2002. And They Still Remember Us

2014: 12 years later we still receive surprise emails from the European university students we hired during summers at the hotel. They call us Mr. Jerry and Miss Mary and they remember their American experience as fondly as we do. Most of our family members worked with us and the summer hires were more like extended family than staff. Kids from Bulgaria, Romania, Serbia, Lithuania, etc. Nice feeling to know we made a positive impact on those kids and they still remember us and seek us out.

2003. A Cull Experience.

Last week a friend sent me a good lead on a job from indeed. It was for an operations manager for a theme restaurant here in R.I. with multiple locations and it even had a company vehicle to use. I have experience with the type of operation so I sent in a good cover and my resume right away.

it was the first time ever that I got “to the next level” immediately which meant they sent me a timed, multi-choice test on restaurant operations. It was a risk taking it on my tiny phone with my big thumbs, but I did. And I have to tell you that each of the 20+ questions had me shaking my head, rolling my eyes and thoroughly amused thinking of my own experiences in the industry since before I was legal to work.

This one particular question asked, “if you were the manager and something important came up so you delegated accepting your deliveries to the bus boy and he stored them in a warm room for hours and the whole delivery needed to be trashed, what would you do?” Some of the answers included firing the bus boy or training the WHOLE staff to accept deliveries. Although I know for sure I picked the correct multiple choice from a “leadership perspective”, that is only because I wasn’t face to face to sound off the real answer.

In the real world, management is just a trusted extension of owners. A bus boy or other staff member should never be sent in to do the job of a manager or owner and certainly shouldn’t be chastised or punished for doing a job they aren’t trained or compensated for.

in my world, the manager would have some explaining to do. A child birth or CPR in the front of the house with a lapse of memory of what needed doing would still not be a good enough excuse for such a mess up. Being prepared to pay down on the loss of inventory and payroll due would demonstrate good character. But, you can’t just expect that as a manager of people, you have to groom them to be their very best for you.

But, that is me. Experienced in the industry for more years than I care to admit. But when I was reading the test questions, I couldn’t help but think of some of the more difficult challenges I’ve faced in the industry that I love so much.

Part owner, manager of all things internet, food, beverage and marketing director of Lighthouse Inn, Narragansett RI. I booked a wedding. We had specials on Lobster because we had a tank to store what came ioff the boats. My job was to sell those lobsters. I gave special prices for culls (one claw variety) and made deals. All profit.

I had a decent size wedding (75-100) and small staff. The chef was a dude from Ireland, full of charm, piss and vinegar. I sold the whole wedding steamed lobsters. Culls and every other size. Multiples if wanted.

The moment came to test my staff and kitchen and they expertly served the wedding party first while knowing the rush needed to serve the room without setting off the Irish chef on a tirade. I watched in amazement without having to step in UNTIL…

The bride called me over and for the first time ever, after meetings galore, and told me that her groom only had one hand and needed his lobsters to be shelled.

Protocol dictates that you please a wedding party before guests so that was an immediate upset that needed attention. The chef wasn’t gonna kill me as his lobsters came back in the kitchen, but he wanted to. I acted as body armor for my staff and we actually got through the whole ordeal.

it was “I” who had to sleep at the hotel after the wedding and open up an open bar and buffet breakfast die the wedding the following day.

Ugh… what we will do when we do what we do….

2006. Parties “For A Cause” Blend Charity With Marketing

Parties ‘for a cause’ blend charity with marketing

Providence Business News - Published 03/11/2006 Issue 20-48 - By Natalie Myers, Staff Writer

It’s a simple premise: Invite your employees and customers to enjoy cocktails and appetizers at a local restaurant in support of a nonprofit. The nonprofit benefits from the donations and attention the event creates, while the business gains a marketing opportunity, plus the satisfaction of helping the community.

But it is not as simple as that. There is an art to matching businesses and nonprofits. And that is where Mary Mullen comes in.         Mullen started Providence-based For a Cause Biz about a decade ago after years in the hospitality industry.         She knows firsthand that having a good party is the first step toward having a good event.

“Most of my events are all cocktail receptions,” she said. “They are meet, mix and mingle. It’s a good way for people to socialize, to network. … [Companies are] getting exposure among the public for being community-minded.”

Mullen organizes gatherings that she categorizes as “Cocktails for a Cause,” “Christmas for a Cause” and “A Party with a Purpose,” for organizations sensitive to substance-abuse issues. Her services include securing a location; making and sending out invitations; sending out press releases; recruiting volunteers; and organizing auctions.

“It’s basically all the administrative and technical support needed from conception through reconciliation,” she said. “My events are low-cost, designed to be inclusive of any age and economic means.” Tickets for a typical “Cocktails for a Cause” event might cost $35 to $50 per person at the door. Most restaurants provide appetizers and a complimentary cocktail so that the majority of proceeds from the event go to the company raising money for a nonprofit.

