By Lynette Carrington
One thing is for certain, when you mention the name “Raven” in just about any social or business circle in the Valley of the Sun, people know exactly who you are talking about and immediately want to know what the next event is going to be! Raven Valdes is the Founder and CEO of Raven Events, LLC.After meeting this dynamic, intelligent and exciting woman, it’s hard not to instantly want to become part of her “flock.”
“Very few people know this, but my background is actually in architecture,” explains Raven. “I had co-founded a firm with another principle in the Baltimore, D.C. area. I was in that business for 15 years. We started off with the two of us and within two years there were 80 of us. Part of what I used to do to market the firm and to impress clients was throw elaborate theme parties. Everybody enjoyed them so much they always would ask, ‘When is your next party?’ They were more interested in the parties than in the architecture, landscape architecture and interior design services we offered.” The interest had an impact on Raven and she really thought about her direction, finally deciding on switching gears.
“I got out of the corporate world to start my own event planning company but I didn’t want to produce weddings, bar mitzvahs and corporate meetings. What I wanted to do was come up with my own signature-themed events, have them happen at different times of the year, brand those events and cater to business owners, professionals and entrepreneurs,” says Raven. She aimed for the 25-and-over demographic, since in her experience, she saw that particular demographic was not being catered to socially but they still loved to get out, enjoy live music and socialize in a fun setting. As a musician herself, Raven appreciates live music and supporting local bands. She incorporates reputable and talented musicians and bands into many of her events.
Raven’s magic is in her event details and her warm demeanor. Any time one of Raven’s Events is announced, people know that a good time will be had by all. The consummate hostess meets and greets her event guests with a charm and finesse that is trademark Raven. Another angle to Raven Events is the great variety of themes and occasions that will attract the right kind of people.Single ladies might be attracted to one event, business professionals to another and couples to yet another event - there is something for everybody. “I have some people that attend all the events,” laughs Raven. “And sometimes we’ll even do events that are kid-friendly.”
“I started out doing strictly social events such as my ‘Little Black Dress Night,’ ‘My Sexy Shoe Party’ which is coming up, the different ladies nights that I have and even produce an event called ”A Gentlemen’s Evening, Halloween, New Year’s Eve, Mardi Gras, Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day… about 60 events a year,” states Raven. Her email invite list is 30,000 strong, so events are always engaging and well-attended, in thanks, partially to the wealth of social media coverage and excellent word-of-mouth. “We also have a great relationship with print media and radio media and they push our events out there, too,” she adds.
“The reason I started the Business to Business Networking Mixer is because the people who attended my social events would come up to me and say, ‘How can you promote what I do for a living the way that you promote your events?’” says Raven. She readily admits that she is a PR and marketing machine, but isn’t in the business of just promoting one business over another. Her epic business networking mixers were born 13 years ago and have been going strong ever since. “It’s been huge,” adds Raven. “And every month there is a different nonprofit that is being featured, too.” Raven Events next B2B Networking Mixer takes place 6 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 8 at Copper Leaf Gastrolounge in Old Town Scottsdale. In addition to being a relaxing and supportive networking atmosphere, it is free to attend. The B2B mixer takes place every second Thursday of the month at various locations.
Other Raven Events coming soon include Raven’s Ladies Night at 6 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 1 at Michael’s Café in Phoenix and Friday October 16 is the Sexy Shoe Party. “It always benefits a charity and we do a shoe drive,” notes Raven.This year we will be benefiting Foster Children’s Rights Coalition’s Footsteps Program.
Raven Events also sponsors events such as the upcoming Phoenix Fashion Week held Oct. 1 through 3 at the Talking Stick Resort and Polo Championships-Horses and Horsepower held Saturday, October 24 at WestWorld. “Basically, there are three ways to hire Raven Events,” Raven explains. “One is strictly as an event planner. If someone wants a party thrown in your backyard for 200 of your closest friends, I can literally bring a nightclub to your backyard, from valet and security to food, bartenders, rentals, dance floor and lighting. The public won’t hear about those events because they are private.”
She continues, “The other way is through a venue like Copper Leaf who asked us to bring in one of our signature Raven Events to their venue. The third way we get hired-let’s say you have a business like an art gallery or beauty salon and you do a quarterly event to drum up extra business, but maybe it’s gotten a little stale and you need some push. That’s where we get hired to sponsor and endorse someone else’s event. Whatever the occasion, Raven Events can step in and kick it up several notches.
“I’m doing my best to help bring live music and high end entertainment to events with different themes and bring businesses and nonprofits to the forefront. It’s all about creating fun, memorable events for people to attend,” finishes Raven.