Sunday, July 27, 2008

'Mega Mixer' expects mega turnout


There’s a saying that necessity is the mother of invention. That’s certainly the case with tonight’s A Mid-Summer Nite’s Mega Mixer, a massive networking event that will be held at the Santa Barbara Natural History Museum.

Alan Tratner, who runs the Small Business Entrepreneurship Center and organized the periodic Tech Brew events in Santa Barbara, got tired of having to shuffle between networking events and decided he’d do something about it.
“I was just planning on having a regular Tech Brew for the summer,” Tratner said recently. “But then one night I was going back and forth between a Green Drinks Santa Barbara chapter event and a mixer with the Santa Barbara Young Professionals Club and I started thinking: ‘Wouldn’t it be nice to try to invite the other organizations into Tech Brew and let the community get exposed to what’s happening on all these different fronts at the same time?”
Tratner tried out his idea on the board members at the Young Professionals and got an enthusiastic response. Then he shuttled back over to the Green Drinks’s mixer, told them the concept and received an equally warm reception. From there, the event just mushroomed into the Mega Mixer.
“It completely snowballed, way faster than I would have expected,” Tratner said. “Lo and behold, we now have 30 different organizations that have piled on to participate.”

The sponsors include not only all of the above organizations, but also entrepreneurial event sponsor Catalyst, the Service Core of Retired Executives (SCORE), Community Environmental Council, advertising/PR firm Christie Communications, the Santa Barbara Press Club, the Pacific Coast Business Times and the Daily Sound.
Each of the 30 organizations will have up to two minutes each for a quick and dirty presentation “about who you are and what you do,” Tratner said.
Catalyst is also providing a keynote speaker, a consultant to Fortune 500 companies whose name is being held back as a surprise. And Larry Crandell, the emcee extraordinaire known as Mr. Santa Barbara, will handle the microphone during the evening.

Other activities include exhibits, wine tasting and sales, appetizers, a cash bar, a drawing for door prizes. The charity Nourish America will receive a portion of proceeds from sales.
The booths and exhibits will be set up outdoors in and near the amphitheater by Mission Creek, the same site where the museum’s popular Wine Festival is staged.
“It will be quite a bash,” Tratner promised. “We’re really trying to integrate everybody into one big event. The rationale is to mix things up. That’s why we gave it the title Mega Mixer.”
More than 500 people have already RSVP’s for the event, which runs from 5:30-8:30 p.m., and even more are expected on short notice. Walk-ins, although not encouraged, will not be turned away, Tratner said.
Tratner said he’s already experiencing fall out from the Mega Mixer in increased interest in sponsorship of the regular Tech Brews, with the next one scheduled for September. And Mega Mixer will be back again next year, he said.
“I’m sure this will turn into one of Santa Barbara’s popular annual events,” he said.
For details and to register, visit

No comments: