it was focused on merging work, life, and values into the speaker presentations. Mike’s attendance became a regular monthly happening then became a monthly mainstay as a table captain since the early 2000’s.
When asked how he goes about inviting his guests Thompson said, “I use email exclusively. All the people on my list are friends or colleagues from over the years of professional activity.” Mike also admits that from time to time someone “asks” to be placed on the mailing list and FFCC administrator Wanda Menghini turns to Mike to ensure that our new guest has a great experience. “Mike does a superb job of making everyone feel welcome. Each month he goes to the extra effort of preparing each guest at his table with a name placard. This really helps to break the ice for any new attendees,” commented Wanda Menghini. Mike was asked about the name placards and his response was simple. “I think it helps because I have trouble remembering names…even of people to whom I’ve been introduced. It also allows me to place people next to others who may not know each other, or in whom I think they may have an interest” commented Thompson.
Mike Thomson is sold on the rewards of being a table captain. “I see it as an opportunity to get together with friends and colleagues, and I’m probably involved more in it because I want to support an effort that brings people together to explore the intersection of work, life and values. It provides a positive forum to bring people with similar interests and values together; if it weren’t for the FFCC, I probably wouldn’t have the opportunity to get together with them. It has also introduced me to some great people like Bill Hassett, who I met simply because Wanda put us together at the table one day; that would have never happened if I hadn’t been a part of the First Friday family.
If you are interested in getting a group of friends and colleagues together to come to the First Friday Club of Chicago, please contact Wanda Menghini, club administrator. All you have to do is invite your group each month. Remember…it all starts with an invitation!