Speed Networking with Eventsy

18 Mar

eventsy logo

Read any career advice book, and one thing is clear: getting the job of your dreams is all about who you know. The key to success, as you’ve heard countless times before, is networking, networking, networking.

But what if the mere mention of networking sends shivers down your spine as you conjure up memories of limp handshakes and boring conversations? What if the idea of trying to infiltrate a circle of insiders at a cocktail party sounds more difficult than actually giving the keynote speech at your company?

Then Eventsy’s Speed Networking events are for you! Eventsy is changing the way you look at networking. Through “interactive events with a purpose,” New York’s comprehensive social networking club is making it easy and fun to make worthwhile connections.

Last week I attended the first-ever Speed Networking event hosted by Eventsy, and I can honestly tell you that I walked away having made some of the most genuine connections I’ve ever made at a networking event. Let me say upfront that I was invited to cover the event. I therefore did not go into it all geared up to network and pitch myself and my writing, but rather to observe. The gonzo journalist side of me kicked in, though, and I pushed myself out of my comfort zone to try my hand at networking.

The first part of the night was open, free-form networking, and I felt like I often do at networking cocktail events: awkward. There’s nothing easy about walking up to strangers and trying to insert yourself into a conversation they’re already having. It feels like you’re interrupting a private, impassioned conversation for no good reason other than to have someone—anyone—to talk to so you’re not standing by yourself like an idiot. Fortunately, I overheard a woman nervously tell the event hosts that she was also attending solo, so I quickly introduced myself. It gave us both an immediate connection, and we worked the buddy system throughout the evening, occasionally checking in on each other even after we’d braved our way into other conversations. Even though this part of the evening was the most nerve-racking to my introverted self, it was actually the point where I made a valuable connection with someone I did not end up meeting during the more formal speed networking portion of the evening. Lessons learned:

  • Warm up to networking by reaching out to others who have come alone or are on the outskirts of a conversation. Networking ability does not necessarily indicate position at a company.
  • Use the buddy system. Once you’ve met one person, you can take turns introducing each other to new people. This makes introductions much more natural.
  • Fake it ’til you make it. Just because you don’t feel like a natural at networking doesn’t mean you can’t do it or that others will even notice.
  • Talk to everyone and really get to know them. The valuable connection I made was with someone whom I at first thought had no bearing at all on my career objectives, and it was only at the very tail end of our conversation that we both realized we could potentially meet each other’s needs for an aspect of our businesses that we weren’t there pitching.

 The main course of the Eventsy networking event was the speed networking. I’d done speed networking three times before, and I joked with one of the other attendees that although it had never landed me a job before I had gotten a relationship out of it once. Hey, you can make all sorts of connections through speed networking! I really like the format of speed networking. If you’ve never done it before, let me quickly explain how it was done at Eventsy: Half of us lined up on one side and the other half lined up across from us so that each of us were facing one other person. Then we were given five minutes to talk to each other.

Most people use this time to give their “elevator pitch”—their spiel on what they do or their pitch for what they could do, told in the time it would take to ride with someone from the ground floor to the executive suite in an office building. We weren’t given any formal instructions on giving our elevator pitch or what we should say during these five minutes, so it was pretty informal but in a good way. It felt like a real conversation in which we talked about what we did, why we came to the Eventsy Networking Event, what we were hoping to achieve from it, and how we could help each other. Seriously, that last question was key because it got to the crux of how the event could benefit us much more than a summary of our work experience would. Lessons here:

  • Listen more than you talk. Ask questions to find out not just what someone does day-to-day but what they are hoping to do next and why they are networking. Maybe they can fill an opening at your company, which even if it’s not in your department is still an asset.
  • Keep the focus on the other person, but in the back of your mind think about yourself so that when it comes time to talk about yourself you can tailor your skills to their needs. It’s easier to get a job—whether it’s a full-time position or freelance work—if you do the hard work of establishing how you can help solve their needs through what you do.

