Mix and mingle

Is “mix and mingle” fast becoming a popular social art and craft that individuals, institutions and business are using today to network, to exchange resumes and to raise funds? Or is it simply a replica of the old fashioned meet and greet at a bar, with texting and tweeting allowed?

Within the space of a month I attended two such events. And, although each event had a different purpose, it is evident that we are indeed simply social beings with an innate desire to talk, to laugh, to eat and perhaps drink.

The roof top of the building at 420 Park Avenue, in Manhattan, has three distinct sections. A lookout, a restaurant area and bar, a swimming pool. It is here that the regular Wednesday’s Mix and Mingles are held.

From the look out, the yellow NYC taxi cabs moving along Park Avenue appear slow, miniature and almost toy like, and could be an added conversation piece for those seated in the L shaped metal secured verandah. Both the restaurant area and the poolside are crowded. Several models sit at the poolside while others are in the pool enjoying a swim.

Like a centerfold of a business magazine, about 15 young Caribbean professionals – law, real estate, law, banking, social security administration, and modeling – enjoy bar bites and cocktails. The organiser of the Mix and Mingle, Randy Brathwaite, president of the Council of Barbadian Organisations, is giving instructions.

“Mr Edey, keep talking to different people until you find the person with your card, the King of Clubs. Tell them about a recent project of yours and then ask them do the same. In 15 minutes someone will share out,” he said.

I didn’t have to move at all, my match was next to me. However, before I could say very much, the sweet sounds of a Rihanna masterpiece were streaming all across the room – “round and around and around and around we go, Ohhh tell me now, tell me now tell me now you know”. I simply asked for an excuse and enjoyed some more moments of DJ’s CANDISCO’s mix.

“Do you remember I told you that I was going to reach out to the younger folk, this is an up-scale location and it is one of the ways that I am reaching out? We now have 11 members. The next step is a new structure,” the Wall Street lawyer said.

Surely, it was different from a Brooklyn get-together, if only because one got to watch over 50 models chilling by a pool side in swimwear. For the executives who needed models, they were getting an opportunity to construct the elements of a business party.

The other Mix and Mingle was organised by AFUWI Foundation for the University of the West Indies and held at the offices of the Barbados’ Consulate General at New York. It was the third annual effort to launch the Adopt-A-Student/ $1-A-Day-Appeal, and which has so facilitated 110 scholarships at about US $3,000 per student.

Still, there were models, persons who by their contributions modelled type of donations that Master of Ceremony – Antonio Desamours had requested.

The appeal was led by Chancellor Sir George Alleyne who argued that the national mottos of all contributing countries reflected the essence of UWI and used the mottos of Jamaica – Out of many, one people; and Barbados – Pride and Industry, as examples.

Sir George also noted that over the years, UWI had been a vehicle for upward social mobility and contended that sous-sous, for example demonstrates that the pooling of small sums of money does work for the greater good.

The evening’s activity was punctuated with continuous applause as the commitments were announced. There were also silent auction and raffle for donors.

The AFUWI Foundation is a not for profit body that strives to enhance UWI’s ability to play a pivotal role in educating a cadre of persons who are at the forefront of Global thought, management and action, contributing positively to the Caribbean region and the world.


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