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Recruiting.com’s Charity Poker Tourney Raises $10,000 To Benefit Cancer Research for Kids

Posted on January 29, 2007
Filed Under Events, Networking, News, People, Recruitment Industry | Comments Off on Recruiting.com’s Charity Poker Tourney Raises $10,000 To Benefit Cancer Research for Kids

by Dave Mendoza, Partner, JobMachine and Master Cybersleuth

It started from a brief mention, to an email, to conference calls and escalated from that point forward. Over the last several weeks, Recruiting.com’s Founder, Jason Davis, Talent Ecology’s Sean Rehder, and yours truly at Six Degrees asked ourselves a basic question,

“How do we magnify the energy, ambiance and fundraising potential of Recruiting.com’s 1st Poker Tourney Charity Benefit in Toronto, and energize the recruitment community on behalf of something bigger, better, and even more memorable?”

Jason Davis as always was the idea man. He has a special gift when it comes to identifying an opportunity and delegating team players to develop the vision. He collaborated with Jeff Hunter to coordinate an event with the UnConference, and to associate the next charity poker tourney with the charity of his choice, Hopelabs.org. He developed a finance strategy which set out to develop broad partnerships with vendors and major technology companies to sponsor the event.


Sean worked out the logistics with el jeffe, Jeff Hunter, Director, Talent Strategy & Technology at Electronic Arts, identifying the location, vendors, and legal issues associated with a poker oriented theme.

My contribution was to promote the event and orchestrate broad attendance from Silicon Valley’s diverse recruitment community. We started with a low benchmark of thirty. When the planning and logistics were completed, and several conference calls, IM’s and emails had run their course, I had two weeks to spread a viral marketing effort throughout the Bay Area. The response was immediate. Twenty Five guests confirmed on the first day alone, and every few days, the list grew in sudden bursts as word spread. A week later we doubled the guest list to sixty. The list kept growing and Jason wondered whether to cap the guest list or confirm additional poker tables and food. Lady Luck intervened with three additional sponsors. I smiled during my calls knowing that my list was fast approaching over eighty, but I held my hand.

Jason kept asking, “Do you think we will hit thirty?”

As the days neared and we confirmed the guest list, I was startled by how firm the attendee list was holding, but for good measure I added three here, two there, replacing each person who caught a cold or had a business trip intervene.

One major decision still nagged me throughout, “Would I attend myself?” Few knew, but I only confirmed and purchased my flight a few days prior, vexed by the concern my wife wouldn’t look kindly on another poker adventure when we had a laundry list of items needed for the baby nursery. Shally and I had a training event planned within days of the UnConference, but a logistical quirk delayed the business rational for my trip. Talking to the attendees, reading the energy in their emails, and, no doubt about it, the energy that Jason Davis poured into the details for this event, finally compelled me to go.

How could I miss an opportunity to meet my buddies Diane Hill at Google, or Hafeez Khan at Marvell who contributed so much to spreading the word? I couldn’t. The guest list had become a Who’s Who of industry players. I looked at the Guest list twice, thrice, and it had become the Social Networking Opportunity of the year.

The day of the event had come and Jason still poured over details on the prizes. At SFO Airport, yet again, I meet up by accident with HireVue’s Ryan Money at the shuttle and immediately initiate the customary smack talk familiar among good friends on the way to the hotel. One step off the shuttle, Ryan found the luggage tags of Gerry Crispen, “The GodFather” of Recruitment and I walked to the bar to deliver it personally. The flock assembled included Jason Davis, Founder, Recruiting.com, Neal Bruce, Monster’s Vice President of Alliances, Nancy Gray-Starkebaum, Principal at NGS Talent, Brent, Joel Cheesman, … I smiled. I was about to experience something special.

At 6:15 pm the day after we flew in, and within an hour after the conclusion of UnConference, the poker tables were assembled throughout the loft overlooking the Electronic Arts dining hall and it had been transformed into a Casino with an impressive assortment of foods and drinks, Simply Hired on the left with their famous ‘Simpletini’ drinks being readied and served by their VP pf Marketing, Phil Carpenter, a technical crew, and Tony, the event coordinator. Every 15 minutes Jason would ask “Do you think we’ll get thirty?”

We hit thirty, we hit fifty, we then hit seventy …. and we then exceeded eighty of Silicon Valley’s finest in the recruitment industry.

Jason had yet again proven that the magical synergy of a worthy charity with Poker, networking, food and spirits would ensure a broad gathering of the recruitment community.


Seven hours later, Jason Davis also proved himself capable of winning the top prize at his own event. Yes, the dealer’s boyfriend’s name was also named Jason, and yes, he hired the dealers, but …. Jokes aside, he played exceptionally. Jason is passionate about poker, just a tad less than he is about making things happen in our industry. Like the Pied Piper he is, where he finds an opportunity to lead, the recruitment industry and memorable moments always follow closely behind.

We walked late into the night through the EA campus and returned to the Hotel long past midnight, knowing we had done something few imagined possible.

A heart felt thank you to Jeff Hunter and Electronic Arts for helping us make it happen, to all who joined us at the Charity event and to our sponsors who provided the financial support to make it all possible.

Bigger and better, I trust we will prevail, … yet again. Stay Tuned.

About HopeLab

Founded in 2001, HopeLab.org is a non-profit organization that combines rigorous research with innovative solutions to improve the health and quality of life of young people with chronic illness. Hopelabs projects has produced research in developing significant increases in quality of life, self-efficacy, and cancer-related knowledge for adolescents and young adults with cancer.

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