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  • December 02, 2019 6:00 PM | Simona Fava (Administrator)




    Andrew called the meeting to order at 5:04. 

    Minutes (November) approved as written.

    Gina – update on Christmas party. Venue is done, caterer is ready, need count by Friday. Andrew can pick up light bars. For the band, (there are 18) we can order pizzas and such. Paul Bonaquisti is donating a case of red and is bringing other wine at $9/bottle. What we drink we’ll pay for and can take the rest back. We’ll get beer also. We won’t mess with drink tickets…folks will probably not drink that much. Andrew suggested a couple different kinds of beer. Gina needs to finish up the awards. She asks that the board members show up at 4. Janet has sent out one more e-blast – and we’re now at 40 registered. Janet asked us to reach out to at least 5 people. 

    Discussion on awards and categories – which names should go where. Andrew suggests that each board member email him to vote on the awards.

    Janet  -discussion on voting for board members update. Currently there are 10 nominees. The incoming slate can take the 7 people picked and select which office each will assume.  We should perhaps clarify the bylaws to make sure the method is clear going forward.

    Marketing: - Janet likes the idea of a packet going out to members. Decals are nice. We can do a survey on some marketing thoughts and approach the membership to see what they would like to incorporate. We should gear this to getting new members, keeping members, and building your business. Gina suggests we write a plan – which may require a committee!

    We all “sang” happy birthday to Andrew!

    Andrew adjourned the meeting at 6:15 pm.

  • November 02, 2019 8:00 PM | Simona Fava (Administrator)




    Meeting called to order at 2:59pm.

    Andrew welcomed us, and presented the agenda, hoping we can move quickly.

    Andrew explained BOX…similar to DropBox. An easy way to share documents. 

    Ann BJ went through the treasurer’s reports including P&L and the membership roster. She reported that we have (usually) about 24 members at a meeting, and typically the cost is slightly more since she adds tips. She went over budget items for 2020. She also talked about renewing our trademarks. She moved that we update and pay for renewing, seconded by Janet, all in favor. She then recommended that we get an updated Quickbooks account online – this would cost $42/month for the first year, then $70/month after. She moved that we use this plan for the first year, second by Janet, all approve.

    Gina presented the Christmas Party proposal. (date Dec. 11) She went over the venue (Sons of Italy building) – the sponsors she’s gotten so far, menu, band and awards. Suggestion for awards – Italian of the Year might be for someone not in IABA. The goal is to bring other clubs to the event. Janet talked about the value of this event, making it special – so even though the cost is more, this is probably good for the club. The suggested ticket price would be $40 per person. This would include food, wine and entertainment. Janet talked about what awards have been in the past, adding something from the outside, while keeping IABA Member of the year and Business of the year. Other Italian clubs will be invited. Janet moved that we accept the proposal as presented based on 75 people at $40 per person, Andrew seconded, motion passed. 

    Gina and Janet will get together and decide on Award categories and criteria and get back to the board.

    By Laws:  Article II, Section 2.1 – the address should be P.O. box 151165, Lakewood, CO 80215.

    Article III Section 3.1 – no change.

    Section 3.2 – annual meeting – change to second Wednesday in January.

    Section 3.3 – Monthly meeting needs to be second Wednesday of the month.

    Section 3.10—Written ballots –add electronic ballot. 

    Janet moved that we accept the changes/additions mentioned above; Andrew seconded. All approved.                   

    Janet gave a report on monthly meetings….3 things to be done. She would like to focus on venues, and have someone else finding a speaker and work on networking. We need to have an agenda for each meeting/time line to follow. We need to stay on task. Bottom line is that there needs to be more people working on the meetings. We agree that Biz Bites are important, and we should have a business speaker. 

    Discussed the decals that Joe Aiello had printed…they were put out at the Oct. meeting, and people took them.  There is some dispute about how much to pay for them…we actually did not approve this in advance. Janet will research how much he said they would be. Gina will contact the printer to discuss the invoice.

    Andrew announced that because of a baby coming in January, he feels he must step down as president at the end of this year. 

    Meeting adjourned at 5:20.

  • September 28, 2019 3:00 PM | Simona Fava (Administrator)




    The meeting was called to order at 1:30pm

    Andrew has gathered thoughts and ideas and presented a list of issues and questions for us to consider as we go forward. These will be addressed at our meetings to come.

