We chat with Jill Meyer, the new President & CEO of Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber, and her husband Awadagin Pratt, renowned concert pianist, as a sneak peek of their presentation at this week’s Cincy Chat.
Each Cincy Chat is defined by the conversation – and as a result of the vast offerings now available on the arts and cultural front in Cincinnati – there’s plenty to talk about. Jill Meyer, President and CEO of the Cincinnati Regional Chamber, and her husband, renowned concert pianist, Awadagin Pratt, are opening up this discussion to young professionals at HYPE’s lunch-and-learn on February 23rd, 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber.
“Cincy Chat essentially happens quarterly, three to four times a year, and my husband, Awadagin, and I will be kicking off 2016,” says Meyer. “The overall concept for Cincy Chat is just having conversations with various leaders in the city about what makes the city the city, why they’re here and why they do what they do.”
As for Meyer and her husband, they come from two different perspectives in the city. “My husband is an internationally known concert pianist who lives in the city – who is all about the world of art and education,” she says. “Then you have me, who grew up in the city (my husband is not from here) and have been in the business sector my whole life.”
After practicing law for 20 years at Frost Brown Todd and serving as the Member-in-Charge of the law firm’s Cincinnati office for her last six years, Meyer began serving her passions as a dedicated volunteer to many civic and community causes. She also earned her B.A. at Mount St. Joseph University and her J.D. at Northern Kentucky University’s Salmon P. Chase College of Law, both magna cum laude.
As for her husband, Awadagin Pratt, his road to musical genius began when he started studying the piano at age six. He later enrolled at the Peabody Conservatory of Music, where he became the first student in school history to receive diplomas in three performance areas – piano, violin and conducting. He has performed at the White House as well as on TV’s Sesame Street. Currently, he is Professor of Piano and Chairman of the Piano Department at the College Conservatory of Music at UC. “I thought that in coming together, it would be a fun discussion of not only the intersection of those two worlds, but how the intersection of those two worlds is vitally important to what we continue to build in this region,” Meyer elaborates. “We have some great momentum, and we think that there are even greater things just on the horizon.”
All of this is underscored by the fact that the couple is also co-chairing the ArtsWave campaign this year. “The premise of why we’re doing Cincy Chat and what we’re talking about is part of the ArtsWave campaign,” says Meyer. “We want to show the importance of the business community supporting, recognizing and embracing our truly unique arts scene in this region as well as the arts community,” she continues. “We want other to understand the breadth of business, understand the importance of a strong and healthy business environment in feeding not only monetarily, but audience wise, the existence of those arts.”
Although Cincy Chat is designed to be a Q&A type of format, Meyer makes a point that their goal throughout the discussion is to open people’s eyes to differences. “We want people to see how things that maybe are perceived to be different really are either not so different, or because of their differences, are more supportive of one another than they might appear at first glance,” says Meyer.
To register for HYPE’s lunch-and-learn, visit http://hypecincinnati.com/cincy-chat/. Cost is $25 for Chamber members and $40 for others.