It was a night of surprises at the February 2014 NWITweetup event, hosted at Industrial Revolution by the Ideas in Motion Media team. In addition to the traditional networking that goes on during a NWITweetup, Northwest Indiana non-profit organizations were asked to share their respective stories with the attendees, with the most votes earning a $250 donation from Berman’s Infiniti of Merrillville.
Jae Chang, General Manager of Berman’s Infiniti of Merrillville was on hand for his first tweetup to see the non-profit representatives tell their stories and to connect with the active social media users of Northwest Indiana. Asked about Berman’s role in tonight’s event, Jae explained that it was all about spreading out a positive message.
“I think people want to hear good, positive news and giving to a worthy cause is definitely good news.” He continued, “It’s all about putting the spotlight on positive energy. The car business sees a lot of bad press from a few bad apples, and I’m trying to change that.”
Non-profit representatives who gave their “60 Seconds of Fame” included Dan McGuire of the Valpo Parks Foundation, Jeni Bolton of 500 Turkeys, Sonshine Troche of Worthy Recovery Inc., Rich Schmidt of National Alliance on Mental Illness of Porter County, Michelle McCaskey of Medals4Mettle, Julie Dalton of the Valpo Schools Foundation, Jodi Bella of Meals on Wheels of Northwest Indiana, Jamie Bauer of A Positive Approach to Teen Health, and Randi Light and Apryl Niksh of Women in Bloom.
“I’ve always wanted to come to one of these Tweetup events, but it has always conflicted with my schedule. This seemed like a great night to come out and network, but it also worked out so I could get the word out about the Valpo Parks Foundation and what we’re trying to do with Valplayso,” explained Dan McGuire.
After all the votes were collected, the vote count ended up in a tie between Meals on Wheels of Northwest Indiana and Worthy Women Recovery. Rather than having the two organizations split the donation or battle it out NPO-a-NPO, Jae decided to donate an additional $250 so both organizations could walk away winners.
On top of that, Rick Gosser of Gosser Corporate Sales Inc. announced that he would be matching the donation because of a family tie with the Meals on Wheels organization and that Worthy Recovery is a worthy cause.
“I just went through an experience with Meals on Wheels with my dad in Florida,” explained Gosser. “He’s 81 years old and he doesn’t cook but he needs a hot meal every day. So I just called them up and they’ll get him started up in two days and they said 'We’ll send ya a bill.' It’s great.”
Representatives from both organizations were appreciative of the donations and all the positive feedback from the event.
“I never expected to win,” explained Jodi Bella. “I came here to meet some people and talk a little bit and see what’s going on. To walk away tonight a winner, it’s beyond expectations. This prize is going to feed people, it’s so cool.”
“To be honest with you I don’t tweet because I don’t know how to tweet,” explained Sonshine Troche of the Worthy Women Recovery Inc. “But I do Facebook all of the time and I came out here because I wanted to have fun and run into some friends and meet some new people. I had a great time and I got to win!”
“I just want to thank Jae from Berman’s and I think it’s awesome to have two winners, and then for Rick to jump in there too, I just think it’s fantastic,” she continued.
Also, the traditional pull-a-business-card-out-of-a-bowl contest was held for attendees, with Julie Dalton and Mr. Gosser both winning tickets to an upcoming performance of “Anything Goes” at the Memorial Opera House.
All in all it was a great turnout, and the Ideas in Motion Media team could not be happier to be building the networking event after the hard work of previous organizers Kathy Sipple, Dave Woodson, Steve Dalton and Nat Finn, among others.