We are so excited to host Lisa Wein's "New Wave of Event Planning" at Haven Collective on March 13 and the best part? You're invited!
Learn more about Lisa and the background of events in this short interview below:
Q: How did you get into event planning? Tell us your story.
I completely fell into event planning. I went to school for Art History and had an amazing job at the Guggenheim Museum in NYC. I was one of over 100 people laid-off, post-9/11, and had to start over at 23. I ended-up getting a job as a special events coordinator at Big Brothers Big Sisters, and that started me off on a career I never knew existed. After a year and a half there, I became the Director of Special Events at the YMCA of Greater NY, and I was responsible for 2 huge fundraising events, and about 10-15 smaller events throughout the year. I did not have nearly enough experience for that position, but they hired me, and I excelled, raising over $3 million during my time there.
I left the Y for a corporate event planning job, and that was when I got to plan different kinds of events (like product launches and award shows), and then that company was bought by a Spanish firm 9 months into my time there. I left and started my own company, LW Events, and ran that by myself for 2 1/2 years until I moved back to Columbus in 2012.
After being gone from Columbus for so long, I had to wait until I reestablished my connections here to re-launch LW Events. I had a fantastic job at the Columbus Association for the Performing Arts (CAPA), planning 7 galas a year. I was responsible for both the event planning and fundraising, and after 2 1/2 years, I left to work at the Jewish Federation of Columbus. I've been there for about the same amount of time, and I've successfully re-launched Women's Philanthropy, which is a fundraising/engagement division of Federation. It had been dormant for over 10 years, and we've had multiple successful events and brought so many people back into Federation. We just returned from a 5-day trip to Israel, with 9 women, and considering we're still so new in the community, we had one of the largest contingents of women there (it's a national trip).
Last year, I decided I had been back in Columbus long enough that I was ready to think about LW Events again, but in a different way than before. Columbus is obviously much different than NYC with regards to staffing at non-profits, budgets, etc., but most non-profits still plan events every year, and without professional help. Anyone can plan a party, but planning an event is a different story. With LW Events I offer the event planning expertise, that most people are looking for, but what sets me apart is my years of non-profit/fundraising work. It's more important for organizations to look at their year as a whole, how they can best serve their constituents, and work backwards from that. People don't want to go to events and see their donations go to the bar or the band, they want to see that their gifts are going to the cause. I'm working with non-profits on the strategy around using their events more effectively so they can save money, time, and energy and focus on building relationships with their donors.
Q: What's your favorite type of event to plan?
I love planning any event that is art-related. Since I've been back in Columbus, I've planned several events focused on exhibitions at the Columbus Museum of Art. If I can combine philanthropy with exposing people to incredible art, then I've killed 2 birds with 1 stone. I also like to incorporate live performances if I'm doing an event for an arts organization. I think it's best to showcase what an organization does in the most tangible way possible. So, if I'm doing the gala for Opera Columbus, you can bet there will be some stunning singers performing that night.
Q: What's your morning and evening routine?
My home-life revolves around my 3 1/2 year old daughter, Harper. Every morning starts with "MOMMY!!!!" coming from her room, and every night ends with my husband and I vegging on the couch watching Netflix. I'm lucky that I love what I do because time away from Harper needs to be worth it to me, and I'm so proud that she'll be able to look up to me and see a successful woman who has worked hard to provide for her but who also loves what I do.
As you can imagine, I'm an extremely organized person, so routines are very important to me. I've realized though that the way I operate is an anomaly to most people, so I do my best to keep my house/family in-line but try not to drive them too crazy. My husband is the complete opposite, never planned a thing in his life, so it's a balance. I knew I was getting engaged just because he made 3 different dinner reservations, LIGHT BULB! Harper likes to plan everything that's happening in her life each day when she wakes up: Mommy's little mini-me!
Hope you enjoyed this post and see you at the event!