Lighting the Night (and the Grill) for Leukemia & Lymphoma

Hope you enjoyed the video!  To see more details, pictures and more for all the wells we helped build, click here.

Now here’s the full scoop on what our big 2011 push…

Based on what I raised last year, the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society invited me to part of the National Capital Area’s Leadership Team for all the “Light the Night” fundraiser walks happening in the area. In addition to doing that, I hosted my own family/friends team.  (They are really cool events that start right at sunset, with everyone carrying lit balloons.  Red for supporters, white for survivors and gold for “in memory”.)

A lot of friends got involved with our team this year.  Funny story: One of my buddies, Will Lee, came down from NYC… but he didn’t check the weather forecast at all to realize it was going to be COLD and RAINY the whole night.  So he only brought shoes with holes, an undershirt and jeans! I had to take him shopping just hours before the walk.  But on a positive note, he now likes shopping at Macy’s. 😉

Of course being the #1 team at the event, we had to rock it with some style! So I came complete with an airhorn, glow jewelry, LED necklaces and a secret stash of “adult beverages”.  Trust me, those helped keep us warm when the rain and cold came later on! 🙂

Light the Night Walk

In addition to the walk, I also did a “Benihana Celebrity Chef” night…

Yanik Silver joined in and we both went to training to learn how to become real Japanese Hibachi Chefs.  I’ve got the graduation certificate to prove it!  Then, we each hosted a table of our friends and had them come pay to have us cook/perform and to support the team. Not to mention, I got to the do the famous “shrimp flip” into folks’ mouths!  Don’t worry, I warned the ladies ahead of time not to to wear anything they wouldn’t want stained.  LOL.

Benihana Fundraiser

Our team page is — and you can read my personal story there.  The Cliff’s Notes version is my Dad had to undergo experimental treatments 3 years ago. Since the type of cancer he had is so rare and aggressive, there isn’t a standard treatment yet. Which means supporting cancer research is super important because it literally saved his life. (My Mom is also a 9-year breast cancer survivor and advanced science helped to keep her here with us too!)

So far we’ve raised OVER $16,000…and we’ve got until the end of the year to raise more. A LOT of Mavericks, entrepreneurs, marketers, friends and family have donated again this year — but if you haven’t yet, please check out my team page to make a donation with HUGE impact.  It saves lives like my Dad’s.

And I’ll give you 9+ hours of video training from my previous Customer Appreciation Webinar events (ALL CONTENT) and the video of my “Outsourcing Secrets” presentation at the $2,995/pp Underground Online Seminar.

It’s been a great season of friends, fundraising, food and impact!  I hope you can join in and be part of it!  Click here to visit — and please feel free to leave your feedback and comments below!

— Chris 🙂

3rd Annual Charity Power Hour

Charity Power HourWhile each of the seven Underground events have been amazingly fun and profitable, the highlight for me in recent years has definitely been hosting the crazy Charity Power Hour event.

CPH’s mission is to raise money for important causes around the globe by hosting a fun, unique, once-in-a-lifetime live game experience for adults 21+ at the end of the Underground Online Seminar.

Here’s the story of how it all started…

3 years ago, after the Underground Online Seminar 5 had ended, last call was coming too early. So as any crazy marketer would do…Perry Belcher (giving spirit that he is) wanted to really shake things up, and bought 100 beers. Jimmy Sweeney added 50 to that. And management threw in another 20 beers. Now, 170 beers sitting on a bar at once is A LOT…

In fact — and this might surprise you — the marketers in the bar simply didn’t know what to do with all that beer at once! Well, I flashed back to my college days and remembered the famous “Power Hour” (simply one shot of beer per minute, for an hour…or until folks scream “uncle” and/or or need a wheelchair). That’s all it took, and believe it or not, we quickly ran out of the 170 beers!

Little did I realize this would turn into an annual event!

But since it was so much fun, everyone started asking me to do it again.  Now we’ve turned it into a charity event with all the players donating into the jackpot.  The top 3 people who make it the longest (1st, 2nd and 3rd place) get to choose the charities that all the money goes to.  In the past we’ve donated to Falling Whistles and the Caring House Project.  And this year, close to $5,000 went to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (a cause very near and dear to me).

Charity Power Hour on FacebookConsidering it’s insanely fun, crazy and celebrates our Maverick “give more back” DNA, it should come as no surprise it’s become an annual tradition. Each year, it’s bigger and better than ever.  Over 41 people played this year (with 87+ pitchers of beer consumed) – and at least double that watching!  Even non-drinkers got in on the action to support the charity, and help run the game.

