As one of the original contributing authors and business supporters of Digital Brand Marketing Education, I received proof of my proudest accomplishment the other day in the mail, my PRESS PASS. I tried it out, wearing it around my apartment and even wanted to wear it to sleep on my pajamas. But reason overtook excitement. I decided to wait until this past Thursday, November 3, 2011 for its first official outing, the Kioli BUSINESS SUMMIT at the Inn at New Hyde Park on Long Island.
I am no newcomer to events such as this having attended tradeshows, workshops and seminars as far back as the days when the Coliseum (New York not Rome) was home to NYC tradeshows and the Jacob Javits Convention Center was merely a cruise ship sized dream for becoming the primary host to the world of vendors and buyers for many, many industries.
After four hours at the Kioli Business Summit, including my eating a delicious lunch, listening to seminars on ‘Growing Sales’, ‘Banking, Borrowing & Investing’ and ‘Social Media & Search Marketing’ as well as attending an on-going networking tradeshow, my tired feet insisted that it was time to call it a day.
The previously scheduled Happy Hour was canceled due to a wedding that took precedence over continuing our celebration of LI Business. The news of this came as a mixed blessing, relief to my tired feet but disappointment to my boundless networking energy.
What is Kioli? To quote the November 20th, 2008 edition of The Long Island Press, it “is a catchphrase. An acronym to be more exact. It is a philosophy and a movement. It stands for Keep It On Long Island, but it means many things. (Kioli has actually become a verb as well as an acronym. To kioli means, ‘to keep it on Long Island’.
“It means keeping our money here where it cannot be manipulated by treacherous Wall Street investments. It pleads with consumers to spend money in local businesses that are owned by local residents. Businesses founded by investments made by Long Islanders that result in profits staying here and circulating through our economy. It is a movement that dreams of providing our children with affordable housing alternatives and productive skilled employment. It is a notion whose time has come and Kioli.org is where it resides.”
The Long Island Press, a free weekly Long Island based newspaper distributed through out the Island and dedicated to “informing, entertaining and educating the opinion leaders of Long Island”, is the founding member of KioLi.org. “In the fall of 2008 a handful of companies, both for profit and nonprofit, came together to form a movement called ‘Keep It On Long Island’ (Kioli) for the purpose of stimulating business in the local economy. In 2009, the movement found a home online at http://www.kioli.org. Today these companies are known as Kioli Founding Members . . . .”
Since its beginning three years ago, Kioli has been busy, very busy with the business of keeping business alive and well on Long Island. This is a serious challenge due to both the cost of living to stay here and the fact that jobs are hard to find because businesses here have been compromised by the current economic crisis.
Long Island is no exception to the hit our nation has taken. But there is a palpable ‘kioli’ spirit in the air. It is my opinion that this spirit was well represented at the Kioli Business Summit. I felt the spirit present in the amount and types of businesses, nonprofit organizations and business people who define LI for me.
As I collected dozens of promotional items, exchanged innumerable business cards, introduced myself and shook hands with my fellow business owners, I had the opportunity to experience and feel this spirit at work, in the flesh, for the first time. I realized the foresight and dedication the original founding member businesses had.
Most importantly, I came to understand how both consumers and businesses on Long Island must think and stay local in order for Long Island to survive. That is what ‘Keep It On Long Island‘ means. Everyone on Long Island has a stake in this.
Even a major national social media company, Constant Contact, that is not Long Island based has provided us with a direct, full time and in-person link to the heart of their products. Ellen DePasquale, was a Kioli Summit speaker in the afternoon and a Kioli participant, giving a seminar at SUNY Farmingdale (a Kioli founding member) in the morning.
The Long Island Press, Kioli’s founding member, plays a huge part in ‘kioli’ daily. In addition to its weekly publication both online and on paper, it is host to and reporter of many local activities. It adds an extra spark to the mix with its ‘Best of Long Island‘ yearly competition and Beverly Fortune’s ‘Fortune 52‘ and the honoree events. Felice Cantatore, Executive VP, bears highlighting as well. When he is not representing the LI Press or boxing, he is the ‘poster man’ for Kioli. I see him at every LI Business event I attend. And I am sure he goes to many more.
With the ability to travel from one end of the Island to the other in under two hours (depending upon the traffic) and in seconds (depending upon the cooperation of the Internet, WiFi and 3G), Long Island is in the process of becoming one business community. Although it is comprised of two counties (actually four if you count Brooklyn and Queens) and countless municipalities, towns, villages and cities, those boundaries are fading and in my opinion need to continue to be replaced by a sense of one common goal, Kioli.
Common concerns and cares as well as a love for the life that we have here on Long Island are partly what glue us all together. With the extraordinary assistance of skyrocketing technology, we are becoming one. Not only does Kioli serve to ‘Keep It On LI’, but these types of gatherings and movements also strengthen that intention and further the unification of LI into one local business community. Kudos to Kioli, its founding members, its present participants and activities, as well as its energy in working towards this economic lifesaving destination.