Fresh coffee, pastries and big ideas


Minds were inspired and dreams awakened at the recent CreativeMornings monthly lecture series hosted at Skylights penthouse.  Against the backdrop of the city skyline and with coffee and breakfast to hand, hundreds of attendees welcomed entrepreneurs, Dave Rigo and Greg Lehman of Watershed Distillery (pictured opposite), to the floor to explore the topic of risk. 

Here we catch up with Tom Fox, founder of the Cleveland Chapter of CreativeMornings, to find out more about the take away from this lecture, what CreativeMornings is all about and what he believes makes these short breakfast talks (which are held in cities worldwide) such a big hit among the creative community.

How did the most recent CreativeMornings Talk go with Dave Rigo and Greg Lehman of Watershed Distillery and what was the take away message?

The big take away was to do as much as you possibly can to reduce risk.  It was inspiring to hear their story and see the path they took to start a pretty unique small business in Ohio.  A lot of people also got the sense that even though Watersheds been around for five years now, its still only at the beginning of a longer narrative to unfold over years to come.

There were some great comments from the guys… one I believe was “Don’t quit (your job), get fired”.  This was the message to people dreaming, and thinking about starting their own projects but working a day job to pay the bills.

What got you first involved in the Cleveland Chapter and what do you see as its overarching purpose?

I had already been working in Cleveland arts development projects for about 5 years and saw CreativeMornings as an opportunity to better connect and elevate separate industry silos.  There are tons of great people and things happening in Cleveland that should be shared to an audience outside of the 216 - a difficult task, but something CreativeMornings is well positioned to do.

Theres actually a time capsule about why I started the chapter from July 2014: I submitted this video as a pitch to the organization on what I wanted to do with the chapter in Cleveland.

When people hear the word “creative” they tend to automatically think of artists, poets, designers – is that your target for the lectures?

When we say “creatives” we mean it literally.  Creatives are people who create. One of the mantras of CreativeMornings is "everyone is creative and everyone is welcome." At the most basic level everyone has the potential to activate their imagination and make something, regardless of learned skills or perceived talent. Our themes are very diverse too – anything from climate, to revolution, to robots.

What makes it different to other lectures?

I look at CreativeMornings as a platform to share ideas, success stories, and artistic process. People that come are interested in these things.  While you’re at CreativeMornings you do meet other people interested in these things, across every imaginable discipline. The results are simply magic. 

You rotate venues – what are you looking for in a venue/space?

We like venues (spaces) to be connected with organizations that foster creativity. We also like venues to be close to downtown. We also like venue organizations that help us pay for breakfast as our events are free.

Where do you get your ideas for speakers and what kind of people are you looking for?

We host an annual NOMINATION party in the fall that is part fundraiser and part a speaker nomination game. We made the event for the first time last year and had over 200 nominations for speakers related to the monthly themes. I saw the event as a way to pool the collective knowledge of our community to discover people that are doing very interesting work.  We also accept nominations throughout the year and work amongst our team to identify potential speakers as they apply to the monthly themes.

The next CreativeMornings lecture is taking place on May 20th.  To stay up to date on upcoming events, sign up on the CreativeMornings website. Lectures last 20 minutes and include a light breakfast.  There are currently over 1,100 people who have profiles in the Cleveland chapter and 2,500+ people subscribed to events.   Events are free but you will need to register as space is limited.

Thanks to Tom and the team at CreativeMornings for allowing Skylight Financial Group to host and be a partner at this fantastic lecture.  It was an absolute pleasure to be involved.

Check out some great photos from the lecture below.  Photographs: Anna Zimmerman

The views expressed here are those of CreativeMornings; views are not necessarily those of Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company or its subsidiaries.
CreativeMornings is not a subsidiary or affiliate of MassMutual or its affiliated companies. 

Contact Us

Back to News Listing

RSS Subscribe

In This Section:

Recent News

Skylight Attends Opening of Renovated Lakeside Lake, West Dayton

Skylight’s Rick Rudnicki and Kelsey Koren recently joined Dayton Mayor, volunteers and community leaders to celebrate the completion of the Lakeside Lake’s restoration

Latest Skylight Newsletter

Check out our weekly newsletter for the latest news and tips!

Harnessing Horsepower

Skylight's Emily Garrett talks about the great work of Cleveland's first urban equestrian program in helping vulnerable youth as we get closer to their first major benefit and fun event