Plaza Personalities revisits some of the 2013 interviews:
What is your most memorable wedding that you have produced?
We produced a wedding a few years ago in Rhinebeck, NY, for a Broadway star and his fiancé, equally as talented but in math and the law! It was a three day celebration with music at every turn. I had the pleasure of working alongside the best of Broadway – from the Broadway choir belting out “Crazy in Love” as the recessional and the groom’s flash mob toast involving over 25 people in sync on the dance floor, to the production end with lighting, sound and staging. It was such fun to produce the wedding – everyone from guest to vendor was ‘infected’ with the music whether Rap, Hip Hop or Salsa. Music was love to this couple and that is what the weekend was about. The groom’s Hip Hop improv group Freestyle Love Supreme performed one night and I remember the tent and lighting crews being absolutely transfixed by them. To this day, we all go to every FLS show we can
Why does a store like Bergdorf Goodman need PR?
Mallory Andrews, Senior Vice President, Sales Promotion, Marketing and PR at Bergdorf Goodman
Everyone needs PR. Bergdorf has so many exciting big events that are going to get press coverage, like the Holiday Windows, the anniversary, and big celebrations. But we have events every week—designers come to the store all the time, from Christian Louboutin to Tom Ford to Alber Elbaz. We have book signings, cocktail parties and charity lunches. We need to spread the word. In today’s environment, which is fashion obsessed 24/7, social media is a big part of that. We’re very involved in Twitter and Facebook and Pinterest and Instagram. You don’t always need a printed invitation—with social media engagement—you can make a snowstorm into an event and invite people to the store for a glass of champagne or hot chocolate on 5F—people love a spontaneous party. But when we do printed invitations we look at paper stock for days.
What are the three most common mistakes people make when planning a gala?
First is timing. Make sure the event is succinct and never burdensome on someone’s time. “Short and sweet” always leaves want for more! Secondly, set a realistic capacity and stick to it. We all understand that the purpose of a gala is to raise money, but if it ends up as a cramped, unpleasant experience, people will not want to come back in following years. Finally, remember that an event must be beautiful. “On a budget” does not mean that an event can’t be beautiful. Be creative, there are endless possibilities even on a tight budget.
What is your dream dinner and who would attend?
Toni Verstandig, Executive Director, Middle East Programs at the Aspen Institute
George Clooney, President Clinton, Hillary Clinton, Shimon Peres, Madeleine Albright, Aung San Sui Kyi, Muhtar Kent
What made you want to direct The Great Gatsby?
I heard it on the train going through Siberia as an audio book ten years ago and realized there was a different film version to be made.
What was the most over-the-top event you produced when you worked in the financial world?
Stacey Chait, Senior Director at NYU Langone Medical Center
One of Bill Clinton’s staff members approaches me to inform me that, due to scheduling changes, unfortunately The President would not be able to play golf with clients as previously planned that morning. I, very politely, urged him to reconsider and only play 9 holes, as there was a client currently flying down, just for this golf game who was not able to attend the dinner the night prior. The President, who is a true gentleman, complied and ended up playing all 18 holes.
If you could change one child’s journey, how would you change it?
Trudy Gottesman, Philanthropist
Visits to a doctor and admissions to the hospital can be anxiety provoking for the whole family. It might feel like another world, confusing, with its own language. And yet important decisions have to be made all the time. Along with the best clinical care I want there to be real partnership between doctors, children and families with support, coordination and follow up at every level. Not feeling alone on any medical journey is so important.