Just An Online Minute... Burgeoning Women's Networking Event Flings It For Spring At Armani/Ristorante

Digital Divas Spring Fling With Armani/Ristorante, Armani/Ristorante, New York
April 21, 2010

Who knew there was a restaurant over Armani? Oh, excuse me, I mean "Ristorante." Personally, unless I was dying of starvation and nothing else was open, I wouldn't choose a luxury fashion brand to eat, but you know, it's all about new experiences and that is definitely what this column affords me -- those steps through a doorway I wouldn't ordinarily take. Lately those steps have led me to pleasant surprises. Now, if only it were easier to get in the door...

When I left for MediaPost yesterday, the sun was shining, the birds were singing, the squirrels were confused -- a gorgeous spring morning. When I left MediaPost it was raining, the birds were swearing, and the squirrels were rioting -- a typical spring evening. When I rolled up to the door of Armani/Ristorante, I yanked on the handle so hard I slammed my greasy face into the glass. The door wouldn't budge. Two other women sidled up. One was Sabrina Scatena, formerly of Joost, currently getting her masters' degree in "looking for a new job." Sabrina and her pal yanked on the door too.



Didn't budge.

Beth Harrison, a consultant at Socialight, arrived and asked "Did you try this door?" over and over -- to which I began to answer with annoyance, "YES, about 5 times!" Turns out she was saying, "Did you try the store?" so no doubt she was more annoyed than I when we all said "Let's try to go through the store!" as if we were the first to offer. Sorry Beth!

 So, this "Ristorante" is up white twisty stairs above the Armani store, and it's as chic as you would expect. You would probably also expect a bucket of snoot, but then you would be wrong because from the bartenders to the dude who slipped away with my crumbly napkin, no pretension could be found. The bartenders even laughed, breaking the seemingly cardinal rule of unwavering wannabe model stoicism that plagues other chi-chi joints.

Lara DeSignor of Click 3X and one of the founders of Digital Divas was doing her best to greet each new arrival, but some definitely slipped by her, as this was the biggest turn-out I'd seen yet. OK, so I've only been to one before and it was a bit confusing and small, so I was really impressed with how far these ladies have come.

Each woman I met was a shift from the one before -- so instead of listening to social media strategy after social media strategy, I got to hear about Pamela Parisi's Elegant Tightwad Shopping Excursions. Anchored by her deep history in fashion and innate frugality, Pamela and her small team host trips in different neighborhood thrift shops and show tour-takers how to look like a hot ticket without paying out the rear. Pamela has an incredible story, including having to step back from her original career path due to illness, and it was inspiring to hear.

I also met Callie Peck, an Interactive Art Director at Arcade, an internal shop for SONY (did I get that right, Callie? I took champagne notes last night...), who stuck out like, well, an art director in a see of sales and marketing types. You know who else stuck out? The two male infiltrators who, toward the end of the night, poked through the lady crowd. One remarked, "I'd like to revisit where all these women are in ten years!" I replied, "Wildly successful, obviously, as long as we all have each others' backs!" And he said, innocently enough, "Or maybe with a couple of kids!"

*insert indignant WHY DO WE HAVE TO HAVE KIDS TO BE SUCCESSFUL!!* eyes.

He saw those eyes and said, "Well, I think whether you're a man or a woman, having children is a success." The flame fell out of my corneas and I felt like a dork. Who trained us (women) to react as if it's insulting when someone offers that perhaps our futures include children? It's not insulting. And Grey Infiltrator wasn't saying, "Yup, you biatches will be barefoot and pregnant, wrassling 7 other children you gave up your careers for while that no-good husband of yours gets drunk at lunch!" was he? No, he wasn't. So calm the devil eyes.

I had the pleasure of meeting and/or catching up with the following women while grabbing up complimentary tuna tartare, balls o'meat, and caprese salad skewers: Yael Penn of Imagine 360 Marketing; Jenean Chapman of Buddy Media, who arrived texting, of course!; Nico McLane, Broadcast and Streaming Media expert; Danielle Trencher of Scripps Networks; Marci Greenfield from Estee Lauder; Emily Silman of Venda; Nancie Martin of Tell My Story; Melissa Hudson, original founder of Digital Divas; Stephanie von Tesmar of enter: new media; Emily Sobol of enter: new media; and Natasha Merez, Strategy Supervisor at OMD.

Congratulations to the founding divas on a diverse and energetic crowd. I'm looking forward to covering the next gathering of the divas!

Digital Divas are up on Flickr, with many more photos to come, so check back!

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