Elevating Leadership and Community through Authentic Connections

Chris Schembra, a distinguished Wall Street Journal and New York Times Best Selling Author, has carved a niche in the realms of leadership and community building with the 747 Club, backed by his acclaimed books "Gratitude and Pasta: The Secret Sauce for Human Connection" and "Gratitude Through Hard Times: Finding Positive Benefits in Our Darkest Hours." As a member of the Rolling Stones Culture Council, Schembra brings a unique perspective to fostering authentic connections and community within the workplace. A clear testament to how great leadership and a focus on fostering deep connections can drive substantial economic growth and create a more inclusive and vibrant community.


The Transformative Power of Pasta and Community

Pasta: The Catalyst for Change

Chris Schembra found a unique method to combat his feelings of loneliness and disconnection through a homemade pasta sauce recipe. This simple act of cooking and sharing a meal became a powerful tool for building community and fostering authentic connections.

“At 8:00 PM: Dinner was served, leading to heartfelt stories, tears, and an overwhelming sense of connection and vulnerability among the guests.” 

The Impact of the 747 Club: By the Numbers

  • 54 dinners hosted in the first year
  • 808 people brought together for moments of connection and joy
  • Countless moments of authentic connection and vulnerability fostered 
  • Through the evidence-based framework of the 747 Club, they’ve sparked over 500,000 relationships, at 650+ events, and helped 300+ companies strengthen client and team relationships in profound ways.

Addressing Loneliness in the Workplace

The Loneliness Epidemic

The issue of loneliness within company culture is reaching alarming levels, posing significant health risks and potentially reducing lifespan. Loneliness in the workplace has health risks comparable to smoking 15 cigarettes a day and a potential reduction in lifespan of seven years.

“51% of the American Workforce reports being lonely on a consistent basis.”Vivic H. Murthy, Surgeon General

Bonding, Not Blending: The Path to Authentic Connections

Creating an inclusive environment where everyone feels valued requires helping people bond over shared values and experiences, and encouraging them to show up as their authentic selves.

“Belonging is not blending; belonging is bonding. It's about creating connections that are rooted in authenticity and shared experiences.”

Gratitude as a Strategy for Economic Expansion

Unpacking Gratitude

Gratitude is more than a feeling; it’s a transformative practice that fosters connection, appreciation, and mutual respect.

“Gratitude is the art of acknowledging the value and benefits we receive from others, creating a foundation for connection and community.” 

Gratitude in the Workplace: The Stats

  • 54% reduction in cardiovascular stress through peer-to-peer gratitude practices
  • 81% of workers willing to work harder when appreciated by superiors
  • Employee engagement levels can increase from 20% to 80% with regular leader check-ins

“Gratitude is not just a sentiment; it's a strategy for building stronger, more connected teams and organizations.” 

The Collective Strength of Teams

The true potential of any team lies in its ability to connect, collaborate, and champion a shared vision.

“A team's strength is not in the individuals, but in their ability to connect, collaborate, and champion a shared vision.” 

Ubuntu: A Mission for Team Unity

Doc Rivers, a renowned basketball coach, utilized the South African philosophy of "Ubuntu" to transform and unite his team, the Boston Celtics.

In 2007, faced with a team riddled with rivalries and a dissatisfied crowd, Rivers introduced "Ubuntu" — "I am because we are" — as the team's mission. He tasked rookies with introducing this philosophy to the star players, fostering connections and a sense of unity. This approach proved transformative, as the team went on to win the NBA Championships, showcasing the power of connection, collaboration, and a shared vision.

“Ubuntu: I am because we are. This mission, introduced by Doc Rivers, transformed the Boston Celtics, leading them to victory and showcasing the power of unity and shared vision.”

Reflection Questions for Leaders

  • How can you empower all members of your organization to make a meaningful impact?
  • What strategies can you employ to foster a sense of unity and collaboration within your team?
  • How well does your team understand and embody the organization’s mission, especially in challenging times?

Chris Schembra’s teachings and the 747 Club highlight the transformative power of authentic connections, gratitude, and visionary leadership. By embracing these principles, leaders can create communities and workplaces that are not only successful but also deeply connected and inclusive, leading to substantial growth and a vibrant community life.

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