“Most of the time restaurants are doing it as a promotion,” she said. “It’s their donation. They’re the most generous sponsors.”  Some of the restaurants that participate in Mullen’s events are Agora at the Westin Providence hotel, Cactus Bar & Grille, Café Fresco, Davio’s at the Providence Biltmore, Grappa, Grille 262, Mediterraneo and Parkside Rotisserie & Bar.

Mullen said even if a small business has limited means for marketing, if it partners with other small businesses in an area to sponsor a “Cocktails for a Cause” event, the result could mean more exposure for each business while supporting a worthwhile cause.

“Cause marketing is something they all should learn,” she said of small businesses in general. “They’re already spending money on marketing. This is just a new way, where they are using their marketing dollars for philanthropy.”

For a Cause Biz’s nonprofit beneficiaries are mainstream organizations, said Mullen, such as the YWCA of Greater Rhode Island and the Volunteer Center of Rhode Island, among others.

Mullen charges less to nonprofits that hire her as a consultant. And she plans some events for nonprofits pro bono. For example, Mullen helps plan events for Leadership Rhode Island, a group focused on developing leadership skills in the business, social and public sectors of the state. (Mullen is a graduate of the program.)

Leadership Rhode Island President Kathy Swann said Mullen excels in making sure an event operates smoothly with the least amount of stress for everyone.         “Attendance is always greater,” Swann said. “She gets people to come from her enthusiasm and her strategies for promotion.”

Mullen works with her own mailing lists in addition to the lists of other organizations to generate attendance to an event. Her mailing list is full of people who’ve attended her events before. She said she has developed a following over the years. “People were coming to the parties because they knew it was a good party,” she said.

Mullen said she didn’t start event planning for nonprofits until she volunteered at them. As a restaurant manager – after years as a server and bartender – she planned special events to promote the restaurants where she worked.

When she realized the demand for fund-raising events for nonprofits was outstripping supply, she started acting as a consultant to bring the two sides together.

“Events are a labor-intensive form of fund raising,” she said, “but they are needed as a way to reach new markets. Fund raising will always be needed.

“This is a culmination of my past,” she said of For a Cause Biz. “Fund raising isn’t a field anyone chooses to go into. It kind of just happens.”

March 11

2006. Blending Marketing And Charity.

Oh My! I just did a computer search "for a cause" and almost 10K files came up. Found this gem of an article from Providence Business News from 2006. I barely remember doing that interview... but, it's priceless.

"Parties ‘for a cause’ blend charity with marketing
Providence Business News - Published 03/11/2006 Issue 20-48 - By Natalie Myers, Staff Writer

It’s a simple premise: Invite your employees and customers to enjoy cocktails and appetizers at a local restaurant in support of a nonprofit. The nonprofit benefits from the donations and attention the event creates, while the business gains a marketing opportunity, plus the satisfaction of helping the community.

But it is not as simple as that. There is an art to matching businesses and nonprofits. And that is where Mary Mullen comes in. Mullen started Providence-based For a Cause Biz about a decade ago after years in the hospitality industry. She knows firsthand that having a good party is the first step toward having a good event.

“Most of my events are all cocktail receptions,” she said. “They are meet, mix and mingle. It’s a good way for people to socialize, to network. … [Companies are] getting exposure among the public for being community-minded.”

Mullen organizes gatherings that she categorizes as “Cocktails for a Cause,” “Christmas for a Cause” and “A Party with a Purpose,” for organizations sensitive to substance-abuse issues. Her services include securing a location; making and sending out invitations; sending out press releases; recruiting volunteers; and organizing auctions.

“It’s basically all the administrative and technical support needed from conception through reconciliation,” she said. “My events are low-cost, designed to be inclusive of any age and economic means.” Tickets for a typical “Cocktails for a Cause” event might cost $35 to $50 per person at the door. Most restaurants provide appetizers and a complimentary cocktail so that the majority of proceeds from the event go to the company raising money for a nonprofit.

“Most of the time restaurants are doing it as a promotion,” she said. “It’s their donation. They’re the most generous sponsors.” Some of the restaurants that participate in Mullen’s events are Agora at the Westin Providence hotel, Cactus Bar & Grille, Café Fresco, Davio’s at the Providence Biltmore, Grappa, Grille 262, Mediterraneo and Parkside Rotisserie & Bar.

Mullen said even if a small business has limited means for marketing, if it partners with other small businesses in an area to sponsor a “Cocktails for a Cause” event, the result could mean more exposure for each business while supporting a worthwhile cause.

“Cause marketing is something they all should learn,” she said of small businesses in general. “They’re already spending money on marketing. This is just a new way, where they are using their marketing dollars for philanthropy.”

