Anyone who’s lived in Las Vegas for more than six months knows that success in Las Vegas is all about who you know. With Twitter, Facebook and other social media sites dominating the grounds for communication today, it’s easy to lose track of our “real-life” interactions. But there is hope, thanks to Yvette Brown, founder of Cosmopolitan Connections (CosmopolitanConnections.com), Las Vegas’ premier ongoing social networking event. Whether a networking novice or a Nobel laureate in “getting the hook-up,” Cosmopolitan Connections offers the increasingly rare opportunity for face-to-face interaction.
Brown debuted her “evening of socializing and networking for singles, couples and business professionals” in February at the Hard Rock’s Rare 120, and continues to venture into a new venue each week. Union, The Deuce and Gold at CityCenter, Caramel at Bellagio and Rumor Boutique Resort have all been hosts.
Each week features a different theme (such as speed-networking), celebrates a holiday, or incorporates an attendee’s own business. For instance, the popular once-monthly “Taste of Tarot” night, which provides free astrology and tarot readings by Kerry Fezza, came about because Fezza was a Cosmopolitan Connections regular.
“I’m all about helping people that come to my events,” Brown says. “They hand me their business cards, and I want to do what I can to help them succeed.”
A former Paris showgirl, Brown arrived in Las Vegas in 2002 after joining Spirit of the Dance at the Golden Nugget. “I auditioned out of 500 girls and came out here because I always knew I wanted to be in Las Vegas,” Brown says. “I saw the movie Casino and was like, I have to live there.” When the show concluded two years later, Brown decided to stay because of the opportunities she found here. The bubbly, blond Brit’s first venture was Vegas VIP Hottie Hosting, a concierge service specializing in VIP nightclub hosting by, well, hotties.
As Brown navigated the ins and outs of Vegas nightlife she also learned the importance of networking and began attending events where she found herself mingling with movers-and-shakers. “Vegas is conducive and is set up to help you start your own business,” Brown says. “More so than anywhere in the world.”
The idea for her own event was conceived after a friend discovered Brown’s collection of thousands of business cards. “As a woman, I felt like I could put my own unique spin on [networking],” Brown says. Her formula: “I am very personable. I greet everyone, make sure no one’s standing alone and they’re always introduced to someone in the group, and I think people really appreciate that.”
Through word of mouth and making liberal use of social media channels, Cosmopolitan Connections has amassed a loyal following. Each week from 7-9 p.m., guests receive free admission to partake in drink and appetizer specials as well as discounted dinners, and even chances to win prizes such as Light Group gift certificates. At the Nov. 30 “Don’t Forget Your Overnight Bag” edition, one lucky attendee will win an overnight stay.
“Vegas is a melting pot, so we have a diverse group of people who come in. It’s great to meet new fun people, business contacts and have a good time. I had one guest say, ‘Every time I come, I make new best friends,’” Brown says. “It’s not like stuffy networking—the emphasis is on fun.” It’s comforting to know that someone is looking out for our priorities.