2023 Seminars

We are in the process of sharing all of the SMALL TOCC seminars. Keep your eye on this page for all of the details. In the meantime, please visit our 2023 Speakers page to see who will be speaking that day.

Why Aren’t You A Gay Bar Yet? presented by Calliope Draper

This session boldly asks the question “its 2023, are you a gay bar yet?”

Drawing from personal stories, queer theory and philosophies of hospitality, this session discusses the ways we can create intentional, supportive environments for queer and trans people, how we can overturn barriers we may unintentionally create, and how we can move beyond creating safe spaces and towards creating actively welcoming spaces. This session strives to recontextualize our roles in the hospitality industry into roles of activism, justice, and advocacy through candid discussions about the ways in which queer and trans people navigate the industry, as professionals or as guests. Although this session is a space for discussion and questioning, this is not a debate on queerness or transness.

Upon leaving this session, attendees will have developed a better understanding of the structural barriers to engagement faced by trans people, the dangers of leaving this work exclusively to queer folk, the importance of queer joy and visibility, and the difference between a safe and an actively welcoming space. Attendees should feel empowered to engage in informed discussions about queer inclusive hospitality strategies, challenge transphobia that they encounter and learn more about the topics discussed.

Tall Tales: The Story of Storytelling Cocktails presented by Samuel Wilson

This seminar is intentionally meant to draw us into the world of alcohol and its deep, inherent importance to human beings.
Drawing on research and apocryphal tales of very early human drinking, we’ll begin by addressing the role of alcohol beyond simple social lubricant: its associations with godhood, death and its importance to the foundations of our social structures and the implications that carries into its current role in holidays, festivals, funerals and general debauchery. We’ll touch on how burgeoning commerce and globalization influenced the development of cocktails, often at the expense of equity and humanity.

Going further into our exploration, we’ll strive to place these root interests in the context of the modern bar, and how the desire to place drinking in a ritual setting while operating a commercial enterprise influenced 20th C. bartenders that are nearer to our time and serve as active inspirations for the bar community today.

Our objective is to give roots to our own drinking experiences as well as our guests, that goes beyond a simplistic or purely nostalgic view of say, Pre Prohibiton drinking, to shed light on how dynamic, fraught, and exciting the story of drinking can be – and in turn, how it can enliven our experience of imbibing.

Hospitality Roadmap to Entrepreneurship presented by Jenn Abergel and Evelyn Chick

So you had a 5 year plan in hospitality but the pandemic changed it all… what now?

Bar veterans and Entrepreneurs Jenn Abergel and Evelyn Chick share their journey of turning an idea into ownership in an honest and open discussion on how to navigate the future of hospitality and how investing in yourself can create opportunities unknown.

Jenn comes from a background of studying criminology & political science. As a practicing paralegal for 3 years, she draws from her personal experiences of building Quench Bar from the ground up, turning her pipe dream she didn’t know she had, into a successful reality. Evelyn with 16 years hospitality experience, was at the peak of her career opening top bars and designing programs for multimillion dollar companies until the pandemic took those opportunities away. She took a leap of faith and invested in herself with her consultancy Evelyn Chick Projects and in two years built 3 more businesses. Were they always on this path? Did they know what they were in for?

Whether you’re feeling stuck in your current position or feel motivated but unsure how to pursue the next steps, this small tocc will unpack how to use those feelings of uncertainty to fuel some decisions and changes moving towards the next step of your career.