The holiday season has me thinking about parties, decorations and family togetherness... and the way people freak out when things don't live up to their expectations. So, in honor of this "emotional minefield" of a time of year, I decided to convene a group of the usual suspects for a conversation about the broader subject of "getting along".
We met (of course) at a winery; the incredible Chamard Vineyards in Clinton, with it's spectacular views, fabulous wines, and newly opened Bistro. Joining me for this Chardonnay-fueled exploration of the human spirit: Chamard's Jeff Vernon, Dr. Margaret Clark, writers Susan Campbell and Liz Petry, Paul Sessions from the Center for Family Business at the University of New Haven, and my pal, entrepreneur and rugby coach John Broker.
Susan Campbell quit her job as a columnist at the Hartford Courant, where her work was recognized by the National Women's Political Caucus, New England Associated Press News Executives, the Society for Professional Journalists, the American Association of Sunday and Feature Editors, the National Society of Newspaper Columnists, and the Sunday Magazine Editors Association. Her column about the shootings at lottery headquarters in March 1998 was part of The Courant's Pulitzer Prize-winning coverage.
The mother of two adult sons, and the grandmother of seven, she has a bachelor's degree from University of Maryland, and a master's degree from Hartford Seminary.
Liz Petry is the author of "At Home Inside: A Daughter's Tribute to Ann Petry" and "Can Anything Beat White? A Black Family's Letters".
Read her blog at www.lizpetry.com
Paul Sessions is Director of the Center for Family Business at the University of New Haven. He is also a trusted advisor to a number of family businesses, dealing with succession, communication and conflict, and has been spending a fair amount of time lately coaching individual family members and key employees.
He loves his work with families, his partner Gayle, his son Gabriel, his music, great books and good food and wine.
Margaret Clark is professor of psychology at Yale University. For over 40 years, starting as an undergraduate at Franklin and Marshall College, Margaret’s research has focused on what contributes to (as well as what detracts from!) well-functioning friendships, family relationships and romantic relationships. She has a special interest in the role that experiencing and expressing emotion plays in this.
Margaret has served on the governing board of the American Psychological Association and as president of the International Society of Personality and Social Psychology and the Society of Experimental Social Psychology. Her current activities include consulting with both the Swiss and Israeli governments on research on relationships, serving as an editor for the journal Emotion, and teaching classes on relationships.