    Founder of IABA Joe Aiello has a renewed interest in the group. He’s not been a member for a while, but is back now, and would like to bring some ideas to grow the club. Some email exchanges have made a few board members uneasy, so Joy suggested that a letter be written to him, acknowledging his experience and history. Andrew agreed to write one, with Joy reviewing. We’ll invite him to a board meeting, put him on the agenda, and give him time to present his ideas.

    Discussed the issue of confusion over payment to Gary Cucarola for our Sept. meeting. Janet moved that we give Gary a check, Joy seconded, all approved. Ann and Janet will take this to him personally.

    Discussed “donations” for our events/meetings. It was suggested that instead of selling items, we request that people make a donation, which keeps records clear for our non-profit status.

    Discussed meeting agendas – Andrew would like to make them more interesting and suggests changing things up a bit. We need to encourage more networking and testimonials since we are a BUSINESS organization. Perhaps we don’t always need the “60 second” intro/elevator pitch – which too often takes more time. We like the Biz Bites – giving one or two members a chance to spotlight their services. We might want to include some “mixer games” to get people talking to those they don’t know so well. And we do want to attract younger members, so these will be good ideas making our meetings more interesting.

    Janet talked about elections, which need to happen by the end of the year. It is her understanding that board positions are for a two-year term. She also talked about awards – business of the year and member of the year – that we have, in the past, presented at the Christmas party. (no conclusion)

    Our board meeting in November will focus on Bylaws and continue discussion on our future progress.

    Meeting adjourned at 3:20pm.

  • September 19, 2019 8:24 PM | Simona Fava (Administrator)


    We started with vino – made from the grapes stomped at last year’s meeting here! All agreed that it was VERY good. Dinner buffet included cheese and salami, as well as sausage and peppers for sandwiches. Bountiful, indeed.

    Andrew opened the formal meeting at 6:10 and introduced our hosts Gary and Marilyn Cucarola. Gary said that he used four grapes to make this wine, and it was his attempt to duplicate the “Prisoner” wines. All applauded his efforts…and had more wine. He asked for help in bottling, and at least one guest (Alf Gizzo) joined in the process.

    Andrew asked new members to stand and introduce themselves, and we welcomed them into our membership. Then, guests introduced themselves – we had quite a few, which was really great. Members from the Dante Aleghieri society were there and talked about their outreach programs for Italian Heritage Month in October and passed out flyers detailing the events they have planned.

    Andrew stressed our mission – to support the business of the members in the Italian Business community. He then got us up and moving around, making sure that we talked to people we did NOT know! Naturally, it was lively and loud, but a lot of fun.

    Board members were introduced and we had an update on the Festival Italiano, which was a great success. Folks were reminded to put their business cards in the binder…and take those cards you wanted to contact for business. Andrew then asked for two members to promise to send an email blast this month, since it’s a service we offer to members!

    Gary spoke again telling us that he never tested the wine during the year…and that is 100% natural! He suggested that we might consider putting together a wine-making kit as a fund raiser. He invited us to enjoy more wine and told everyone that they could take home a bottle.

    Our Biz Bites for tonight was a presentation by Lori and Gary Richert from State Farm. She said that she is a relationship agent – really getting to know you and your family and said that Gary does the business insurance. She had lots of fun promo items for us to take home. 

    The evening ended with those interested getting a tour of the facility.

  • August 05, 2019 9:32 PM | Simona Fava (Administrator)



    MEMBERS PRESENT: ANDREW Murano, SIMONA Fava, JANET Lombardi, JOANNIE Flynn, ANNE Cucchi., ANN Bosso-Johnson, JOY Lawrance

    Andrew called the meeting to order at 5:10pm.
    Minutes were approved as corrected.

