It’s not every day that you get to attend a fundraiser that nets over $80 million in one night but that is the case of New York City’s leading philanthropy organization, Robin Hood. I was honored to be a guest—along with 4,000 of NYC’s most generous donors—at the May 13 event at the Jacob Javits Center, where security was tight as the wealthy and famous were in attendance. One of the hottest tickets in town, I was able to score one thanks to a very generous client of mine, who shall remain anonymous. I can honestly say that it was the most spectacular events I have ever attended; our table was adjacent to Justin Timberlake, Eli Manning, Bono—the star-studded list of attendees goes on.
The night began early on Monday, May 13 with a massive check-in, followed by a walk in to a dramatic entrance. It was draped in black and projected statistics about the poverty levels in New York were bullet pointed down the walls as you made your entrance into the “cocktail” party. The individuals in charge of branding for Robin Hood get an A+, in my book. The room was filled with neon green and black and kept consistency in the mission as the main theme. The messages displayed on more than thirty big screens are clear: FIGHT POVERTY LIKE A NEW YORKER—a trademarked slogan. Guests mingled with ESPN’s commentators, tall and beautiful actresses, singers and more celebrities and the bars were stocked with everything you could think of (I saw at least three and each measured the size of ten Suburban SUVs put together). This was definitely a high-class event.
A glance to the right and hey, that’s Katie Couric! Justin Timberlake was among the guests, accompanied by his beautiful wife, Jessica Biel, and some of his team who sat at our table—a delightful group of nice folks.
Just a quickly as the bars opened, they closed. After exactly one hour, at seven o’clock sharp, guests were directed into yet another area—dinner tables dressed for the crowd of 4,000 in a black caped room, lit with small white lights on the ceiling, as if you were under the stars. The decor was simple, elegant and utterly magical. There was a single stage (occupied by many famous singers, comedians and actors) and all around the room were the giant screens, again, displaying key messages—all moving and inspiring—about fighting poverty.
Next came a welcome, then the entertainment—a performance Elton John and a few comedians to warm up the crowd. We were shown a short but emotional video produced by Robin Hood about the impact the organization has on so many children on a daily basis.
In a nutshell, Robin Hood “is able to fund over 200 poverty-fighting programs that teach, train, feed, shelter, heal and nurture New Yorkers in need.” Amazing success story this Robin Hood organization and more at www.robinhood.org.
After performances by Mary J. Blige, Bono and Elton John, the grand finale was the display of an email address on all of the screens in the room. Hosts instructed everyone, “Now get your phones out and email your pledges and give like a New Yorker.” Some of the graduating school children paraded in, while the wonderful things Robin Hood is doing were highlighted.
The email address stayed up on the screen and after an hour or so, they said, “Ladies and Gentlemen and generous New Yorkers, we are happy to announce this…” $79,000,000 flashed on all the screens. By ten o’clock the next morning, the figure had leapt to over $80,700,000. INCREDIBLE. This wasn’t even an auction. All the guests did was email their pledges from their dinner seats. That’s amazing fundraising.
Although in New York, this success story has a Memphis connection. Robin Hood was founded by Paul Tudor Jones, who is a native Memphian. He was featured on 60 Minutes just a few weeks ago in advance of the big event. Paul’s success is in itself a great story and one we can all take pride in. A boy from Memphis grew up to become a huge success on Wall Street and now gives back in HUGE ways—not just to Robin Hood, but to many worthy causes. His entire family is one of the most generous of any and it was one of my greatest honors to be invited and included at this event!
And the end of the night, I arrived back at my hotel just in time to see the Grizzlies return from at 17-point deficit in overtime to #BeatOKC! Although I was in New York, I was in a “Memphis State of Mind.”
When people ask me what I like the most about owning a public relations and marketing firm, my answer usually varies depending on whom I am talking to and what they are looking for. Sometimes it’s young entrepreneurs who want to know what it’s like to start a business. Occasionally, it is a peer working in a corporate role with the desire to know what it feels like on the “other side.” But, a large reason I enjoy owning my own firm is working with the people I like the most. This doesn’t mean the job all roses and honey, at all. The work we do can be tough and my firm has to earn its spot in the boardroom (and the budget) every day by creating real value and results for clients. This doesn’t come easy or instantly and it is an investment in time and trust on both sides of the relationship. Through the years, I have learned that it is vital to choose the right clients.
