Metrofly: Lessons in Leadership, Partnerships, Purpose, and Play

Two decades ago, a group of fearless adventurers embarked on an exhilarating journey that gave life to something extraordinary: Metrofly — where we partied with a purpose! It was no ordinary event company; it was a fusion of entertainment, charity, and unadulterated fun that brought people together, forged connections, and fueled our mission to make a positive impact.

As we celebrate the 20-year anniversary of our very first event, I’m thrilled to take you on a personal journey, sharing the highs and lows, introducing you to the incredible people and resources that made it all happen, and diving into the world of partnership as we chased our dreams.

1. The Birth of Metrofly: A Party with Heart

    Metrofly was conceived after I drew inspiration from my buddy Evan’s A-list Entertainment and a burning desire to infuse charity and playful vibes into our events. Event planning wasn’t exactly my forte, but my passion, ignited by leadership training programs like Tony Robbins’ UPW, propelled me headfirst into this thrilling adventure. The name Metrofly was partly inspired by a club called Centrofly, and it perfectly encapsulated our vision.

    2. Charitable Fun-Raisers: The Soul of Our Mission

    Metrofly adopted a monthly charity and threw “fun-raisers” where charity champs mingled with our vibrant crowd, sparking a passion for giving that benefited cherished causes. Our epic debut on November 7th, 2003, set the stage for countless more memorable nights, partnering with incredible organizations like NY Cares, The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, and the legendary Make-A-Wish Foundation.

    Flier for our 1st event on November 7th, 2003

    3. Embracing Imperfection: The Art of Adaptation

    Our early days were a wild ride — unpredictable venues, agreements gone awry, and curveballs at every turn. But here’s the secret sauce: we mastered the exhilarating art of “building the airplane as you jump out the window.” Our first bash might not have been flawless, but it proved we were onto something big, drawing a house packed with grinning party animals.

    4. Learning and Optimizing Marketing: The School of Hard Knocks

    For our debut event in November 2003, we relied on platforms like Evite and old-school direct emails. As time marched on, we upped our game with automation and segmentation through 1ShoppingCart, which is now archaic choice. This was my crash course in online marketing and copywriting, and it’s a wild ride I’m still on today, only with much cooler tools.

    5. Power of Partnerships: Growing Together, Partying Together

    Metrofly thrived on the magic of partnerships. Each month, we selected fresh venues and charities, and they’d spread the word like wildfire in their communities. In just a year, our email list swelled to 6000 subscribers. When you bring the party, people keep coming back for more, especially when the experience is consistently fun and engaging. I also learned the art of joint ventures by creating partnership agreements with different charities, venues, and sponsors.

    6. Tapping into Personal Resources: Leverage and Generosity

    Our personal connections were the secret sauce to Metrofly’s success. As partners, we tapped into our networks, securing jaw-dropping donations for raffles, tantalizing food from local hotspots, and much more. Our connections were like rocket fuel for our charitable crusade.

    7. Lessons from Friends: Mentorship and Camaraderie

    My former college roommate, Shuja, one of the first entrepreneurs I ever witnessed in action helped us print games and more at his Print Facility. Other team members, Michael Nova and Jason Housman, who were wizards in the printing game, also became invaluable comrades.

    8. Cherishing Life’s Unexpected Moments: Life Loves Throwing Curveballs

    In March 2004, a delayed flight, courtesy of yours truly taking eons to upload Metrofly pics online, led to a final heartwarming encounter with my father. Little did I know it’d be our last embrace before he passed away due to a stroke during our European escapade. Life taught me to treasure every second.

    9. Playfulness: The Pulse of Our Parties

    Metrofly events were legendary for the sheer playfulness that filled the air. Folks transformed into wild characters, donned crazy name tags, and enthusiastically participated in thrilling games and activities. These moments made our shindigs unforgettable.

    10. Innovation and Collaboration: Where Ideas Came to Party

    We didn’t just throw parties; we incubated innovation. At the time, I was also immersed in taking improv classes in New York and many of our events had a fun engaging theme. We also brought ideas to life, like my friend Kevin Cook’s brainchild game at one of our events, turning concepts into reality. It was all about brainstorming and shared vision, propelling us to new heights. One of my former coworkers from the technology world, Joshua Saul, DJed a couple of our parties.

    11. The End of an Era: Shifting Values and Priorities

    As Metrofly soared, our values and priorities evolved. The team started to disperse, and come April 2005, we threw our last monthly bash — a farewell party for the ages, right around my birthday. It was a bittersweet ending to an incredible chapter. For me, it underscored the importance of holding onto that sense of play and savoring every moment of our wild journey.

    The End of One Chapter, Many More to Come

    Metrofly’s journey embodies the power of partnership, the magic of purpose-driven adventures, and the exhilarating joy of evolving. It was a school of leadership, resourcefulness, and giving back. Though our last monthly event was in April 2005, the spirit of Metrofly lives on, inspiring others to chase their dreams and make the world a better place.

    I personally embarked on new adventures, like Success Circles with the tagline, “Dare to Play a Bigger Game,” in late 2005 and The NYC Basket Brigade, I carried these lessons with me. I have since organized over 300 high-impact events, retreats, and workshops, and the party never stops! Learning the ropes of managing Metrofly taught all of us a lot.

    This year, with the NY Powerteam, The Social Impact Entrepreneurship Meetup, NYC Basket Brigade, and NYC Business Network Accelerator, we have organized close to a dozen events, with the proceeds going to charities.

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