The Value of Breakfast Networking Events: An Intern Perspective

Written by Paige Dawson Rodriguez on Wednesday, September 13th, 2017

In today’s blog we’re pleased to introduce MPD’s newest intern, Katherine Wilkes. A recent Texas A&M graduate (yes, we’re up to two Aggies for those counting), you’ll get to know her this fall as she works on supporting our client projects.

While she has only joined us last week, she is proving to be a fast study and excellent team member. As we try with all our internships, we want to expose the next generation to in-person client meetings and events as well as offer them a chance to hone their blogging chops.

Katherine will take it away now to share a bit of her insights from attending her first client event this week. It’s always fun to see what the Millennial generation finds valuable.

“Friends in High Places”

Tuesday morning I had the opportunity to attend Pearson Partners International’s quarterly breakfast series. The event will definitely go down as one of the perks of being an intern with MPD Ventures. This was my debut event to attend as part of the MPD Ventures team and gave me better insight into how our marketing field moves between digital promotion to market and secure people to attend to the in-person event experience (and as I’m now learning, the activities that come after the event).

Not only was the morning a great learning opportunity in terms of the subject matter content and how event planning really works behind the scenes, but it was also a very well-executed event that was perfectly in tune with the client’s audience base. The title of this blog is due to those points as well as a few other factors…

  • Pearson Partners International, one of our clients, specializes in just this concept. Finding friends in high places, or C-level executives, to fill board positions and CEO/CFO/COO vacancies. Safe to say, it was a very well dressed room.
  • The event took place at Park City Club on the 17th The view was spectacular. Every window had access to the Downtown Dallas skyline miles away.
  • The breakfast itself was an expansive spread of morning delicacies varying from miniature banana smoothies to a personalized omelet station and even biscuits and gravy (my personal favorite). Would a business executive expect any less?

I also learned that wrangling busy executives at breakfast events are by far more effective than luncheons, since the day is just starting and any work-related distractions are minimized. Plus, Pearson is a big believer in trying to end promptly by 9am so folks can get on with their day.

Now on to the actual event…

The third quarter topic focused on technology and was appropriately titled “Future Focus: Macro Trends and Their Global Impact.” Pearson Partners invited panelists who were experts in the tech field, with varied industry and background experience, which made for fascinating dialogue.

L to R: Moderator, Stephen Konstans, Pearson Partners; Michael Vidikan, Future in Focus; Keith Pearson; Jennifer Sanders, Dallas Innovation Alliance; Lane Conner, Fusze.

  • The first panelist was the founder and CEO of Fuzse Lane Conner. Fuzse specializes in payment infrastructures like Venmo and sponsored banks such as JP Morgan. He focused on the evolving payment industry that has moved away from traditional face-to-face transactions toward peer-to-peer transactions like Venmo, PayPal and other online services instead.
  • Next was Jennifer Sanders, the Co-founder and Executive Director of the Dallas Innovation Alliance. Her work is a mélange of private and public enterprises to ensure Dallas’ success as a Smart City. What’s a Smart City? I had to ask too. Sanders defined it as a way to combine technology, data and analysis to create increased economic initiative and improved livability for a certain area. An example she gave was a streetlight communicating with your smart-phone device to maximize efficiency on the road or to make a light turn green as you approach it.
  • Lastly, Pearson invited Michael Vidikan, the founder and CEO of Future in Focus. Vidikan’s realm of expertise is varied. At one point he spent his days briefing members of the National Counterterrorism Center and Department of Homeland Security. Today he helps organizations make better decisions using strategic foresight and marketing research. Vidikan spoke to the civilian potential in Artificial Intelligence (AI). People use AI every day without even knowing it when they route the fastest morning commute through Waze.

Each of the panelists outlined potential in their industry and relayed high-tech information in an easily understandable manner. Once the official event summary is released, I’ll link to the article in this blog post so you may have a better insight into the robust discussion and take-away points.

Overall, the event was a wonderful opportunity to network and expose myself to an industry I want to follow more closely.

About Paige Dawson Rodriguez

Paige Dawson RodriguezWith expertise in marketing, business strategy and public relations, as well as ‘in the trenches’ experience as a business owner, Paige Dawson Rodriguez brings a unique blend of talent to clients. As president and founder of MPD Ventures Company, Paige works with executives and entrepreneurs throughout the country to develop key messages, marketing strategies and measurable campaigns, driven by client business goals. She has extensive experience providing counsel for professional service firms, technology companies, associations and nonprofits.