Big-Shoes-a-Palooza at Gravity

June 17, 2010 | Comments (2)

Last night I had a great time at a Big Shoes Network-sponsored Tweetup held at Gravity Marketing, LLC.  I’ve written about Gravity before, so I don’t need to say too much about Mike Kuharske and his compariots, except to restate that Gravity is doing good work and fulfilling a neat mission of building the Milwaukee creative community.  The Big Shoes Network, brainchild of Jeff and Martha Carrigan, has been helping job seekers and employers meet for 4 years now.  So, having a Tweetup at Gravity, sponsored by BSN seemed like a perfect match.  That idea seems proven too, by the great turnout last night.  Though I don’t know the final numbers, Mike told me they had 250 RSVPs!

I went to the Tweetup, not knowing who I’d run into and had the pleasure of encountering old friends and making new acquaintances.  Though we didn’t get to chat, I saw Scott Baitinger (T) <of Streetza Pizza (T) fame>, who provided much of the delicious food for the night.  The Milwaukee Brewing Company, whose building is right across the street from Gravity, provided their swell beers, like “Flaming Damsel Real Blonde”.

Before I get too far, one critique of the event…As a green-minded business-person, I had one complaint of the evening.  Because of the number of attendees, and the nature of the refreshments, there was a lot of trash generated–plates, plastic utensils, glass bottle, and aluminum cans.  ALL of this went into general trash bins.  There were no containers in which to put the bottles and aluminum cans for recycling.  That was pretty disappointing. I would encourage all future tweet-ups to keep recycling in mind.  These events are great, but they shouldn’t be environmentally irresponsible.

I saw Linda Steiner, long-time PR pro in Milwaukee who I’ve known for years.  She’s been PR director at Cardinal Stritch University and is now at St. Amelian’s.  She was at the tweetup getting ideas for how St. Amelian’s could incorporate social media into their mission.  I met Mike of Mike’s Plotter Service;  he offers a full-service business for HP wide-format printers–full sales, support and service!  At that same table, I got to chat with Brittany Georgeson, print production manager at Scot Advertising, and learn a bit more about their food-centric advertising agency.

I ran into Jane Taugher, a friend and marketing/production/writing pro who’s looking to make a move to Colorado this fall!  If anyone has any leads in that neck of the woods, please contact Jane!  After chatting with Jane, I saw Kevin Duvalle, a friend from my days at Cardinal Stritch University.  Kevin is making his mark now as Ignition Creative, LLC, offering graphic and web design services.  While chatting with Kevin, I was introduced to Steve Schuster, of Schuster Communications.  Steve’s a corporate communications/copywriting fellow!

The evening went by too fast, with one introduction flowing into the next.  While chatting with Kevin, I caught the attention of Eva Donahoo (T)as she walked by.  Eva is one of PR/marketing folks at Wisconsin Lutheran College.  She’s really a “marketing ombudswoman” at WI Lutheran–from creating press kits, to managing Twitter accounts, to photographing athletic events–seems like she does it all!

I was about to tweet to Chelsey Orlikowski, to see if she was still present, when I saw her standing not 10 feet away!  Chelsey and I have shared a few tweet-messages about running and exercising, and now we got to properly meet in-person.  While chatting with her, I also got to meet her friend, Brianna Nelson.  Both Chelsey (T)and Brianna (T)are soon gonna be making waves in the PR/Marketing/SocialMedia realms, so you ought to follow them!

I spotted Laura Gainor (T), of Comet Branding, but only got to briefly introduce myself.  Hopefully she and I will get to have a proper conversation at a future tweetup.  I was just about to make my way out of the event, when Jeff Carrigan, co-founder of the Big Shoes Network (T) introduced himself!  We began talking about the state of the creative industry.  Being an independent photographer and a job-board administrator, we both had unique viewpoints on the slowly recovering economy.  I think our basic agreement was that things are getting better, but it’s with a rather cautious approach.  Our conversation was joined by Brian Weidner (T), who runs the Career Tree Network, a job-board that connects health-care professionals with job opportunities. It was pretty neat talking with these fellows because they were as interested in learning about the photography that I do, as I was in learning about their networks and what they have to offer.

With that last conversation concluded, it was time to head out.  As mentioned at the start of this, this tweetup was VERY productive.  Friendships were reaffirmed, friendly acquaintances were made, and “community synapses” were formed.  I can’t wait till my first opportunity comes around to put one of my new connections to use!

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About Troy Freund

Independent photographer working for commercial and editorial clients, based in Milwaukee, WI.

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2 Responses to Big-Shoes-a-Palooza at Gravity

  1. Amy Jahns says:

    Nice blog! I’m the blond with the curly hair sandwich between Jeff and Martha. Will you be posting any of your photos on the Big Shoes page on Facebook?

  2. Eva Donohoo says:

    Thanks for the mention and photo! Great event, great recap!

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