Activate Talks Team!

© Christine Nesbitt Hills

Innovation, innovation, innovation - the buzz word at a recent J Marshall event rang true for everyone. The “Innovative Approaches to Advocate for Child Rights,” an installment of the UNICEF Activate Talks series, was truly inspiring and aimed to encourage youth creativity. The event took place at the United Nations Headquarters in New York City.

Panelists included Saba Ismail (Executive Director of Aware Girls), Erik Martin (University of Maryland student and game designer), Sofia Garcia-Garcia (facilitator of the “children working group” within the Major Group of Children and Youth), and Chernor Bah (former Sierra Leone refugee, youth advocate, and girl champion). They were each given five minutes to present their organizations and passions for the rights of the world’s youngest generations in an elevator style pitch. Moderator Femi Oke used her spunky personality to keep the session moving at an exhilarating pace. After the panelists had given their presentations, Femi facilitated a question and answer session from the live audience as well as from the online Twitter audience. The in-house and Twitter audiences helped spread the panelists’ messages around the world and further accentuated the talk’s focus on using innovation to find new ways to solve old problems.

United Nations Conference RoomDuring the Q&A portion of the event, panelists were asked where and how innovation develops. Sofia described innovation as a way to make things that don’t work, work. She stressed the importance of “unlearn[ing] the way we do things.” Erik proposed that innovation comes from “remixing” existing ideas and embracing failure as a learning tool. His last words to the audience were, “Fail a lot…failure is how you get somewhere.” Now that is advice everyone can appreciate! Keep following on twitter @UNICEF and @UNICEFTalk.

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Exhibition Hall An exhibition hall, arena seating 5000 people, 128 Workshops, speakers Bill McKibben and Hillary Clinton, film screenings, live music and dance, book signings, and almost 7000 attendees - it was a huge conference!

Every four years, the United Methodist Women hold a General Assembly. For 2014's conference, I was asked to join the staff as Production Manager for their meeting that took place at the Kentucky International Convention Center - KICC, in Louisville, Kentucky.

Arena Stage

The theme for 2014 was “Women Make it Happen,” and some of the focal points of their workshops were environmental justice and maternal health. Bill McKibben, founder of the global climate change movement 350.org, gave a riveting speech recognizing the importance of climate conditions. The key-note speaker was former First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton! This was not the first time Clinton has spoken to the UMW members. You can watch her speech in its entirety on YouTube.

Production GalsThe assembly was committed to empowering women to become leaders and promoters of social responsibility. As an all women team here at J Marshall Events, we were excited to have contributed to the success of this assembly!

For more info about the 2014 Assembly, check this link!

 

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Sir Cliff RichardIt was a beautiful evening and guests gathered on the balcony of the British Residence for an event celebrating the opening of Wimbledon 2014, with special guest Sir Cliff Richard.  Introduced by HM’s Consul General, Danny Lopez, Sir Cliff was charming, witty and looking handsome in polka dots and stripes. Originally in New York to perform in Brooklyn as Morrissey’s special guest, Sir Cliff told me how disappointed he was not to perform with Moz and that he hoped they could re-schedule in the near future.

Julie-Ann & Sir CliffSir Cliff played 3 songs “Living Doll”, “Move It” and “Congratulations” and all the distinguished guests, dressed in summer and Wimbledon attire, sang along.  I admit I knew all the lyrics!  We were then invited to search the Residence for 10 hidden tennis balls, signed by Sir Cliff.  After his performance, along with other eager attendees, I could be found parting palm leaves, inspecting plant pots and searching nooks and crannies.

Signed Cliff Tennis BallI am now the proud owner of a tennis ball signed by Sir Cliff Richard!

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Rescuing Leftover Cuisine LogoThe J Marshall Events team was excited to meet young entrepreneur Robert Lee, a native New Yorker, recent New York University graduate, and founder of Rescuing Leftover Cuisine, Inc. As a child, Robert learned firsthand the impact that a non-profit organization can have on a person’s life and in a short interview, explained to us how his passion drove him to start the organization.

Can you introduce the organization? What does it do? Who are its main members? 

Rescuing Leftover Cuisine, Inc. is a non-profit food rescue organization that provides solutions to prevent excess, wholesome food from being wasted. These solutions include food waste consulting services, excess food delivery, co-branding services, and tax credit assistance. Louisa Chen is the COO, and Paul Sun is the CFO at our organisation.

Rescuing Leftover Cuisine TeamHow did you come up with the idea for the organization?