Most of us were not even remotely in the same field. I met bankers, real-estate brokers, lawyers, photographers, fashion designers, and job hunters. If this sounds like it would result in a bunch of futile connections, think again:

  • If you’ve been following my blog for a while now, you know that I regularly attend publishing cocktail parties and readings. I love attending those events, but guess what? They’re saturated with people who have the same skill sets as me. At Eventsy Speed Networking event, I was the only writer and editor, which meant that if anyone there was looking for a writer or editor I might be the only one they now know, making me the top—okay, only—candidate.  Diversification is key.
  • As Maria Pardalis—Eventy’s founder—said, maybe the person you’re talking to has nothing to do with your industry, but maybe her roommate just so happens to be in your field. Your network is larger than your immediate circle.
  • Our lives are about more than just the minutiae of our daily jobs. We need all kinds of people in our lives to help us achieve our dreams. If we want to manage our income, we need to know financial advisers. If we want a roof over our head, it helps to know a good broker. If we give readings, we might need to hire a photographer to take photos of our events. And, of course we could all use a fashion designer in our lives to help us look our best, whether we’re headed to our next networking event, a job interview, or accepting the Pulitzer Prize.

Ready to try your hand at networking? Check out these upcoming Eventsy events:

Tomorrow (3/19/14): Monthly Young Professionals Networking Happy Hour Event

Come network and mingle at Eventsy’s Monthly Young Professionals Business Networking Happy Hour Events at NYC hotspot the Sky Room!

Meet other Young Professionals at the city’s highest rooftop lounge and get transported to a high energy oasis with amazing 360 degree views of Manhattan.

All guests will enjoy complimentary hors d’oeuvres and $5 drink specials all night long.  Bring your business cards for a chance to win several fabulous prizes.

DJ Erika Hamilton will also be onsite spinning the night away!

Event is FREE and open to all so if you have any friends who are interested invite them along.

Don’t forget to bring your business cards, as always, Eventsy will be giving away some fabulous prizes!

FMI and registration here.

March 31, 2014: New York City Job Fair

Eventsy Members looking for new employment opportunities are invited to attend the New York Job Fair.

Dozen’s of local hiring companies will be meeting with attendees one-on-one at the New York Job Fair on March 31st, 2014.  Please ensure you bring hard copies of your resumes, business cards and dress in professional attire.

REMEMBER – always dress for the job you wish to attain!

To receive the complete company list and register for the fair Click HERE

Meet face-to-face with local recruiters in your area. Attendance is FREE for all job seekers!

FMI and registration here.

April 17, 2014: Monthly NYC Professinals Networking Happy Hour Event

Come network, mingle and meet new people at Eventsy’s Monthly NYC Professionals Business Networking Happy Hour at NYC hotspot the Sky Room!

Meet other NYC Professionals at the city’s highest rooftop lounge and get transported to a high energy oasis with amazing 360 degree views of Manhattan.  All guests will enjoy complimentary hors d’oeuvres and Happy Hour pricing with $5 beers and $7 mixed drinks.

Bring your business cards for a chance to win several fabulous prizes.

DJ Erika Hamilton will also be onsite spinning the night away!
Event is FREE and open to all so if you have any friends who are interested invite them along.

Don’t forget your BUSINESS CARDS!

FMI and registration here.

April 29, 2014: Eventy’s Monthly Speed Networking Event

Join other NYC Professionals for our exciting and extremely beneficial Monthly Speed Networking Events!

In today’s fast-paced world, networking is critical whether you are an intern or a CEO. You will make over 30 new business connections during our fun Speed Networking session and during the unstructured networking happy hour time which will take place throughout the evening.

