“Life is YOUR Party is a statement and the way I have lived most of my life.” Sarah Vargo, Founder and President of Maven, LLC, a fierce, innovative connection company in Chicago, commented.
Over four years ago, Sarah noticed something about herself. She was fulfilling her dream to become an A-list talent agent by working for a large Hollywood firm, and she was throwing events for fun on the side. These affairs were just a hobby, a pastime she viewed as common as knitting or stamp collecting, but something exhilarating and hypnagogic started to take hold of her. She started noticing the large crowds and the extreme rush from hosting parties, and her guests started connecting with one another and increasing their network. This was when she created Maven.
A “one-stop shop”, Maven connects various non-profits and businesses to their target audience. They are customized, night-scene engagements utilizing a powerful combination of succinct publicity, promotion, and social media. “Maven” is the Yiddish word for expert. Like Sarah Vargo, a Maven is a person with alluring experience that can teach others about the knowledge they have gained. Services include event planning, media coaching, and brand image consulting, and no better word could represent the cutting-edge amalgamation of services Sarah provides.
Vargo explained, “Maven events are very simple cocktail parties… I don’t fuss over extravagant details. I do host my events at upscale city venues like hotel bars and private membership clubs.” By utilizing intimate spaces, guests can alternate between carrying on a conversation and dancing to the DJ. She pointed out, “People start off in their respective groups, but after an hour goes by, most guests are mingling, laughing, dancing and making new friends, business contacts or even romantic connections.”
Maven events embody Sarah’s mission to help people achieve their objectives, by utilizing selective networking that she learned as a talent agent. Over the years, Sarah has collected and maintained a captivating group of friends and contacts that she’s hand-selected to attend her parties. “Most of my guests are successful, good-hearted, attractive, and fun.” People have been known to invite their parents and coworkers and bring their friends. Sarah beamed when she shared, “It’s wonderful seeing people light up when they see their pictures on the slideshow or see their name mentioned in a press release. I feel that my events really encourage people to follow their dreams.”
Every month, Maven hosts a “Diva Series” themed, cocktail party that gathers and recognizes accomplished women in PR, fashion, fitness, beauty, and the like. She targets female entrepreneurs with a strong following in the community and combines up-and-coming pioneers with older innovators to create the most beneficial learning environment. “When we truly step away from our egos, that’s when we can help each other, create, inspire, and invent.” The Diva Series events are meant to motivate influential women to continue making large strides in their communities, and Sara hopes to take it national one day, through the assistance of sponsors with a similar mission such as Dove. Past Diva themes include: Angels (Philanthropists), Players (Athletes and Sport Figures), Beautiful Gems (Beauty and Jewelry Professionals), and Social Butterflies (Marketing Aficionados).
Maven also offers a Divo Series for men, based on the same concept. The name was chosen after the Italian word for male superstar, making it clear that Sarah Vargo wants every person to feel extraordinary. It may seem as though it’s all fun and games, but the connections found at her parties are indispensable. For the more straightforward of us, Maven offers a business networking event called SUIT UP. The attendees bring business cards to network with Chicago’s top industry leaders in a relaxed, professional environment that fosters magnetic connections. Across the board, Sarah is reaching every group of entrepreneurs to offer her services and expertise.
Sarah matches her energy to the person she’s talking to, and she strives to make every person feel special. “That’s what makes a party. People want to feel welcome, accepted and loved.” She naturally plays numerous roles at her events. She is the outrageous hostess, the savvy businesswoman, the analytical marketer, the caring mother, and your best friend. Sarah Vargo was meant to host parties. “My nickname is Stargo to some and Sunshine to many, which makes sense, because the sun is just a big star. I feel I light up the light around everyone, creating earthy comfort, airy hope, and fiery excitement.”
Sarah was born in Chicago and lived in the city until she was fourteen. She then moved out to Crystal Lake for high school. The dramatic differences in the backdrops of her life gave her the incredible versatility to adapt to a variety of situations and truly appreciate every person she comes into contact with.
“I’m usually able to tell what personalities will click, what would work for a project short and long-term, and I have connections all over the world. I think I created this, because I love helping people and making others feel welcome in my presence.”
Sarah pointed out that she never knew she would own a ‘connections agency.’ “My natural talent is really putting people or missions together like the pieces of a puzzle.” She confided that her voice and mission have always been very obvious to her, even when she was a child. “I won’t lie – I have had my share of challenges, doubts, and heartbreak, personally and professionally. But the great thing is that as an adult, I am going back to that strong voice inside that I always had.”
She is always involved with philanthropic work. Before Maven, she arranged various charity events as the Marketing Director of Le Passage. Currently, she supports and offers consulting for Chicago Non-Profit and Adiango Consulting, both of which are organizations that promote local charities. She is on the planning committee for the 20th Annual Celebrity Chef Gala benefitting Meals On Wheels, and she is on the Board of Directors for Active Chicago, a non-profit that sponsors extra-curricular activities for children in need.
“I really feel that the nightlife industry is just a stepping stone for me. I have always wanted to affect and help people on a very large scale. I had success early on with my events and have used those to leverage some of my other worldly goals… This is just the beginning.” She admits that she’s always had a “very strong inner guidance and intuitive sense.” As an adult, Sarah is turning off “the voices of other people” and listening to her own. “This is life and happiness is up to us.” Sarah’s events are picking up more steam. In 2009, Chicago Magazine listed her as one of the TOP 5 Nightlifers to watch in Chicago.