So, how do you do this and why is picking well important? read more
We now work at the speed of thought. Social media, mobile devices and our sense of posting NOW gives us 24/7 information. Real time work–or the latest Twitter picture, Vine video or Instagram post. Examples abound: Boston, the Iran earthquake, the West Texas fertilizer plant explosion…all are documented in real time. We live in the NOW. While that can be positive on many levels, here are some things to think about:
Ya’ll know I’m from Texas and Alabama so you know I’ll be a straight shooter to the point. Last week I had the HONOR to be the emcee of the South’s best social media for business meeting “Socal Slam” in Knoxville (#soslam). It was the best, biggest and most friendly of all audiences since inception three years ago.
Without further stuff you don’t care about, here are the takeaways for being a GOOD (Great) Emcee: read more
“The collective 40-plus years of High Gear expertise that wonder duo of Anne and Amy pack into this book is unmatched. Inspiring and educational, this book is brimming with proof of how modern-day women can navigate their way to the C-suite and become admired business leaders. Integrating the fresh world of social media into their marketing mix has allowed these two treasures to become worldwide marketing resources and has given them the attention they so rightly deserve. Reading about how these ladies have overcome the hurdles of owning their own companies, parenthood, and glass ceilings provides valuable insight into how independent, driven women can dominate the professional business landscape.”
SUSAN R. EWING, Director of Social & Digital Media, Hershey Harrisburg Regional Visitors Bureau
Meet us at The Waldorf Astoria in New York City as we celebrate the big release!
Twitter is the new trip wire for news! You know it if you are in the PR business and you certainly know it if you have clients in the real world who have had news break via social networks. I could write a book on this, but let’s not. Here are my bullet points on how Twitter has forever changed PR:
This list can go on! Please chime in and add on and as always, thanks for reading this. Cheers to PR and Twitter!
Amy’s firm is one of the leading PR and marketing firms in the state. Her expertise spans from PR and social media marketing to crisis communications and strategic planning.
A chance meeting with Mark Schaefer in 2010 provided the spark for Social Slam.
“Amy introduced me to a core group of her friends at an event in Memphis,” said Social Slam Founder Mark W. Schaefer, “and this became the heart of the first Social Slam in 2011. We all got along so well that we wanted to keep the movement going! Amy has been a big part of this from the start.”
“I’m thrilled to be on stage at Social Slam,” Howell said. ”I believe in what the Social Slam team is trying to accomplish by providing a low-cost, high-quality, inclusive event. I truly believe this is the best social media conference in the country. There is is something special happening here.”
Her company serves leading companies in the law, aviation, healthcare, hospitality, and real estate industries. Follow Amy on Twitter at @howellmarketing.
This post originally appeared on SoSlam.com.
American women across the country, if not the world, are wondering what Marrisa Mayer was thinking when she announced no more remote working arrangements for Yahoo! employees. As a PR veteran, I can’t help but wonder whose idea this was and what was the strategic thinking behind it? Was the board of directors privy to this policy? Was this really her idea? When did Yahoo! first think that this was a good idea? And did a PR advisor recommend or support this? read more
Recent studies and news reports have surfaced about the lack of women in leadership positions worldwide (example here and here) and the reasons behind it. Simply said, women need to work to create their own economic realities. I’m not saying here that we can’t. What I think is intriguing is that we haven’t.
Men dominate the boardrooms, C-suites and world affairs. We pay so much attention to race but so little to gender. I happen to be writing a book with the great @AnneDGallaher about some of these issues and we hope to get it published in the next few months (#exciting). So why are there so few women in leadership roles? I’d LOVE to hear from you women out there—and hey, chime in, because maybe Fox News in New York will find this and focus on this issue. We love @FoxNews and they have picked up this blog before, so you never know. That’s why I love blogging—you just never know who will stumble across your work. This is advice I give my clients all the time. read more
With yesterday’s news of Pinnacle headquarters moving to Minnesota, I cannot help but weigh in on some key lessons we have learned:
1. Delta controlled our MSCAA for way too long, and the Delta Sky puff piece on Memphis last year was a big smoke screen.
2. In my opinion, leadership is likely changing due to lack of creativity and frankly, the pressure is on.
3. Rumor has it, the Delta had very close contact with MSCAA and inserted power on the Pinnacle board.
4. Do you think the Pinnacle bankruptcy and the Delta move had anything in common?
5. How opportunistic and a great business move for Delta to let Pinnacle go into bankruptcy and then…be the hero to pull them out and finance/own the comeback.
6. Moving and owning them means more restructure and benefit for Delta and personal satisfaction by their leadership. Of course, this is all just my own speculation and my own opinion of how this went down—predictable and now obvious in my opinion. My guess is there’s not enough sand in the sandbox for all the egos that exist. As I said in my June blog, Delta has some leases to fill and Pinnacle is moving.
7. You know you strike a cord when you get an anonymous phone call that says your Op-Ed is “not good for you or your firm.”