Plugged In (1)

Plugged In (1)

The best opportunities for networking this month.

February 4

WAMSO’s Vintages of Note
This annual fundraiser will gather 300 people (and only 300—attendance is capped to ensure high-quality food and drink) at the Graves to support the Minnesota Orchestra’s music education programs. “I love this event because it really bridges the different generations . . .it’s such an eclectic group,” says Jeannie Joas, president and CEO of JB Hudson Jewelers. The guest list tends to draw from business, civic, and philanthropic circles: Past attendees include community volunteer Blythe Brenden, media personalities Diana Pierce and Joe Schmit, and local business owners Bill Popp, Dan and Hope Wixon, and Jack Farrell. This year’s Mad Men–themed evening will include dinner, a wine auction, music, and mingling. 6 p.m., $235, Graves 601 Hotel, Minneapolis, 612-371-5654,

February 11

The ARC Gala
The ARC Gala raises money for people with intellectual and development disabilities and boasts a wealth of corporate sponsors, including UnitedHealth Group, Target, and Best Buy. So expect a strong business contingent among the evening’s 500-plus guests. “The thing about developmental disabilities is it crosses all boundaries, so you’re going to find top executives at this gala along with everyday people,” says Jim Smart, president of Smart Associates. You’re also likely to find political and media folk: R.T. Rybak, Don Shelby, and Secretary of State Mark Ritchie all attended last year. Journalist Cathy Wurzer will host the event, which includes a cocktail reception, live and silent auctions, dinner, and live jazz. 5:30 p.m., $150, Hyatt Regency Minneapolis, 952-920-0855,

February 16

The Sports Show Preview at the MIA
The Minneapolis Instiutue of Art’s new exhibit features sports photographs by Richard Avedon, Diane Arbus, Andy Warhol, and others. A companion exhibit highlights sports in Minnesota. “[This] should draw a great crowd,” says Sima Griffith, managing principal of Aethlon Capital. The exhibition preview on February 16 offers networking opportunities and includes drinks and special activities. 6 p.m., free, Minneapolis Institute of Arts, 888-642-2787,

February 25

Vintner Ball
Greg Heinemann, chief marketing officer for Olson, says this annual event is a great place to rub shoulders with other successful players in the local business scene. Started in 2005 by six Twin Cities businessman—all wine enthusiasts—the Vintner Ball has raised almost $800,000 for Second Harvest Heartland, but still strives to keep the feel of a sophisticated wine party rather than a fundraiser. Guests can sample from more than 70 high-end wines, as well as artisanal cheeses, chocolates, and hors d’oeuvres; there are even expert wine seminars if you feel like adding some education to your imbibing. 7 p.m., $150, Westin Edina Galleria, 952-240-7600,

February 26

Aegis Foundation’s Oscar Night
The Twin Cities has had an Academy-sanctioned Oscar party for nearly two decades, but this year’s is being held at the new Cowles Center for Dance & the Performing Arts. Fredrikson & Byron shareholder John Stout says the event attracts a a diverse group—professionals young and old, plus movie aficionados and fashion lovers. For a more exclusive evening, spring for a VIP ticket to enjoy a special dinner at Thom Pham’s Wondrous Azian Kitchen and access to the party’s VIP lounge. All proceeds go to the Smile Network and the Cowles Center’s distance-learning program. 5:30 p.m., $50–$165, Cowles Center, Minneapolis, 612-206-3600,

Two to See

Some big business names are hitting the local speaker circuit this month. “[These lectures] provide an opportunity not only to mingle with other business professionals, but to hear from smart, successful leaders regarding what has made them successful and trends they are watching,” says Jill Bickford, executive vice president and branch director for Bremer Bank.

February 3: Richard Schulze—Best Buy’s chairman will speak at this month’s installment of the First Friday Speaker Series hosted by the University of St. Thomas. 12 p.m., $25, Nicollet Island Pavilion, Minneapolis, 651-962-6430,

February 7: Ken Paulus—Carlson School of Management’s First Tuesday Speaker Series will feature Allina’s president and CEO, talking about the health care model of the future. 11:30 a.m., $28, McNamara Alumni Center, Minneapolis, 612-626-7442,