July 29, 2010 at 3:23 pm EDT | by WBadmin
An early start to professional success

Energy, passion, determination and creativity are key to Mike LaRosa’s business smarts. LaRosa, 25, entered the workforce in college. He started at Starbucks and by graduation day from George Mason University, he was one of the youngest store managers and senior training specialists in the Eastern Division. Equally impressive, but not surprising, as marketing coordinator for the Washington Business Journal, he managed a record 57 events in one year, while growing overall profitability 13 percent in a down economy. When he joined BRAVO! Events by Design as business development manager, LaRosa had more than six years of work experience.

An expert in networking events, LaRosa is a self-declared news and blog hound.

“In this day and age, you have to know what’s going on and Google Alert ALL your clients,” he said. “Weird stories are the best ice breakers at a networking event.” He added, “Never, never, never burn your bridges: D.C. is a really small town. You never know who that person you meet at a hopping happy hour might know!”

LaRosa understands that social media is a business tool. “I can tweet all day, but I have to say something useful to get the public’s attention and make them my sales force.” His business, however, is all about the connection. “A phone call, e-mail, IM or tweet doesn’t make a sale. I close deals because of the relationships I form. Passion for my work is conveyed in person. I need to express the excitement of a live event and how they are the most effective form of marketing. At BRAVO! we say: Long after the last guest departs, the impact of an event lives on.”

No doubt LaRosa represents a new breed of business leader, where the present is an evolution of the past: Keep what works, incorporate new strategies, and move forward. More information on BRAVO! is available at bravoevents.com.

CAGLCC gives away an iPad

“What a great e-mail to receive,” Mark Soike exclaimed after winning CAGLCC’s Pridelicious iPad giveaway. Soike, who works in government sales for Corporate Executive Board, said that he registered for the prize while visiting CAGLCC.org to learn when the next networking event was scheduled. “It was a Network Thursday. I have been to a couple and really enjoyed them,” he said.

CAGLCC sponsored a month-long “Pridelicious” campaign featuring the iPad prize to highlight the Gay Chamber’s Community Partnership in Capital Pride. As a member of the corporate world, serving Fortune 100 and 500 companies, Mark had a question for CAGLCC. “How do I participate in CAGLCC?” The answer: Corporate Connections.

CAGLCC’s Corporate Connections programs target LGBT employees and executives from companies with 2,000 or more employees, says Mark Guenther, CAGLCC executive director. Often these companies have an employee resource group (ERG) that allows you to be out internally. But there is really no avenue for LGBT employees and executives to cross-network with their peers in other similar organizations. CAGLCC’s Corporate Connections provides that opportunity.

Soiek and his boyfriend are joining CAGLCC for the networking opportunities. CAGLCC hosts Corporate Connections on the first Tuesday of even numbered months. The next is scheduled for Oct. 5.

CAGLCC member news

James Jones, managing partner of 360 Sustainability Group, a D.C.-based business helping organizations reduce costs, increase revenue and improve brand equity through sustainability, has been retained by a national not-for-profit to develop capacity-building strategies around corporate partnerships, board recruitment, organizational effectiveness and marketing. Learn more at 360sgroup.com.

Kim Rosenberg and Meghann Novinskie are changing the face of gay and lesbian dating. Off-line matchmaking is the way at Mixology. For a new way to connect the “old” way, visit readytomix.com.

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