For a Cause Biz’s nonprofit beneficiaries are mainstream organizations, said Mullen, such as the YWCA of Greater Rhode Island and the Volunteer Center of Rhode Island, among others.
Mullen charges less to nonprofits that hire her as a consultant. And she plans some events for nonprofits pro bono. For example, Mullen helps plan events for Leadership Rhode Island, a group focused on developing leadership skills in the business, social and public sectors of the state. (Mullen is a graduate of the program.)

Leadership Rhode Island President Kathy Swann said Mullen excels in making sure an event operates smoothly with the least amount of stress for everyone. “Attendance is always greater,” Swann said. “She gets people to come from her enthusiasm and her strategies for promotion.”

Mullen works with her own mailing lists in addition to the lists of other organizations to generate attendance to an event. Her mailing list is full of people who’ve attended her events before. She said she has developed a following over the years. “People were coming to the parties because they knew it was a good party,” she said.

Mullen said she didn’t start event planning for nonprofits until she volunteered at them. As a restaurant manager – after years as a server and bartender – she planned special events to promote the restaurants where she worked.

When she realized the demand for fund-raising events for nonprofits was outstripping supply, she started acting as a consultant to bring the two sides together.

“Events are a labor-intensive form of fund raising,” she said, “but they are needed as a way to reach new markets. Fund raising will always be needed.

“This is a culmination of my past,” she said of For a Cause Biz. “Fund raising isn’t a field anyone chooses to go into. It kind of just happens.”

Parties ‘for a cause’ blend charity with marketing
Providence Business News - Published 03/11/2006 Issue 20-48 - By Natalie Myers, Staff Writer

It’s a simple premise: Invite your employees and customers to enjoy cocktails and appetizers at a local restaurant in support of a nonprofit. The nonprofit benefits from the donations and attention the event creates, while the business gains a marketing opportunity, plus the satisfaction of helping the community.

But it is not as simple as that. There is an art to matching businesses and nonprofits. And that is where Mary Mullen comes in. Mullen started Providence-based For a Cause Biz about a decade ago after years in the hospitality industry. She knows firsthand that having a good party is the first step toward having a good event.

“Most of my events are all cocktail receptions,” she said. “They are meet, mix and mingle. It’s a good way for people to socialize, to network. … [Companies are] getting exposure among the public for being community-minded.”

Mullen organizes gatherings that she categorizes as “Cocktails for a Cause,” “Christmas for a Cause” and “A Party with a Purpose,” for organizations sensitive to substance-abuse issues. Her services include securing a location; making and sending out invitations; sending out press releases; recruiting volunteers; and organizing auctions.

“It’s basically all the administrative and technical support needed from conception through reconciliation,” she said. “My events are low-cost, designed to be inclusive of any age and economic means.” Tickets for a typical “Cocktails for a Cause” event might cost $35 to $50 per person at the door. Most restaurants provide appetizers and a complimentary cocktail so that the majority of proceeds from the event go to the company raising money for a nonprofit.

“Most of the time restaurants are doing it as a promotion,” she said. “It’s their donation. They’re the most generous sponsors.” Some of the restaurants that participate in Mullen’s events are Agora at the Westin Providence hotel, Cactus Bar & Grille, Café Fresco, Davio’s at the Providence Biltmore, Grappa, Grille 262, Mediterraneo and Parkside Rotisserie & Bar.

Mullen said even if a small business has limited means for marketing, if it partners with other small businesses in an area to sponsor a “Cocktails for a Cause” event, the result could mean more exposure for each business while supporting a worthwhile cause.

“Cause marketing is something they all should learn,” she said of small businesses in general. “They’re already spending money on marketing. This is just a new way, where they are using their marketing dollars for philanthropy.”

For a Cause Biz’s nonprofit beneficiaries are mainstream organizations, said Mullen, such as the YWCA of Greater Rhode Island and the Volunteer Center of Rhode Island, among others.
Mullen charges less to nonprofits that hire her as a consultant. And she plans some events for nonprofits pro bono. For example, Mullen helps plan events for Leadership Rhode Island, a group focused on developing leadership skills in the business, social and public sectors of the state. (Mullen is a graduate of the program.)

Leadership Rhode Island President Kathy Swann said Mullen excels in making sure an event operates smoothly with the least amount of stress for everyone. “Attendance is always greater,” Swann said. “She gets people to come from her enthusiasm and her strategies for promotion.”

Mullen works with her own mailing lists in addition to the lists of other organizations to generate attendance to an event. Her mailing list is full of people who’ve attended her events before. She said she has developed a following over the years. “People were coming to the parties because they knew it was a good party,” she said.

Mullen said she didn’t start event planning for nonprofits until she volunteered at them. As a restaurant manager – after years as a server and bartender – she planned special events to promote the restaurants where she worked.

