BYOS began in 2015 with a simple question we kept asking each other in graduate school: If we are surrounded by smart, thoughtful people, why is small talk so common and meaningful conversation so rare?

So we decided to host a dinner party with a unique twist. Instead of asking guests to bring a bottle of wine, we requested they bring a true, personal story inspired by the theme of transition. Something magical happened; we didn’t dwell on the surface-level topics of jobs, hometowns and the weather. Instead, we took turns sharing stories rife with emotion that were full of meaning and rooted in authenticity.

Over the next few years, this simple concept grew into a global movement. We held over 300 dinners with 60 trained hosts in dozens of cities around the world. We’ve discussed more than 80 themes, from adventure and connection to loss and faith. We held dinners in the dark, created men’s and women’s circles, and partnered with nonprofits and brands of all stripes. And we experimented with producing larger, more inventive, immersive gatherings to bind our communities together over meaningful meals and creative collaborations.

Today, BYOS is doing much more than just hosting dinner parties. Were creating an open source toolkit to actively empower communities of people living story-worthy lives, and in the process, create a world with more listening.

That’s our story. What’s yours?

Our Founding Beliefs:

Everyone has a story.
We are the stories we tell. Both to others and ourselves. Crafting our own personal narratives is empowering and essential.

A listening world is a better world.
Deep listening is one of the best ways to create a world with more tolerance, compassion, and collaboration.

Adventure finds curious minds.
Live courageously - by taking risks and connecting authentically we create our own story-worthy lives.

The team:

BYOS is made possible by a volunteer community of organizers, hosts and storytellers. Behind the scenes, our team leads the charge: coordinating volunteers, building tools to serve local communities and hustling to keep up with demand.

Give us a shout at with any questions, suggestions or ideas. We look forward to hearing your story!