Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The Day the Money Stood Still - One Year Later

Since I often get questions from people as to whether entrepreneurs are getting any funding through ZINO Society, I want to share some statistics.  I was suitably impressed when I realized how much had been raised since our previous ZINO Zillionaire Investment Forum (which actually occurred on the day of the crash in the banking market last September).  As we go about our everyday business, I think we are generally too close to it and don’t recognize what an important service ZINO Society is providing to entrepreneurs who are seeking funding.

Over the past several months, I had heard from multiple sources that entrepreneurs have not been getting funding locally through any of the other local angel groups, so I was very happy and surprised to realize that between our last ZZIF on September 16, 2008 until our most recent ZZIF on September 17, 2009, ZINO Societyhas facilitated an additional $4.9 million in both new and additional round funding to companies that have applied to present at ZINO Society!  This number does not count other angel investments that have been made outside the ZINO Society entrepreneurs (we call “ZINOpreneurs”).  We went from a cumulative total of $8.1 million in September, 2008 to a cumulative total of $13.0 million today.  Of course, this only includes the funding that I know about.  Though we always encourage both the entrepreneurs and the investors to let us know when they invest, I realize that we don’t always receive this information.  If you are an investor or an entrepreneur that has funded or received funding through ZINO Society connections, please do let me know!

Here are the actual total cumulative statistics of angel funds raised through ZINO Society each September for the four years that we have been producing ZINO Zillionaire Investment Forum:

ZZIF 2006             $2.0 million

ZZIF 2007             $7.6 million

ZZIF 2008             $8.1 million

ZZIF 2009             $13.0 million

Sunday, September 27, 2009

PONCHO-PNB-PINOT Gastronomic Celebration

On Friday evening, September 25th, Ken and I hosted an auction dinner at our home that our friends, John & Mitzi Morris, purchased at the PONCHO Wine Auction last fall.  This was a dinner party for 14 that featured 15 different wines, primarily Pinot Noir, that award-winning Sommelier, Jake Kosseff paired with incredible food courses prepared by 2009 James Beard Foundation Award Nominee, Chef Jason Wilson, owner of Crush Restaurant.  Since I am both a past PONCHO President (1998) and past Chairman of the Board for Pacific Northwest Ballet (2000-2005), I was pleased that this donation helped two arts organization which I continue to strongly value and support.

Fellow PONCHO Board member and Pacific Northwest Ballet Board member and also a past Chairman of the Board, Dan Heidt, put together all the details along with Jake and Jason, while my role was to provide the venue, set the table, etc.  (Please see the second photo above including from left to right: Dan Heidt, Mitzi Morris, Michele Heidt, Ken Hatch, John Morris, Cathi Hatch, Sommelier Jake Kosseff and Chef Jason Wilson.)

Since I have been called a “china-holic”, this gave me an excuse to drag out my Venetian linens and a lot of my china and silverware collection in order to provide plates and silverware for six seated courses following the passed hors d’oeuvres.  Including place plates, soup saucers, soup bowls, silverware, wine glasses etc., for 14 guests, we used 126 pieces of china, 168 pieces of flatware, and over 250 glasses.  Since all of the china and flatware had to be hand-washed, long-time friend and caterer, Judy Bone of Hey Jude Catering assisted with service and managed all of the dishes and silverware.  (Note in the top photo above antique Herend dinner plates atop gold porcelain place plates.)

The evening was delightful with a mix of both old and new friends, fine wine and exquisite food flavors.  Celebrating PONCHO and the funds that were raised for the arts in our region were fellow PONCHO board members, John Morris, Dan Heidt and Steve Kutz along with their partners, Mitzi, Michele and Courtney Womack.  Other dinner party guests included Elaine & Keith McCall, Cindy & Jared Wheeler, and Brad & Debra Music.   (See photos of Chef Jason Wilson and photo of guests Keith McCall, Steve Kutz and John Morris above.)  Please see the menu below which will certainly make your mouth water!

