Wiser Conversations

Most of us think about what a better world might look like. Perhaps it might include more harmony, better relationships and purposeful living. With the pace of life we live, few of us take time to do something about it.


We have an incredible opportunity in a world that is slowed down, to stop and reflect. To consider what it means to live. A few years ago I was privileged to meet Derek Handley, a brilliant entrepreneurial New Zealander who is one of those few people trying to bring about change. Recently he took advantage of the changed life we all find ourselves in and launched a talk series “Wiser Conversations, Together at Home” – a series of virtual conversations designed to help us reflect and respond to our new surreality. It’s something I feel has enormous value and I am very happy to help get the word out.


Things you need to know

  • Free registration is via Eventbrite
  • The event itself is via Zoom
  • The format is a discussion led by Derek with the speaker, and a series of viewer questions to close
  • Each talk is approx 30 minutes

What can we learn from Zen for our lockdown and pandemic that envelopes us? What is good and what is bad about what we are experiencing? Join us for a conversation and short guided meditation with Rev. Taka live from his Kyoto temple.


Rev. Takafumi Kawakami is the deputy head priest of Shunkoin Temple in Kyoto and teaches Zen meditation classes in English to 5,000 annual visitors. His travels and talks have brought him to the likes of MIT, Brown University, TEDxKyoto & Ideo. Shunkoin is the first Buddhist temple in Japan that publicly started offering same-sex wedding ceremonies and is located inside the Myoshinji complex established in 1590 housing one of the oldest Christian bells in Japan.

It all feels quite out of our control right now amongst all the unpredictability and change. How do we find some sense of control or agency in all the unpredictability while being kind to ourselves. Join psychologist Dr Susan David and me in conversation on how we deal with our emotions.


Dr David is one of the world’s leading management thinkers and a Harvard Medical School psychologist. Her #1 Wall Street Journal bestselling book, Emotional Agility describes the psychological skills critical for thriving in times of complexity and change and her TED talk has had almost 7 million views.

A bit about Derek Handley

Derek Handley is a futurist, entrepreneur and student. He is a founding General Partner at Aera VC, an alliance of global families investing in transformative companies tackling the UN Sustainable Development Goals. He is an aspiring civilian astronaut signed up to visit space with Virgin Galactic and created the Aera Foundation in 2015 as a charitable studio catalysing social innovations to reframe the status quo for a sustainable future.


He co-founded The B Team with Sir Richard Branson, a global team of icons acting as a catalyst for bold dialogue, courageous leadership and brave action toward a fairer, greener and more human economy.


Derek is also the founder of Wiser, a platform helping people ask better questions to develop self-knowledge and purpose in their lives. Wiser programs have run at AUT University in Auckland where he is an Adjunct Professor and through workshops for families, professionals and elite athletes around the world. He is currently studying towards a Masters in Religion at Harvard.