Welcome to The Brain Exchange, a brainstorming group where women connect to help one another find answers to some of life's challenges and mysteries. Discover who we are and why we brainstorm together, where to find a Brain Exchange, how to start your own group, what kinds of professions are represented among our members, and how to run a meeting — all here on our website or in person...
In El Cerrito, CA
Susan Goldstein and Anita Goldstein co-facilitate a meeting in El Cerrito, California on the third Thursday of every month.
Starting in 2014, attendance at the El Cerrito meeting is by invitation -- through Eventbrite -- and limited to 26 attendees. Any member can sign herself + a guest up for a meeting. When that limit is reached, Eventbrite automatically maintains a wait list and adds those names when a member cancels.
The reason for this change stems from our desire to maintain the feeling of community -- and having past attendees along with new people seems to meet that need.
(As always, Anita and Susan will be happy to share what they know about creating and sustaining a Brain Exchange.)
In Your Area
If you are interested in connecting with other women in your area who might want to start a Brain Exchange, contact us. If there is anyone on our list in your area, I will notify you.
Some Brain Exchange Statistics as of August, 2013
12 women attended the first brainstorming meeting – August 1995
There are new Brain Exchange Groups in San Francisco and Oakland. Others in the planning stage.
2,000 women have attended approximately 192 meetings over 16 years.
1,300 questions brainstormed 1995-2011
10 new members each month on average
In the beginning brainstorms were written on yellow pads. The original went to the person whose question was brainstormed. If anyone wanted copies Anita made them on the copy machine in her office. Alas, those brainstorms are lost to history!
Brainstorms were recorded by Susan on her laptop and circulated using Anita’s AOL account.
Started using Yahoo Groups which made it possible to post brainstorms, and to post offers and requests that are the backbone of the posting service.
Yahoo Groups Posting stats: August 2006 – first month of postings: 93
June 2013– highest number of monthly postings to date: 246
Total number of postings on Yahoo Groups 2006-present:14,506!!
On our 18th anniversary evening – 18!!! – we asked people what impact Brain Exchange has had on their lives. Here are some of the responses:
- I don't feel alone. I resonate. It gives me food for thought.
- Weaves me into the tapestry of life. I leave feeling ebullient
- I first came 12 years ago. It has marked the milestones in my life-buying a house, getting my kids, changing my business. A consistent group of smart women who have given and given in all these different times of life. Chapters of my life have been witnessed. I like the multi-age group. I grew up in LA where after 40 you are irrelevant.
- I remember the first time I came; I thought everyone was a role model. I could live alone. I could be a role model.
People aren't invested in their suggestions like family and friends often are.
- I've only been here once before. There's a lot of love here and it is nice to drink it in.
- I like the fact that answers come from personal experience.
- I've been coming for 5 or 6 years. I love the sense of camaraderie and sense of sharing. I love being able to share info on line and cross-connections. Getting to know people online
- I like the window into people's lives.
- It's comforting to have a place to come where people have ideas and are supportive.
- I leave with a lot of energy
- I like the sense of community. People are charged up by each other's energy. I feel more hopeful and more optimistic.
- Formulating a question is the most important thing. While you're trying to articulate the struggle that brought you to the question, you come closer to the answer.
- I really appreciate the warmth of being in a living room. I like the surprises of the topics that arise. It feels that things won't get out of hand. The structure helps.
- Gratitude bubbles up with me.—it makes magic in all the rest of our lives.
- I like that we can be silly. The laughter is good.
- We get to feel good and do good
- Generosity is contagious.
- I like the attitude adjustment I get here-It helps me move forward.
Brain Exchange 20th Anniversary, August 2015
"Ring the bells that still can ring.
Forget your perfect offering.
There is a crack in everything,
that's how the light gets in."
~ Leonard Cohen
Susan and Anita, SF Bay Area BE co-leaders. August, 2015