Great Conversations

Thank you to those who joined us this year at Great Conversations – we greatly appreciate your support. We are looking forward to a “live” event next year on April 27, 2022 – stay tuned for details.

In the meantime, for your reference, please take a look at the 2021 digital program and the 2021 conversationalists listed below.

Join us for the best get-together in town — with your choice of fabulous table host! Choose from an amazing array of talented and accomplished individuals, all of whom contribute to our vibrant community. It’s an unforgettable evening of great conversation, great connection, and great company.

  • Find out what inspired an artist to use shoes, irons, and water bottles to create his iconic work.
  • Get the inside scoop of what it is like to be a bandmate of Billy Joel’s from his longtime saxophonist.
  • Did you know that The Abbey in Morristown is being converted into a RH (Restoration Hardware) Design Center and restaurant? Talk to the executive leading the project.
  • Learn the ins and outs of Bernie Madoff’s Ponzi scheme from the author who interviewed him and wrote all about it.
  • Wonder what makes Tate’s Cookies so amazingly crispy and delicious? Ask the CEO.

This year’s stellar line-up of Conversationalists,  whom you can read about below, are drawn from the following fields: Arts, Music & Entertainment; Authors & Media; Culinary Arts & Food; Entrepreneurs; Financial Services; Healthcare & Pet Care; Real Estate & Architecture; Science & Medicine and Social Impact & Government Relations.

You can also “meet” them HERE.

How the Event Will Work
This virtual version of Great Conversations will start off with everybody together for the welcome. After that, just like our in-person event, you will split off into a small group, hosted by a Conversationalist of your choice. You will have the chance to have a real conversation with your Conversationalist, personally asking them questions, and meeting others who share your interests.

How to Choose Your Conversationalists
When you register, please select your top five Conversationalist choices. Seating assignments are first come, first serve. This popular event fills up quickly, so be sure to purchase your tickets early.

Tips for Registering
When you register, please use the same email you use to sign in to Zoom (a Zoom account is recommended to help us pre-assign the breakout rooms).


Arts, Music & Entertainment

Willie Cole
Contemporary American sculptor, conceptual and visual artist
Mindi Dickstein
Award-winning lyricist, librettist, and playwright
Mark Rivera
Famous rock ‘n roll saxophonist for Billy Joel and other music elite including Ringo Starr, Peter Gabriel, and Sir Paul McCartney
Nick Wyman
Stage, film and television actor; career includes roles in Phantom of the Opera and Les Miserables on Broadway and on Veep TV

Authors & Media

Amanda Benchley
Journalist, filmmaker, co-author of three books including Our Shoes, Our Selves
Ann Berry
Chief Investment Officer at Wheelhouse, a media, marketing, and investment platform; TV news commentator for the BBC, CBS, and CNN
Virginia Buckingham
Best-selling author of On My Watch: A Memoir, her story of resilience after being scapegoated as CEO of Logan Airport during the 9/11 attacks
Diana Henriques
Best-selling author of The Wizard of Lies: Bernie Madoff and the Death of Trust;  played herself in the HBO film opposite Robert De Niro; award-winning financial journalist
Jamie Kraft
Sr. Managing Editor of NJ Spotlight News, part of NJ PBS; Emmy® Award-winning television broadcast journalist
John Seigenthaler
Former weekend anchor for NBC Nightly News; currently a Partner at Finn Partners

Culinary Arts & Food

David Burke
Celebrity chef, restaurateur, and cookbook author; opening 1776 by David Burke featuring Topgolf Swing Suite in Morristown in 2021.
Nancy Pak
CEO of Tate’s Bake Shop, part of Mondelēz International; consumer products & naturals industry expert


Thomas Maoli
Founder of Celebrity Motor Cars; serial entrepreneur; real estate mogul; Go Big or Go Home radio show host, sold The Abbey in Morristown to RH (Restoration Hardware).

Financial Services

Christy Cornish
Barclays – Director of International Business Engagement

Healthcare & Pet Care

Nicole Bennett
CEO of Pethealth Inc., provider of pet insurance and pet care services
Ruth Clements
Quest Diagnostics – VP/General Manager of Infectious Disease & Immunology, and Quest for Health Equity
Frank D’Amelio
Pfizer – Chief Financial Officer & EVP, Global Supply

Real Estate & Architecture

Pietro Cicognani
Cofounder of Cicognani Kalla Architect, serving A-List clients including actress Isabella Rossellini
Jeff Milanaik
Bridge Development Partners – Partner, Northeast Region
David Stanchak
RH (Restoration Hardware) – President, Chief Real Estate & Development Officer; leading the renovation of The Abbey in Morristown into a RH design center

Science & Medicine

George Philander, Ph.D
Renowned climate scientist, El Niño expert, Princeton University Professor Emeritus
Daniel Varga, M.D.
Hackensack Meridian Health – Chief Physician Executive
Thomas Zaubler, M.D.
Morristown Medical Center – Chair & Medical Director of the Department of Psychiatry

Social Impact & Government Relations

Richard Constable
Madison Square Garden Entertainment – EVP, Global Head of Government Affairs & Social Impact
Carlos Rodriguez
Community Food Bank of New Jersey – President & CEO

Great Sponsors of Great Conversations

We thank the following corporate sponsors for their support of Morris Arts. Click on the sponsor’s name to link to their website.

Any questions? Please email Gina Moran at