Please visit the Official Facebook Fan Page so you can stay updated for next year’s special charity event, see pictures and discover the winners:

Of course no post would be complete without a few photo highlights from the evening…

After talking with the general manager of the sports bar, he definitely “got” what we needed (a special shout out to the GM, Brian Pillard, for his help, discounts and goodies he donated to our fun!). Here’s the “before” picture.  72 brand new shot glasses awaiting an evening of fun.  But after one sober attendee started a food fight with the chips (she will remain nameless, but I WILL point out she was a UG7 speaker!)…we lost our chip-eating privileges.  Thanks a lot K.B.!  😉

All Set for the Fun!

Thanks to Adam Black we got the National Harbor Peep Store to donate 100 “Peeps” hats for everyone playing.  Nothing says class like the Peep show we put on that night. 🙂

Everyone Ready To Party For Charity

After rallying the troops with an opening speech, it was time to lead everyone in the first beer shot of the evening.  (Note: This is when management – and my balance — would still allow me to stand on a chair to address the crowd).

BTW, a HUGE shout out to the “Live Smart” team of Jeff Siegel, Phil Costantino, Raimee Rodie and Isabel De Los Rios (you can see the backs of Jeff, Phil and Raimee above).  They were not only our #1 donors, but came BACK into DC from an out of town St. Patrick’s weekend celebration just to participate in CPH.  Dedicated or drinking problem?  You decide. 😉

Chris Zavadowski Takes the First Shot

Having fun with my honorary co-host for CPH 2011 and new Maverick Member, Dori Friend (also a big donor for the evening!).  Check out those sexy Peep hats! 😉

Dori Friend and Chris Zavadowski

Dori definitely has the Maverick DNA.  Not only was she one of the largest donors to CPH this year, but she also wanted to play a little prank on me.  Thanks to her twisted mind (and the Internet), she hired a few folks to come in pretending they were with the Maryland Alcohol Board and that I didn’t have the proper permit to host this event.  They kept trying to get me away from the game, but I wouldn’t budge!  I told them, “I’ve known these crazy folks for over 8 years.  I’m not sure who hired you yet, but if this is real, either bring security or the police…otherwise, I’ve got a game to play.”

After 5-10 minutes of messing with me, I complimented their performance and they finally broke character and started laughing…and pretended to lock me up.  What a fun time!

Did Chris Get Arrested??

At this point, some folks have started to drop out.  But you can see one of our chief instigators (and the sponsor for ALL 87+ pitchers of beer this year), Perry Belcher, holding his own.  Also COO Andrew Way is still at the table setting a “good” example.  And a big thanks to Adam Summer who bought an entire store’s inventory of “DEA” shirts to give away to top donors.  DEA = Drinking Every Afternoon.

Not Everyone Could Keep Up
Andrew Way and Maverick Mike Geary (also responsible for bringing some of the top drinkers to the game this year) sharing the love and sporting the contestant numbers I issued to everyone.  Clearly this picture was taken earlier in the evening. 😉

Mike Geary and Andrew Way

To help speed things along, the general manager suggested we move to larger glasses.  If you’ll notice – no more shot glasses in this picture.  And you’ll also notice, over the half the players left at that point.  We’re down to just one table. 😉

Bigger Glasses for Everyone!
Trying to keep our Maverick Communications Samurai (and dedicated shot pourer), Aydika James, in check. To quote Aydika about CPH2010, “the spirit oozed out of the walls (and into the halls, literally).” As you can see, she gets a little violent and frisky after midnight.  Beware.

Aydika James gets a "hug" from Chris

After the game finished in a 3-way tie for first place — and a drunken contestant started pouring pitchers of beer over his head — we ended up (read: kicked out)  into the lobby areas for more celebrating.

And Then There Were 3!

For some reason, I ordered an extra 20 pitchers of beer at last call.  And we all know Mavericks won’t let beer go to waste!  So here you can see Jeff Mulligan and Yanik carrying around their beer pitchers for the rest of the night.  Yes, Yanik is holding two.   A special shoutout to Maverick Shelby Larsen (seen above), our awesome sober accountant and fellow instigator for the evening.

If you missed this year’s CPH, you missed quite an experience!  Be sure to “LIKE” the Facebook page ( so you can get all the updates for next year’s adventure.  A HUGE thanks to everyone who helped us blow past the original fundraising goal.  You all rock!

Oh, and feel free to leave your comments on the craziness by posting below!

Maverick Business Insider Summer Extravaganza

Now that things are starting to warm up, I thought I’d post a fun recap of our 2nd annual Maverick Business Insider Summer Extravaganza event.  (I’ll admit it’s coming a tad bit late). 😉  I produced this insanely fun event, along with Yanik Silver, for our Maverick1000 members and Maverick Business Insider newsletter subscribers.  This 1-day experience covered the maverick philosophy of make more, have more fun and give more.  (If you weren’t there – you missed out!)

We started off the day with the workshops and a presentation Yanik gave on “3 Pillars of an Extraordinary Entrepreneurial Life & Business” and the newest trends for 2011 online & beyond (you may have seen the updated webinar Yanik and I both produced a few months back, too).  Then a highlight of our “hard work” was throwing paper airplanes around for the “Airtime Mastermind”.

