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“We want our Collaborative Innovation Summit filled from stage to seats with people sharing transformation ideas and stories,” says BIF Creative Catalyst Saul Kaplan.

After all, it was out of the Summit that the hashtag #RCUS was coined — Random Collisions of Unusual Suspects. And from now until the Summit takes place in September, we’ll run a series of short interviews with former Summit attendees who’ll tell us in their own words why the BIF Summit is a must-go event and how #RCUS has changed their lives.

Up first: Tim McDonald (@tamcdonald). Tim builds communities, not networks, through relationships that create movements. As the Purveyor of Purpose at Be The Change Revolutions, Tim helps build communities and ignite movements on the No Kid Hungry account to make #NoKidHungry a reality. Previously, Tim was Director of Community at The Huffington Post.

Here’s how Tim answered the question, “Why go to the BIF Summit?”

Three things:

1. Open your mind to new ideas.
2. Connect you with amazing people.
3. Never feel like a stranger from the second you walk in.

I knew a few people who were going to be at the BIF Summit, but I got there after it started, toward the end of the first day. I didn’t know what to expect. As soon as I walked into the lobby area, the few people who were there were coming up and saying “hi” to me. So before I even sat down, I met people. They were strangers, but there didn’t feel like strangers! And then it seemed like there was a chance to connect with someone different every time I turned around.

Right afterward I went back to New York on the same train, by chance, as a couple of other people who had been at the BIF Summit. I went immediately to the Work Revolution Summit and began to run into people I had intended to meet at the BIF Summit but hadn’t had a chance to. I met Whitney Johnson and she said, “I have just heard that you know everybody.”

A similar thing with Matt Murrie (who I didn’t meet at Work Revolution Summit). We didn’t meet at the BIF Summit but we connected because of the BIF Summit.

Those connections have just developed further, into 3rd- and 4th-level relationships I’ve developed just because Matt and I were both at the BIF Summit, made a connection and stayed in touch.

The BIF Summit is unlike any other conference. It’s a combination of things that makes it different. Amazing people go there, and you can easily connect with those amazing people. I’ve committed to putting myself in unusual, uncomfortable situations because I went to the BIF Summit and saw the benefit of doing that.