New Year, New Friends – A Networking Event in Partnership with Cosmic Centaurs

To celebrate a year of Bloom’s Lebanon Growth Accelerator program, we partnered up with Marilyn Zakhour and her fellow centaurs from Cosmic Centaurs to bring together the LGA community that has been instrumental in the implementation of the program. 


In this intimate, invitation-only event, we intended to foster conversation and collaboration between the different stakeholders contributing to the Lebanon Growth Accelerator program in the past year. 


Over this 1.5-hour session, we designed activities to encourage attendees to meet new faces, find common ground with community members, and have meaningful and reflective conversations to start the year on a positive note. 


Kickstarting the event with some introductions, LGA project manager Dara Mouracade mentioned: ​​“We aim to bring together the community around the theme of collaboration and highlight what we’ve worked on and achieved in our LGA program. We’ve helped more than 60 enterprises create over 50 job opportunities in the past year. We’re looking forward to achieving more in 2022.”

Echoing that sentiment, Marilyn explained the purpose of this session by saying: “We will celebrate together everything we’ve done in the community, and create a space to reflect & how to enable ourselves within a community or team.”

The Cosmic Centaurs team designed a few exercises to help us find common grounds in the community and develop the tools that we need to explore collaboration collectively. These exercises enabled participants to empathize with each other, connect on a deeper level, and consequently build stronger relationships that increase their satisfaction and productivity.


We started by looking at where we stand on the introvert/extrovert spectrum. Marilyn explained that “There is a misconception about the difference between introvert and extrovert: It depends on how we recharge & deal with ourselves after an exhausting day at work. We could be someone who can come up with new ideas, or hate brainstorming and not take time to generate and express ideas.”

What should people do at work to help introverts?

Sharing with others how we are & making our team aware of what we want, & the team can act upon that. This way, we will give the floor to invite them to brainstorm and exchange ideas. 
Find out more in this article: ​​https://www.cosmiccentaurs.com/post/introverts-extroverts-remote-work


In our second exercise, we looked at conflict management styles.

We can avoid conflicts by being less cooperative and less assertive or competitive. We become more assertive without being very cooperative or making compromises and taking different perspectives. At this point, we become highly assertive and cooperative to find solutions.

MJ Daoud from Labne and Facts shared her experience: “Education doesn’t help in that issue! It took me time to create the need to talk together within a team. We have to take a step back and go right to think of what we need to find the right solutions, and give space for people on board to share their perspectives.”
Marilyn concluded this exercise by saying: “We must create a space for collaboration & assertiveness. There is a responsibility in the group to help people get enabled & express themselves.”


The Cosmic Centaurs team also shared a helpful framework to encourage constructive feedback and accountability: https://www.cosmiccentaurs.com/post/how-to-run-retrospectives-why-you-need-them


In the final exercise, we launched into the resonance practice where participants were sent into breakout rooms in pairs to answer a simple question and get to know another person on a more personal and intimate level. 

The questions we answered were:

  • How are you really?
  • Who are you really?
  • Why are you here?

Once the breakouts closed, we were invited to share what we learned. Here are some highlights from the participants:

Ali Dalloul: “Giving back to the community is the key. The impact we have on ourselves reflects how we impact and give back to other people.”

Alexandra Kodjabachi: “We have the need and desire to unlock human potential instead of putting people into boxes. We must consider the impact of empowering others and recognize the importance and values of fluidity and ambiguity because we are not set in stone. Defining and categorizing make us end up losing chances to mutate, change and grab opportunities.”

Christine Francis: “It’s about our story & how to define a part of us. Asking questions and self-reflection have their magic in building rapport and identifying people. Clarity of values and vulnerability are also important in the process.”


This networking event gave us a lot of hope for the future because we were able to see that the seeds we’ve been planting for the last year are starting to bloom and that with a little bit of empathy, care and consistency, we can enable ourselves to create opportunities of growth for our entrepreneurs and support organizations. 

Interested in registering for more free workshops with LGA? Click here to sign up for our newsletter, and stay tuned for more.

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