Plated Projection Dinners: Igniting Innovative Ideas Among Thought Leaders


Picture this: You’re in a room full of strangers, yet everyone is nodding their heads, enraptured, as you spend 5-minutes describing the frustrations you’re currently facing at work. Imagine that you then spend the next 5-minutes hearing solutions, gathering ideas, and attaining insights from your colleagues, now friends, because they’re encountering the exact same struggles. 

You’re in a safe space where you’re valued and supported by your peers. This is what attendees experience every time we gather around the table at a Plated Projections event. 

In today’s fast-paced and digitally interconnected world, the act of uniting thought leaders from different parts of the country for a meal and meaningful conversation has become a powerful catalyst for innovation. Meeting in person empowers us to put the “human” back into HR. Beyond mere sustenance, shared meals have the unique ability to foster connections, break down barriers, and ignite transformative ideas. Throughout the year and around the country, Burnalong hosts intimate dinners where HR executives go to explore the remarkable potential that emerges when compassionate individuals convene over a delicious meal and relaxed atmosphere. What results is one-of-a-kind collaborations and novel insights that result in meaningful solutions for some of HR’s biggest dilemmas.

Creating Connections from Coast-to-Coast

From New York City to Nashville, San Francisco, and other big cities across the country, Burnalong’s Plated Projections events provide opportunities for thought leaders to connect on a personal level, stepping away from formal office settings and engaging in authentic conversations. The relaxed atmosphere of a shared meal encourages open dialogue, promotes trust, and enables attendees to establish deeper connections beyond their professional roles. As individuals share stories, experiences, and perspectives, they discover commonalities and develop a genuine sense of camaraderie. By the end of the night, we’ve taken selfies, shared LinkedIn contacts, and made real plans for ongoing connection.

Shared meals offer a departure from the confines of offices and conference rooms, enabling thought leaders to immerse themselves in a relaxed and inspiring environment while eating elegant fare. The synthesis of diverse ideas, combined with the sensory experience of a meal, often acts as a catalyst for creative breakthroughs and the creation of innovative solutions to complex challenges.

The “Why” Behind Plated Projections

Trust is a fundamental element in fostering collaboration and driving innovation. Shared meals provide a safe and informal space for thought leaders to build trust among themselves. Meaningful conversations during meals lead to the formation of robust networks and long-lasting partnerships, further fueling ongoing innovation. Attendees return to the office rejuvenated and inspired to create a positive impact on their employees’ wellness.

What to Expect: 

We’ve organized these intimate dinner events in response to the feedback we’ve received: thought leaders are craving in-person connection. While dining together, we discuss, and even politely debate, trending topics in HR and questions that matter to our teams today, such as, “What’s the most important piece to an employee’s mental health puzzle?’ and “What’s working right now to engage and attract quality top talent?” Plan to leave with actionable solutions you can immediately implement back at the office.

The Conversation Continues 

While the dinner events are incredibly enjoyable and productive affairs, we want to continue the conversation “beyond the plate”. In that aim, we’re starting to organize mini-retreat days for HR leaders to enjoy some of the same rest and relaxation that they prescribe to their employees. The afternoon’s agenda will include healthy fare, guided meditations, and stretch breaks in addition to journaling opportunities and other movement options. Our hope is that leaders will return to the office rejuvenated and ready to tackle the toughest HR challenges. 

Just like parents are told to put the oxygen mask on first, HR executives need to be reminded to prioritize their own mental health while championing corporate wellness initiatives at their company.

What Are Attendees Saying?

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“We had such wonderful dialogue! Really grateful for the Burnalong team for facilitating a space for us to share HR lessons learned and innovative & individualistic ideas!“

Arabia Shanklin

Director of Congressional Inquiries and Human resource Management, U.S. Navy

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“Thank you for hosting an evening of conversation around employee wellbeing–it really matters. The evening was an amazing time of sharing & supporting & laughing amongst some incredible HR professionals.”

Tiffany D.

Strategic Benefits Leader

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“I am always grateful for the opportunity to network with other HR professionals. The venue was just lovely, and I was also able to take away some ‘gold nuggets’ as well as increase my professional contacts. Thank you.

Vivian H.

HR Director



Where will we be setting the table next?


If you’re interested in co-hosting a future Plated Projections event or attending a dinner near you, please share your information, here:

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