    VP Reports from Janet
    AutoMezzi was good, there was a lot of traffic (maybe 1500-1800 people) and many people to follow-up with. Ann Bosso-Johnson manned the booth.
    Last meeting was a success – Cards drawn for the 10 min. Biz Bites at the next meeting were Joy Lawrance and Tish Gance
    She has paid the deposit for the Italian Festival and mentioned that Joe Bergano has a stash of items we may be able to use as give-aways or for purchase. Janet will visit him and see what we might be able to use. Joannie suggested we limit any purchases to $100. She will also have a sign-up sheet at our next meeting for people to volunteer. She added that we may need to buy some lights for the booth. She would like to do an email blast with Simona’s help.
    Andrew asked that she keep the board apprised about progress for this event, and since he will not be at the meeting on the 14th, he encouraged us to get people to sign up.
    Sept. meeting will be at Mrs. Condi’s. No location for Oct. yet.

    Anne Cucchi continues to reach out to people who “Like Italy” and invited them to the meeting on the 14th. We currently have 59 members.

    Ann Bosso-Johnson reports that we have $5707 in our account. There are 15 business members and 42 individual members. She has made calls re: renewals. Directors insurance has been renewed. Upcoming expenses include the Italian Festival and the Christmas party.
    (Janet will need the Insurance certificate for the festival – Ann will get that to her)
    Simona requested that some gluten-free items be included in our dinners, and Janet will work that out with our caterers. We might include a section on the website for “special food needs.”

    Since the next board meeting would happen on the Labor Day weekend, Joy moved that we meet on Aug. 26. Andrew seconded, all approved. Andrew then suggested that he would like to host the meeting at his home. He will reach out to use for details.

    The meeting was adjourned at 5:53pm.

  • July 11, 2019 6:02 PM | Simona Fava (Administrator)

    Our social hour was lively, highlighted by great Balistreri wines and a fabulous antipasto table…all quite yummy!

    The dinner buffet was equally wonderful – with meatballs, sausage, polenta and a cucumber/tomato salad. 

    Andrew called a meeting to order at 6:40, asking once again that members tell him ways in which we can make our meetings better. He then called on board members to introduce themselves and tell a little about what they do.  

    Janet Lombardi (VP) talked a bit about the Italian Festival and how people can join our club. She’ll be asking members to volunteer some time to man the booth at the festival. She also said we’re bringing back “Biz Bites” – a way for members to get a chance to speak longer at meetings. Please put your business card in the (very large) wine glass, two cards will be drawn, and those will be able to talk about their business at the next meeting.

    Ann Bosso-Johnson (Treasurer) related that we have $6500 in the bank, we have paid for D&O Insurance, and we currently have 15 business and 42 individual members.

    Anne Cucchi and Joannie Flynn (Membership co-chairs) emphasized that people need to LIKE Italy and Italians – as well as to understand that we are a business organization, but they do not have to have business in order to join IABA.

    Joy Lawrance (Secretary)related that she takes minutes at meetings, and they will be posted on the website for all to read.

    Gina Hallisey (Member at large) talked about AutoMezzi coming soon, where IABA will have a booth.

    Guests were introduced, then members.

    Guest speaker was Joe Aiello, the founder of IABA in 2006, on a snowy night in January, to promote business in the Italian community. “We’re in the business of helping each other,” is the motto they followed. They wanted people to be involved inter-state and well as intra-state.  He started the Andiamo newspaper in 2003 and was inducted into the Italian Hall of Fame in 2004. He now does public service announcements for Italian Heritage Month and is working on a magazine to be published in October in recognition of Italian Heritage Month. 

    The members present were so delighted to hear from Joe, and to learn about all his continued efforts to promote the Italian community. Many urged him to re-join IABA!

    (Our meeting was enhanced by a new mic/sound system that Janet Lombardi got for us…we no longer have to shout to be heard!)

  • June 14, 2019 12:00 AM | Simona Fava (Administrator)


    The evening began with a social hour as everyone gathered in anticipation of some great bocce ball contests to follow! As we checked in, we were told to draw a number…as that would determine which team we’d be on for the contest. Heidi’s Brooklyn Deli catered the dinner that included a wide selection of sandwiches, sides and great cookies. 

    President Andrew Murano opened a short meeting, welcoming all, and thanking our hosts Paul LoNigro, Fred Marzano and Sal Siragusa from the Italians of America club. He also thanked Heidi Naples for providing our supper. Andrew then introduced the Board members and asked guests to say a few words about what brought them here. (Most came for the bocce ball, of course!)

