Friday, February 20, 2009

NYC Goes A.W.O.L.

NEW YORK, NY, - A.W.O.L. – All Walks of Life™, a multi media forum for creative professionals to express, share and inspire ideas across disciplines, launched its first network event this week on Wednesday night, February 18, 2009 at Tonic NYC. The inaugural invitation was extended to a hand-selected mix of local professionals, many of who braved the streaming sleet and rain to find connections that could help them bring their ideas to reality – whether finding professional opportunities, brand new jobs, or even just a push to turn their hobbies and interests into something more.

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 Main Street are very much at odds and the economy promises to get worse before it gets better, people are looking for some optimism. “We are a great example of what can happen when you tap into your relationships and recognize that opportunities can come from anywhere, in spite of what’s going on right now,” says Gretter. “Yesterday A.W.O.L. was a concept. Today, thanks to the people who came out last night A.W.O.L. is a community with great potential to thrive.” Gretter continues, “We are confident that there will be a new day and new opportunities. The creative ideas A.W.O.L. and its members share and push each other to express will be the catalyst for these opportunities.”

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 and is open for contributions ranging from writing submissions, to the promotion of new concepts and the making of new connections.

A.W.O.L. – All Walks of Life™ Inaugural Networking Event Photos

A.W.O.L. – All Walks of Life™ co-founders: Amber Edwards, Carol Gretter and Erika Schwartz Alter would like to thank all of the new A.W.O.L. members who braved the recession, the sleet, and Times Square to make our inaugural networking event such a great success. Following are some great photos from the event. We encourage all attendees to share their experience on the A.W.O.L. blog and look forward to seeing more of you in May (details to come)!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Welcome to A.W.O.L.

A.W.O.L. - All Walks of Life

We are surrounded by creativity and opportunity.

The concept:

A multi media forum for creative professionals to express, share and inspire ideas across disciplines.

A forum to find inspiration and to share your latest thoughts on the color blue, the best fly to catch a trout in the Kinderhook Creek, the music you hear from your 5th floor window in the East Village, or the purpose of a second hand on a watch.

A.W.O.L. is a time, a place, and an opportunity.

We will be looking for contributors to the A.W.O.L. blog, sponsoring networking events, promoting cool concepts and making connections!

It's not a coincidence that we are doing this right now, at a time when Wall Street and Main Street are at odds. And the old American car companies that we associate with baseball and apple pie, see the sun setting on the highways that allowed them to drive manufacturing all these years.
There will be a new day. There will be new opportunities. And A.W.O.L. will be at the front of those. The creative ideas we share and push each other to express will be the catalyst for these opportunities!