One of the silver linings of the pandemic has been to remind everyone of the value and importance of in-person gatherings to network and exchange ideas.

I attended a memorable one this week on a rooftop on the Upper East Side in which Felix Salmon, chief financial correspondent at Axios, spoke about his new book.

The event was arranged by Money Minded, an invitation-only salon started by Jennifer Ablan and Beatriz Garcia. 

Ablan and Garcia said they created the group shortly after Covid hit because they saw a need for more events led and curated by senior women in finance. 

They hoped to create a “salon of thinkers” who analyze the big economic questions of the day. 

Ablan, who is the editor-in-chief of Pensions & Investments, interviewed Salmon about his book, The Phoenix Economy, which details the dramatic change in the world over the past decade.

Salmon noted that one of the great surprises of the pandemic was how well institutions such as banks continued to operate with virtually no staff in the office. He said we may not fully appreciate how quickly and profound the changes in the workplace have been.

Salmon said that he’s been talking to an agent about writing a book for 14 years. It took the pandemic to spur him to write something he thought would be both unique and lasting. 

A highlight for me was Salmon’s eye-catching purple suit, matching sneakers and paisley shirt. He noted that the lining in his bespoke suit was decorated with sketchings by his wife, who is an artist, of the Hapsburg monarch Philip V.

I immediately Googled his wife’s fabulous project called “Generations,” which examines two centuries of royal intermarriage inside the Habsburg dynasty as they “unknowingly played with genetic fire for their quest of pure blue blood.”

Her web page notes that the Habsburg’s used marriage to “conquer” territories such as Austria, Hungary, Bavaria, Spain and the Netherlands during the 16th and 17th centuries. 

This is what you miss on Zoom: The serendipity of learning about the Habsburg empire because of the lining in someone’s suit. 

If you want to reach out to Beatiz and Jenn to learn about future Money Minded events you can email them at

If you want to reach out to Beatiz and Jenn to learn about future Money Minded events you can email them at