“We were in our different silos,” says Sun, cofounder of Sun Group Wealth Partners in Irvine, Calif., twirling both fingers in the air on either side of her head. “We both had big rolodexes, but how could we have ever met?”
The chain of events that led to an introduction began a couple of weeks ago. At the time, Sun was gearing up to host a large client event, a fundraising event to benefit a local museum called Pretend City, also in Irvine, that helps kids learn basic skills through guided play.
“I had never done anything like this before,” Sun says, “and I was relying on my staff in order to save money.”
She really needed the help of a professional event planner, though she didn’t want to pay for one. Trolling around LinkedIn, she found a group of event planners and posted a message seeking advice.
A short while later, an event planner who worked for the Clinton Foundation emailed in response. The two spoke and she gave Sun a raft of ideas for the museum fundraiser.
“We hit it off,” Sun says of their conversation. “We found out that we have kids about the same age.”
As they verged onto more personal topics, Sun recalls, the event planner said, “Remind me what you do?”
When Sun talks about her planning practice, she can’t help but turn it into a passionate paean. This time was no different. She talked about her young (and older) clients she serves from the local tech industry in San Diego as well as the entertainment industry in Hollywood. She also mentioned a couple of details about her use of social media in reaching out to younger clients who like to search the web for financial help. Many of her clients, in fact, have found her by doing just that.
After hearing all this, the woman told Sun, “I have someone I want you to meet. I want you to fly out to Las Vegas.”
After they hung up, Sun told a coworker, “You have to come with me,” Sun had told her coworker. “I don’t want to go alone.”
On Saturday, the event for the museum was a success; Sun’s firm funded 1,000 memberships to the museum for families with special needs kids. And on Monday, Sun was at the airport, along with her colleague.
On the one hand, she felt she was taking a risk flying to meet a stranger (“I didn’t tell my husband many details because I didn’t want him to worry,” she says). But, on the other hand, she had a gut instinct that she could trust the woman from the Clinton Foundation.
A gray car pulled up to fetch them and Sun’s adventure began. She toured the operations of Zappos, the online shoe retailer that Amazon bought in 2009 for $1.2 billion. Then the car drove the two to a strange-looking condo outside of Las Vegas. There, she met one of the executives of Zappos.
The young tech entrepreneur has not become a client yet, but the two are discussing what that would entail. If Sun manages to land him, he would be among her largest clients – all because she cruised LinkedIn for some help.
“I didn’t expect that,” she says, still sounding amazed.