    Janet Lombardi showed a large 3-ring binder which will be our new business card book. Everyone is to fill the pages with their business cards, making sure there are always plenty there. This will be at each meeting and will be organized in a few different ways to make it easy to find either the person or the business. We are, after all, business helping business! She stressed that anyone wanting to do business with our members is welcome to become a member. Andrew added that we are also a social as well as cultural organization.

    Then it was time for fun and games! Teams were directed to the outside courts, and the play began…along with much cheering and “oh drat” comments. We ended with two teams in a final battle for the best – and it was really close!!! Final score was 4 to 3. The winning team members were Don Fratello (member), Jess Linton (guest), Linda Linton (guest) and John Woods (guest.) Needless to say they were pretty excited! 

    All in all, a great time was enjoyed by everyone – and I’ll bet there will be some practicing before the next bocce ball event!

  • February 13, 2019 7:57 PM | Simona Fava (Administrator)

    The evening began with Jimmy Lovato and Terry Cervi helping folks make wonderful praline-style cookies! He had a special basic mix to which we could add a variety of dried fruits and nuts. What we baked…we took home to enjoy! What a great idea!

    Dinner was served at 6:00 catered by MICI’S HANDCRAFTED ITALIAN.  We had 5 different choices of Pizza and a special mixed green salad. Thank you to Marissa Muceli.

    Andrew Murano opened the official meeting at 6:35 and introduced the board members. He asked for ideas for future presentations, and to please volunteer your services, since membership is a responsibility for all. He urged us to increase our membership.

    He then gave the results of the survey that had been taken and it seems everyone wants more of everything! Happily, there were no negatives. Please contact Andrew with ideas – for cultural events, business education and the like.

    Anne Cucchi introduced new and returning members: Jill Giovanetti (new), Phil and Nancy Gumo (Canoli Company food cart), and Theda Archer. 

    We were asked to remember that each month members can send an email blast through our website. Do send your logo and photo to Simona. If you need help, Simona and Janet can help.

    Social Media exposure is something we want to encourage – we do have a Facebook page. Gina Hallisey says we need this to attract young members. And let’s connect with Italians!

    Tom Tancredo reported that the future of Columbus Day is pretty bleak, since there is a bill at the state house to replace it with “Colorado Day.” Chances of stopping this, given the current political situation, is not very positive.

    Our host, Jerry Caruso, from Caruso Kitchens thanked us for being here. He also told us about their family charity which focuses on poor children with terminal or life-threating illnesses. They have been honored by the community and have helped so many people. Be sure to check out their website:

    Our speaker for the evening..Silvio Caputo  If you wanted to know about the origins of Valentine’s Day…you needed to hear Silvio tell us about that day in Italy! That’s where it all started…did you know? Father Valentino broke some rules and helped young folks in love…and the rest is history. But told Caputo-style, of course.

    The evening ended with wonderful Gelato and Sorbet from Amore Gelato, Thank you Sean Johnson!

    Hope to see you next time!

  • February 04, 2019 8:07 PM | Simona Fava (Administrator)


    Attending:  Andrew Murano, Joy Lawrance, Simona Fava, Ann Bosso Johnson, Janet Lombardi, Gina Hallisey, Anne Cucchi, Tom Tancredo

    President Andrew Murano called the meeting to order at 4:05 pm.

    Minutes had been distributed via email, and one correction was made about the PO Box address. Minutes then accepted as corrected.

    Ann Bosso Johnson gave a treasurer’s report – there were 20 people at the January meeting, and we currently have $4755 in the bank. She also gave a summary of members:

    Total    17, 2 in last seven days (Godfather Cannoli Company, Nancy and Phil Gumo)

      Individual Memberships: 

    46 active

    25 renewal overdue

    1 lapsed

    1 new

    24 pending renewal

    In regard to an email received from Wild Apricot, Janet Lombardi said there was no need for action on our part.

    Andrew asked where we stand in reaching out to people who have not paid member dues – yet may want to come back. Janet said she is waiting for Joannie to return from her trip and they will follow-up.

    Andrew will ask board members to propose agenda items following our monthly meetings and have an agenda in place 2 weeks prior to the board meeting.