Passed Hors d’Oeuvres

Prosciutto, Roquefort & Compressed Apple “Sandwiches”

Gougeres & Truffled Chevre

Smoked Ikura, Crème Fraiche & Blis on Endive

Tattinger Brut la Francaise, Reims, Champagne, FR


Seated Courses

Truffled Celeriac Soup

Seared Scallops & Sage Brown Butter Reduction

2005 Joseph Drouhin, Chablis, FR


Roulade of Sweetbreads

1 Hour Duck Egg, Sweet Corn Grits & Bourbon Sauce

2005 Vincent Giradin, Puligny-Montrachet, FR


“Suini en una Coperta”

Fennel Sausage, Handrolled Penne, Chanterelles,

Kale & Roasted Garlic

2004 Main Divide, Marlborough, NZ

2004 Seifried, Nelson, NZ

2006 Escarpment, Martinborough, NZ


Porcini Crusted Alaskan Halibut

Wagyu Beef Dashi, Leeks & Sea Beans

2005 Ancien Toyon Farm, Carneros, CA

2005 Kistler, Sonoma Coast, CA

2004 Talley Estate, Arroyo Grande Valley, CA

2004 Longoria, Santa Rita Hills, CA


Braised & Glazed Painted Hills Short Ribs

Potato Puree, Garden Carrots, & Truffle Pistou

2006 Beaux Freres Beaux Freres, Ribbon Ridge, OR

2005 Ken Wright Savoya, Yamhill-Carlton, OR

2004 Sinnean Wyeast, Hood River Valley, OR


Valrhona Chocolate Coulant Cake

Salted Caramel, Praline Ice Cream Colheita Candied Dates

2006 Lachini Pinot Port, Willamette Valley, OR


Friday, September 25, 2009

Awkward, young love at Roméo et Juliette

This evening I attended opening night of the Pacific Northwest Ballet new season to hear the Pacific Northwest Ballet Orchestra perform Prokofiev’s famous score and see Jean-Christophe Maillot’s incredible choreography of Roméo et Juliette.  Because audiences were so taken with this ballet when it first premiered in Seattle 18 months ago and have repeatedly requested an encore, PNB Artistic Director, Peter Boal, decided to kick off this season with this story ballet.

The evening began with a beautiful pre-performance “Prelude to a Kiss” dinner in the Allen Room for the Arts in McCaw Hall.  My guest, Susan Neumann, and I had a chance to connect with many other friends and ballet enthusiasts during cocktails and dinner including Princess Lada & Larry Schuiski, Peter HorvitzKay & John Baxter, Pam & Dan Baty, Suzy & Moe Krabbe, Joan & Bob Cremin, Sarah & John Rindlaub, Carl Behnke, Shelley & Doug Swerland, Julie and Tom Skerrit, Leslie & Dale Chihuly, Linda & Toby Warson, Michele & Dan Heidt, Peggy & Michael Swistak, Sherry & James Raisbeck, Jenny & Rick Redman, Joan and Bob Cremin, Carol Wright and so many more.   

At dinner, it was announced that Artistic Director, Peter Boal and PNB have just signed a five year contract extension.  This is especially interesting and great news to me because I was the PNB Chairman of the Board when we conducted the search to find and sign Peter Boal as our new Artistic Director a few years ago.  Other exciting news announced are the promotions of PNB dancers Maria Chapman and Karel Cruz from soloists to principals, and Lindsi Dec from corps de ballet to soloist.  These promotions are all so well-deserved since each one of these dancers is amazing!

Now about the performance.  As a Seattle Times reviewer said,  “It's a remarkable no 'Romeo and Juliet' ballet you’ve seen before: It's intricate, often achingly beautiful, and never simply pretty."  It is impossible not to be transfixed with the sheer beauty of the movements performed by the incredible lead dancers, Carla Korbes as Juliette, Lucien Postlewaite as Romeo, Olivier Wevers as Friar Laurence, Ariana Lallone as Lady Capulet, Jonathan Porretta as Mercutio, and Chalnessa Eames as the nurse.  The supporting cast were equally incredible in their roles as well.  Jordan Pacitti and Jerome Tisserand were spot on as the acolytes.  Especially charming are the awkward arm movements and toes left unpointed to represent the awkwardness of youth when Romeo and Juliette first interact and dance together.  Plus, there are many funny moments in the ballet with the nurse being mercilessly teased by Mercutio and Benvolio as well as some of Mercutio’s taunting high-jinx with the Capulets.

