Plugged In: November 2012

Plugged In: November 2012

The best opportunities for networking this month.

November 1
Tekne Awards
If you’re in the tech industry, this is your event of the month. Hosted by the Minnesota High Tech Foundation, the Tekne Awards draw more than 1,000 professionals each year, and recognize the best in manufacturing, energy, electronic devices, and related industries. “Tekne highlights the amazing things that are happening right here in our backyard,” says Paul Douglas, founder and president of Media Logic Group. “I leave feeling not only refreshed and recharged, but hopeful that Minnesota will retain a leadership role in tech. . . . It’s a terrific evening, and a must-see presentation for any current or aspiring entrepreneur or business owner.” Tip: Stay after the ceremony to mix and mingle. 5 p.m., $195, Minneapolis Convention Center, 952-230-4555,

November 8
Minnesota Family Business Awards
1112-plugged_pic1.jpgIf you’re in a family business, you won’t want to miss this annual event celebrating the best in local family businesses. Get inspired by the five families behind Anderson Trucking Service, Catallia Mexican Foods, KleinBank, Minimizer, and, of course, Marvin Windows and Doors—the same company President Obama praised during his speech at the Democratic National Convention. Don’t be late: The cocktail hour is a great time to network and share ideas. 5:30 p.m., $100, Nicollet Island Pavilion, Minneapolis, 612-336-9288,

November 10
Jeremiah Program’s Bullfrog Bash
1112-plugged_pic2.jpgSip cocktails and nosh on appetizers from chefs Jon Hunt (al Vento) and Mike Rakun (Mill Valley Kitchen). After dinner, dance to live R&B. “It’s a diverse group of up-and-coming professionals, that next generation of philanthropists who want to make a difference,” says Tammy Lee Stanoch, VP of corporate communications at Carlson Cos. The cause: helping single mothers break the cycle of poverty. 5:30 p.m., $200, BMW of Minnetonka, 651-332-5010,

November 10
Ronald McDonald House Fam Glam
1112-plugged_pic3.jpgUnlike most other galas, this event is child-friendly, so forget the sitter and bring the kids along. It’s fitting, as the event raises money for families with sick children. “Everyone looks great, gets dressed up, the food and company are great, and [Ronald McDonald House] does a wonderful job of preparing the venue,” says Jeff Grayson, co-owner of Keller Grayson Communications. “It’s a good place to network; the reception is always fun for that.” 5 p.m., $200, Marriott City Center, Minneapolis, 612-331-5752,

November 11
Fans, Fiddlers, and Friends Holiday Party
1112-plugged_pic4.jpgAttending a concert by The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra is a great cultural experience, but it doesn’t leave much time for networking. The organization’s annual holiday party does: The event attracts 100 to 140 guests, making it lively but intimate. Chat with musicians, SPCO board members, and other professionals while you enjoy a cocktail hour, sit-down dinner, and music from the Augsburg College Jazz Trio. 5 p.m., $100, Midland Hills Country Club, Roseville, 651-260-6312,

November 15
MCAD Art Sale Opening Night
Where business leaders and artists collide. Now in its 15th year, the area’s largest college art sale features works from Minneapolis College of Art and Design students and recent alumni. Although the sale runs through the weekend, it’s best to attend opening night, when you’re bound to bump into business leaders. Past patrons include Julie Snow of Julie Snow Architects, Howard Rubin of Barnes & Thornburg, LLP, and Benjamin Graves of Graves Hospitality. 6 p.m., $150, Minneapolis College of Art and Design, 612-874-3793,

November 17
HealthEast Foundation Festival of Trees Holiday Gala
1112-plugged_pic5.jpgMore than 1,300 people attend this two-day event, but the Saturday-night gala is where you’ll run into VIPs. Event sponsors include Nasseff Mechanical Contractors, Nilan Johnson Lewis, and Felhaber Larson Fenlon and Vogt, so expect lots of lawyers and construction industry professionals to be there. Sen. Al Franken has attended in the past. It’s black-tie attire for dinner, dancing, and auctions, including bidding on elegant holiday trees and wreaths. Proceeds go to help patients at HealthEast’s hospitals and clinics. 5:30 p.m., $185-$285, Saint Paul RiverCentre, 651-232-4990,

November 17
1112-plugged_pic6.jpgFor minority business leaders or anyone who works with them, the Metropolitan Economic Development Association’s annual gala is a must. This year’s venue is new (The Depot Minneapolis), as is its theme—“The Great Circle,” honoring Native Americans. “The themes and entertainment are always a lesson in cultural diversity. It really is a magical night,” says Cindy Kent, vice president and general manager, gastro/urology therapies at Medtronic. It’s also a good place to network. “There are so many people from top companies you can mingle with, [and] you would not have that opportunity elsewhere,” says Salah Tarraf, president and CEO of Tarraf Construction. 6 p.m., $150, The Depot Minneapolis, 612-332-6332,