So, NIRI hosted its annual Los Angeles dinner last night at the Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel. I was the first person to arrive (gulp) and quickly did a u-turn at the door to avoid feeling like an over zealous investor relations professional. But then I noticed Kendall Jackson standing at the bar. I affixed my name tag to my lapel and meandered over to the bar for a chat with Mr. Jackson. I kept my head down at first, you know, to keep the casual nature of the event in full effect. Armed with business cards and a fresh coat of antiperspirant, I proceeded to speak with Mr. Jackson. I said hello, and before he could utter a word, his handler, the bartender, informed me that it would cost $5 to speak with Mr. Jackson.
I forked over the $5 and spent the next hour and a half entertaining Mr. Jackson, along with other investor relations professionals. We met Jeff Morgan, the recently appointed chief executive officer of NIRI. We said hello to Jim Lucas of Abernathy MacGregor. We also listened to Linda Kelleher, executive vice president of NIRI, talk about shareholder activism and where the industry is headed. Specifically, Kelleher said instead of letting activist shareholders come to you with questions about a particular company, you should proactively be reaching out to them. My motto for 2008: Engage activism with activism. And with that I finished my conversation with Kendall Jackson and proactively ordered another one at the bar.
— Evan Pondel, Senior Associate, firstname.lastname@example.org