Tuesday, April 29
Public House NYC
140 East 41st Street – NYC

6pm to 6:30pm – Registration & Reception
6:30pm to 6:45pm – Introductions
6:45pm to 8:00pm – Speed Networking Sessions
8:00pm to 9:00pm – Follow-up Conversations & Cocktails (Optional)

Admission: $10.00

Complimentary Hors d’Oeuvres & Drink Specials

$4 Domestic Draft Beer: Budweiser, Bud Light, Shock Top, Brooklyn Lager
$5 House Wine: Pinot Grigio, Chardonnay, Cabernet, Merlot
$6 Well Mixed Drinks

Seating is Very Limited – Register Now to Guarantee Your Spot!
Business Cards are Essential!

Speed Networking is a new and fresh way to quickly build your business and contact list in a time efficient matter.

What is Speed Networking?

Speed Networking is a fun and highly effective mechanism for generating new business contacts in a small period of time. Whether you are an introvert or extrovert, young in your career or experienced – you will enjoy meeting people in this type of format. Eventsy is a firm believer in putting people face-to-face to facilitate direct conversation.

Each participant will have the opportunity for over 16 face-to-face sessions with other like-minded NYC professionals. After the end of each session, participants will quickly alternate their seating arrangements to pair up with their next networking opportunity. This process will continue until all participants have interacted with each other.

In just a few minutes, participants will share business cards, history and offer new contacts with valuable information about their business and/or profession. After the official Speed Networking sessions are over, participants are encouraged to continue networking throughout the evening.

FMI and registration here.

You can also find other fun social events organized through Eventsy here. As Pardalis said, bring your business cards everywhere. You never know who you’re going to meet!

I’m Soooooo Pretentious

18 Mar

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I told a boy I’m reading Proust, and he told me that sounds pretentious.

He suggested I check out Michael Crichton. …As in the author who writes about dinosaurs.

I have to laugh at the suggestion of sounding pretentious for reading Marcel Proust, though. I’m usually called immature and not well read for reading Jack Kerouac. The irony is that my inspiration for reading Proust is Kerouac. David Amram had actually mentioned to me how he and Jack read Proust’s A Remembrance of Things Past, and when Walter Salles and Ann Charters spoke after a screening of the film adaptation of On the Road they talked about the role of Proust (Swann’s Way is seen a few times onscreen). Paul and I decided to read Swann’s Way, and each got different translations, which I think will give us a well-rounded perspective.

I just can’t win! Either I’m pretentious or I’m banal. Haha, good thing I’ve never cared what people thought of my reading habits.

Happy 88th Birthday to the Quiet Beat!

12 Mar

Go

John Clellon Holmes is the friend Jack Kerouac was talking to when he coined the phrase “Beat Generation.” Holmes actually found success more quickly than Kerouac did in writing about the scene when he published Go in 1952. The writing style is vastly different than Kerouac’s, as it takes a much more traditional approach to novel writing, but it is fantastic! Go is one of my favorite books of the so-called Beat canon. Holmes does a fantastic job bringing all the familiar characters — Gene Pasternak as Kerouac, Hart Kennedy as Neal Cassady, David Stofsky as Allen Ginsberg, Will Dennison as William S. Burroughs, and so forth — to life as he explores hipsters partying it up in New York City. Dare I say his descriptions of the 1940s party scene are more memorable to me than Kerouac’s?!

Holmes was born in Holyoke, Massachusetts, on this day in 1926. Celebrate his life and work by reading Go!

 

Happy 92nd Birthday, Jack Kerouac!

12 Mar

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAphoto I took two years ago at Kerouac’s birth home when I attended Lowell Celebrates Kerouac

On a Sunday in winter, Jean-Louis Kerouac was born to Leo and Gabrielle Kerouac in Lowell, Massachusetts. He was the baby of the family, the youngest of three, and his French-speaking family called him Ti Jean, or Little John.

It was March 12, 1922. Warren G. Harding, a Republican, was president and had just introduced radio to the White House the month before. Women had received the right to vote two years prior to that, but even the month before Kerouac was born the Nineteenth Amendment was still being challenged in court — a fact important to understanding the gender politics in which Kerouac grew up.

