September 18, 2019
Read Time: 5:55
Greetings! I hope this message finds everyone incredibly well! Thank you for your patience as I am getting resettled and reestablished in Las Vegas!
Instead of an instructional style article today, I thought I’d share this success story and how networking can, in fact, work. Some of the names have been changed to protect the innocent… Just kidding. No one is innocent in this story. Just kidding… Or am I? Moving on…
In approximately 2005, I was working as a security lead officer at the MGM Grand in the nightclub Studio 54. I had been there just about two years and within that time, a new type of venue was taking off in Vegas. Enter… The ultra lounge. Another venue on the MGM Grand property was “Tabu”, the resident ultra lounge.
The ultra lounge was a high end, exclusive venue that had a nightclub vibe. Club lighting and loud music was the setting. It was staffed by model/bartenders, Model/servers, model/security officers, etc. It was a bunch of beautiful people working there.
(Coming from someone who has never been a model, I didn’t have high expectations for the people working there. My perception has since changed but I very much followed a stereotype back in those days.)
My lieutenant at the hotel at the time had given me latitude to move between Studio 54 and Tabu as a lead to give me more exposure to both the staff and different environments. It worked out really well and I got to know the staff in both places, thus extending my...network.
One individual completely surprised me, however. He was a young, what they called, model/beverage runner. His name was Ryan Craig and he had aspirations that were much bigger than the position he was in.
Ryan was a recent graduate of UNLV and he was on a mission. I didn’t know what it was at the time but I knew he would do very well. And as time has shown us, he has.
One night while I was walking through the ultra lounge, Ryan approached me and asked me if I would help him. I said sure and asked him what he needed. He told me that he would be joining the staff at the new Wynn resort inside the club “Le Bete”. He described his new role as a VIP host and told me he may need to know how to check IDs. Since I was in security he thought I might know how to do that and if I did, would I show him. I was happy to.
Fast forward to Ryan moving to Le Bete a few months later and me starting at Red Carpet VIP (I'll get into those details some other time).
Red Carpet VIP is a nightlife concierge and hosting company still operating in Las Vegas today. Red Carpet VIP specialized in VIP entry (expedited entry to the clubs) and table/bottle reservations. We developed relationships with the clubs in order to work more closely to provide an excellent experience to our clients and help fill their venues.
Due to the location of the club Ryan now worked in (the beautiful Wynn Resort), we had clients that wanted to attend. Well, the life of that club in particular was relatively short-lived for many reasons. However, the club closed and reopened about two months later under the name Tryst. And it dominated. And Ryan was no small part in that success.
Over the many years that Tryst was open, and eventually XS, Ryan progressively grew through the company. And as his status grew and became more influential in his role, so did Red Carpet VIP’s at Tryst and other clubs. Ryan was one of the first, if not the first, Club employee that saw how working together with a company like ours could be mutually beneficial. So very much a pioneer in that sense.
Fast forward through the years Ryan spent there. He had developed his business acumen and network exponentially. So much so that he became a partner with Drai’s Management Group. After that, Ryan has also opened the Las Vegas TopGolf location and a TruFusion studio (fitness and yoga), became Director of Nightlife at MGM Resorts International, Senior VP of Palms Resort & Casino, amongst other things I’m sure I don’t know about. But one thing I am certain of…
Ryan is a sought-after consultant. He has spent an inordinate amount of time networking. There were thousands, if not thousands and thousands, of hours that went unpaid and unnoticed of him meeting people, building relationships, taking care of his clients, asking for referrals, getting and giving referrals, hosting events, giving away gift cards, etc. He is a guy that understands the value of networking and truly lives it.
I want to dissect this though just a little bit. I do have a few things to point out…
First, here was a young guy who was ambitious but knew enough to ask for help about something he didn’t know much in. The humility this guy had at a young age made him very unique. Second, there was no promise of future assistance to him from me or to me from him in the future. I didn’t know that I’d be working for a hosting company and he didn’t know that the club he just started working at would shut down and re-open up as a monster. This was a relationship only at first. And third, this was a long-term relationship. There were weeks where we might not send him anything but when we did he was quick to be helpful and professional. Both things that stick to his reputation today.
In 2005, who knew that our meeting would help both of our companies and careers for over the next 14 years. Don’t misread this. I’m not taking any credit for his success. I am GIVING credit to his success and the role networking played. I continue to wish him all the success and am thankful I can call him a friend. Here’s to the next 14 years.
Folks, networking works. It can’t be for right now and it can’t be for self-benefit only. Long game mentality is a must! Here’s to your future success!
Please feel free to reach out to me with specific questions or comments. I love talking about this stuff. Also, please share this with three people, in your own NETWORK, you know could use it.