#Networking – Where do I go?


Find a group or organization that offers valuable information and potential connections.

This can be a challenge, especially if you are just starting out. We struggle even now finding ones that are the right fit. Here are a guide from a previous post:

On a scale of 1-10 how influential will the speakers and/or other guests be to my:

    1. Inspiration
    2. Education
    3. Connections

If it’s 4 or higher, start planning your outfit. Even if there is a 40% chance you might meet someone who says something that inspires you it’s worth giving it a try.

  • Is the host a friend/contact/work associate?

If yes.. You are going for sure.

  • Were you invited directly?

Not by a mass email promotion, but did someone say, “Hey Aryn, come to my event.”?

Always go where you are invited. It’s a good policy that will reap huge benefits.

  • Is it in a venue or neighborhood that interests you?

Being in the events business, I like to see and experience different venues and neighborhoods. I use the event as an excuse to scout.

A few places to start:

MeetUp offers a wide variety of groups, everything from professional book clubs to lawyer’s play racquetball. These tend to be free, but check your specific ones for details.

Another great out of the box option is Toastmasters. It sounds crazy, but dedicated professionals are always looking to better themselves, and this is one of the places those people go.

Professional organizations are usually formed around the idea of networking, it’s their mission to get you connected. Reach out to them directly or search their websites for information. Depending on the costs, it may or may not be worth joining. See if the events/education opportunities look interesting to you first.

In the events world, we joined a few: Meeting Professionals International (MPI), Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA) and the International Live Events Association (ILEA). These memberships are not cheap, so you will have to weigh the benefits for you. Then the key is to actually go to the events they offer.

Industry meetings and conferences can be a great place meet new connections and clients. Again these can be costly both in time and resources so choose wisely.

Here are some things to look for:

  • How big is the event? If you are comfortable standing out in a convention center filled with people, bigger is better. If you are someone, like us, who likes smaller, more intimate workshops and discussions that’s the one for you.
  • Is Networking built in? In either case above, look at the agenda. If it is wall to wall keynote speakers and lecture style breakouts, there won’t be a lot of time for meet and greet.
  • Are the speakers and subjects a fit for you and what you are looking for?

Some other ideas are; your local business district offices like ours – WHBID, Small business bureaus, your local Departments of Commerce and our favorite, start your own group on Facebook, LinkedIn or MeetUp and see who shows up.

Tip: Once you find an event, look and see who is speaking and/or attending. Look them up on LinkedIn or Twitter before the event (not in a stalkery way). Pull out some details and facts about their work to have conversation starters. Reaching out to them directly also can be great and arrange to have a drink/coffee together there.

Take a professional development class. This is a great way to meet peers, if not potential clients. There are many resources for this. Most universities have continuing education courses and most professional organizations either host classes or can point you in the right direction. Again, these can be costly, so make sure it is something you really want and /or need to do.

Our next networking post we will get you ready for your first event.

^Ax3 #Networking #Friendshelpfriends


Existential Morning


Finding your authentic self. That is the key to any happiness. Honoring it and being brave enough to live in that space is the ultimate goal. That could look like anything and if you are in that space then there is no comparison to celebrity or the Joneses that matters.

After the milestones and life’s to do list, what do you have left? The parties, birthdays, successful interviews, deaths, divorces, the 4441155157_3d7449b5c7_o-670x496whirlwind of updates and posts.. What are you left with? Trimmings don’t make the meal.

With infinite possibilities for direction and distraction comes infinite confusion, stress and anxiety. For the inner self the world was easier and a better place when it was small. People knew their futures and where they fit or not. Even if they chose to rebel against it, at least they had a boundary to push against.

This is the modern depression. This is the modern quest for self, true self, not a rented self.. The space that you find deep in your heart where you feel like you did before all the noise started pouring in. The “you have to be pretty”, “you have to be strong”, “you have to be rich”.. All those messages, not just from the world, but from your parents molding you in their own image. The self without labels.

