Getting Your Mouth (and Mind) Around #Steakchat

One of the more interesting projects I backed into when I started my business was "live blogging" a new series of community conversations organized by Morton's the Steakhouse and their PR firm, The Hodges Partnership. The idea was to bring influential people from the Richmond area together over dinner to discuss the issues of the day. Budgets being what they were, thoughts of compressing a two hour discussion into a 30 minute hi-def PBS series went into the can.

What emerged was one of Richmond's first genuine social media events – a private conversation that is broadcast through CoverIt Live's live blogging technology and a companion stream of Twitter commentary. We added an audio component to the mix, as well, but it's not posted until after the event.

There were three An Evening at Morton's events held last year with a focus on sports, the arts and the nonprofit community in Richmond.

This year, the ante has been raised, starting with this Tuesday's kick-off conversation, "Hot or Cold? Richmond’s Young Professional Business Climate."

In addition to a new co-sponsor and media partner – the folks at – An Evening at Morton's has expanded to six community conversations, starting this Tuesday. I've also made the move from the blogger's table to the faciliator's table, and will serve as the moderator for the six discussions.

Paul Spicer at Grid Magazine recently wrote about the new offering:

Hosted on Tuesday, February 23, from 6:30-8:30pm, an Evening at Morton’s will headline an all-star panel: Julie Bondy, founding member of HYPE; Kate Hall, founder of; Eric Lin, realtor with Keller Williams; Ergys Prenika, Leadership Associate, MWV and Joslyn Bedell, associate director, Career Development Center at University of Richmond.

The first discussion of 2010 promises informative discussion around the opportunities and challenges that young professionals currently face in the RVA business sector. As with the lively discussions in the past, the actual dinner is private but the beef inspired chatter will be open to the masses via live-tweeting from Trevor Dickerson (@TrevorDickerson) as #steakchat, while Tony Scida (@tonyskyday), of the Hodges Partnership, handles the live-blogging. John Sarvay (@Sarvay), founder of Floricane, returns to moderate the conversation.

Here's the plug from the folks at The Hodges Partnership:

Feel like there are important conversations happening in Richmond that you’re not a part of? Morton’s The Steakhouse, along with, is looking to change that... Each of the six Evening at Morton’s discussions this year will assemble 5-6 Richmond-area “experts” to discuss a range of issues over dinner. NOTE – this is a virtual event so go to to participate!

John Sarvay, founder of Floricane and the popular Richmond blog “Buttermilk and Molasses,” will moderate the event. And this year, the online discussion will be hosted by, where the public can find the live-blog posts and pose questions online to the panelists. While the actual dinner at the Shockoe Slip restaurant is private, Richmonders can participate in the discussion by submitting questions and comments to @TrevorDickerson, #steakchat on Twitter and by way of the live-blog on

I'm looking forward to Tuesday's discussion, as well as the other conversations planned this year (which will focus on Richmond neighborhoods, the James River, Richmond as a "foodie" town and more).