SuperCity: Managing risk and taking chances

Sep. 4, 2013 | 0 Comments

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BY CHRISTA WITTMIER / Special to the Star-Advertiser

Everyone has their own style of dealing with crisis management. I think our initial reaction is to freak out, but with enough self-discipline, experience and maturity, we can all learn how to handle stress and even turn it into a good thing. I constantly battle this initial reaction myself — both at work and in my social life.

If there’s one thing we can always count on in event production, it’s that things will always go wrong. You learn to expect it and try to diffuse situations as quickly and calmly as possible. No matter how much you plan and work on details, there is usually always something you miss. It’s life.

Ateeya Manzoor provides a fresh set of eyes to companies in trouble.(Courtesy Vincent Ricafort)

Ateeya Manzoor provides a fresh set of eyes to companies in trouble.(Courtesy Vincent Ricafort)

Outside of work, it’s usually other people who cause stress, whether it’s someone else trying to bring you down or driving too slow — or even worse, trying to pick a fight. Since it’s their problem and not yours, the best and most efficient way to side-step these types of situations is to ignore them.

It’s not easy, but once you can concentrate on what you are doing and doing it the best you can, that’s when everything else works itself out.

In the business world, companies have the option of hiring a specialist to help before it’s too late. I happened to meet a regular at Addiction Nightclub, Ateeya Manzoor, after the most recent “Hawaii Five-0” wrap party. Some of the cast and crew wanted to keep things going after the official party ended, but our last-minute decision meant the nightclub only had a small nook available for VIP seating.

That was fine with us, so we stuffed our crew into the space and danced the night away. After a while, however, Manzoor noticed what happened and sent club staff over to invite us to her table, where she and a few friends had a much larger area. She was happy to share not only her table, but a second bottle of Dom was on its way — and it was a magnum. We couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate and it turned into one of those for-the-books, most special nights ever.

Bottle service with Ateeya Manzoor at Addiction Nightclub earlier this year. (Courtesy Christa Wittmier)

Bottle service with Ateeya Manzoor at Addiction Nightclub earlier this year. (Courtesy Christa Wittmier)

I kept bumping into Manzoor while out and about, as a lot of her favorite haunts are also my own. I learned she is a very experienced risk management professional who has made it her job to provide a fresh perspective to business owners hoping to achieve greater success.

It’s a concept many are familiar with, and I wonder if smaller businesses – our local bars and nightclubs included – could benefit from her services.

“I do an assessment of where the company is at, identify liabilities, reorganize assets, review competitive conditions and find ways to restructure and reorganize,” she explained recently over wine and pupu at Safehouse inside The Republik. “I’ve done and seen it all … worked with large resorts, night clubs, restaurants, technology companies, chemical plants, law firms, magazines. In most cases I am hired to fix things that are broken.”

Interested in learning more? Manzoor’s company, Mayfair, will host a job fair from 7 to 9 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 10, and Wednesday, Sept. 11, at R/D, 691 Auahi St.

WHILE WE were put in the unfortunate position of recently saying goodbye to two long-time establishments, Zanzabar Nightclub in Waikiki and Indigo Restaurant and Bar in Chinatown, the yang to that ying was the grand opening of Bevy in Kaka’ako and the reopening of NextDoor in Chinatown.

The "good old days" at NextDoor with photographer Dan Weaver in 2005. (Courtesy Christa Wittmier)

The “good old days” at NextDoor with photographer Dan Weaver in 2005. (Courtesy Christa Wittmier)

The most exciting thing about NextDoor’s revival is that new owner Daniel Gray and his partners Kanoa Bristol, Mark Robinson, Marty Simjian and Kenneth Gray have left the club pretty much as-is. None of the art was painted over; the large projection screen, stage and bar area are all intact. They only improved what was needed: the bathrooms, air conditioning and sound system.

An official re-opening party on Saturday, Aug. 31, brought back so many memories of amazing nights that happened in that space. The indie films, legendary underground hip-hop shows, kooky 80’s nights and the packed indie shows that featured amazing local bands all made a huge impact on Chinatown. The new owners still have a lot of work to do, however, as it will definitely take some time to regain their former following, but they are determined to make it happen.

Friday, Sept. 13, will bring the first of many underground hip-hop shows I loved so much back to Nextdoor, as local artist Melissa Wong has been able to leverage her personal relationship with the Living Legends to bring out both Bicasso and Alien Art Gang, plus Opio of Souls of Mischief and the Hieroglyphics. This is one of those shows that might have otherwise flown under the radar, a la Peanut Butter Wolf or Flying Lotus, a few years ago.

Alien Art Gang is based out of Oakland, Calif., and is a side project for Bicasso. While acts like Odd Future and Kendrick Lamar hog the spotlight, this lesser-known (but just as talented) lyricist and producer trio have a legendary reputation for a high energy live show.

Local acts Angry Locals and DJ Technique will open; tickets are available for purchase online.
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Christa Wittmier has chronicled Honolulu nightlife since 2004. She is senior marketing director at Young’s Market Co. of Hawaii and executive director of music for POW! WOW! Hawaii, and also helps promote the popular “Bacardi Pool Party” on Oahu. Contact her via e-mail or follow her on Twitter.

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