James Joyce’s Ulysses was first published that year by Sylvia Beach in Paris, and the experimental novel would impact Kerouac’s own writing. Kerouac himself would grow up to become the voice of his generation, the Beat Generation, a generation that had been born around the time of the Great Depression, that had seen the destruction of World War II and lost many friends and loved ones, that had faced a repressive government. Kerouac remains a startlingly refreshing voice even today, reminding readers to observe the sparkles in the sidewalk, to embrace life over possessions, to blaze their own paths.

KerouacCakephoto I took at Kerouac’s birthday bash last year at the Northport Historical Society

Mino Cinelu Plays the Blue Note

11 Mar

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At Greenwich Village’s famed Blue Note Jazz Club on a cold Monday night in February, instruments are strewn across the stage. There’s nary a place to step, yet Brooklyn-based French musician Mino Cinelu intuitively finds each new instrument he needs amongst the pedals and wires, without missing a beat. He seamlessly switches from drums to egg shakers to water drum. He flicks a triangle like it’s hot to the touch. He stretches his hand across the stage and caresses a belly-dancing scarf, its gauzy fabric dripping with coins that stir in his fingers. His body itself becomes an instrument, as he claps his hands together and punctuates beats with forceful stomps that reverberate off the stage floor.

Mino Cinelu is a musician—and a performer. The jazz percussionist draws energy toward him and releases it back to the audience in a swell of notes and beats.

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“He’s the most sought out percussionist,” Ra Araya whispers to me, speaking of Mino Cinelu with sincere authority. “Art Blakey literally picked him up and said, ‘Now you’re coming with me.’” Araya, the poet and poetry event organizer who set up the premier reading for Burning Furiously Beautiful, had invited me to the show, asking me to review it.* It is my first time ever hearing Cinelu live or otherwise, and I sit mesmerized by the way the jazz musician embodies his music.

Cinelu’s music is simultaneously out-of-body and corporeal. The tempo echoes the pulse of the earth and his vocal cord arrangements hum like the sounds of nature, building toward an ethereal plane. Pulling from various traditions, his world-fusion jazz unites through the exchange of ideas and sounds and cultures. It makes the listener think. It makes the listener feel. It makes the listener anticipate. His lips move to the beat of the drum as he slaps it. He scrunches his face and groans. The flesh of his cheeks tremble to the beat. Sweat drips from his temple as he whips his dreadlocks around. His muscles are taut, suggesting his years of making music have built his body.

Cinelu was born in Saint-Cloud, in the western suburbs of Paris. “From a very young age I had to take care of myself. Let’s just say that,” says the musician, who grew up in a violent home. He was born into a musical family, and as a child learned to play the guitar. By sixteen, he was already a professional musician with gigs in London and New York. In the 1980s, after moving to New York, he met Miles Davis and went on tour with him. Like others who played with Davis, Cinelu then went on to be part of Weather Report, one of the earliest jazz-fusion bands, though the band dismissed that label. The ever-changing roster of musicians in Weather Report played an amalgamation of free jazz, funk, rock, R&B, Latin jazz, and other ethnic music. In the ’90s Cinelu emerged as a solo artist, releasing his self-titled album in 2000. Cinelu has played with everyone from Stevie Wonder to Herbie Hancock, and from Sting to Lou Reed.

Cinelu continues to surround himself with an impressive array of talent, and the Mino Cinelu World Jazz Ensemble seems to grow in number as more and more musicians take to the stage as the evening progresses. The band includes Jamshied Sharifi (keys & flute), Mamadou Ba (bass), and Jose Davila (tuba & percussion). A graduate of MIT, Sharifi went on to study at the esteemed Berklee College of Music. He composed the soundtracks for Muppets from Space, Harriet the Spy, The Rugrats Movie, Clockstoppers, and The Thomas Crown Affair. Ba was the musical director for Harry Belafonte’s orchestra and was one of the founding members of African Blue Note Band. Davila has played with everyone from Ray Charles to Marc Anthony, and from Tito Puente to Nora Jones.