Who am I? This existential quest is more acute now than ever. Couched as “your personal brand” can only come from really understanding who you are and why. Although the marketing lingo sounds trite and frivolous, the heart of it is important. If as a culture and species we are to thrive in this brave new noisy world, finding that inner compass is essential. Ownership of your identity and self is essential.

Every book on business development, marketing, and self help… any book written with an eye towards bettering the person reading it in the last ten years, has at least a chapter in this vein. It is clearly a need that is basic and pervasive. This is only going to increase as Millennials begin their searches after a lifetime of being lorded over by helicopter parenting.

I would have to say that since high school these have been the questions I have asked myself:

  • What am I good at?
  • What do I love to do?
  • What is important to me?

Lately I have started ask myself why.

  • Why is producing events so attractive to me?
  • Why do I love production so much?
  • Why is supporting advocacy and equality so important to me?

Unpacking the “Whats” is my current stage of self understanding. I have a pretty good idea of the things I am good at. Some of them are marketable, like my organizational skills, ability to listen and lead a team and some are not like cracking myself up or hanging out.

For a long time I just accepted what is and what was. Maybe it’s a result of being a child of a crazy household, having to just accept the state of things and go from there. It became habit not to look too closely or dig into why things were the way they were because ultimately it did not matter why.

Now, I want to understand how I got here and pull apart the details of why. It’s important to me as my son is getting ready to take flight and I get my life back to understand myself and how I can contribute to the world around me in a meaningful way. Building this new habit and “personal brand” will take some discipline and some courage.

“The authentic self is the soul made visible” Unknown

I am up for it.


Related questions that I ponder:

  • Will Millennials ever be able to find themselves having had their helicopter parents in their hair since birth?
  • What are the cultural ramifications of a generation that has no self ownership?
  • What role does religion and God play in the search for self and is the modern absents of those things contribute to the cultural existential crisis?


#PersonalBrand #SelfOwnership #Identity

Thinking About Networking


It’s who you know and have built relationships with more than anything else that gets you where you are and where you want to be. Expanding that base in a meaningful way is not easy. No, it is not enough just to have 1000+ connections on LinkedIn. In comes the Networking Event.
I hate them, love them, hate them, love them… Some people excel at them. I do not. There have been times when I could muster being “on” and then they were fun. Most often it is a struggle just to convince myself to sign-up, muchless go.

Here are the four things I ask myself to gage if it’ll be worth the effort:

  • On a scale of 1-10 how influential will the other guests be to my:
    1. Inspiration
    2. Education
    3. Connections

If it’s 4 or higher, start planning your outfit. Even if there is a 40% chance you might meet someone who says something that inspires you it’s worth giving it a try.

  • Is the host a friend/contact/work associate?

If yes.. You are going for sure.

  • Were you invited directly?

Not by a mass email promotion, but did someone say, “Hey Aryn, come to my event.”?

Always go where you are invited. It’s a good policy that will reap huge benefits.

  • Is it in a venue or neighborhood that interests you?

Being in the events business, I like to see and experience different venues and neighborhoods. I use the event as an excuse to scout.

Meet-Ups, professional associations and schools all offer opportunities to connect with new people. They all require time, effort and sometimes money. Both time and effort are extremely valuable, they are your most precious asset. Choosing which event or gathering to go to can be as stressful as walking in that room of strangers. Take my list above and add your personal touch and use it as a guide. Sometimes a quick supportive nudge from your friend or partner helps too.

Bottom Line: Pick your networking wisely and try to have fun!

^Ax3 ^AC #Networking #Business #FriendsHelpFriends

The Boss

Lessons from the Edge


Who is the boss?

In my business the client is the boss. The client does not however, always know what’s best, that’s why they hired you. While it’s not a good idea to pull out the creative integrity, or reputation argument too much or too soon. If the client is compromising your ability to do the job they hired you for by delaying the process to an extreme, sabotaging your relationships or other wise being truly naughty, then you have every right to stand up for your brand. Do it professionally and do it in writing. Once the situation is resolved amicably, seriously re-consider keeping them as a client in the future.

Bottom Line: Life is too short for bad business.


Lessons from the Edge

So, you’re the new guy to a seasoned team. Your young and ambitious and feeling like you want to make your mark. After all, the big bosses are watching.

Let me suggest not putting the project into the blender and hitting whip. Hang back, make yourself useful, keep asking what you can do to help and try it the tried and true way the team has established first. Keep notes and after the project is completed, in post-mortem, add your suggestions.

Bottom Line: Your new team will not only feel respected, you might learn a thing or two.


ArchangleStMichaelTrust  – A big issue for most people.

Personal trust; trusting that you are good at what you do, that you are likable, that people feel about you the way they say they do and that the people you trust will be loyal.

Professional trust, that the person you have hired will do the job they were given, that it will get done well and with care. After all you are paying for that trust.. It’s also, your partner really having your back and advocating for the good of you and the business.

The two are not exclusive but both are necessary to being happy and successful.

I had an instance where a colleague, a partner really, did not come through for me. I know he was having a hard time personally and we had been working together for a while so I cut him some slack. It completely backfired on me. He did not pull it together and a lot of the job was wrong and unusable. He really screwed me. I know it’s business, so feelings need to be somewhat removed but I had known the guy since the 90s and I felt totally betrayed.

The job was headed south from the beginning. Late samples, like the pitch meeting was half over when the materials arrived late, no real bid – ever, just the bill at the end, no proofs – not one and then there were the misprints and material failures. Now, I am slow to being a bitch, it’s to my detriment often and my fault I did not start pitching a fit sooner. It’s not my style and honestly, if I have hired you to do a job, then I expect the job to be done. I am not your mother, why do I have to yell or get pissed off? In the end I think it has saved me future jobs with him with similar outcomes. Needless to say my client never wants to hear the name of that company again… and it makes me a bit sad, but I am very happy to be working with people that for the moment I trust.

Now, the poor fellow who is the replacement is under a microscope. I did warn him I have a bit of PTSD with this project, so he just needs to budget in some “client be crazy” time.. We’ll see this week what that line item looks like.

In the personal arena, my dear talent and kind husband doubts it whenever anyone expresses that they like him. Me included, I think.. It effects his friendship, but most notably with his casual friends or  acquaintances. Most recently his relationships at work. The only thing you have to go on in these cases is what people tell you.. and if they call you in to work. These employers do both, they tell him they really like having him there and they call him all the time. It’s not a world you want to get too comfortable, we get that, but by all accounts, they like him. Learning to trust that is another matter.

Bye for now. Thank you

The Outgoing Introvert:

Have you ever noticed how numbers are then same in almost every western language. I guess in the eastern languages they are different, but in most of the ancient ones they are very similar, even if in sound only, including the Gaelic I have been using. Another clear link to our sameness.

The Outgoing Introvert: An outgoing introvert is able to relate to other people easily, but needs to be alone in order to recharge and feel better.

It’s a term that has been popping up in my sphere for the last week.. I think finally I have found a term that fits me. I have often joked that I would be very happy on a deserted island and my friends all look at me like I am nuts, “No way, you love talking to people, you are so social.” Not really true. I am fascinated by peoples motivations.. not the person themselves necessarily and honestly the quiet life is or me. I have an internal struggle between having a basic mistrust of humanity and on an individual level feeling very comfortable talking to anyone. I know that on a moments notice a crowd of people can and will turn into a murderous mob. While I also trust that a friend will do whatever they can to help, if asked. I know that I need people, that is how we run business, how we do anything in the socialized world and so I try and collect people who are excellent and understand sometimes I need to disappear for a few days.

I had a friend once who could not handle it at all. He would berate me and get incredibly angry with me, “But I needed you!” ..  The need was more to spend endless hours on the phone talking about other people I did not know or care about and bitch about how “hard” life is. Spending hours on the phone is torture. That said I always felt guilty I couldn’t be the friend he wanted me t be. So we parted ways.