    Janet reported on the Feb. member meeting: It will be catered by Amici. She will pick up gelato for dessert (from our new member Amore Gelato) and has contacted Silvio Caputo to perhaps put something together such as “Love Italian Style.” She has new name tags for members. And since we need wine for the meeting, she offered to purchase it – all agreed. Gina offered chairs – and Janet agreed that we would need them.

    There is nothing new on Festival Italiano, and Janet and Simona will work on contacting vendors.  Some future meetings have been scheduled – Bocce Ball and Mrs. Condi’s.

    It was suggested that we need more restaurants to become members (Andrew said that Brodo has joined). We would like to have others for meeting venues, which would be a benefit to the restaurant as well as to IABA. Gina recommended Liberati (the board had met there in Dec.) and Anne Cucchi will follow up with them; Janet will follow up with Parisi, Ann (BJ) suggested Pietra’s and Romano’s; Anne knows about Rocca with good meeting space, and Janet will contact them. 

    Discussion followed on how to get the restaurants to become members – many say they will, but then don’t. Gina will put a letter together for any new restaurants, emphasizing benefits of IABA, and Janet will follow-up with past locations. Andrew asked everyone to put together a list of possible places. Some mentioned were Grandma’s Noodles, Nonna’s, Pasta Pasta Pasta, Heidi’s Deli. (Janet will ask the Deli to perhaps cater the Bocce Ball event.)

    Anne Cucchi reported a new member, Jill Giovanetti.

    Andrew asked Ann B-J to report on total memberships at each board meeting. (Noted above)

    New Business

    Tom Tancredo reported on recent meetings concerning the Columbus Day Parade. Given the climate in the new state legislature (wanting to change it to “Colorado Day”) there seems to be little optimism about its future. He’ll keep us posted.

    A By-Laws Review had been suggested at our last meeting, and it was agreed that a small group (of those who are familiar with the document) should get together to start going thru them. Gina offered to work with Janet and Andrew.

    Andrew reported on the survey results from the membership. Bottom line, people want more of everything! One common theme was that people enjoy connecting with fellow members. There were no comments about money or charging more for better food. A variety of speakers is suggested. Andrew asked the board what we might do to make meetings more fun, varied.

    Discussion followed on what the function of IABA really is. Tom asked if we were JUST Italian businesses; Anne Cucchi suggested we expand to “friends” who like Italians/Italy; Janet says our claim to fame is Italian Business, as opposed to other Italian organizations in the area. (This is clearly stated on our website.) Thoughts were: We need to reach out; many Italian businesses don’t know we exist; do we need a mission statement; we need to get a list of businesses; ask members to suggest businesses they know; establish a social media presence.  Janet will start visiting restaurants.  Board members are urged to send any suggestions to Joy.

    Our next board meeting will be a conference call (as long as technical issues can be resolved).

    The meeting was adjourned at 5:19pm.

  • January 13, 2019 6:11 PM | Simona Fava (Administrator)

    Meeting Host and location:  BONACQUISTI WINERY

    We had a nice turnout for a mild, January evening at Bonacquisti Winery and enjoyed some lovely” fruit of the vine”. Jimmy Lovato provided a sumptuous buffet that included tossed salad, chicken piccata, noodles, and meat balls in marinara sauce with lovely cannolis for dessert.

    Paul Bonacquisti spoke to us about his wines and special events held here – including Yoga and wine, which sounds like a great combination! You can join their wine club for about $55 a quarter, which gets you three bottles of wine.

    Janet Lombardi gave a review of our recent board meeting and introduced the board members. The Christmas party was a great success with 64 people in attendance. 

    Currently IABA had 48 active members, and we would like to grow the membership. It’s been suggested that we combine efforts with other Italian organizations in the area which would benefit us in many ways. There are many volunteer activities to participate in, and community outreach. Suggestions for meetings are always welcome, and we will certainly continue the “usual” most enjoyed events. 

    All members and guests introduced themselves, and lively conversations continued as the evening went along.

    Don't miss the next meeting!

IABA Colorado - Italian American Business Association
Incorporated in 2006 as a Colorado Non-Profit Corporation and under the U.S. Internal Revenue Code as a 501(c)(6) Business League, the same classification as chambers of commerce. Our corporate headquarters is in Denver, Colorado.

P.O. Box 151165

Lakewood CO 80215