Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Networking on the red carpet

While I was in Boston this past weekend I had the opportunity to attend this fancy gala that was part Oscar party and part fundraiser for Breast Cancer. I guess Boston does their best imitation of Hollywood come Oscar time and they pull out their red carpets and fancy gowns and pretend that there isn’t snow on the ground and real movie stars anywhere to be found. Well, I guess Ben Affleck is from Boston but he wasn’t at this party. I did see some actress I recognized from something I couldn’t quite recall. Anyway, our marketing guy extraordinaire (shout out to Stephen!) scored us a VIP invite, complete with Limo Service and a promise of a gift bag. I figured it probably topped the list of fun things to do in Bean Town so I accepted. Seeing as how I hadn’t planned on going to any black tie affair I was forced to go shopping in order to find something suitable to wear and lucky for me our hotel just happened to be attached to a mall.

My agent went big time and scored a suit from Hugo Boss but seeing as how I had no real need for a big time gown because parties in Tucson rarely call for such extravagant attire, I found a suitable frock at Arden B. and shoes from Aldo, your typical mall stores and the most affordable thing to be found at this particular mall. So, Jamie Nieto and I, along with our agent Paul made our way to this party and had ourselves a good time.

Somehow Jamie and I got cornered into doing an on-camera interview with lord knows who. They had a camera and a microphone and they wanted to talk to us so we were game. I had noticed upon arrival that these people had actual gowns on. It looked as if they had been on their way to the actual Oscars and somehow missed their flight so they decided to come to this party instead. That’s fine…I didn’t feel terribly out of place in my little off the rack, mall dress until the lady in the microphone tried to call me out. At the end of the interview she asks me what I’m wearing. Excuse me? Joan Rivers is it? I’m really not about to say that this dress is from an upscale Forever 21 with no actual designer attached to it. At least if it was BCBG or something I could say Max Azaria but this dress is made by some no name person in a factory somewhere across the ocean probably. So I simply said “that’s a very good question.” Jamie, who didn’t even bother to go shopping, tells her he’s wearing Guess. He should of at least said Marciano, right?!

I did, however, learn a very valuable lesson at this party that I’m really going to try and implement more. Jamie happens to be a networking guru and is extremely adept at selling himself and making the most of what he does and what he’s accomplished. At every turn he’s handing out his athlete card and introducing himself and talking up the fact that he’s an Olympian and an Olympic hopeful for 2008. I, on the other hand, am never good at talking myself up because on some level I feel as if I have not really done anything worth mentioning and there is nothing about me people will find fascinating. It’s a complex I have due to the fact that I am always focused on what I haven’tdone and what is still yet to be accomplished. Who cares if I am an Olympic hopeful if I have never been to the Olympics? But he assured me that people do care and are genuinely interested and intrigued. Maybe he’s right. Or maybe I’ll just continue to tell people I’m on page 46 of the swimsuit issue. :)


Kitlat said...

I am glad that you attended one of the "Oscar Night in America" events. This was created and sanctioned by the organizers of the Oscar ceremony. It is much in the spirit of the "Broadway Across America" series except that it allows charities to host Oscar themed viewing parties that will raise money for the charity that hosts it.

The charity that hosted the event was the Ellie Fund. They have hosted this event for a while. The proceeds goes to support their programs, which support breast cancer patients and their families.

The Ellie Fund

I was there also. I was one of the volunteers that helped out. I monitored the Auction tables. I also helped stuff the gift bags earlier that day.

Many of the media present were local media-including access tv stations. Many people do watch the access stations religiously and since this was the only official Oscar party, I am not surprised that there were people that were trying to provide a viewing experience similar to what they see on regular broadcast tv. Hence, Joan Riveresque interviews.

Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner were asked as far as I know from the organizers if they could attend (especially since Jennifer Garner was here filming with Matthew McConaughey a few days before) but as you could see on the telecast, they were needed elsewhere...Ben Affleck also grew up in Cambridge, not Boston.

Networking is tough-especially for women I think in some arenas because we still get messages that it's better not to be "pushy" or "forward." We also downplay ourselves whereas sometimes guys will not just gild a lily-they will dip it in chocolate and keep selling you on the fact that it is gold.

Like anything else, practice makes perfect. Don't ever sell yourself. We all are somebody special.

Anonymous said...

It doesn't matter who made the clothes girl, you looked beautiful and it seems like you had a great time. Also, don't even worry about not being able to hype yourself. You should be proud of all of your accomplishments, having made the Olympics or not. Good luck with the outdoor season and keep doing your thing.

Brianna said...

kitlat...thanks for providing more information about the, it sounds way more official now that you've explained it!

anonymous...thank you!

Track Evangelist said...

Ever thought of cloning yourself??? Track needs more athletes like you. Good job of you and "your people" on scoring an Oscar party invitation. We'll have to see what's next for you. Holla!

Jay @

brit_brat said...

hook a sista up with what was in the goodie bag!

Anonymous said...

The dress may have been from Arden B. You look fantabulous in it though.

Anonymous said...

Hey Brianna,

I recently learned the value of networking and it has been instrumental in me achieving several of my personal and career goals. I realized that people are willing and eager to hear what I have to say and support my vision. Most of my top job offers were acquired by networking at scientific conferences. I’ve also helped several other Black males get into medical and graduate school through my network. I network not only for my benefit but for others as well.

I’m a Cancer Biologist/Pharmacologist thus I identify genes that are commonly found in African American Men & Women who have been diagnosed with either prostate or breast cancer and develop safe and effective treatments, whether it be pharmaceuticals or natural products. It’s always good to see others supporting breast cancer research!!!!! Keep up the good work on and off the track.


kareem said...

I must say, I don't get too caught up in brand name wear. I wear what I like and what I think I look good in. Whether it is brand name or not (perhaps it is more difficult for women since you guys "size" each up more than men do :).

Seriously though, you liked the outfit, it looked nice on you, you made the outfit - nuff said! Look at how many celebrities pay enormous amounts of $$ to wear crappy designer outfits at those events to only get "torn down" by Collins (justifiably so).

I feel you on the Networking thing though. I have always heard how important it is and know that it is a good thing to be able to do. I am just a bit reserved and not really good at "small talk" (I am working on it though - Toastmasters:). That is partly what networking is - "small talk". Some call it BS - lol!, but it works!!

Zzz said...

That's great to hear you are networking. You looked great and it is all apart of the whole package.

You never know when the great opportunity is going to strike so always take advantage of the moment. Yes you are an athlete but you have so much more to offer so always go for the gusto!

gamelord said...

Networking is essential no matter what business you're involved in, because in most cases it is not what you know, but who you know. I'd venture to guess that 60-70% of business deals are closed in social situations, i.e. golf courses, parties. Brianna since your business is YOU, you might want to put your hobnobbing gear in overdrive. :-) There is no way Corporate America could possibly resist you. :-)

Andre Rafik said...

Doyle owns a suit?