March 8 2006, 3:59 PM
I felt sorry for the diners at Sparrow restaurant last night. The Denver Divas monthly women's networking group chose the spot for our Tuesday night gathering, and about 150 chattering chickadees swarmed poor Sparrow and totally engulfed the bar, the patio, and a good portion of the dining room. A handful of four-tops of business types seemed baffled and understandably irritated, as the noise level was frightening; imagine the high-pitched voices of a tightly-packed gaggle of gal pals all trying to make themselves heard within the crowd. It seems the group has become a victim of its own success. When I first started attending, this was a group of maybe two dozen of Denver's many fun, sociable women. To constantly expand the group and ensure a few new faces, we were asked to always bring a new "diva" to the monthly gatherings, and the newbies were in turn asked to bring another new person the following month. You can surely see where this is going. The Divas are now over 1,100 strong, and still expanding, one new diva at a time. It's a great group, and there are no real limits on who can join and attend; it's set up to be an opportunity for women to network in a low-key social atmosphere where the only agenda is to meet other cool women. And obviously, it works. Last night I made several great connections with women who may well turn into friends as well as cross-promotional business colleagues. The problem is simply that the group has gotten too big to fit into a typical restaurant/bar/lounge setting unless we reserve the entire place for the evening. Some months the group meets in unusual settings, such as art galleries and day spas, but soon the group will outgrow all but the largest venues. Of course the organizers are slightly overwhelmed, since they surely didn't expect to have to accomodate crowds of nearly 200 for each gathering, and with the way it's growing, we'll be holding meetings at Mile High Stadium in another year. (Okay, that's going overboard.) Still. The Divas are hoping for some suggestions on any cool venues -- preferably with food and a bar available -- willing to host a large group on a regular basis. Hit that link below if you have an ideo (or a venue) and I'll be sure to pass it along.