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What are Virtual Coffee Chats?

We used to be a small community within the San Francisco Bay area in the days before COVID-19, we would have our meetings at different libraries in San Francisco. The very last in-person meet-up was held at Peet's Coffee in Oakland, just weeks before the pandemic changed everyone lives forever.

The first Virtual Coffee Chat didn't have topics at all, they were mostly check-ins to see how everyone was managing during the early days of the coronavirus pandemic as web conference calls. We rotated our calls between evenings during the week with Saturday mornings.

Someone suggested that we do topics, the first topic was about Autistic Masking which was done as a group discussion with no presentation towards the end of 2020.

Women are drawing illustrations on pieces of paper and drinking tea and coffee that are arranged on top of a small round wooden table

This photo was taken by Cassandra Nelson at the last in person event several weeks before COVID lock-down.

When did the Virtual Coffee Chat start with the current structure? February 2021, the first presentation was about Autistic Burnout, and it was a huge hit. Based on feedback, members really liked having presentation but also enjoyed having chats about the topic.

So we decided to combine the two formats: presentation about the topic followed by a discussion afterward during the same zoom call.

This became a huge hit, and for two years, we've done different topics every month.

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