Hosting a GenHERous Conversation

GenHERous was created so women could connect, learn and support each other across the genHERations by sharing their experience and wisdom in intergenerational conversations. At its core is the assumption that our collective wisdom is of great value to all of us and we need to have a way to share it and put it to use in our lives. A genHERous conversation is where this sharing takes place.

Hosting a genHERous involves:

  • Gathering a group of women of multiple generations in equal numbers of each generation
  • Hosting and facilitating during the event
  • Following up with the attendees and the genHERous coordinator

All with the support of the materials in the genHERous How To Guide and personal coaching from a woman who has done it!

Here is some information to help you decide if you want to host a genHERous event.

The minimum length of a genHERous should be four hours depending on the size of your groups and the number of generations you chose to include—the more of each, the more time you will need for the conversations. To run a successful session you will need time for gathering the group, giving an introduction to the process, two rounds of conversations, a break between them, and a time to debrief and close the conversation with the whole group. (Ideally, there will also be a post-session reception where conversations can continue informally.)

Here is a brief outline of a genHERous conversation:

  • Welcome and introduction (10 minutes)
  • Round 1—Same Generation Conversation (45 minutes to 1 hour depending on the group size)
  • Break—Time to get drinks, use bathrooms, finish conversations and find their way to their Round 2 group (20 minutes)
  • Round 2—Intergenerational Conversations (75 to 90 minutes depending on the number of generations)
  • Debrief (10-15 minutes)
  • Living genHERous (10-15 minutes)
  • Closing Celebration

How many generations should I include?

You can have women in their teens (preferably older high school), 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s, 70s, and 80 and above. Depending on whether you include teens and 80 plus, you will have 6 to 8 generation groups each of which will need its own meeting space for the first round. Unless you have access to a large senior population, I suggest using 70 plus.

How many women in each generation and in total?

You can have as few as 24 and as many as 48 women and have enough (but not too many) for a good conversation. What is imperative is that you have an equal number of women from each generation so there will be one from each age group in the second round. This insures that every generation gets represented with an equal voice in the intergenerational conversations.

How much space do we need?

You will need a large gathering area and as many breakout/conversation spaces as you have generations for Round 1, and as many conversation spaces as you have women per generation for Round 2. For example, the pilot was held in a private home. Since we had 6 generations and 6 women in each group, we needed 6 conversation spaces for each round. The main living room was used as a general gathering space. 6 separate conversation groups were set-up in 6 different rooms of the house. If you have 7 generations and 4 women from each, you will need 7 spaces for Round 1 and 4 for Round 2.

Inviting Attendees and Filling the Generation Groups

Send out invitations by email several weeks before the event date. Find a woman from each generation who is willing to partner with you and to help you connect with others their age. Send a reminder a few days before the event.

Preparing for the Conversations

Once you have your attendee list, you can create group assignments for the cross-generational conversation groups. You’ll also want name tags and either a wall chart or handouts with group assignments/locations.

Closer to the time of the event, set up seating for your conversation areas, a table with name tags and group information by the entry, another table with beverages, and snacks and tissues for each conversation area. Also provide instructions and something to serve as a “talking stick” for each group. Samples and templates of all materials are in the “How To” Guide.

Facilitating the Conversation

During the gathering, you will monitor the timing and flow of the conversations, check on food/drink supplies, and generally oversee the event.

After the Meeting

Review the evaluation forms and get in touch with the genHERous organizers to share your experience. Follow-up with your group of women by sending an appropriate note or the group photo .

Relax! You did it!

Interested in hosting?

Please remember that the purpose of the information above is to give you guidance on the practical logistics of hosting an event so you can decide if you are interested in doing it. It is not a substitute for us working together. If you are considering hosting a genHERous event, please contact us by filling in the form to open the conversation.

This project is all about being genHERous and harnessing our collective wisdom and that starts with us!

In community,

Barbara Simonetti
Barbara@genherous.org