Sometimes more learning takes place at an event from conversing with the people sitting at your table than it does from listening to the speakers up front. Such was the case at The World in 2016 Breakfast: Atlanta, which I attended in December.
Held at the Four Seasons in Midtown, the event was led by Daniel Franklin, executive editor of The Economist and editor of the brand’s annual “The World in…” publication for the past three decades. It’s part of a robust series of events The Economist holds in cities around the world to bring together business executives across many industries to talk about predictions and challenges for the year ahead.
I chose a seat near the front and, as attendees began to trickle in, I found myself at a table with a corporate finance executive, a KPMG tax accountant, a radio journalist, a member of the British Consulate in Atlanta and a health care professional.
I began a conversation about the hospitality industry with the finance exec, who works for Coca-Cola and travels the world for his job. His company as a whole is mostly loyal to Starwood hotels for business travel. When I asked about the recently announced merger with Marriott, he said it would be interesting to see what happens next year, as Marriott in general carries Pepsi products and is not used by Coca-Cola’s executives.