DEC 10-12



Virtual Junto

Cornelius McGrath


Cornelius McGrath


DECEMBER 10-12, 2020

Dearest Members, Guests & Friends,


The December Virtual Junto is upon us. It feels as if a few lifetimes have passed since we last convened in August, and a few millennia since our first get together in May. 

I’m excited to reflect on 2020 with you all alongside some of the world’s best practitioners and thinkers. Our theme for December’s Junto is ‘A New Beginning’ – a subject we’ve all been grappling with daily for the last 12 months.

From nail-biting elections and global pandemics to no-fan sports seasons, cancelled holidays and a total rewrite on how we work, go to school and play, it’s safe to say 2020 has been the new beginning.

While uncomfortable, new beginnings are an opportunity. An opportunity for us to do (and think about) the lives we lead a little differently. And as seemingly unpredictable as they may seem, new beginnings are always preceded with a set of crumbs and clues. Whether we are willing to see them or not, however, is an entirely different ballgame.

Take retail, for example. Online sales grew as much in 8 weeks (Feb-April 2020) as they had in the entire decade preceding the pandemic (April 2010-2020). And yet Macy’s, JC Penney and Arcadia Ltd – a few of the world’s greatest retail behemoths – are all in the 2020 graveyard.

What gives? 

If 2020 has taught us anything, it’s that new beginnings are not anomalies, but rather inevitabilities. There’s little use in us wasting our precious time, attention and energy talking about whether they’ll happen. All the value lies in how we plan to see, deal with, and ultimately take advantage of these new beginnings once they do arrive.


Each of our speakers knows a thing or two about doing just that. This bespoke group of educators, historians, entrepreneurs and artists have not only experienced many in their own lives but also come with stellar track records of creating new beginnings for others, even in the most turbulent and dark of times.

In a world predicated on tradition, safety and reliability, the stories of our speakers illustrate how new beginnings can be both a blessing and a curse. And why the only difference between the former and the latter is your ability to balance tolerance for risk with an unwavering belief in yourself to create something of value.

All 5 live conversations will take place during these windows on Thursday, Friday and Saturday:


The Great Reveal: What The Hell Happened To Us This Year?

Info:  Join world-class historian Professor Patrick Griffin as he breaks down what 2020 has revealed about modern-day society. See below for his September op-ed that lit the world alight.

Speakers: Professor Patrick Griffin; Life Entails Risk
Time: 7:00 – 8:30 PM (CT)


Welcome to The Junto: Happy Hour & Retreat Kickoff

Info: Grab something cold, let your hair down and join us for a drink as we get to know one another. We’ll dissect our collective new beginnings, intentions for the weekend, and share what we hope to give you through The Junto for years to come.

Speaker: Cornelius McGrath, Cam Perna & Josh Whelan.
Time: 5:00 – 6:30PM (CT)


Beyond The Credit Score: Debt, Risk & The New Social Contract

Info: Join entrepreneur Jack Markwalter as he shares his playbook for building a more inclusive financial system by redefining a new social contract that enables employees everywhere to create new beginnings for themselves, their most cherished communities and their loved ones.

 Jack Markwalter; Helping Low-Income Workers Stay Out of Debt; The Viva Way
Time: 12:00 – 1:30 PM (CT)

Built To Last: Inside The Evergreen Communities That Made the World 

Info:  Join Junto Curator & Host Cornelius McGrath as he breaks down the inner workings of four of the most powerful communities to ever grace the globe – The Junto, The Saturday Club, Augusta National & The Inklings – and how they are consistently able to shape culture.

Speaker: Cornelius McGrath; The Real Value of Online Communities
Time: 3:00 – 4:30 PM (CT)

Short Term Pain, Long Term Gain: Making Sh*t Happen When Your Life Falls Apart

Info: Join award-winning filmmaker, entrepreneur and comedian Jennifer Jane as she shares her life story. From heartbreak and the red carpet to creating content with millions of views for the biggest brands in the world, there isn’t much Jen hasn’t done nor seen. It’s time to learn how she’s kept it all together.

Speaker: Jennifer Jane – Charged; Hungry Life; Proper Good.
Time: 6:00 – 7:30 PM (CT)

Come ready to inquire, debate, and go first. At the Junto, you get out what you put in.




90 minutes is ‘scheduled’ for each talk. But not all talks will last 90 minutes. In fact, I fully expect some to last several hours. Talks follow the School of Life’s conversation menu format – you can familiarize yourself with that style here.

All conversations are peer-to-peer driven; speakers are merely meant to provoke conversation. They do not have all the answers. Come ready to inquire, debate, and have some fun.

There are several hours between each talk. This is by design.

I’ve been to my fair share of conferences and have always wondered: whoever thought that having 16 talks back-to-back with no Q+A or break was valuable?

In Britain, we have a saying: what a load of bollocks! And no bollocks will be had at the Junto.

By all means use the breaks to recharge, live your lives, take your dogs for walks, or join that legendary quarantine Zoom call that’s the new highlight of your social life. 

My real hope, however, is that you’ll the time to talk to one of your fellow members via FaceTime, Zoom, or (dare I say it) Skype.

After all, this is the real value of the Junto: the community.

Breaks are a time to explore even deeper personal conversations in a more intimate space. Know where and who you want to invest your time over the course of the weekend.


Remember: The Junto is a space to follow your deepest curiosities through the lens of love, life and action. So can learn what you don’t know, and teach what you do. 

Go first. Bring your A-Game. And let the fireworks begin. 

Cornelius McGrath