Since there are only a few performances that occur this week and next, I really must suggest that you should run, not walk to get tickets to this spectacular ballet and then I want to hear what you think.  Was it as beautiful and riveting as I promised?  What was your favorite part?



Thursday, September 24, 2009

Artificial Hands

Earlier this week, Ken and I attended the ARCS kick-off dinner at the beautifully appointed Sunset Club.  The exquisite floral murals in the very feminine ballroom by Yakima artist, Leo Adams have always been one of my favorite parts of the club.

ARCS, (of which I am an associate member) is a women’s organization that specifically raises funds to support graduate school scholarships for Washington State University and the University of Washington in the areas of engineering, science and medicine.  Since the Seattle Chapter of ARCS began 30 years ago, we have invested over $10 million at UW and over $1 million at WSU in individual Fellowships.  WSU President Elson Floyd attended the dinner and the featured dinner speaker was Yoky Masuoka, Associate Professor of Science and Engineering at the University of Washington and director of UW Neurobotics Laboratory, and a 2007 MacArthur Fellow.  Her research combines neuroscience and robotics--often referred to by Matsuoka as "neurobotics”.

An example of her work is a lifelike robotic hand, modeled bone-by-bone from a human hand, with multiple motors each corresponding to muscles and with strings playing the role of tendons along each digit. Her intent is that nervous system signals will ultimately be able to control the electronic replica in the same manner as a natural appendage.  The MacArthur Foundation characterizes her work as "transforming our understanding of how the central nervous system coordinates musculoskeletal action and of how robotic technology can enhance the mobility of people with manipulation disabilities.

She said that there are only two surgeons in the country, one of whom resides in Seattle, that have the skill to implant a chip in the human brain that will provide the neural engineering to actually allow communication with an appendage (such as a hand) and produce movement.  This is pretty amazing science!  Ken and I were both fascinated as were our friends in attendance including  ARCS President Mickey Flowers and husband, Bob, Patty & Jimmy Barrier, Carol Wright, Elizabeth Rudolf, Sandy & Kent Carlson, Lynn & Steve Mowe . . .  and many more.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Happy Birthday, Dale!

On Sunday evening, Ken and I enjoyed attending Dale Chihuly’s birthday party at The Big Picture, just below El Gaucho restaurant downtown.  In addition to great hors d’oeuvres and a light supper by talented Lisa Dupar Catering, Leslie and Dale had arranged to have his friend and movie star, Jeff Bridges, introduce the film he had selected to entertain us.  There was a fun group of people there  and over cocktails and supper, we had a chance to connect with Allen Shoup, Dan & Pam Baty, Susan & Jeff Brotman, Carl & Renee Behnke, Becky & Jack Benaroya, JJ McKay, Jerry & Jody Schwarz, newlyweds Jessica & Tim Blixseth, Betty Tong and Joe Miner, Kim Richter, Scott Rabinski, Barbara Malone, Ginny Ruffner, Billy O’Neill, Detra Segar, Toni & Rod Hoffman, plus many others.  To my surprise, I saw several people drinking White Russians (which seemed an odd pre-dinner cocktail choice) which I didn’t understand until later in the evening once the film began. 

The movie was Ethan and Joel Coen’s  “The Big Lebowski”.  The plotline:  "Dude" Lebowski, mistaken for a millionaire Lebowski, seeks restitution for his ruined rug and enlists his bowling buddies to help get it. Jeff Bridges played the starring role of “The Dude”, endlessly smoking joints and drinking White Russian cocktails on the rocks.   (At last, the earlier cocktail choices at the party made sense!)

It was fun to have Jeff introduce the movie and talk about filming it in 1998 and bringing his wife and daughters on the set just in time to see the filming of the acid flashback sequence with all the dancing girls in the bowling alley. He ended the intro with a toast to Dale’s birthday and a large birthday cake was presented.  Dale had no trouble extinguishing all the candles in one breath.  Obviously, he has great lungs after all the hot shop work he has done in his life!  Happy Birthday, Dale!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Reflections on ZINO Zillionaire Investment Forum 2009

Now with a couple of days between the conclusion of our ZINO Society largest event of the year, ZINO Zillionaire Investment Forum, it is interesting to sit back and reflect on the many things that were really right this year and what we can do next year to make it an even stronger event.