The other part that I was relieved to read is some of us have some social awkwardness that I have always felt.. my friends always tell me I am over analyzing it and that we are all awkward. The TED talk on shame really illuminated that at least I am not crazy and that we do all have some issues with social grace.

I know that I am a bit “different” in my approach, but I am learning to embrace it. I decide to be friends with someone and then, maybe slightly aggressively, pursue them. Sometimes it works out. It is not a sexual thing at all, I have a husband that I love. It is more I will meet someone that I actually like genuinely (not that common an occurrence) and I do what I can to bring them into my life. As an adult there are not a lot of places to “make friends”. I just insist on making those shared experiences that are at the foundation of friendship one meal and coffee at a time. It has worked out great in a few cases. In others it became clear that there was a reason our paths don’t cross. I blame my picker on those.. in those cases I didn’t pick people who are good for me to be around in the long run. Those that worked, make the others worth it.

I also deeply believe that people come into our lives to teach us things. When the lesson is complete, those people go.

If you are like me this is a great article: Thought Catalog

This one is my favorite – 8. You’re accused of being flirty with everybody, which is hilarious, because in reality, you can only tolerate like four people.

After years of therapy, I finally realized that my Dad is an introvert and that is why he is so socially adversent, despite being very graceful and why, yes, he drank so much. The shyness is just too much for him and the alcohol was his medicine to get through it. He now lives by himself, gleefully, and spends most of his days alone, very happily. He is a golfer, so he gets to go be among people, but not really need to interact except with those few he chooses to play a round with.

I finally get it and I realized that he and I are even more alike than I thought.

Bye for now. Thank you

Crew Are People Too


Lessons from the Edge

The great Jeff M. and his amazing EMT crew

As a daughter of a union organizer, how my crew and my employees are treated is very important to me. It is not just a moral or integrity issue with me, it is also a quality issue.

A crew that is well paid, fed, had a decent turn around in a habitable hotel and feels they are respected; work harder, give more and are more willing to go that extra bit to make sure your event, project, whatever is perfect. They also are more likely to be loyal.. not just to the person who hired them, but to the brand they are working for. Collaboration and teamwork are what make a great event. All parties working together for the common goal.

In the recent past I worked with a client that insisted on treating all of us like the “hired help”. While some of this was cultural, all of it was unnecessary. This behavior made all our jobs much harder. The effect this had on the morale was palpable and it was difficult getting to the goal line. The event went off smoothly and the client in the end was happy, but at a cost.

For those out there who’s management style looks more like a Feudal System.. a word of warning, your employees, crew or whomever you rely on to keep you at the top, will take their pound and when the invaders come.. you will be standing alone.

Bottom Line: It’s the 21st Century and “Team” is the ruling philosophy.

Shaking the tree

It’s the people you meet along the way that help keep you going. Sometimes it is someone who you don’t even really know, but you admire that inspires you to keep at it. To keep chipping away and shaking the tree.

Today I am having lunch with an executive who I had the great pleasure of working with a few times and have made a point to saying in touch with. He is exceptionally busy so a social life is not high on is list, and keeping the connection alive has been almost entirely on me. My commitment to maintaining a relationship is almost entirely selfish. I want to absorb his style of professionalism. Having working with hundreds of bosses and executives, this one seems to have found the right proportion of authority, kindness and collaborative spirit that I would like to emulate more of. In the meetings I have been in with him, there is no question as to his alpha-ness and so he then has room to really listen and get consensus. Some of that is title and experience, but it is also his method of management. So, I want to be his friend and learn from him.

Now, maintaining a strictly platonic connection with a man, as a woman, outside of the normal flow of life is tricky. We do not work at the same place, we do not do the same thing, he is a carrier executive, I am a career entrepreneur.. we do not live in the same city – our kids do not go to the same schools. In fact his kids. I am sure, are grown-ups. You see what I mean.