The idea for RLC evolved out of a pre-existing organization called Two Birds One Stone, which is a NYU club that delivers leftover dining hall food to nearby homeless shelters. Louisa Chen and I were members of the club’s Executive Board for three years, during which we learned the best operational practices in delivering food, fostered relationships within the industry, and honed volunteer management skills. During the last year of our undergraduate career, we developed ideas on expanding the concept and creating incentives for partner restaurants to engage in the program. With these ideas, we entered a social entrepreneurship venture competition and were able to win seed funding to launch this non-profit.

When did your passion for food rescue and poverty begin?

My passion for food rescue started with my family. Food waste was never tolerated in my household, which partially stemmed from necessity. These values were ingrained fairly early in my life, but was only an internal self-guiding principal until I was involved in Two Birds One Stone, where I helped others rescue leftover food and bring it to where it needed to be.

What were the challenges/obstacles you faced when trying to set up the organization?

There were many challenges we faced as an organization during the initial launch. First, there were the uncertainties: although we had a working model at NYU, we had no real proof that our extension of the idea would work outside the NYU community. Thus, it took a lot of pitching and convincing before our first partner restaurant, Cantine Parisienne, came on board to work with us. After we started to pick up momentum and began increasing our impact, we also realized that our original goals were too ambitious to implement right away. Second, another challenge we faced, and still face, is funding. As with any non-profit, we have limited resources and still rely on many volunteers to continue to operate, so we truly encourage anyone who can spare just 30 minutes to come and help out.

Paul Sun delivering foodHow is the organization doing so far? What progress have you made?

RLC has grown at a tremendous pace. Since incorporating in July, we have partnered with over 15 different food providers and delivered nearly 10,000 pounds of food to the hungry. However, the greatest accomplishment we've had is in reducing the amount of food waste that was occurring. With our first partner, Cantine Parisienne, we were able to help them realize how much food they were throwing away. The management at this restaurant was then able to take action, and reduce the amount of leftover food. Bringing this excess food to local agencies such as homeless shelters is just one of the ways we eliminate food waste, and we prefer to find the root cause of the food waste to eliminate it before it happens.

Robert Lee delivering foodFinally, where do you want to go with this organization?

I hope that RLC will continue to grow and partner up with more companies. There are restaurants that want to donate food but cannot because of minimum food weight requirements. We hope to provide other incentives for new restaurants to partner with us. Our plan is to canvas all of lower Manhattan by the end of 2014 and reduce instances of food waste by at least 50%. We hope to make use of new technology to identify instances of leftover food at a faster pace ensuring that no food is wasted.

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JMP Launch Party PosterIt’s not very often that the whole team can get together for reasons other than work, but this was a lovely exception! The in-house team and friends all piled into the office for a well deserved celebration - the launch of J Marshall Productions!

J Marshall Productions TeamAfter months of planning a new Arts and Media page for the J Marshall Events site and completing the new brochure, our new department officially went live on April 11th! As hard as we’ve been working, it was nice to finally take a moment to relax, sip champagne and just enjoy each others company.

Christine and Jule-Ann MarshallWhile chatting with her guests Julie-Ann Marshall explained that, “it’s always been a dream of mine to support new cultural relationships between the UK and the US. As a Brit with production experience in New York, I’m hoping that organizations without an office in the States will approach us for their international projects”.

We hope so too! All that is left to do now is to spread the word about J Marshall Productions, follow up on some exciting forthcoming projects and to continue to enjoy what we do!

Pink Flower at JMP Launch

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Ajna Dance RehearsalTimes Square, an area of the city already bustling with people, was the perfect location for Ajna Dance to surprise New Yorkers with a Flash Mob! Their dance, to the song Jai Ho from the film Slumdog Millionaire, was choreographed by Minila Shah and the participants were ready to go after only 2 rehearsals.

Ajna Flash Mob Dance

The JME team, who love supporting the international arts world, were very excited to work with the Ajna Dance Company again after having first met them at the International Day to end Obstetric Fistula at the United Nations. For those of you who weren’t able to perform at Times Square don’t worry – you have another opportunity to volunteer for the Flash Mob on April 26 which will be held at Union Square!

Flashmob Times SquareThe dance was to promote the upcoming 14th annual New York Indian Film Festival (NYIFF) being held May 5 – 10. This five-day festival presented by the Indo-American Arts Council will include movie and documentary screenings, post-screening discussions, industry panels, special events, and networking parties around New York City.

Times Square DancersFor more information about the next Flash Mob, contact Minila Shah, info@ajnadance.com. Rehearsals start on April 20 – and you don’t have to be a professional dancer!

For more info on the New York Indian Film Festival you can check their schedule here, and purchase tickets here.

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J Marshall Events UK logoSavoy TheatreChampagne at the SavoyHaving an office in two culturally vibrant cities like London and New York definitely has its perks!