I heard from our ZINO Society members and sponsors over and over again that this was our best ZZIF to date. They were especially impressed with the quality of the 28 entrepreneurs who presented who were carefully selected and coached and felt this was our best slate ever. Another positive comment that I heard repeated many times was the venue selection, including the layout at the Four Seasons Hotel and the efficacious set-up and quality of the food and service. I think it might be interesting to make a couple of lists below on which I would like to ask for your input and opinion. Do you agree with my assessments? What can you add? What would you change? Any comments will be appreciated as we will have our official “de-brief” this week with the ZINO Society team.

ZZIF 2009 – What was really right this year?

· The quality of the selected companies was solid and the 28 ZZIF presenting companies (with their coaches’ help) made the 5 minute presentations very interesting. I sat back and was completely impressed though I had heard all of their pitches previously at screening. There was a vast improvement between the two presentations however.
· The ZZIF coaches were invaluable and their passion for helping the entrepreneurs was apparent with the positive results showcased. It was a highlight to recognize several of the coaches with awards once again this year. The awardees included:
o Vin Ricci of Foster Pepper – Winningest Coach Award
o Jackson Weaver of OneAccord – Rookie Coach Award
o Joe Wallin, Stuart Campbell, Haeryung Shin of Davis Wright Tremaine – Special Teams Coaches Award
o Alan Housley – Most Inspirational Coach Award
· The venue was spectacular. People especially appreciated the view at the Four Seasons Hotel and that the Ballroom had windows so people didn’t feel trapped in a box as they do at many conferences. Ben Trodd, General Manager, Beverly Magee, Director of Sales and Marketing and their entire team could not have been more helpful. Kudos to the entire Four Seasons Hotel team!
· The chevron table and chair layout set-up in the short direction in the Ballroom was conducive to focusing on the presenter and two screens. From my view at the podium, it was great to look out and see so many interested, focused attendees.
· The attendee notebooks were easy to use and included most of the important information that attendees wanted.
· The streaming twitter was a fun thing to follow throughout the forum as produced by Blaine Millet and Clay Loges of Thank you also to the many people who got engaged and contributed to the twitter stream.
· Keynote speaker, Glen Hiemstra’s optimistic message about the future especially as it relates to new companies and startups.
· The ZZIF fund investors selected a quality group of fund finalists (see photos above).
o Non-Technology Best Investment Opportunity Fund Finalists (middle photo above left to right): Sam Sudore of Zero Crossing, that have created electronic tuners for the music industry, Tom Malone of MicroGREEN Polymers, developing economical and eco-friendly packaging materials; and Ken Childress of Harbor Wing, developing unmanned vessels for commercial and defense uses.
o Technology Best Investment Opportunity Fund Finalists (bottom photo above left to right): David Nelson of Giftango, offering virtual gift cards on any internet connected device including mobile phones; Keith McCall of Enroute Systems, improving efficiency for business shipping; and Steve Buckley of Photon Machines, the CSI of materials to speed decision-making and process at geochemical labs.
· The ZINO Zenith Award for Best Investment Opportunity as selected by all attendees was also selected by the fund investors (see top photo above left to right): Cathi Hatch, ZINO Society CEO with John Friess of journey gym and Tom Malone of MicroGREEN Polymers, flanked by Mary Holmes, ZINO Society VP-Business Development.
· The ZINO Zenith Award for Best Presenter to John Friess of journey gym was an obvious “slam-dunk” with his smart use of the Q & A time to demonstrate the device.
· The Puget Sound Business Journal ZINO Zillionaire Investment Forum insert was the best yet. Thank you Emory Thomas and Colleen Alllison and everyone at PSBJ who worked on the ZZIF insert this year!
· Morgan, the omnipresent photographer from Team Photogenic didn’t miss a photo. He was where he should be at all times.
· Our amazing summer intern, Christine Gilbert, who chose to fly all the way home from her East Coast college to be present and help at ZZIF. She just rolled up her sleeves and jumped in wherever she was needed.
· Also pitching in wherever needed, we had smart, talented student volunteers from both SEBA and the Evening MBA program at the University of Washington.
· The pre-ZZIF VIP Dinner for entrepreneurs and investors was a great opportunity to establish connections and relationships in advance of the forum the next day. Keynote speaker, ZINO Society member and author of business book, “Rethink”, Ric Merrifield talked about how we often get hung up on the “how” when what we should really be looking at is the “what” do we want to achieve.
· Having several wineries ( Edmonds Winery, JLC Winery, San Juan Vineyards, 428 Wines) and a brewery (The Pike Brewing Co.) represented during the Awards Reception was a real plus. Some people would rather have a beer than a glass of wine and we gave them that option this time. Perhaps next year, we should also offer a vitamin water or other non-alcoholic option as well.
What do you think we did right that we should be sure to repeat next year?

