The latest BMI Alumni “Dinner with an Expert” event went beyond ‘business as usual’ as our host, the well-known priest Algirdas Toliatas, led us in a look at important aspects of life not directly related to profit and efficiency. The main topic was social innovation –creatively promoting the good of our communities– though we also touched at times on our own spiritual dimension and needs.
It was a Thursday evening. As usual with these events, we were a small group of alumni from diverse industries and cohorts, keen to have a close encounter with an expert and network with each other a bit. We met at Father Algirdas’s base of operations: the ensemble of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Consolation, a 250-year-old church complex which the Soviets had turned into a warehouse, but which under his leadership is now coming back to life as a hub for multiple social initiatives.
Talking took place during a tour of the complex, impressive in size yet somehow still hidden in a courtyard in the Old Town of Vilnius, and then over dinner at Pirmas Blynas – a restaurant staffed by people with disabilities, located on the ground floor of the former church building.
The food and whole experience were a tasty joy, full of originality, which made it easy to understand why the restaurant has been recognized as one of the best social business initiatives in Lithuania.