When she realized the demand for fund-raising events for nonprofits was outstripping supply, she started acting as a consultant to bring the two sides together.

“Events are a labor-intensive form of fund raising,” she said, “but they are needed as a way to reach new markets. Fund raising will always be needed.

“This is a culmination of my past,” she said of For a Cause Biz. “Fund raising isn’t a field anyone chooses to go into. It kind of just happens.”

2007. Swing Into Spring

A website and fundraising event I worked on in April 2007 – one of the first few websites that I built 🙂

THIS was an incredibly FUN event.. and I’ll tell you why. I wanted to get to know the people that I would eventually be partying with (I was living in Prov at the time)… so rather than just plan a fun event – I also booked 3 weeks of swing dance lessons for anyone who wanted to get a jump start and learn a couple moves. Well – we had a whole lot of takers and for weeks before the event, we hooked-up and had “pee your pants” kind of fun together.

2007. Working For Security

I think the year was 2007 that I was doing a copious amount of work for a newly founded company that needed to tell the world (mostly the medical community) about a new, non-narcotic treatment for neurological pain management. Company was named Calmar Pain Relief. My other half had an interest in the company at the time so I dedicated a whole lot of time and all my skills to get it up and running.

One of the tasks I had to do was to scour databases to pick a group of specialty Doctors and organize soup to nuts presentation dinners with audio visual, hand outs, everything that goes into a successful event. It was just me and my “Art Guy” friend who did it all so well (Boy did I appreciate him!!). I was also up late, late nights writing what I understood to be the medical directors life story. Since he still had his practice during the day, my late nights and early morning hours were dedicated to him. I have that kind of dedication and work ethic.

So anyway, I’m at one of those presentation dinners and the night was wrapping up. I was sitting next to a very successful, smart lawyer that I’ve always respected. I did one of those hand gestures around the room and asked him, “look at all I do for him. Since I wouldn’t justify the expense of getting married, how can I be assured that I will reap some benefit and security for what I do for him?” This particular fellow knew of the many projects I helped with. I was his right hand plus more.

Our mutual friend said, “Buy real estate together”.

In 2008, we bought and began renovating what was to be our dream home. I told him that I would continue to work with him in every way possible if instead of traveling, fine dining and gambling, he would provide us safety and security for our future.

I never would have thought that my “dream house” would end up being one of my worst nightmares. These were my “house updates” in 2009. Wait till you see the 2019 update…

2005. “You’ve Got Money”

“You’ve got money” is how I comprehended the email that paypal had just sent me. It was the first online payment I had ever received from one of the first websites I ever built. That email sucked me in and got me hooked on website development and eConmerce and I’ve been building sites that earn money ever since.

For 15 years, approximately 5,475 days, I have been utilizing the powerful resources that the internet provides us to “increase awareness and raise funds” for myself, for my clients and for the nonprofit causes I care about.

A simple website provides 24/7 representation and when combined with email marketing, social media marketing, direct mail and some in-person and online “friend-raising”, it’s a winning combination.

2007. Swing Into Spring…

Mary Mullen - March 11, 2017 near Providence

During my purchase phase, I addedwww.SwingIntoSpring.club which was a website and project I worked on in April 2007 - one of the first few websites that I built and I had it saved I published it as is and it even still looks better than some of the outdated sites I come across every day. (I'll build a new one when time allows)

THIS was an incredibly FUN event.. and I'll tell you why. I wanted to get to know the people that I would eventually be partying with (I was living in Prov at the time)... so rather than just plan a fun event - I also booked 3 weeks of swing dance lessons for anyone who wanted to get a jump start and learn a couple moves. Well - we had a whole lot of takers and for weeks before the event, we hooked-up and had "pee your pants" kind of fun together.

2001. Fundraising 101

I found these fundraising 101 documents that she saved since '01. She also had "intro to computers" and "intro to word processing" tutorials. A few times this past year she mentioned that she'd like to learn computer.
 
Back in 2001, I was providing fundraising counsel to three statewide organizations, I had dozens of successful fundraising events under my belt, I was being pinned as a partner in philanthropy and I was good enough with computers to create my own database full of thousands of RI donors.

2001. Share Your Heart.

More dropbox memories. I was 40 years old. "Share Your Heart Ball". A collaborative event held at the Westin to benefit the Volunteer Center of RI and Friends Way - created and organized by me.

I was by far in the best physical shape of my life and spending 9 hours a week at Bally's doing 5 step classes and four powerflex classes (free weights) per week. I was at the top of my game professionally, too. Self employed for 7 years and getting accolades, scholarships and awards left and right.

My brother John died at that time and cast us all into a tailspin of despair. I left Providence and followed my other down to spend a couple years working with him at the Lighthouse Inn (a joint venture project).

These kind of memories will go into the "career" and "relationship gone toxic" parts of my book.