From Carnegie Hall to the Studio Walls of Hollywood, I traveled out to Los Angeles on Monday, September 27 for my LA debut with "Cocktails with Courtney." Sponsored by VIC (Venice Interactive Community) and InternetWire, the reception was set in the elegant and posh Peninsula Hotel in Beverly Hills. Of course I came prepared with my special touches of branded napkins and sparkly confetti, which always adds a little sparkle to any event!
This event was a wonderful opportunity for me to meet some people I'd only heard about and see first hand what the LA Cyber Scene is like. Tony Winders, president of InterActive Agency and Donald Alschuler of ExperTeam were among the first people I met. Brad Nye (pres. of VIC) introduced me to some of his close friends including his friend since early school days -- Paul Wolff of Brand ATM and Sofia Agras of PeopleLink. Marie Condron, of the SoCal Tech calendar came to meet me -- after weeks of emailing and event info exchanging. Bruce Braunstein, a writer, and Stephen Graham were working the room, and I met Deborah Bothun (partner, PriceWaterhouseCoopers), Bruce Braun of Sabela Media, Brian Litman of PlayMedia Systems and Frederic Bien of Flirt.com were busy mingling with some of the well-heeled and dressed soiree attendees. Martini's delicately balanced in hands as sumptuous hors d'oeuvres were passed around. The witty and charming James Roberts of the Atlantic Advisory Group and I had many laughs and a good time, as did the smashing group from Viant-- Clive Pinder, Jeremy Barnett, Lance Trebesch and Seth Palmer (formerly of NY and then Dallas). Bridget Baiss was lovely to speak with and I also got the opportunity to meet the famous Gary Arlen of Arlen Communities.
Halfway through the glam gathering Brad Nye, Michael Terpin (of InternetWire) and I stood up on the rim of the fountain for a quick introduction and thanks to the guests. It was tempting to jump in afterwards, but of course I restrained myself. The evening was getting a bit chilly too, but it didn't stop the warm exchanges of greetings -- Bill Rini of eToys (and a frequent poster on the Goodtimes list!), Nina Steiner of NATPE and Rich Geist of another networking organization, The Zone were all bubbly and social.
Ever the brander, Brad Nye rounded up a select few for dinner afterwards at Trader Vics, an old-time LA establishment. Mads Lillelund of Lucent Technogies, Carolyn Nisbet (dir., HR, PeopleSupport.com), Tony Greenberg (SVP, biz dev. DEN), Michael Lindsey (LA Times), Joe Jurrell (Fullmettle), David Conlin (Cambridge Technology Partners), who very nicely picked up the tab.