At the Blue Note, special guest Bria Skonberg (trumpet & flugelhorn) joins the Mino Cinelu World Jazz Ensemble on stage. She covers the mouth of the brass instrument with her shiny red nails, playing along with the music, til suddenly she tilts her head back and BLOWS! Face scrunched in exertion, much like Cinelu’s, Skonberg plays powerfully, masterfully. “We’ll keep her after the gig,” Cinelu jokes in appreciation of her talent.

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By the end of the first set, Cinelu is standing on top of an amp. He thanks everyone, including the waitresses at the jazz club. Despite the snow still on the ground and despite the early day of the week, fans have poured into venue. Among them is actress Pauletta Washington, Denzel’s wife. “I stole some of her moves,” teases Cinelu.

Then, just as they arrived, one by one the musicians file off the stage into the aisles of The Blue Note, still playing their instruments. The music stays with us as they disappear in the dark.

*My ticket and minimum were comped, but these opinions are my own.

“One’s Life Were Like a Museum”

10 Mar

proust

“[O]ne’s life were like a museum in which all the portraits from one period have a family look about them, a single tonality….”

~Swann’s Way by Marcel Proust, translated by Lydia Davis

Also Proust-related:

Writing Wednesday: Reliving Those Awkward MFA Days

5 Mar

“This was a missed opportunity.”

Haha. Enjoy.

 

Clean Monday

3 Mar

Go home and wash up.
Clean up your act.
Sweep your lives clean of your evildoings
so I don’t have to look at them any longer.
Say no to wrong.
Learn to do good.
Work for justice.
Help the down-and-out.
Stand up for the homeless.
Go to bat for the defenseless.

~Isaiah 1: 13-17

In the Greek Orthodox faith today is Καθαρά Δευτέρα — Clean Monday. Clean Monday is to Greek Orthodox believers what Ash Wednesday is to Catholic believers. It’s the start of Great Lent. Well, technically it begins at sunset the Sunday before.

Lent is thought of as a time of abstaining. We fast from meat and dairy. But it is more than that. It is also a time of taking on new, better habits. Today we not only wash ourselves from our past wrongdoings, but we work on behalf of those who need a helping hand.

Happy 89th Birthday to Lu the Glue!

1 Mar

“Lu was the glue,” said Allen Ginsberg, talking about how integral Lucien Carr was to connecting the people who would go on to become collectively known as the Beat Generation. Carr and Ginsberg met when Ginsberg came knocking on his dorm door at Columbia (well, technically they were attending Columbia but lodged at Union Theological Seminary) to discover who was playing the delightful music of Brahms. Carr was also friends with a fun-loving student named Edie Parker who introduced him to her boyfriend Jack Kerouac. Meanwhile, around that same time, Carr’s stalker, David Kammerer, and William S. Burroughs, whose family Carr had known back in their hometown of St. Louis, arrived in New York City. A charismatic wit, Carr drew this circle together and came up with the idea of a New Vision that embodied “naked self-expression,” a “derangement of the senses,” and the doing away with conventional morality” when it came to art.

Lucien Carr was born on this day in 1925 in New York City.

The Mardi Gras of Greece

28 Feb

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This weekend is the big Carnival weekend in Greece. Don’t let New Orleans and Rio de Janeiro get all the glory. Patras is the number 3 for Carnival.

Usually you can make it to more than one Carnival because Greek Orthodox follow the Julian calendar, while Catholics use the new, Gregorian, calendar. However, this year our calendars coincide.

Carnival is basically a time to many go wild right before the seriousness of the 40-day fast of Great Lent leading up to the Crucifixion of Christ on Good Friday and His Resurrection on Easter Sunday. Though it’s certainly tied to Orthodox Christianity, practicing Orthodox believers don’t participate in its more reckless aspects that are tied to Dionysus. The parades and floats, though? Those are fun!