Who: Children of the society set, pretty young professionals, and friends of LEAD.
What: A Toast to LEAD
Where: Le Méridien Chambers
When: February 18, 2012
Why: To celebrate the fifth anniversary of the LEAD Project, an organization that connects young professionals with nonprofit volunteer opportunities.
Wonder where all the young, attractive, and successful people in the Twin Cities go to party? Chances are, it’s a LEAD event. While the organization’s mission is to work with nonprofits, it’s known around town for its major parties. And this year’s bash didn’t disappoint.
Board member Bridget Ulrich greeted me as I walked into Chambers. She showed me around the sleek event space that spanned two floors. Downstairs featured a silent auction, multiple open bars, music by DJ Jake Rudh, and access to Chambers’ outdoor ice bar. I ran into several of LEAD’s board members including Omar Akbar, Alissa Ausan, and Jet Baker, who posed for some pics at the step and repeat before the event took off. At about 9 p.m. partygoers started pouring in.
More than 300 guests attended the party, and these 20- and 30-somethings were dressed to impress. Ladies opted for high heels and cocktail dresses, while the gents sported jackets and bow ties. The night’s major trend: Thick-framed Clark Kent-style glasses on more men than I can count. (I have to wonder, were all these guys visually impaired? Or were they just trying to look cool?) Regardless, it was a good-looking bunch. My best-dressed award goes to Jonathan Wilson for his pristine velvet jacket.
After scanning the scene downstairs, I took the elevator up to the fifth floor. There, guests gathered around five chalkboards that lined the wall. Each board represented a different nonprofit, and guests could vote on which one would receive the event’s proceeds. While Project SUCCESS, People Serving People, Make-A-Wish Foundation, and Bolder Options were all worthy causes, World Without Genocide got the most votes—and a handsome donation.
Upstairs guests lounged on couches and chatted around the bar. But they ended the night on the dance floor. DJ Strangelove kept everyone moving with Top 40 hits from Taio Cruz, Nicki Minaj, and David Guetta. I felt the night ended too soon, and the after parties didn’t quite live up to the main event. LEAD members, take note: You’d better start planning next year’s bash, because this one’s going to be tough to top.