So I went to another networking group the other night, one I’ve attended in the past. There were many familiar faces in the room. We were given a blank Bingo card and told to walk around the room and get people to sign the squares. Networking Bingo, as it were. Fun. I just love icebreakers.
So I found myself standing with a guy I’d met before – a chiropractor – and a very tall woman whom I know I have attended networking groups with before, because she has a very distinct look, and I knew as soon as I saw her that she was a speaking coach. But she was wearing a guest name tag. So I welcomed her, and said my name, and reminded her that we’d met before.
I was pretty sure that I had actually met her more than once, so I started naming groups I attend. She shook her head no. I said to her, “Do you remember seeing me stand up and say that I’m an independent college counselor?” Nope.
So I asked her what groups she attends. This Chamber. That Rotary. Nothing. Then she named the one. The one group where I had met her. The one group that met last week, for lunch on Tuesday. The one group WHERE I HAD BEEN THE FIVE-MINUTE SPEAKER THE PREVIOUS WEEK.
So here’s the thing about networking. We all do it. It’s about getting your name and your card out there. But it’s about making sure people LIKE you and WANT to refer people to you. And what makes people like you? Making people feel like, even though you are there to promote yourself, you are looking out for opportunities for them as well. Who wants to network with someone who can’t be bothered to remember what anyone else does?
So after a little bit of “oh, thank goodness we finally figured THAT out” bullshit, she moved onto the topic of my work. And then she proceeded to tell me how I could refer my clients to her. ”You know,” she said, “if you have clients who are going for college interviews, I can help prepare them for that.” I told her that after 15 years of being a college interviewer, I take care of interview prep.
I left the meeting with another woman I’ve met several times – someone who was also in the room for my five-minute presentation the week before. She works for a local cemetery, helping people take care of “advanced planning” issues. She told me that the same person had informed her that she could refer HER clients to the speech coach if they wanted to deliver a stunning eulogy.
My dad got his pilot’s license a few years before I was born. In fact, he relishes telling people that my first “memory” of flying came when my mom was 7 months pregnant. There are some details you probably don’t need to hear. There was barfing involved.
In spring, 1996, I was working on a project in Florida; I took myself to the airport and announced, “I’ve been flying right seat for 25 years, I’m ready to learn.” I didn’t tell my parents about my lessons for three weeks, when I soloed on my 25th birthday.
I haven’t flown for awhile; I’ve recently developed a little bit of positional vertigo, and really, who wants a dizzy pilot? But I was thrilled when I was chosen (at random, so they say) by the Daily News to go up in Lear 35 with legendary pilot Clay Lacy, who runs one of the larger charter flight operations at Van Nuys Airport, one of the busiest general aviation airports in the world.
I was able to take a guest, so of course I took my dad, who arrived wearing the shirt I got him after I took my checkride in 1996: a green polo with the words “My daughter is a PILOT too!” stitched in blue on the front breast pocket. He’s worn that shirt so much over the past 17 years I can’t believe it’s not in tatters by now.
I did actually get to fly with Clay one other time many years ago, a ride home after an aviation convention in Atlanta. But I’d never flown in a Lear, and this week’s flight was just for fun. Four of the six passengers were pilots. We took off from VNY, with its freshly repaved 8,001-foot runway (longer than Burbank’s 6,500-foot runway 7 miles to the east), and headed through the Sepulveda Pass, past the Hollywood sign and Griffith Observatory, over downtown LA, and then Dodger Stadium. We were at about 2,000 feet the whole time.
Then we headed out to Pasadena and circled the Rose Bowl, empty except for the joggers circling the 3-mile path and golfers wondering why a jet was flying so low. Then we turned west again, flew past Burbank and VNY where we started, and skirted through the Santa Susanna Pass at not much higher than the rocky hills, to the Reagan Library. Clay gave us a nice view with a 45-degree bank, which made me sit back and stop shooting photos for a moment (veritgo is FUN boys and girls!). Then he decided to show us what a 1970 Lear could do by punching the engines and climbing at a rate of about 10,000 feet per minute. Thankfully he did that for less than a minute, as we topped out just over 10,000 feet and headed over to Malibu, where we descended (quickly!) and flew up the coast. Here’s a little video of our ride over Malibu – we were at about 1,000 feet (you may want to turn your speakers down as the engines are loud!):
And finally, we headed over the hills and back home to Van Nuys. You can see all of the photos I took here.
When I posted a photo after we landed, one of my cousins reminded me that I live a charmed life. I do.
So is it me, or is there a craze sweeping the networking universe…a craze based on someone, somewhere, deciding that instead of letting people introduce themselves and talk about their business for 30 seconds, or a minute, or however long, it would be better to let people pair up and talk to each other for a fleeting moment, or possibly 2 minutes, and then introduce each other?
Who decided this is a good idea?????
Does anyone think that someone who has known you for two minutes can effectively share with a group of strangers, strangers whom you’ve paid for the opportunity to introduce yourself and your business so that sometime down the road they might refer potential clients to you, your passion for what you do???
