Reposted from the wf360 blog
Last night's event opened with a reception on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. I got several compliments on my handbag, which is definitely a first for a business gathering! As expected, Susan Bird put together a stellar gathering of successful women and men (although the event is not officially billed as a women's event, attendees were about 80% women by my estimate. It was very inspiring to go to a business event and see successful women everywhere).
The reception, in
about the coolest location ever, featured delicious hors d'oeuvres,
generous bars with no lines, pretty bouquets on the cocktail tables,
and you could peer into traders' workspaces and wonder about how they
survived the adrenaline ups and downs of their daily routine.
I was immediately made to feel welcome upon walking into the elevator with the gracious Anne Chambers, CEO of Red212, a Cincinnati ad agency with, needless to say, a bunch of top P&G brands as clients. During the reception I crossed paths briefly with Joanne Landau, president of Kurtsam Realty Group and a director on the board of Hudson Holdings Corporation, who spent a chunk of her career heading up marketing and communications for Citigroup. Alice Young, chair of the Asia Pacific practice at Kaye Scholer, was wearing a family heirloom, a beautiful antique embroidered ivory silk jacket in perfect condition that was a real conversation piece. Unfortunately, I barely got a chance to say hello to Clare Hart, the former CEO of Factiva, now EVP at Dow Jones in charge of enterprise media. Her face and name were so familiar to me that I know I've met her somewhere before.
I also met Nurit Amdur, founder and Elin Kabo, dir. of
communications for Alex Toys, a maker of children's toys with a
perfectly adorable website; and had a great chat with Yijing Brentano,
VP of investor relations for Sprint. I asked how the Sprint stock was
doing and she positively beamed, telling me it went up 20% the day
before, despite a big layoff announcement, due to some now-confirmed
rumors that Sprint was funding 4th generation wireless with Clearwire.
Howard Greenstein and Tamar Weinberg were there with
me representing the social media set, and I was delighted to discover in my WF360 swag bag
Tamar's new book "The New Community Rules: Marketing on the
Social Web", the first O'Reilly book I've seen without one of those
weird animals on the cover.
Since today is Veteran's Day, it's fitting that I struck up a
conversation with MyVetwork founder and CEO John Campbell. I met him
the last time I came to WF360, and his online support community for the US military seems to be thriving. There were several friendly family men in military dress milling around, presumably because General Martin Dempsey was there as one of the evening's speakers.
After a couple of nice conversations with these guys, a few of whom
had just come home from Iraq, I conversed briefly with the General himself.
His dress uniform was covered with decorations and badges, including
the distinguished four stars, and medals for the global war on terrorism
and the Iraq campaign.
Dempsey is the commanding general for the official branch of the army responsible for training soldiers and civilian leaders, as well as developing operational doctrine and new weapons systems. During our conversation he emphasized his commitment to outreach to the military wherever they are, including through twitter and facebook, and even expressed interest in learning more from online multi-player games like World of Warcraft. He had a firm grasp of the "times have changed" concept, and later in the evening when he spoke to the assembled crowd, he posed a "what if": "What if the definition of success in the military were the ability to adapt?... It would become a competitive learning environment." I liked his message. Also during his talk, he thanked the servicemen and women who are out there committing their lives to the military, and got the one standing ovation of the night.
More soon about the delicious dinner, good company and good conversation.