ZZIF 2009 – What would you change or improve for next year?

· How can we get people back into the room more quickly and effectively following breaks? This year we used chimes, had ZINO staff attempting to herd attendees and had raffle drawings for Passport Unlimited Gold cards and a copy of keynote speaker, Glen Hiemstra’s book.
· How can we make announcing the fund finalists and Due Diligence LIVE! more energetic and interesting? Should we have pre-arranged due diligence questions that expert panelists can use unless they think of other specific questions that they want to ask? We had a great group of panelists this year including Ric Merrifield, Microsoft business scientist and author of Rethink, Hugh Campbell of Cascadia Capital, Trish Dziko of the Technology Access Foundation, Geir Hansen of Silicon Valley Bank, and moderator Stephen Graham of Fenwick & West. A big thank you to each one!
· Do you like having the college companies’ present or should we consider merely including tables in the entrepreneur exhibition area for them to display their companies? Other thoughts on this?
· What do you recommend to help people register and RSVP on a more timely basis? Too many people are waiting until the eleventh hour or not bothering to RSVP at all and then just showing up at the door. We want them to attend, but we would like to be more organized and have them on the list with name tags pre-made and enough food and beverage ordered. We will offer a PRIZE for the best suggestion that helps us solve this problem!
· What do you think of promoting and offering the pre-ZZIF VIP Dinner as an option for all attendees at the same time they are making their ZZIF attendance decisions, for an additional event fee? Even if others attend, should we continue to focus this dinner primarily on the entrepreneurs, fund investors and coaches?

As our vivid memories today of ZZIF 2009 start to fade into the past, any input or suggestions that you can share with us now will be most helpful to us when we begin our planning for ZZIF 2010. I would love to hear your “two cents”! Thank you for your association with ZINO Society ZZIF 2009.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

A Few of My Favorite Things

In honor of the ZINO Society Team and all of their efforts in preparing for ZINO Zillionaire Investment Forum this year, this song is dedicated to Mary Holmes, Robin Moore, McKenzie Midboe (all three pictured above) as well as Rob Brown, RJ Humphries, Julian Tescher and Christine Gilbert. It should be sung to the tune of “These are a Few of My Favorite Things,” with abject apologies to Rodgers and Hammerstein!

A Few of My Favorite Things

Name tags with ribbons and notebooks in straight rows
Goldfish in glass bowls, wine bottles with gold bows
Beginning ZZIF (pronounced “zif”) sessions with urgent chime rings
These are a few of my favorite things.

Entrepreneurs pitching and coaches enraptured
When each investor’s attention is captured
Live streaming Twitter and tweets and texts pings
These are a few of my favorite things.

When connections are made ‘tween all in the room
And on the horizon, more angel funds loom
Zillion bills stuffed in safes, ‘til open they spring
These are a few of my favorite things.

When the chimes ring,
And no one sits down,
And on and on they chat,
I simply remember by favorite things
And I’m glad in spite of that.

Passed wine in glasses, hors d’oeuvres on a tray
Selected awards given at the end of the day
Photos of all with the new backdrop bling
These are a few of my favorite things.

Compelling sponsor exhibits and entrepreneurs too.
Members and guests strive to see it all through
Great keynote speakers, thoughts together they string,
These are a few of my favorite things.

