Friday, August 10, 2007

Connected in Cleveland

I knew I had a fabulous party last week downtown. Style & Cocktails was a great time. I invited my friends, associates, past and current clients, and the readers of my newsletter.
I have had comments rolling in since the day after the event. People want to know when we are going to do it again.

I have found that creating a strong sense of community is important for people - especially women. For those of us in the business community, there are a lot of networking opportunities, but not a lot of chances to build really strong social networks. Networking relies on symbiotic business relationships, whereas social networks needn't be as selective. We just gravitate toward certain people.

I have noticed that all of my friends and those I associate with most all have some key ingredient of their personality or spirit that is similar to mine - whether ambitious, generous, energetic, sympathetic, kind or funloving (those are the ones that spring to mind). I never noticed that I was doing this, but when I look at my social landscape, it is quite evident that this has been happening all along.

I know perhaps a handful of people in Cleveland who feel a strong need to connect people on a social level in the same way I do. To me, that is a little sad. If those precious few of us were not creating opportunities to come together, then no one would.

Don't get me wrong - I'm not patting myself on the back for this. It's an inherent part of my being that I have a strong need to bring people together. It hasn't always been there, but the need is especially strong now.

My next step is to take my career onto the national stage with my book, so business networking locally isn't really necessary these days. I don't have to plan parties, but I feel a certain satisfaction when I see four people who never met before sharing drinks and laughing and enjoying each other's company. Why there isn't more of this in Cleveland, I will never know.

At the party, in addition to the usual suspects (Kel,Wendy, Joelle) there were two other image consultant friends of mine and other beauty industry people, a nurse, lawyers, people in the publishing industry, techies, a radio traffic anchor (Hey, Sandy!), lots of entrepreneurs, etc. An ecclectic bunch, to be sure. And yes, my ego was happy that the common thread for everyone there was me, but to see them finding other common ground and making plans to communicate beyond our little get together was what truly delighted me.

My mom even came all the way from the east side, had two chocolate martinis (got a little tipsy) and a wonderful time that she is still talking about. I think she finally understood what it is that I do (besides my style seminars she has attended). Now she sees the wonderful people I am privileged to call my friends and the marvelous sense of community that is possible when someone takes the initiative to make things happen.

So many of us gripe that there is nothing good happening in Cleveland. Sometimes I'm one of them. Sometimes it's easier to believe the bad stuff. But it's a much more pleasant place when you know that there are good people living here with whom to connect. Grab a cocktail, and share a fun conversation.

I would like to put out the call to everyone in town (and everyone who reads my blog as well). Learn to be a catalyst that brings people together. Whether it's your co-workers, a group of old friends, or your friends who don't know each other who might enjoy each other's company. It's doesn't have to be large scale. It can just be a little gathering of a few.

Other people can add spice and interest to our lives. I realized that in the six short years that I have been back in Cleveland what a lovely and diverse group of friends I have acquired. And I love them all.

Our next "official" opportunity to get together will be ~
on September 27th.

Check back for details!


Gracie said...

Wow, Kristen that is so true.

Please let me know the details about the next next one. (I just e-mailed you)

Anonymous said...


jolie :-) said...

hi k doll

i heard it was a fab time. i promise i will be there next time !

jolie said...

style in the city, huh?

u know i take drinking cosmopolitans very seriously !