Monday Oct 21, 2013 by Dennis Keohane - Staff Writer, VentureFizz
BREW Boston was created a couple of years ago as a community-defined week of events meant to celebrate all of the great things happening in the Boston Entrepreneur scene.
As Joe Caruso, one of the event founders explained, "Boston needed a personality transplant. We've got a lot good things going on in Boston, and we needed to celebrate them more."
One of the events, the BREW CEO Lunch, has morphed into something bigger than Caruso could have imagined. The event presents the opportunity for local entrepreneurs to win a private lunch with a CEO (or former CEO) from some of Boston's most successful companies, including Constant Contact, HubSpot, Zipcar, E-Ink, LevelUp, Kayak, Wayfair, and more.
As Caruso explained, the idea for the "Lunch" event came from wanting to add an organized structure to something that many local CEOs already do informally. Taking, "the better recognized companies in Boston and having their CEOs commit to have lunch with an entrepreneur," and making it an annual BREW Boston tradition is the ultimate vision of the CEO Lunch.
"I'd love to make it a big fall event where we have hundreds of CEOs meeting with hundreds of entrepreneurs," Caruso said. "I want it to be part of our culture. I want Boston to be known as a great place to start a company, and I want it to be supportive."
"I want us to have a mindset that we help our fellow entrepreneurs," he added.
Ideally, there are two or three plusses for everyone involved.
The CEOs get a chance to chat with a founder at the start of their entrepreneurial journey. As Caruso said, "I've had CEOs come to me and say, 'I'm glad I did that, I forgot what it is was like starting out'."
Additionally, Caruso hopes that the CEO Lunch "becomes a self-fulfilling event, where we have entrepreneurs who met with CEOs come back years later when they are running companies and do the same thing for someone else."
For this year's event, there are thirty-one CEO's that are available for entrepreneurs can sign up for to be chosen for the lunch. There are so many impressive names, I couldn't list them all here. Although they would all be fascinating to sit down with, there are some real interesting possible CEO Lunch participants that would make for a memorable experience for the young entrepreneur who wins the lunch.
Among those, Diane Hessan of Communispace and Jay Batson, formerly of Acquia, are two of the most fascinating thought leaders in Boston, who would be awesome to sit down for lunch with. Hubspot's Dharmesh Shah is involved in so many things in the tech community, it would be amazing to pick his brain for an hour.
Russ Wilcox helped found E-Ink, the company who created the tech behind e-readers such Amazon's Kindle and Barnes and Noble's Nook, He is currently working on a way to safely consume waste with a high-efficiency atomic reactor, is someone a bit under-the-radar who would be perfect for someone working in hardware to sit down with.
As for experience, David Friend of Carbonite has run so many companies, his entrepreneurial stories and advice alone would be priceless for a young founder.
Every entrepreneur in Boston should take advantage of this unbelievable opportunity to sit down with someone who could become a possible mentor and a source for advice. The Boston tech community is at its best when helping each other. Joe Caruso and the BREW team have created an awesome way for young, up-and-coming entrepreneurs to build a connection that could help them in innumerable ways for years to come.
To sign up for a chance to sit down with some of the biggest CEOs in the country, go the BREW's CEO Lunch page.
The last day to sign up is October 31.