Quoting from Carl Sandburg on hopes and dreams, East Harlem Technical School Principal Maria Alvalez spoke from the heart to the guests at our 3rd Black Tie benefit, on January 25th at the Union Square W Hotel. She spoke of the importance of dream for growth. Her said that these kids don't know what they don't know, and thus, don't even know what dreams to pursue. Therefore, it is important for them to have someone else dream for them. So, they can be encouraged to pursue, persevere and succeed. She also commented that it is better to aim high and perhaps fail, than to aim too low and succeed. We also heard from Middle School Director Ben Waxman, who said this event most likely marked the very first black tie benefit for a New York City public school. Director of East Harlem Tech George Mathieu told us this was his first black tie. He encouraged us to invite the kids to our offices and to visit the school, where we could talk with them about other worlds and opportunities.
JDM Interactive's John McGann (from who I rent office space at 116 West Houston) told me this morning that to have such a formal event for this particular beneficiary, in light of recent and current economic and business conditions, was even more poignant. He cited the "social and ethical responsibilities that come hand in hand with developing a new industry, especially one that will have such an endemic effect on everyone's lives, and especially an industry that CAN affect less fortunate communities, for example, through education." His sentiments echoed throughout the night in the comments of other attendees, including Starvest Partners' Co-Chair and Founder Jeanne Sullivan and Environmental Entrepreneurs' Co-Founder and AT&T Extranet Director John Sullivan, who have been involved in technology for a long time and who care deeply about environmental and educational issues. Kate Berg, who left Jupiter to pursue her own dreams, PR21's EVP Renee Edelman and Flooz.com's Co-Founder, Chairman & CEO Robert Levitan are also among the netizens who care.
Lead sponsor Marsh Inc.'s new media SVP Michael Wiebe looked dashing in his tuxedo with red bow tie and cumberbund. He had more encouraging words about community involvement. Interactive Futures' CEO Steve Shaer, sponsor for the evening, cared deeply about this event and wanted to be sure his company was a contributor. Zefer, a third sponsor, also showed their support for the event by having a presence as well. Silicon Alley long-time leader David Friedensohn looked just as dapper in his tuxedo. He was one of the braver gentlemen who officially tied his own bow tie. Gazeta USA and JapanTV's Kenzo Hashimoto and AlleyCat Editor-in-Chief were hobnobbing along with LocalBusiness.com's Mo Krochmal and the New York City Economic Development Corporation's SVP Ann Gardner Kayman. NYSIA's President Bruce Bernstein and other long-time supporters MindArray's Tery Spataro, attorney Steve Filler, Koko Interactive's Katie Peters and Glen Lipka, Cowan Financial's Richard Frazer, and Roz Goldfarb's Amy Fried were all dressed to the nines and enjoying themselves.
WWWAC Board Members attorney Steve Masur, Richard A. Eisner's Bruce Strzelczyk (and new WWWAC president) and Colin Strasser all came out to support the evening's event. Lucent's Mads Lillelund introduced me to his lovely wife and new Alley-ite Global Crossing's Randy Stack. Akin Gump's Austin office sent the party invite to their NY director Willie Dennis, who happily attended. MOUSE's Executive Director Sarah Holloway was festive in her black feather boa, while and Founder & President (and Digital Club Networks' CEO/President and Co-Founder) Andrew Raisej looked quite Saville Row-ish in his tuxedo. Yo New York's Tamani Woolery was there with her crew, as was the 1-Minute Web cast crew, catching interviews with the guests. Continuous Media's Chip Lewis was also helping out by acting as our official photographer for the night. NYNMA's Ellen Auwarter and Iguana Interactive's James Ontra were circulating, while Niehaus Ryan Wong's Nathan Tinker entertained his guests at their table. Sun representatives Michael Seeling and Felix Knoll entertained their guests at a table, as did the Interactive Futures' crew.
Celebrity face-painter Rainbow Heart appeared near the end to glitter and sparkle up ladies chests, cheeks and hands. The classical music trio, Sterling Music, added aural elegance to the visually graceful grand ballroom with massive marble columns. The dramatic floodlighting mixed with gorgeous candlelight to set off the neutral tones and calm stress away - along with the Bombay martinis! As the evening came to an end, the East Harlem Technical School ramped up for added enthusiasm and devotion from a segment of our community that is dominated by the true netizens and winners in the truest sense.