The MPA “Drinks On The Deck” Series: How A New Type Of Networking Was Born

The MPA “Drinks on the Deck” Series: How a New Type of Networking was Born

The MPA “Drinks on the Deck” Series: How a New Type of Networking was Born

DrinksOnTheDeck
By Joe Flynn.

It’s all about the roof deck. When we moved to 308 Congress Street, each of us stepped out onto that adjoining roof deck with that “kid on Christmas morning” wonder.  As we stepped outside, there were two immediate sensations that overwhelmed us: fresh air and view. It truly is a remarkable experience to describe.That initial blast of crisp air and all those wonderful ambient city noises immediately hit you in a way that is incredibly powerful. Then, as we adjusted to the wide openness of world space and refocused, we were presented with a view of the Boston skyline that is so spectacular – it leans toward majestic.

It grabs you instantly.

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It is easy to feel very lucky to have this very special place as a “back yard”. And each of us at MPA took advantage of this amenity in different ways: both scheduled and impromptu meetings, work breaks, lunches, brainstorming sessions, etc. The deck became a novelty of sorts and we were always quick to find new ways to employ it. That portico onto the world became our secret ad-hoc retreat, our escape from the traditional trappings of “office”. On Fridays, it evolved into the respite for us all at the tail end of the week where, as a team, we would unwind and toast to the sunset over the towers of Boston.

As time went on, we realized this “gift” was one that must be shared. Individually, and then collectively, we sat back and mulled over the options to accomplish that simple goal. What eventually emerged was a humble idea: we would launch a series of simple roof deck parties, each hosted by a different MPA employee – really, as a way to say “thank you” to our friends and colleagues in the industry.  Let’s face it: parties are fun. It gives us all an excuse to relax and simply enjoy the company of friends. And it is absolutely true that in our industry, business and pleasure often mix very happily.  So the MPA Roof Deck party series was born.

Once this obvious idea took root, it was simply about logistics: when, who & how. Each of us went hurriedly back to our contact lists and surveyed the candidates. And each of us assembled a short list of people with whom we have a great connection and professional respect. As each party was scheduled, there was great attention paid to assembling just the “right mix” of invited guests.  It was decided that rather than simply gathering people who were already well acquainted, we would instead fill our guest list rosters with folks who were somewhat unfamiliar with one another. In other words,  these roof deck parties would serve as a vehicle to help people to “connect”.  If we could introduce people, and if positive business ideas, relationships or partnerships emerged as a result – we were giving back in a way that would truly be the measure of our gratitude to these individuals.

In 2010, we officially kicked off our summer roof deck party series.

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Since that time, hundreds of friends and colleagues have joined us to celebrate on the roof deck.  Each individual party took on a different degree of energy based upon the host and mix of guests.  At each gathering, we took great care to make “connections” with our guests, introducing people who had not previously met before. As the libations flowed, so did dozens and dozens of fascinating and stimulating conversations. It was the equivalent of business matchmaking, under the guise of simply having fun in the summer air.

As our second season of “Drinks on the Deck” came to a close, we sat back with pride in knowing that we had indeed accomplished the goal of sharing the gift of our roof deck. And in the process, we managed to reinforce existing and forge new relationships. Over the clinking of wine glasses and beer bottles, we had the time of our lives – with the people who make this business so much fun; our friends!