Sometime last year, I was asked to be on the NFTE (Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship) Gala Committee. Wow, I thought… I will finally be able to give back to this organization whose mission I so embrace, and who chose me as one of their first Locally Grown Entrepreneurs. As part of this committee, most would agree that I did all of the right things, given that the goal was to raise money: I reached out to my professional network, I lobbied my friends, I called in favors. The result: I raised some money. In the most unoriginal manner.
At that same meeting was a friend of mine, fellow Bourbon lover (we have had many a conversation about Maker’s Mark versus Knob Creek), Mark. While I was raising money in a conventional “in the box” manner, he rather decided to be creative, innovative, funny. He came up with the concept of “Geek 2 Chic.” Did I mention Mark is a bit of both? Fabulously chic, he is smart enough to be a geek. He is Dr. Mark Drapeau. Oh, and he works for Microsoft. For the Office of Civic Innovation. That’s an understatement… For its third year in a row, his brainchild (helped by Heather Guay from Bloomingdales and MCd by Angie Goff of NBC Washington), the Geek 2 Chic event tonight was a huge success. The concept? Have men who would typically be described as geeks model the latest men’s fashion trends on the runway at Bloomingdales.
While all models were more chic than geek, while there was attitude, champagne drinking, dancing, dunking , and a capella singing on the runway, two models were particularly memorable. First, there was Adam Jaffe, of Mercury Continuity. He gets extra credit because somehow I am the one he threw bright blue Calvin Klein briefs to. Blue Calvin Klein briefs with the letters MC (I assume standing for “Mercury Continuity”) painted on in glitter. A marketing idea I will have to ponder…
Then, most importantly, there was 2012 NFTE graduate Jordon Brooks. He was the true star of this evening’s show, the reminder of why we were all there, drinking champagne and paying to shop. An alumnus of Croom Vocational High School, he won a standing ovation from a crowd of over 700 at the 2012 NFTE DC Gala while presenting his amazing story of overcoming life obstacles, the lure of the streets, and building Threshold Graphics, his very own graphic design business.
Not surprisingly, the event was extremely well attended, by the likes of Stephanie Greene, Kate Michael, Maggie O’Neill (whose husband modeled), Terry Galvez, Mary-Kate Rasa, and NFTE Board Members, including one of my best friends, Minal Damani Kundra, and her sister, Pallavi Kumar. Throughout the evening, we sipped champagne, socialized, took pictures, were taken pictures of, and clapped and encouraged these fabulous male models. And then we shopped, with the good excuse that 10% of all Bloomies purchases that night was being donated to NFTE.
What a fabulous evening celebrating entrepreneurship, intrapreneurship, fashion, technology, and the American Dream!