Here’s a picture that captures it well –

Air Time Mastermind in full flight

Everyone got a piece of construction paper to write down their most pressing issue or problem in business. Then they folded up their plane and launched them around the room. Everyone had to grab someone else’s plane and write down an answer to their question. We got some great conversation going and insights to problems attendees faced. (This game is very cool if you’re looking for a unique group mastermind experience!)

Then after filling up on a summer BBQ lunch, we transported everyone over to the Airsoft close quarter combat facility (the same place a lot of our nation’s special forces use). Now in case you haven’t seen Airsoft or heard of it – it’s billed as similar to paintball…WITH all the fun, but WITHOUT the pain. (Umm…BS!)  You definitely felt those damn pellets!

At the Airsoft facility, suiting up for the games with Mavericks Dr. Adam Summers, Mike Cline and William Lee. Notice William (who I affectionately referred to as Rambo). When they asked if anyone had played before, he didn’t say anything. He chose instead to go for Shock & Awe when he started suiting up. Vests, extra magazines, a backup handheld gun (with flashlight), an automatic primary weapon (with flashlight AND silencer), ninja mask and more. The room got a little quiet as his violent side started to show

Did someone call for S.W.A.T.? (William is just practicing for the upcoming Maverick Covert Ops experience in October.)

Now for the Giving part – we had a “Charity Chicken”. What the hell is a charity chicken you may ask? That’s a perfectly valid question and one we’re not exactly sure the answer to either. But for some reason myself and Yanik Silver both got into the suit to bother people inside the playing field until we were shot. (Trust me, even with the dang suit on you still felt the bullets.)

Anyone who shot the chicken would donate $10 to Village Enterprise Fund (, one of the self-sustaining charities Maverick consistently supports. Here’s an action shot of the “Charity Chicken”:

The Charity Chicken also lays eggs during the game (good for bonus points and special powers). Chris decided he should get some practice beforehand… 😉

The #1 player, and winner of a $500 charity donation in his name (2nd place got $250 and 3rd place got $100 — they both chose American Cancer Society, and William chose the Dizzy Feet Foundation), why not pour some beer into your trophy? At least, it looked like a good idea. 😉

To determine the trophy winners (and winners of the charity donation prizes), we held a special sudden death match at the end of the day with the top guns. 1st place went to Maverick1000 member, William Lee (“Rambo”).  2nd place was snatched up by David Dolak and 3rd place went to Jared Polin.

Of course, it wouldn’t be a Maverick event without a few other fun awards.  Rakhi Sharma won the “Lost Cause” award for her er, um….”skills”.  And Maverick Member, Adam Summers, snatched up the MVP trophy for his awesome teamwork covering his buddies’ asses.

Here are all the awesome Members who stepped up to shoot the poor chicken (i.e. Yanik and me) and donate to charity:

Jon Butt (
Mike Cline (
Robert Dickson (
David Dolak (
Mostafa Azab
Jonathan Flaks (
Christian Hammarskjold (
Jeffrey Kirk (
William Lee (
Andy Miller (
Gary Nealon (
Jared Polin (
Buck Rizvi (
Rakhi Sharma (
Jeffrey Sherman
Adam Summers
Jimmy Sweeney (
Ron Tager
Joe Tice
Joe Zapolski

And our most coveted prize went to Maverick1000 member, Gary Nealon.  He was given the award for Big Mother Clucker for hitting the defenseless chicken the most out of anyone and making the biggest charity donation. (Thanks Gary!)

Let’s be honest, nothing says classy like a chicken hat.

And if you think your Maverick members would let the chicken cluck off into the sunset – you’ve got another thing coming. The next day a fearless group of Mavericks took to the air for a skydiving adventure. Many of the members experienced their first freefall and the chicken went along for the ride too.

Maverick members with limited edition ‘Carpe Diem Bitch’ t-shirts and one chicken head are ready to jump.

Now at the jump site, I’m sure they’ve seen some wacky things – but Yanik suggested that maybe we could get the Chicken up in the air. After asking if he was kidding or not, they checked in with his instructor…and he gave a very hesitant, “Okay”. He cut off the chicken wings so we weren’t working with a ‘squirrel suit’ and then checked Yanik out in the harness.

All systems go for project ‘chickens aloft”

Here’s I am giving Yanik a friendly “hug” before we take off –

Insert your own caption here. 😉

And here we are in full-on chicken glory

And here’s a fun video from my first skydiving experience (highly recommended!):

I look forward to hanging out with you at the next Maverick Business Insider Extravaganza!

Catch you soon!

Chris 🙂

PS – If you haven’t seen enough or plucked your eyes out – you can check out a quick highlight reel we put together here:

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