This week, I received an invitation to attend Press Night for the musical Dirty Rotten Scoundrels now showing at the West End! However, with the NYC office being so busy I had to pass on the invitation to an associate in our London office. Jerry Mitchell’s “anti-musical” was well received by the Londoners on Press Night and even got a standing ovation!

Robert Lindsay and Rufus Hound make a perfect team of swindlers and the two have an infectious chemistry with their female co-stars Samantha Bond and Katherine Kingsley. The musical and comedic talent of these actors was superb and kept the audience giggling right up until the final
scene of the show.

I was a huge fan of the Tony Award Winning show in New York and was privileged to see it several times and meet many of the actors. I can’t wait to see the London version and sip a glass of champagne at the Savoy!

Unfortunately, I have to wait until my trip to London in August to see the show but if you’re lucky enough to be in the area now you should definitely check it out!

Dirty Rotten Scoundrels Ladies

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The Anglo FilesSarah Lyall, an author especially famous for reporting on the curious habits of the British was the guest speaker at the National Arts Club, a beautiful historical landmark building near Gramercy Park this past Monday. The event hosted by John F. Andrews OBE, President of the Shakespeare Guild, was to discuss her return to the States and her book from 2008 The Anglo Files: A Field Guide to the British. Lyall and Andrews covered everything from current affairs, the royal family, cricket, hedgehogs and her experience as a correspondent for the New York Times while living abroad in London. Lyall is a born and bred New Yorker, which allowed her to relate to many of the audience members who had also spent extended periods of time living in the UK after growing up in the US.

The conversation was followed by a lively Q&A between Lyall and the attendees who eagerly discussed topics ranging from US and UK politics, Prince Charles and, of course, British pubs!

Sarah Lyle and John F Andrews

I think everyone agreed that “England and America are two countries separated by a common language," - George Bernard Shaw.

After 18 years in London Sarah Lyall is now adapting to life back in New York, along with her English family.  We hope a follow-up book is soon in the works!

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Adolescence is a new birth.” – G. Stanley Hall 1904

Tommie Scheel - Ben Rosenfield

This week we were lucky to have been invited to an advance screening of “Teenage”. Director Matt Wolf’s historical documentary is an adaptation of the book by Jon Savage. Without spoiling the entire plot I can tell you this film follows the stories of four inspiring, radical, and progressive teens who live in the US, UK, and Germany during the first and second World Wars.

Brenda Dean Paul - Leah Hennessey

Watching this film was a dreamlike experience as director Wolf seamlessly weaved archival and new original footage. He begins the story at the end of the child labor era explaining how teens fought for recognition as a respectable and unified community of agents of social change.

Warren Wall - Malik Peters

During the Q&A after the screening an audience member asked Wolf who his target audience is, he laughed and said "Hmm well, myself. You know… people who take pleasure in delving into the obscure, and of course, our present day alternative teenagers like New York City kids".

Melita Maschmann - Ivy Blackshire

If you fall into this category of people or are simply a lover of enlightening documentaries I highly recommend checking out this film! "Teenage" will officially open March 14th and is exclusively showing at New York's Landmark Sunshine Cinema on the Lower East Side.

Watch the trailer on youtube!

 

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Hannah at microphoneHere at J Marshall Events, we often have the privilege of sharing a cup of tea with exceptionally interesting people.  We were particularly dazzled by 17 year old Hannah Godefa who has dedicated much of her childhood to raising awareness and funds for several noble causes. We first met Hannah when she delivered a beautifully written speech at the International Day of the Girl Child. Our second encounter was when she moderated a discussion between UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake and global pop superstar Katy Perry, at Perry’s induction as UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador.

Hannah Godefa in Ethiopia

Ethiopian-born Godefa was deeply inspired by a journey to Africa to visit family and soon after founded the Pencil Mountain Project. This organization is a resource mobilization project that delivers supplies to Ethiopian children. The first shipment to Ethiopian students included 25,000 pencils and since then nearly half a million school supplies, including wheelchairs for handicapped children have been distributed.  Hannah continues to travel the world speaking out about the need for equal access to education for all children and was appointed UNICEF National Ambassador to Ethiopia in January of 2013.

Hannah in Africa

Hannah washing child's handsRecently, Hannah Godefa and Prime Minister of Norway, Erna Solberg co-authored and submitted to CNN World an article titled Teach a girl, enrich the world. These two voices while powerful on their own are quite a force to be reckoned with when combined. One of the most memorable assertions from this article is “…you can teach a man to fish to feed himself for a lifetime. But if you invest in a girl, she feeds herself, educates future children, lifts up her community and propels her nation forward – charting a path that offers dignity for all in the process.”  Without a doubt Hannah will continue to be an important voice in the movement to provide equal education to women and young girls worldwide, and we can’t wait to see what she will do next!

Hannah as UNICEF Ambassador in Africa

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