And within the realm of people who think this is a great idea, why do some of them insist on standing up and saying that THEY ARE the person that they interviewed, instead of actually just introducing that person? Did you not understand the assignment?
Really!? [Where are Seth and Amy when you need them??] You haven’t lived until you have seen a large Hispanic man stand up and say that he’s Jeanette, and he does accupuncture. And even if there’s not gender confusion, there’s just plain first-person-mix-up confusion. Today I was at a networking event at which this brilliant exercise was practiced (I bet you figured that out!?) and two lawyers were paired up, both male, both sole practitioners. And Jay got up and introduced himself as Gary. Or vice versa, I can’t remember, and I honestly won’t remember what either of them does, because oh yes, today’s networking event brought this ridiculous practice to a whole new level by having people get up one at a time, in no particular order, without the person they interviewed standing next to them.
Can we please all agree that I am the best person to talk about my business, and that’s likely true for everyone else out there?
(or, Why Evelyn is Not A Documentary Filmmaker)
You probably won’t believe that our dog climbed a tree and ended up 12 feet above the ground. If we didn’t have a witness, I’m quite sure there would only be two of us that believed it. Since Benjamin’s cousin was here and saw it with his own eyes, there are three of us.
There are no pictures, because, well, I was suppressing the overwhelming urge to scream the whole time. I didn’t want her to think I was in distress and try to run towards me. And it was so horrifying to me that I really didn’t want to see proof of it again.
Chloe’s been having fun in her new backyard but this was a whole new situation altogether. I kept asking if I should call the Fire Department. I wonder how many times they get a call to rescue someone’s dog out of a tree?
A few years ago, I attended a seminar that was geared towards helping people who sell products or services know their audiences better, based on their age group. We heard from social scientists who have spent a considerable amount of time studying members of The Greatest Generation, Baby Boomers, Gen Xers, and now Millennials.
So to be honest, I’m not surprised that Edward Snowden, the person who took it upon himself to reveal top secret intelligence gathering techniques of the National Security Agency, also known as PRISM, is 29 years old. Millennials, I learned, are a group that feels strongly about community. They work well together in teams, believe that groups come up with more desirable results, and are less concerned (as a general rule, there are exceptions, of course) about individual accomplishment than older cohorts.
And they invented crowdsourcing.
Edward Snowden, a high school dropout with top secret clearance (um, hello? anyone else see an issue here?) decided to crowdsource the concept of security surveillance. Metaphorically, he posted it on Facebook to see how many “likes” it would get.
I believe it’s fair to note that he’s a high school dropout, and to remind you that high school seniors study US Government in their last year of high school. This might be where Snowden would have learned that we live in a REPUBLIC, in which we elect representatives to make policy decisions for us, and not a direct democracy, in which everyone gets to decide every issue one by one (well, in California we have direct democracy on many things – you can see how well that’s worked for us….)
By the way, you can see “how Millennial” you are here. My score came up 29 out of 100, making me older than Gen X and younger than Baby Boomer. Damn I’m predictable.
I wrote another piece about some ladies’ advice to me about our previous pooch awhile back. I guess we are all pretty predictable!
Jonathan Palevsky followed yesterday’s lecture on Old World wines with another today about wines of the New World, including the US, Chile, Argentina, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. [Palevsky hosts WBJC's "Word on Wine" radio commentary weekly on Thursday - click here for more info!]
He told us about the Hungarian man, Harasty, who brought vine clippings over from Europe in the 1940s and planting them on land that was later purchased by Robert Mondavi Sr. Mondavi was the first to bring the German way of labeling wine by the varietal, not by the region, as French wines are labeled.
Palevsky discussed the 1976 world blind wine tasting event in which the French snickered about the American wines that eventually beat them – both reds and whites from Napa. This was a revolution in the industry and put the US on the winemaking map.
We learned about how white Zinfandel – of which six times more than red Zinfandel is sold – is made, and why it was made to begin with. In the mid 1970s, American producers began making white wine with red grapes as white wine’s popularity grew and Americans had a taste a bit more on the sweeter side. White Zinfandel is made from the same Zinfandel grapes that can create a big, fruity, sometimes spicy flavor. Winemakers drain a bit of the juice out if the barrels and let it ferment less time than the juice still sitting with the skins, so the juice stays sweeter and does not absorb the skins’ color. Almost 10% of the wine sold in the US is white Zinfandel, and not surprisingly, Gallo is the major producer of it.
Palevsky spent a little bit of time on my favorite wine producing region, Australia. “Love it or hate it,” he said, “you have to recognize the sheer audacity of Shiraz.” Shiraz is Australia’s signature wine. It’s “huge bodied, enormous jammy upfront fruit, maybe a little bit of eucalyptus,” he said. Most Shiraz is flavored with and aged in American oak.
I spent a little bit of time in the McLaren Vale in Australia a few years ago and have definitely developed an affinity for wines from that region. I particularly like Sauvignon Blanc from Australia or New Zealand.