The Four Seasons Hotel with their service so good,
Best place to be in the whole neighborhood!
Led by Ben, Bev and Kirk, “guest first” courtesy springs
These are a few of my favorite things.

McKenzie and RJ,
Robin and Mary,
Julian, Christine and Rob,
They are all some of my favorite things,
Together we do the job!

(once again with gusto)


Sunday, September 13, 2009

The Huskies were Barking!

Yesterday Ken and I attended the Husky game along with our guests, Esther and Walter Schoenfeld.  It was a gorgeous day; hot and sunny, and the Huskies actually won beating Idaho  42-23 ending their 15 game losing streak!  It was “Band Day” so high school bands from all over the state performed at half-time.  What a panoply of color and sound!

One of the things I love about going to the Husky games in the Don James Center is that either over the great lunch prior to the game that Kaspar’s caters or over hot dogs at half-time, it is fun to catch up with friends that we haven’t seen for awhile.  We had the opportunity to visit with Carl & Renee Behnke, Dottie Simpson, Mike Malone, Gary Waterman with new 2-1/2 month old grandson, Cole, Charlene Blethen, Kathleen & Mike Mitrovich, Bob & Micki Flowers, Al Clise, Doris Gaudette, Big Bill Gates and many others.

Once the game got underway, we were entertained by the cheerleaders in between reasonably good football in spite of a few glitches here and there.   Quarterback, Jake Locker was actually connecting with receivers on his passes and we started racking up some yardage.  Just in the first half alone, the Vandals must have had over 70 yards in penalties.  It seemed that there was a flag on every play and many were personal fouls!  Something new this year that I haven’t seen or heard  before is that every time the opposing team came to a third down, the sounds of ferociously barking dogs  was played over the loudspeakers.  I think it worked because the Vandals only converted 4 out of 12 third downs.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Glitz and Glamour at the Neiman Marcus Opening Gala

Last evening I attended the opening Gala of the new Neiman Marcus at The Bravern in Bellevue. I was on the Honorary Committee and was contacted several times over the past few days by people looking for last minute tickets. It was a sold-out event of 1,200 people benefitting three beneficiaries; PONCHO, HopeLink and Overlake Hospital. Since I am involved on the PONCHO board as a past president and with HopeLink as co-chairman of the “Part of the Solution” campaign, I was thrilled with the prospect of $200,000 being raised and split between the three charities.

It was definitely a “Who’s Who” and a “Who’s That?!” party. One of the women that everyone was asking, “Who’s that?” about was a dark-haired woman who had her dress open in the back to below her hips showing off her black bra and black thong panties. Someone said that she was representing the new gym in the Bravern. This is possible because her body (most of which we could see) was definitely buff.

I saw and talked with dozens of friends there including Dave & Dorothy Fluke, Chuck & Karen Lytle, Sally Behnke, Dottie Simpson, Esther & Walter Schoenfeld, Renee Behnke, Janet True and her daughter Effie, Debbie Giannola, Michael & Alicia Hatch, Columba McGlynn, Sharon & Jay Ballantine, John & Mitzi Morris and their daughter, Cat, Linda & Dennis Mitchell, Susan & Jeff Brotman and their daughter Amanda and son-in-law Antoine, Tim & Jessica Blixseth, John Otter, Dena Rigby, Dana Reid & Larry Hitchon, Charles & Delphine Stevens, Joyce & Doug McCallum, Clodaugh & Bob Ash, Joan & Bob Wallace, Gregg & Lauren Bennett, Paul Birkeland, Marilyn & Richard Plunkett, Craig & Marion Hopkins, Bob Arnold, Pamela Rolfe, Gary Gayton, Sherry & Dave Bingham, Rich King, Magic Johnson, Patti Payne, Ellen Bakke, Kjell Schei, Karrie Blumenthal-Dutton, Christine Bloch & Joel Jackson, Roger Nyhus, Peter Wilson, Betty Tong, JJ McKay, SaSa & Ken Kirkpatrick, Peggy & Michael Swistak, Trisha Nerney, Leena & Mel Sturman, Betty Freeman, Patti Edwards, Nicole Vogel, Eileen Voettler, Joanne Baseler and her daughter Andrea, Lance & Chloe Mueller, Gene Juarez, Ian McNeil, Lada & Larry Schuiski, Susie Naficy, Stacy Lill, Mark & Nancy Pellegrino, Lauri Darneille & Mike Corliss, and the list goes on and on.

