Last August, Alex Cuevas and Jaime Figueroa had a conversation about how to get their fellow Lynners more involved in their community. It started a revolution.
When the two Lynn residents put together a free networking event in October, 20 people showed up. It’s three months later and they are looking for a location able to fit more than 100 young professionals and entrepreneurs interested in joining the Revolutionist’s Club.
“Our second event in November was really eye-opening,” said Cuevas. “That’s when we realized people were looking for something like this in the community. We looked at each other and said, ‘This is bigger than we thought it was going to be.’”
After the success of their second mixer, held at Revolution Pie + Pint, where Figueroa works as general manager, the duo decided to host events on the last Thursday of every month, which made them realize they needed more hands on deck. They recruited Lynn natives Cinda Danh and Faustina Cuevas, who came in with a variety of ideas for future mixers, said Alex Cuevas.
“It took on a life of its own,” he said. “We didn’t realize how deep of a need there was for this until people started saying how much they loved it.”
The mix-and-mingle, after-hours event is structured to allow attendees to engage in conversation at their own pace. At their last mixer in December, the four organizers spoke with residents in their 30s who had never voted and got them to register, said Alex Cuevas.
“I don’t want people complaining anymore and putting it all on the city councilors or the mayor,” he said. “We are the people and we can do something about it.”
The event is also host to a 10-minute “speed meet” that forces attendees to speak to someone new every 15 seconds. Guests are required to introduce themselves and share their goals or plans before moving onto someone else, said Alex Cuevas.
The idea is to give those in attendance a sense of who they would like to continue networking with, he said. A variety of city officials, such as Councilor-At-Large Brian Field and state Sen. Brendan Crighton, have attended the monthly networking mixers.
“It was amazing to see such a large crowd of people from all different backgrounds, professionally, ethically and age-wise,” Crighton said. “I think it’s a great opportunity to meet new folks. Sometimes it’s nice just to come together to exchange ideas and build relationships.
“It’s a social atmosphere rather than a workplace atmosphere,” Field said. “Every time I go to one it’s building and when the numbers build you know you are doing something right.”
There are a lot of things in store for the Revolutionist’s Club in 2019, said Alex Cuevas. A website, leadership committee, women-only group, and mentorship program with the kids of the city’s Boys & Girls Club are all in the works.
“You won’t regret it,” Alex Cuevas said. “Even if you don’t like anyone that you meet, the pizza is good (and) there is Bent Water beer. It’s so diverse, there’s something there for everyone.”