Archive for the ‘Dancing’ Category

Shannon: Grant For Good.

In Be memorable, Create, Dancing, Marketing, Networking, Organization, Relationships, Tech on 10/23/2012 at 1:29 am

I met Shannon when we were both on a panel last year in Chicago. She’s the super smart, hard working, inspiring founder of Pivotal Productions. We discovered that we were both tap dancers in a past life (although she won national tap dance competitions and I never even entered them). Here’s a snapshot of us doing a triple time step before our panel:

So, one of the best things she brought up was how she joined forces with a bunch of other small businesses to provide an amazing grant (like, $100K+ in business services) to one non-profit applicant via Grant for Good. Why is this brilliant?

1 – Two heads (or seven companies, in this case) are better than one. Businesses can do more when joining forces than operating solo.

2 – Harnessing requests for donated product or services – which is every small business’ challenge – is much easier if it’s handled in an organized, official way. (Saying, “Apply for our Grant for Good” > reviewing a million scattered requests for donations.)

3 – This gets more press. Let’s face it: we donate “in exchange for free press” all the time, but what does that really get us? A tiny logo on a banner? A quarter page ad in a program that nobody reads anyhow? By collaborating and doing something truly impactful, it’s likely to get more buzz.

I’m excited to apply this concept – and to tap dance again with Shannon. Next time, on stage!

Derek: Chicago.

In Be memorable, Cooking, Dancing, Experience, Sports, Travel on 01/11/2010 at 1:42 am

I met Derek (@dshanahan) a few months ago over lunch, which turned into a four hour discussion of usability and technology under the el tracks. Which turned into a several-month love/hate relationship over who has better dance skills (Mari), a better mustache (Derek), a prettier Google calendar (Mari).

He’s on his way to Vancouver, BC to kick butt on his latest venture, Foodtree, and writing nostalgic Chicago stuff on his blog as a result:

There’s a toughness about this city…a confidence in the experience of being a Chicagoan that doesn’t exist anywhere else on earth.  This city stays sexy all winter.  It’s hard to see unless you train yourself to see through the challenge this time of year puts in front of us.  You look through it and you see smiles and music and art and a camaraderie among total strangers that’s only possible if you’ve walked through our streets and watched them transform themselves over and over and over again as seasons change and years roll by.  We watch our sports and politics with unwavering commitment, dedication, and skepticism.  We pride ourselves on hotdogs, pizza, and Italian beef.  We don’t apologize for that.”

I love this. Everyone knows winters suck here. But we get through it together. We survive it with the best combination of sports, culture and food in anticipation of the most celebrated summers in North America. Chicago is a city connected by deeply rooted relationships, in large part due to the seasons we get to experience together.

To apply this in any group setting, people bond when they go through challenging times together (and have some good food to go with). Brilliant.

If you agree with Derek, say “yeah.”

Mari: “Heck yeah.”

Good luck, Mr. DShan. I’ll miss you – and that’s not really even sarcastic. 🙂

Tom: Relationships + numbers = fun.

In Be memorable, Business, Dancing, Experience, Human behavior, Just plain fun, Marketing, Strategy, Take action on 11/08/2009 at 11:58 am

Tom Krieglstein (@tomkrieglstein) is one of my new favorite people. Among the many things on his list of accomplishments, he owns and operates SwiftKick – providing the training and tools to student leaders to engage others in their college experiences.


He invited me and Nate to his presentation on Dance Floor Theory at UIC. While his speaking style was engaging and his content captivating, one thing that stood out as absolutely brilliant was this:

“Anything is fun with relationships and numbers.”

It doesn’t matter how well-planned your event is. If it a) is not attended by enough people and b) doesn’t allow people to bond based on their common interests, chances are it won’t be fun. And fun is memorable.

I need to remember this, not only among my company’s internal staff relationships, but also among customers. I’m positive people across Chicagoland could really connect via their love for cupcakes, and with numbers, they could do something amazing for the community. I’m not quite sure what this could be, but I’m definitely open to just about anything right now. As long as it’s fun. And legal. 🙂

Does anyone have any ideas? (And thank you, thank you Tom! You’re so FAB!)

Jess: Dirty hair works best.

In Create, Dancing on 10/19/2009 at 3:31 pm

Don’t judge me for it, but I was a songgirl in high school – the cheerleaders who dance with poms. When we weren’t cheering at a game, we were competing. (Think: Bring It On, which is a scarily accurate portrayal of the competitive world of cheerleading. And yes, we had a barfer on our squad.) Part of competition was doing our hair – the main part of competing that I absolutely hated.

I have a lot of hair. Getting it up into a ponytail that wouldn’t fall out with triple pirouettes and scissor leaps and hitch kicks and toe touches was quite a challenge. I literally tied my head together with eight heavy-duty rubber bands to secure the ponytail prior to using 100+ pink sponge rollers to get it nice and 90’s permy.

pink rollersIt was all in vain, though, because it never held a curl. Then one night at a curl party, my squadmate Jess G. said in the most epiphonic way, “Mari! Your hair is too clean! Dirty hair works best if you want it to hold any kind of curl.” And then she sprayed 13 different types of goop into my hair before rolling in the pink spongies.

In case you were wondering, yes, we got first place at Mission SJ and qualified for Nationals that day.

I attribute it to my fabulously permy, curly hair, courtesy of Jess. Thanks, lovely!

Veronica: I always bring “going-out” shoes.

In Dancing, Health, Shoes on 10/12/2009 at 3:05 pm

@VeronicaPasia is a high power marketing girl. She’s also tall and beautiful and lovely and friendly and fun and smart. She’s like THE sept-uple threat (or whatever a 7x threat is called).

We met up for our friend’s birthday party and decided to go dancing afterwards. I was wearing flats. Veronica was wearing flats. I figured we’d go somewhere where flats were fine.

Then out of nowhere, VP produced a pair of FABULOUS (heeled) shoes from her bag and slipped them on.

Panicked, I said, “Oh no! You’re going to look hot! I’m going to look short!”

She said, I always bring “going-out” shoes with me. It’s the city, girl!”

Well, I learned my lesson. And there’s always a spare pair of 4″ patent peep toes in my bag or car. Just in case.