Cazenovia Forum regularly hosts a free public affairs series that offers Cazenovians and Central New Yorkers an opportunity to hear recognized experts present their perspectives on a variety of key issues and engage in thoughtful discussion.

Given the '23 spring semester closure of Cazenovia College, Cazenovia Forum would like to extend a note of deep appreciation to the College for their commitment and support since our inception in 2006. Many of our events have taken place at the College's Catherine Cummings Theatre over the past 17 years. Going forward, please continue to check our website for details regarding upcoming programs and presentation venues.


The Cazenovia Forum hosts a regularly scheduled public affairs lecture series that offers citizens from Cazenovia and surrounding areas an opportunity to hear nationally and internationally known experts on a variety of key issues and to engage in thoughtful discussion.

Wednesday, May 1st:

"Being Online Today:
Empathy and Trust in a Hyper Digital World"

Date: Wednesday, May 1, 2024 at 7:00 PM
Venue: Cazenovia High School Auditorium, 31 Emory Ave, Cazenovia, NY

In recent years, building relationships has increasingly happened online: on social media platforms, in digital spaces, and behind screens. As users, how can we connect deeply and authentically with others, while maintaining necessary levels of trust and safety? And how can the online spaces and products we're in and on every day be developed to support users?

Empathy is the key, says Corey Ponder. His focus on empathy and working with others stems from a simple belief: "Nothing is simply someone else's problem." Ponder will explore the theme Wednesday, May 1, in a talk presented by the Cazenovia Forum. Titled "Being Online Today: Empathy and Trust in a Hyper Digital World", the talk will be at 7 p.m. at Cazenovia High School, 31 Emory Ave., Cazenovia. The presentation is free and open to the public with a reception at the Brewster Inn to follow.

With more than a decade of professional experience as a policy analyst in the public sector and a policy leader in the tech sector, Ponder knows that an emphasis on emotional intelligence—self-awareness, empathy, and interpersonal skills—leads to a more committed, productive, and engaged product and workforce. He has provided inclusion initiatives across several companies, including the CIA, Google and Meta.

His focus on empathy was sparked by an interaction with his manager in 2016 when two black men, Philando Castile and Alton Sterling had been killed by police officers. "I saw myself in these men and their untimely deaths shook me," he writes. When he got to work, and his manager asked him how he was, she wouldn't accept the automatic response we give when we think others are not really interested. She pursued it and acknowledged the news about Castile and Sterling and in that moment, Ponder says, "she created an opportunity for processing, reflecting and empathizing together." It was then that he realized that he was part of something bigger and that what affected him affected us all.

Since then, he has made empathy a daily habit. "The idea is straightforward," he writes. "Every day commit to one action that helps you understand someone better."

See recent speakers from this year, last year and earlier.

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