The idea of A.W.O.L. was first conceived by Carol Gretter, a NY-based architect and co-founder of A.W.O.L. Gretter’s idea was to establish an online magazine where professionals from all walks of life could contribute essays, blog posts and thought leadership as a means of inspiring, influencing and creating multi-disciplinary ideas and new ventures. It was while sharing this idea with friends Amber Edwards and Erika Schwartz over a New Year’s Eve brunch that Gretter’s concept evolved beyond simply an online forum. Edwards, an established marketing director in the Pharmaceuticals industry, and Schwartz, a Financial Services marketing consultant and freelance writer saw great potential for A.W.O.L. as a forum to aid in making introductions and encouraging face-to-face networking. Within weeks, Gretter, Edwards and Schwartz co-founded A.W.O.L. – All Walks of Life,™ as a multi-media forum to help New Yorkers make professional and personal connections and stay inspired in spite of the up-ended economy and influx of on-line social networks that have quickly become a lazy substitute for handshakes and conversation.
It is no coincidence that A.W.O.L.’s co-founders are doing this right now. At a time when Wall Street and
Social and professional online networks provide instant gratification in the form of connecting people and prove to be quite powerful in initiating contacts and building networks, but beyond that initial connection, the potential for real opportunities will fizzle out if “in-the-flesh” interaction does not come into play. A.W.O.L. will seek to not only offer the instantaneous network connection that an online forum provides, but to go one step further and help cultivate those connections into real opportunities with regular networking events and continuous, personal motivation of its members.
“From the person you meet on the street to the conversations you overhear at brunch,” there are opportunities everywhere and there is always someone who can make an introduction or offer that bit of inspiration you need to launch your next adventure,” said Edwards. “It’s one of New York City’s magical traits, agreed Schwartz, “A.W.O.L. is seeking to harness that magic and bring it into a multi-media community where it and its members can thrive.”
The “A.W.O.L. – All Walks of Life”™ blog is live at A.W.O.L.awol-allwalksoflife.blogspot.com and is open for contributions ranging from writing submissions, to the promotion of new concepts and the making of new connections.