I attended the early VIP party and had the opportunity to meet Karen Katz, the Neiman Marcus President & CEO who along with Magic Johnson drew the winning name (not mine) for the incredible trip to Paris. She mentioned that they have been working over 15 years to finally get a full-service Neiman Marcus in this market! Everyone was dressed to the hilt and she also remarked that the Seattle grunge reputation certainly wasn’t in evidence at this party. Bookwalter Winery wines were being poured at the VIP pre-party and John Bookwalter, who is also currently serving as the Washington Wine Commission Chairman was also in attendance.

The party was great fun with over 30 bars and live entertainment on every floor. The food looked delicious, but I was so busy talking with so many friends that other than one crab cake, I didn’t get around to eating. The store itself is spectacular and I look forward to going back when I can actually focus on shopping. I think I could spend at least a week in the shoe department alone.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Fan Club Members for Tod Leiweke

Yesterday, husband Ken and I attended a Business Leaders’ luncheon at the Columbia Tower Club to hear friend and all around great human being, Tod Leiweke, CEO of Vulcan Sports and Entertainment, a management company owned by Paul Allen which oversees Allen’s sports related properties, speak.  In Tod’s role, he is currently the Chief Executive Officer of the Seattle Seahawks National Football League team, the Seattle Sounders FC, Major League Soccer team, and oversees the Portland Trail Blazers operation as well.  We had the opportunity to converse over lunch with Tod as well as Columbia Tower Club General Manager, Peter Phillips, retired Puget Sound Business Journal publisher, Mike Flynn, banker and former Seattleites, Linda & Dennis Mitchell

When Tod spoke to the group, it was fascinating to hear some of the factoids about the Seahawks, the Seattle Sounders FC and the business of recruiting professional players.  I found the story about Freddie Ljungberg from Sweden especially interesting; the free agent designated player who is a previous Calvin Klein underwear model who borrowed Tod’s boat and has kept it for the season.  It was also fun to hear that Qwest Field is known as the loudest stadium in the league.  Obviously, the “12th Man” is important!

Tod is also hugely active and involved in community voluntarism and philanthropy, having recently finished his stint as United Way of King County Campaign Chair and raising close to $112 million, more than any other United Way in the world.  He has also chaired the Woodland Park Zoo pajama party and served as Co-Chair of the Auction of Washington Wines for three years.

It was last summer at our home when we were hosting a Leonetti Cellar Winemaker Dinner for the Auction of Washington Wines, that Tod and his wife Tara attended, when Tod saw what a difficult time Ken was having trying to walk.  Tod insisted that he would arrange for Ken to see the Seahawks team doctor who specializes in spines, Dr. Stan Herring.  Ken had been going to doctor after doctor trying to figure out what was going on without finding any answers.  Long story short, Tod was true to his word and Ken was in surgery to have a large tumor removed from his spinal cord within just a few days.  We were hugely impressed with Dr. Herring and we are both so appreciative of Tod and his willingness to offer to help find a solution to what seemed to be up until then an insolvable problem.

Ken and I are both BIG FANS of Tod Leiweke!


First time in 30 years.

I have been part of a monthly Book Club for 30 years now and have some great Book Club friends that are a part of my life. Along with me, the Book Club includes Susan Neumann, C.K. Coles, Diane Foreman, Jan Rogers, Joyce McCallum, Pam Kaiser, Sherryl Wilson, Jolie Roze, Jacqueline Witter, Kathy Haggart, Denise Nielsen and Diane Kuenster.  We take turns choosing and reviewing a book and take turns hosting one Book Club lunch each year.  Pam has been voted as our “Book Club President for Life” and manages to keep us updated on what we should be reading and who is hosting each month.  Pam does a great job and we are all very grateful to her!

