There are book clubs, and then there are book clubs. The Bon Mot, founded by Leah Costello in 2010, is really more than a book club, per se. It is essentially a book, reader, and writer club, since she arranges for authors of note to come to Vancouver and speak about their book, their ideas, their opinions. That last word is important, since the opinions are those of people such as former Pakistan president Parvez Musharraf, Sarah Palin, Henry Kissinger, The New York Times columnist David Brooks, and the legendary John Cleese.
The events are centered around a speech, an exchange of philosophies, and, of course, reading the books. “What I really do is simply connect dots, find great writers and public figures who want to share their ideas with us,” Costello modestly claims. Her choices are “partially our team doing some brainstorming, partly what our members tell us about, and partly what we believe will be most engaging for our audience.” All in a day’s work.
Costello has held various positions, first as an entrepreneur (she founded Silver Spoon Catering), and was co-owner and managing partner of the Squeeze Juice & Smoothie Co. Then, at The Fraser Institute, she was director of events. Her keen interest in being highly participatory in the public arena means she is active in the community, too. She co-founded the Young Entrepreneurs Association of BC and Urban Garage Drive for Alzheimer’s, is a former director of the YWCA of Vancouver, and has also served as a director of the Arts Club Theatre Company. All in another day’s work.
Her energy level appears to have no bounds, and is outdone perhaps only by her love of what she does. “My hope is to instigate thoughtful engagement in the issues we face—to be constructive, positive influences for our community,” she says. “Bon Mot is great way to bring all of that forward.” Education as empowerment: it’s an idea that never grows old.
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