The boundaries are clear, but anytime a woman pushes for a friendship of any kind it is considered flirting. While he is attractive, that is not the intended outcome. Even big A joked last night when my new friend reached out, “Don’t go to his hotel room.” Duh! Not a joke and not funny. Would he have said that to another man?

So a quick lunch before he runs back to airport it is.

In the book I am reading, the author is talking about the peoplConfucius03e who populate your life and influence you. She writes, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” This really stuck with me. I had always heard the Confucius statement on this, “you are judged by the company you keep”, but that has more to do with the external world.. This new one has more to do with your influencers.. and it caught me. Who are the five people I spend most of my time with? My son, my husband, my friend and GM, … then it trails off pretty quickly. I need more people in my life who are closer to what I do. Some of it is being busy and my friends, who do other things, are busy, doing other things. We txt and occasionally find a moment to get together and catch-up, but to say they are present in my day to day is not really true.

I joined a book club for female entrepreneurs, I reached out to my executive and will take it from there.
You climb a mountain one step at a time.

Bye for now. Thank you



10418388_10152943895882049_2928323422252169225_n5:30am is in that wonderful pocket of time when the city is still sleeping and all is quiet. There is a lightness to the air and you can almost smell dawn coming. I love this time in the morning. It has been described as the lowest hour, when everything is still and quiet. When I was working in film we would often either be just getting to work now or finishing, depending on the time in the week and I always loved the way the city felt at this time. It made the agony of getting up worth it.

Why am I awake now today? Lists … my mind was on a loop of things that need doing, so I decided just to get up. Even our dog, Edi, is still asleep..

Lists and lists, personal and professional, current and future, short term and long term, they like to start presenting themselves usually about 4:30am and like today sometimes I just give up and get up.

When I get like this I try and steer my mind to a gratitude list. That usually helps. It usually goes something like this:

  • I am grateful for my health.
  • I am grateful for my beautiful, smart and funny son.
  • I am grateful for my accepting and loving husband.
  • I am grateful for my goofy and loyal dog.
  • I am grateful for the support and love of my friends.
  • I am grateful for the roof over my head.
  • I am grateful for the food in my fridge and the money in the bank.
  • I am grateful to do what I love to do and get paid for it.

and so on .. like counting sheep sometimes I can even get back to sleep. Not today though.

Work keeps creeping back in. Emails I need to send, conversations I need to have and/or start.. The short of it is I need an assistant. I think I will start looking for one next week.

Asking for help is still not a strong skill of mine. Being a latchkey only child, fending for myself is what I do. It’s what I have always done. To add, when I was a kid and would ask for help, my mother’s response was often,”figure it out, no one likes a helpless person” and from the other side was a resounding “Yes” and then nothing would happen or they would disappear. I would end up figuring it out on my own anyway. It is not the best way to do anything and the more work we get, the more I would like to delegate. The desire is there.. now to find someone, and then, drum roll please, trust them to get it done.

Holding peoples feet to the fire, as it were, to me is crazy. I am not their mother, if they are getting paid to do a job, then DO the job, do it well and on time. I have been burned pretty badly by a couple of people who were supposed to be supporting me and getting shit done, and they totally did not do what they were supposed to. My piece is I should have been more on them and bitchier, but that’s not fun or what I want either. It’s the part of “manager” that sucks and to be honest a little confusing to me.

I am too understanding and supportive as a boss. Sounds good right? It’s actually a problem. Working should be fun. Fun means working with friends. I am learning that actually, being a boss and being a friend can’t necessarily occupy the same space. Knowing this, and knowing I need to be tougher does not help my anxiety around getting more help.

Not to mention more assistants means actually, more work. It’s just different work than the making of the spreadsheet.. It’s managing the making of the spreadsheet and making sure they produce a spreadsheet everyone will understand, including me… sigh.. round and round

Back to my lists –

  • Email Client #1
  • Email Client #2
  • Laundry
  • Grocery Store
  • Get Demo of Project Management Software
  • Social Media Posting
  • Touch base with partner of that other project
  • Track down payments

Bye for now. Thank you