This month, the club read a biography about Gertrude Bell, who lived in the early 1900’s and was known as a major figure in the creation of modern-day Iraq.  She was an ally of Lawrence of Arabia, spoke 6 languages and was considered “Iraq’s Uncrowned Queen”.  She was a fascinating woman who was successful in what was definitely considered a man’s world during her lifetime.  The name of the book we read was “Desert Queen” by Janet Wallach and though Gertrude Bell was an amazing woman that lived an incredible life travelling unchaperoned throughout present-day Iraq from nomadic group to group, being entertained by various sheiks, mapping their lands and speaking their language, the book is almost a textbook in style and one that club members admitted to forcing themselves to read.  “Very dry,” commented a few.  When Joyce, our designated book chooser and reviewer of the month arrived, she was carrying and had intended that we read an entirely different book titled “Queen of the Desert,”  still about Gertrude Bell, but written in a much lighter vein 10 years after the book that the rest of the Book Club had read.

So after 30 years of reading and reviewing 12 books per year with Book Club (impressively over 360 books), this was the first time that the reviewer reviewed a book that no one had read.  However, all was not lost because Joyce is an incredible reviewer and over lunch was able to share enough from the “correct “ book that we all feel we know a lot about Gertrude Bell.  We were also quite relieved to be eating off the delicious menu at the Harbor Club and not obligated to eat a lamb’s eyeball, which was the delicacy frequently offered to Gertrude, the honored desert guest.

Monday, September 7, 2009

A Hole-In-One . . . Almost

Ken and I just returned from a Labor Day golf weekend with friends including Jimmy & Patty Barrier, Guy & Colleen Brown, Susan & Gary Neumann and Jim & C.K. Coles. We stayed at one of the incredible cabins and had the opportunity to play a couple of rounds at the spectacular golf course at the Club at Black Rock overlooking Lake Coeur d’Alene. I think this is the most beautiful golf course I have ever played. (Of course, I am merely a neophyte in playing different courses so far.) The golf course is built on the side of a steep hill so many of the greens are either at the bottom of bowls or up above the tee, which makes putting quite a challenge. Our caddy, Dave, was invaluable in reading the greens and suggesting where to aim our putts so there would be a chance that we would at least come close to the hole. If you get the opportunity to play the Club at Black Rock, you should definitely request Dave!

Most exciting, was my “almost” hole-in-one on a short par three on a gorgeous hole that had seven waterfalls. The ball was hit dead on the pin and landed only a few inches from the hole. See the photo proof with Dave, our fantastic caddy, above.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Something fishy in the ZZIF Puget Sound Business Journal Insert Today

Can’t wait to see how the ZINO Zillionaire Investment Forum insert in the Puget Sound Business Journal turned out.  Today is the day!  All 28 entrepreneurs are featured along with our keynote speakers, Glen Hiemstra and Ric Merrifield.  Also, Byron McCann has written an interesting article on what is increasingly becoming the role of angels in supporting innovation and growth in our economy.

Look for the goldfish leaping into a larger fishbowl in the insert.  Watch for more fish and fishbowls at ZZIF!



Wednesday, September 2, 2009

The Power of Three

I have been impressed with the programming we have been able to attract for our ZINO Society educational events known as ZINO Business Insights. Today I attended the ZINO Society Business Insight event entitled “Avoiding Death by PowerPoint” at the beautiful offices of ZINO Society sponsor, Davis Wright Tremaine.

Darby Roach, the principal and creative force behind Orbit Direct Creative Marketing led the lunch seminar. He has been a teacher of graphic design at the country’s leading colleges, won numerous design awards and headed up some of the most creative marketing shops in Seattle.

Darby focused the group on PowerPoint formats and what is most pleasing to the eye of our audience. He suggested that with the myriad typefaces, themes and effects availablein PowerPoint, the tendency is to overdo it, resulting in long, disorganized and visually disorienting presentations that drive an audience to distraction. By learning a few simple design principles, he shared how to avoid Death by PowerPoint and create presentations that communicate the message with style, grace and impact.

One of the "a-ha" moments for me was his discussion about the "power of three", particularly when sharing information. It is difficult for people to remember more than three points. As Darby said, "Three's the key, four's a bore!"