It’s a drizzly spring day so we toured the inside of the winery and looked out over the rows and rows of grape vines, and then enjoyed a tasting-sized flight of six wines and a box lunch before leaving Millbrook, the Hudson Valley’s flagship winery.
“Everything that needs to be said about wine has been said already,” said Jonathan Palevsky, program director at WJBC, Maryland’s classical music radio station and host of its show, “Word on Wine,” to a group of JHU friends and alumni gathered at the Culinary Institute of America in Poughkeepsie, NY. But assuming that his audience had not read all of the thousands of books that have been published about wine, he pressed on, taking us on a whirlwind tour of France, Italy, Germany, Spain and their respective wines.
Palevsky compared the difference in taste between French Burgundy and Bordeaux to the difference between New York and Los Angeles, and let us in on the secret that Dom Perignon was actually the person who tried to figure out how to remove the bubbly from wine!
He talked about many different types of wines, and the grapes from which they are pressed, as well as some pairings. “My favorite pairing, by the way,” he said, “is wine with nothing.”
Palevsky expressed admiration for Chardonnay – not my favorite wine by the way – telling us that Chardonnay is blended into many different kinds of wine, including champagne. Good vintage Chardonnay can be kept for years, he said. “In a lousy vintage, just drink them now.” He referred to pinot noir as “the problem child of the wine world.”
Wines labeled ‘Gran croux’ come from a single vineyard. Wines labeled “village,” (best to say that with a French accent, like ‘vee-lajh’) come from different vineyards in a region.
When he moved on to talk about Italian wine, Palevsky told us that moscato is only 5.5% alcohol. “Perfect for breakfast,” he said.
Pinot Grigio is the top-selling wine by the glass in the U.S. – it’s medium body, medium fruit, medium flavor, medium color. “It’s the high fructose corn syrup of wine.”
Super Tuscan is a mixture of indigenous grapes and non-indigenous grapes. In the early 1900s, Tuscan vintners who wanted to blend sangiovese, cabernet and merlot grapes could only get the designation of ‘table wine’ for these blends. So in an early display of marketing genius, they came up with the name Super Tuscan so they could sell their expensive product with a more impressive name.
It’s hard to give a lecture on wine when your audience is not actually tasting, but Palevsky’s clear expertise and love for his topic made this an entertaining opportunity. Tomorrow we’ll be tasting wine at a local winery, so I’m looking forward to putting my new knowledge to work!
Hello women friends!
I am co-hosting an event this coming Sunday, 4/28 sponsored by the National Council of Jewish Women. The event is called Sunday Salons: Life Transitions Workshops for Women, and there will be three different moderated breakout sessions geared towards women in different stages of life. The groups, roughly, are “twenty-somethings,” called “Quarter Life,” geared towards women just finishing college and/or getting their career started, “Sandwich Generation,” geared towards women dealing with balancing marriage, kids, careers, aging parents, etc., and “Third Chapter,” geared towards women who have (or are just about to) leave the workplace, lost a spouse, etc.
If you are interested in coming, the workshops go from 10 am to 2 pm on Saturday. More information is here: https://www.facebook.com/events/232973840179541/ and tickets are available here: http://jwcsc.org/lifetransitions/
The event costs $15, with lunch included (certified Kosher).
It must have been my lucky day, and I didn’t even know it. I was on day 11 of a 12-day college touring trip – I was tired, had already smashed my iPad and procured a replacement (still had bruises on both knees from the fall that precipitated the aforementioned smash), and in the middle of Ohio. Showing up for 6:30 am breakfast and 7:15 am bus boarding for four days straight is not as fun as it sounds.
So I couldn’t have been happier to arrive at Marietta College, in Marietta, Ohio, famous for its petroleum engineering program, to be handed an agenda that detailed our afternoon at Marietta, which included a welcome from the college President, student panel, college tour, dinner and optional evening concert by Chris Brubeck and his jazz trio, Triple Play.
Only four of us stayed for the concert, from our group of 28 counselors. It had been a long three days, with a lot of criss-crossing across Ohio to visit six colleges. But for those of us who stayed, what a treat. Chris Brubeck plays the piano, trombone and bass guitar (fretless bass, he informed us). Joel Brown, who chairs the Music Department at Skidmore College, played the acoustic guitar, and Peter Madcat Ruth, well, he plays everything else. Every key of harmonica you have ever seen (and let me tell you how amazing it was to watch him switch from one to the next effortlessly, without skipping a beat), various percussion instruments, and something called the jaw harp, which I’ve just learned has various other names. (Click here for a description, which really doesn’t tell you much unless you scroll down to the “See Also” section and click the play button to hear a sample of what this freaky instrument sounds like.)
Triple Play wowed the Marietta College crowd, which included students and community members, with jazz, funk, bluegrass and of course a few Dave Brubeck tunes. It was a wild ride, two full hour-long sets, and afterward I bought a few CDs and had the guys sign them. These guys are INCREDIBLY TALENTED!!!!
If you are in the LA area, Chris Brubeck will be playing at the Hollywood Bowl on Father’s Day, as part of the Playboy Jazz Festival. GO! You will not be disappointed!!