Executive Invitations: The most important “parties” we ever go to in college


One of the things us kids are encouraged to do when we are in college is get out and meet people. We’ve all been to the house parties, the bars, and the barbeques. And we probably made some great connections at those events; friendships that we’ll maintain for years to come.

On Tuesday afternoon, my boss Luke and I went and “partied” with the Germans.

You’d expect some really great beer to be involved right? Actually, German Rieslings are some of the most interesting and finely crafted in the world. (For more details about the tasting itself, check out my post on my personal blog.)

I learned that wine professionals actually spend a lot of time attending tastings like this to keep up with the most recent vintages, rub elbows with each other, and learn. Several of the people tasting around me were doing research for wine lists at restaurants. Wine is a product, after all, and as a professional you have to keep up with the most recent releases.

German Rieslings

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Besides meeting new faces, I seized the opportunity outside the office to connect with my boss. When we stopped for a break between tables. I asked him about his sense of the wine writing industry and if he saw any opportunities. It was good to get an insider’s impressions, and they confirmed my own: writing jobs were few and far between even for old-timers.

Now, as students of the PDXSX cohort, we’re attending the most important “parties” of our college careers. Lots of you have posted something relating to a networking event that you attended as a member of your company. I’m curious about other interactions you’ve had during your internships. Besides formal events designed for networking, what opportunities have you had to meet other professionals? What have you learned from fellow employees about your industry?

Salud from San Francisco!

Anneka Miller

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13 Responses to Executive Invitations: The most important “parties” we ever go to in college

  1. rkaapu says:

    Wow, this sounds like it was a fantastic event. I am a wine lover myself and had the opportunity to taste and experience true German Riesling when traveling in Germany with my family. It is so interesting how any event can prove to be exciting yet beneficial in the long run. Each industry has their own form of networking and learning and it’s so interesting to explore the culture of each industry. On top of the differences each industry has, each person within that industry also has a different take on things. It’s so important to keep our eyes and ears open for opportunities like this, that may not present themselves as networking events. Keep up the good work!

  2. agavette says:

    I actually went to a wine tasting with my supervisor, too! All of the wines were from the Alto Adige region of the Italian Alps–a region with a strange mix of German-Italians (wines and people). I have to say, they were very tasty! I also found that it was a great way to bond with my supervisor and get her opinion on everything from the actual wines to the wine industry, and how wine tastings and other events fit in to what we do at our publication. A really valuable thing I learned was to just listen and observe her conversations with other food writers, vintners and restaurant people. I picked up on little things that I wouldn’t have known had I not gone–especially relating to the prospects and realistic perspective on a future in food writing. For the record, I got the same conclusions, and they’re not very optimistic. Looks like we’ll have to improvise and get creative with our newly acquired skills!

  3. pdxsx says:

    Good job, Anneka! You are absolutely right about taking every opportunity to network and rub elbows, as well as make connections with interesting and exciting people! You never know whom you are going to meet that will change your life, so I prefer to start out by being kind to everyone – it costs me nothing to take that approach. I can always change my attitude at a later date if they prove to be a poor connection.

  4. It’s great that you took this wine tasting opportunity not only as a chance to network with others, but also have some valuable one-on-one time with your boss. Unfortunately it didn’t sound like he had the most optimistic answer for you, but if you’re really good at what do at what you do someone will pay you for it. The event sounds fun and interesting. I make the Germans+Beer connection much more than Germans+Wine, so this sounds like something I’ll have to try. Your internship sounds fascinating and hopefully there will be more opportunities for you to sip and socialize with people in the industry!

  5. kingram10 says:

    Wait, first off… San Francisco?! Are you travelling for work? Woah! I’m impressed! Second off, wine tasting for work? You’ve really got a great set up!

    I think you’re absolutely right. Taking advantage of every opportunity to learn and network is really great advice. We’ve been given an opportunity to step under someone’s wing, but it doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t try to fly every now and then! I think you’re doing a great job looking for every opportunity to create something for yourself. Good job!

  6. michelletag says:

    What a great way to network! I would much rather network at an event with a fun, laid back atmosphere. I haven’t done much networking outside of the office. That is definitely one thing I need to work on! Because I would like to get that skill down pat before starting to look for a job.

  7. asharonson says:

    Wow! It sounds like you have an amazing internship! I am so jealous that your networking activities include wine 😉 Right now if the most important time for us to be networking, because it may just lead us into a job. It sounds like you are on the right track in that department. Keep up the good work!

  8. I feel like networking should be one of our highest priorities at this point in our career paths. While I usually only interact with the same few individuals at the work I’ve found that networking opportunities are everywhere. I recently went on an interview for an internship once my current one concludes but it didn’t work out because they needed someone to start immediately. However, my interviewer told me to keep in touch and she has already recommended me for a different internship me suited to my schedule. Even when I was not getting an internship I was networking. It just goes to show to always be friendly and prepared because you might be networking and not even know it!
    Great Post!

  9. A few years back, my supervisor brought together a fabulous group of Portland-local women and formed a club of sorts that meets every third Tuesday of the month. These women are from a diverse array of professions, professional backgrounds and places in their lives- not to mention, they’re all so much fun to be around. Normally there’s a topic that we all talk about in terms of social media tools, changing careers, etc.; but sometimes, we just all come together, catch up and hang out. Even though it’s in a pretty casual setting, you talk about professional things and network the hell out of these events. I’ve met some amazing women and made friends with a lot of them, and they’re quite inspiring!

  10. Allyson Will says:

    Your job sounds so awesome! I am extremely jealous. That is so great that you had the guts to ask your boss about possible positions. I think you came from a good angle asking what the market was like in general versus asking “is there a job for me here?” I only recently realized how important networking is. One thing I have really taken advantage of is asking people how they like their job. These are mostly to people who don’t work at my internship, but I have met during work events. I find that starting a conversation or email out by asking for some insight about their company it really shows them that you are interested in more than just a job but also working for a company that is a good match.

  11. Wow! I wish I could’ve gone wine tasting with my supervisors. It’s interesting to see your coworkers outside of the office. When I went out to dinner with my coworkers, I was really nervous. I’ve always found it difficult to tread the line between professional relationships and friend relationships. Usually, I just stay quiet, smile, and when I do talk its not gossip. It sounds like you’re doing a great job of networking! Good luck finding that writing job!

  12. Bree says:

    I’m turning into a little wino myself! It has be growin’ on me over the past month or so. I wish I had more networking opportunities available to me. I would really love to gain more connections. A wine tasting event in San Francisco sounds like an awesome experience! I’m envious of your internship! I would love the chance to travel.

  13. shannonsloan says:

    Sounds like a great experience! While I haven’t had any formal networking events at my internship, however, we do have a lot of committee meetings. At my organization the communication department consists of my boss, the communications director, and an intern or two. However, there is a PR/marketing comittee with professionals who volunteer there time and ideas to help out, especially with campaigns. I think it has showed me the importance of teamwork/brainstorming and networking.

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