By Brian Lucas
John Vernotica is a natural agilist who makes setting up a 900 person event as simple as the word “mangia”. In a little over a year, he has grown the mangia events that he hosts from a handful of friends to a loyal following that is bordering on a thousand plus. A well respected former police detective who now works for the district attorney’s office; JohnnyV (as he is affectionately known to his multitude of friends) organizes his many mangia events in his spare time and he makes it all look easy. You can follow his truly marvelous mangia events on Facebook.
It has been my privilege to be invited to several mangia events that John and his eminently gracious and charming wife Kathy have run. It is breathtaking to observe him in action. His absolute attention to detail, incredible concern for his guest’s enjoyment and boundless effervescence as a host are truly awesome to behold.
I was quite honored when he and his lovely wife Kathy extended their boundless “old world” cordiality to me once again and consented to be interviewed for my series interview with a natural agilist. To be in their presence is to be accepted into the unparalleled hospitality of a Italian family where no guest leaves hungry, but is filled with the wondrous warmth that enables you to leave life’s troubles a distant memory. They have both become a very important part of many people’s lives.
John is a natural organizational genius in that he can handle many tasks at the same time. He also doesn’t seem to know the meaning of the word procrastinate; another common trait I am finding among natural agilists. Like all good agilists, John started small. Little over a year ago he was introduced to Facebook and began to find old friends from his neighborhood. Next, he set up a dinner with them. They enjoyed the food, the reminiscence of old times and the congeniality of sharing new life experiences so much they decided to do it on a regular basis. Well next time a few more came. Then John decided since enough people were coming; he would call the restaurant and obtain a special menu deal. He found yet another hidden talent; this time for negotiating. This worked out so well; John decided to add entertainment. One year later the ranks of his mangia followers is topping 1,000. John has in fact an army of followers and now restaurants and other entertainment providers are beginning to contact him.
How does John make this all happen in his spare time? Well, John’s first secret is that he acts and he acts immediately. He doesn’t create an enormous plan. He starts somewhere and maybe it’s not always in the beginning, but he starts and gets the ball rolling. This always generates additional ideas. Furthermore, he has this phenomenal ability to always keep a task running in the back of his mind. Whenever something occurs that spawns a new idea he immediately sees that possibility and then acts on it. By following the iterative process, John builds quite sophisticated events, with tremendous success, one step at a time. Because he is constantly chipping away at his planning, negotiating, organizing and managing; he makes it look easy. But it is not!
Others have tried to duplicate John’s success, but have failed. It is true that part of the success of mangia is due to John and Kathy’s unsurpassed open and giving personalities; though the real secret is the simple “ACT” rules he follows:
- Act immediately on your idea if only in a small way
- Constantly solicit feedback from the targets of your actions
- Think about how to make it better
If you are looking for a warm and pleasant way to spend an evening out dining, you can’t go wrong attending one of John Vernotica’s mangia events. While you are there enjoying the meal the atmosphere and basking in the warmth of John and Kathy’s many mangia friends; watch John at work. You just might learn something about being agile! Remember till next time – keep agile and as John would say mangia my friends.