Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly named Capital Sports Ventures founder Greg Bibb. This version has been corrected.
Public relations maven Lauren Wesley Wilson, 28, said she once spent an entire year — and sent a ton of e-mails — to try to have coffee with an executive, only to find out there was no chemistry when they met.
The experience left her thinking there must be a better way.
So Wilson, who works for a Washington public relations firm, started a local networking group called ColorComm: Women of Color in Communications, which helps women of color get noticed, make contacts and work their way through the halls of advertising and public relations.
The two-year-old organization, which is expanding to Chicago and New York City, hosts invitation-only luncheons for senior-level executives. Recent guests have included celebrity publicist Marvet Britto of the Britto Agency; Jeanine Liburd, executive vice president of BET Networks; and Farah Speer, executive vice president at GolinHarris.
Wilson, the founder and chief networking officer, has morphed her luncheon group into a membership-only organization requiring dues of $210 a year, plus a $150 initiation fee the first year.
More than 90 members have signed up so far.
Corporate sponsors include Weber Shandwick, GolinHarris and Flowers Communications.
“This is an opportunity to not only meet the highest-level people in your industry, but to create opportunities,” Wilson said. “It’s not that easy to do it on your own.”
The outgoing St. Louis native comes from a long line of business owners, which includes a family-owned funeral home that was one of the longest-existing black-owned businesses in the state of Nebraska.
Wilson’s mother helped found and run a prominent advertising firm called Wilson Scully Associates, which had offices in Chicago and St. Louis.
Washington businessman and investor Fred Schaufeld, part owner of the Washington Nationals as well as Monumental Sports & Entertainment, which owns the Verizon Center, Capitals and Wizards, is doubling down on sports.
Schaufeld’s investment arm, Leesburg-based SWaN & Legend Venture Partners, is helping fund a sports start-up incubator called Capital Sports Ventures.
The accelerator, founded by former Wizards/Capital executive Gregg Bibb, will provide money and advice to develop sports properties.
We checked in with Schaufeld for some cues on what he likes about Bibb’s endeavor, as well as Schaufeld’s other investments in such properties as Jose Andres’ Think Food Group, CustomInk, Kind Healthy Snacks and American Honors College.
“The strategy is these are consumer-oriented, what we call passion brands and growth brands,” said Schaufeld, founder of New Asurion, the largest consumer product protection company in the world. “There’s usually a retail element to it. That’s what I grew up in. I like things that have consumers who are passionate about it. I also like growth industries and CEOs who we fall in love with. A lot of people just focus on high-tech stuff. We focus on tech-enabled things, but not on tech for its own sake.”
John Strojny is opening another Washington area New Balance store, this one in Merrifield’s Mosiac district on May 18. The Delaware businessman, who has been in the retail end of the athletic shoe business for nearly four decades, closed his New Balance store in Tysons Corner Mall on April 28. The manager of that store, Dan Guzman, will be a part-owner of the Merrifield store. Strojny has one New Balance store in Friendship Heights. “The mix of retailers at the Mosaic district give us a good opportunity to connect with the local customer base in the Fairfax County area.” Strojny said he is leaving Tysons Corner because his lease expired and the rent “was too expensive for our category.”
Horizon Coach Lines, headquartered in Sandy Spring, is to open its first Washington area office this month. The transportation specialists are looking for space in the New York Avenue-North Capitol Street corridor. They expect to have the facility open by June 1. The bus company uses its fleet to move attendees at special events. It just finished moving participants at Coachella, the Palm Springs, Calif., music festival that was attended by 180,000.
That’s the number of customers that Bella Bethesda, the hair salon in downtown Bethesda, served last year. It comes to 2,000 a month or 67 a day, keeping co-owner Stacy Dabney
and her 17