The Story

“Beyond being the consummate hostess, moderator and community organizer, Monica McCarthy is a contemporary bon vivant whose gift is shining the light on others— and she does it all in a party dress and high heels.”
— James Victore

The common thread of Monica’s careers is what she dubs "meaningful dialogues", beginning with her life as an actress on stage and in television and film (working with actresses including Kate Winslet, Laura Linney, Alicia Silverstone, and Anna Gunn), which took her to Europe and Japan before bringing her back home to Broadway.

Monica’s interest in  philosophy began at Pepperdine University as a student in The Great Books Colloquium, a two year honors program exploring works Plato to Nietzsche, from Homer to Dostoevsky, from Augustine to Freud, in a discussion-based cohort. In addition Monica was also the only non-religious student pursuing a minor in World Religion in her graduating class.

Following her career as an actress and short-film producer, Monica went back to her philosophic roots when she founded Cheshire Parlour, a monthly philosophic dinner salon with a highly curated and cross-disciplinary guest list. Each salon focused on a different “big idea” (i.e. Hope, Freedom, Time) and Monica moderated the conversations by curating quotes from great minds for each guest to read and ponder, and transforming the conversation into a manifesto on the topic. The majority of the salons took place at Food52’s headquarters in midtown Manhattan and every salon included an original cocktail in the flavor of the theme of the evening.

As word about the salons spread, Monica was offered the role of impresaria for Holstee, a lifestyle brand focused on mindfulness with a manifesto that went viral and was dubbed “The New Just Do It.” While at Holstee Monica hosted hundreds of community dinners, developed and facilitated workshops on topics like How To Cultivate Healthy Habits, How To Build Authentic Community, and Mythbusting Creativity. Monica also curated and facilitated hundreds of conversation-driven events including Holstee’s Campfire Chats: a James Lipton-style in-person interview series with high profile guests including NYTimes bestselling authors AJ Jacobs and Gretchen Rubin.

Based on her experience with Cheshire Parlour and Holstee, Monica created her signature class Write Your Manifesto, teaches people and organizations how to apply the Socratic Method and philosophical thinking for finding and stating purpose, has consistently sold out at conferences throughout the country including Creative Mornings (New York), The Feast (New York), The Bullish Conference (Miami) and Co.Starters Summit (Tennessee).

Following her time at Holstee, Monica was brought onto the Impact Hub NY team to produce and host events focused on deepening conversations around social good. From her standing-room only Sustainability Summit to kick of Climate Week NY, to her Vote Local NY Event, Monica’s events garnered praise for bringing a fresh, eye-opening, and welcoming approach to real challenges facing the community. Monica is also the creator and host of “Moonlight Society,” a conversation and networking series she started at Impact Hub NY in which she interviews guests about their passion projects outside of work.

Monica is the co-founder of the Philosophy and Cocktail event series, which started in Brooklyn, New York in December of 2015, with plans for world domination as part of the Philosophy and Cocktails book tour.

Monica has facilitated workshops on the topic of purpose-focused content strategy community building for organizations including the United Nations Development Programme, AirBnB, Eileen Fisher, Starwood, and Brugal Rum. She speaks about purpose, meaning, and the importance of the humanities at conferences across the country including: TEDx (Philosophy: The Lifehack of the Future), Creative Mornings (FieldTrips), The Feast, The Bullish Conference (Miami) New Media Expo (Las Vegas), TBEX (Colorado), Co.Starters Summit (Tennessee), and Teahouse Studio (Berkeley).

Her story has been recently featured in Pivot (Penguin Portfolio), and The New Philosopher. She has previously written for the Dos Equis Most Interesting Man campaign, Join the Reboot, and Huffington Post.

Monica’s seriously passionate about travel, having been to over 40 countries on 6 continents. Along the way she tries to meet as many people and try as many cocktails as possible.