On a chilly winter day in February, the Village of Barrington’s Cultural Commission re-created a 1940s-era Barrington tradition called the “Town-Warming.”
On Saturday, February 3, 2018, more than 130 people gathered at Barrington’s White House to immerse themselves in a day-long speaker series that was keynoted by Hank Paulson, former U.S. Secretary of the Treasury and Chairman and CEO of Goldman-Sachs; his wife, Wendy Paulson, a noted environmentalist and philanthropist (both Barrington residents); and John Williams, noted WGN personality.
Titled “Reality Check: Where We Are Today and Our Vision for the Future,” the Town-Warming featured more than a dozen speakers and panelists of local and national significance who spoke on important topics of the day in the areas of economics, civics, religion, finance, philanthropy, and more.
The speakers included Bill Bishop (Chief Architect, Brick Meets Click); Greg Brown (Chairman & CEO, Motorola Solutions); Steve Carter (Incoming Lead Teaching Pastor, Willow Creek Community Church); Brad Cole (Executive Director, Illinois Municipal League); Dr. Maria H. Coons (Chief of Staff/Board Liaison and Vice President, Institutional Planning & Strategic Alliances, Harper College); Dr. Brian Harris (Superintendent of Schools, Barrington School District 220); Captain James D. Hawkins (Commanding Officer, Naval Station Great Lakes); Karen Lambert (President, Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital and Advocate Condell Medical Center); Heather Larson (Incoming Lead Pastor, Willow Creek Community Church); David F. Nelson (Founding Member, Barrington Area Community Foundation, and Senior Vice President, UBS Financial Services); Sam Oliver (Founding Member, JourneyCare, and President, Non-Profit Consulting); and W. Bradley Stetson (Chairman & CEO, Barrington Bank & Trust).
During the day, which ran from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and included several panels and question-and-answer sessions, speakers touched on important topics facing our community and our world, including the future of healthcare, the digital revolution, civic engagement, the need to engage the younger generation, the increasing need to focus on mental health in our country, and many more.
Keynote speaker John Williams of WGN Radio presented a talk that framed the idea of community within our new global, technological world – that our community extends far beyond our own backyards and instead is formed often in cyberspace. He urged the audience to embrace the idea that our virtual communities must not be insular but must include “gates” that allow others in so that we might experience differing worldviews while celebrating our common humanity.
The capstone of the day was a “fireside chat” with Hank and Wendy Paulson, who as avid environmentalists discussed the impact of climate change on our planet as well as on our global economy. Through the Paulson Institute, Hank and Wendy have been working diligently to bring resources and awareness to climate issues around the world, particularly in China and Latin America.
The sold-out event was hosted by Village of Barrington President Karen Darch, who said,
“We have been putting this event together for many months, and we couldn’t be more thrilled with the turnout today and the quality of the presentations and discussion. Our goal was to ‘warm up’ our community by providing a chance to gather together as our forefathers did during the Depression era to learn from some of our area’s and our nation’s most influential leaders. We are so pleased with the success of this first modern-day Town-Warming, and we hope to continue it in future years.”