For the third year running J Marshall Events was thrilled to meet students from Sunderland University in the UK, who were in New York City as part of their BA (hons) Event Management course. The final year students were visiting NYC to conduct research on events held in Manhattan. They took in Broadway shows, comedy gigs and a basketball game, whilst researching advertising methods and the use of social media.
HOPE Sculpture NYC
East River NYC – Students & Bridges
Central Park – Students in Wonderland
We met at the W Hotel, Union Square and chatted about my experience in event planning and running an event production company in New York. Various topics were discussed including, what the students want to do when they graduate, how to gain more experience in events and what future employers might be looking for.
2017 group shot at the W Hotel
The 2016 visit with Julie-Ann & GG
Meeting and Mentoring
It’s always great meeting young people to offer encouragement and advice and it’s especially fun interacting with, and mentoring, students from the UK. I’m already looking forward to seeing Alyssa Brown, University of Sunderland’s Senior Lecturer again next year and we’re already thinking about the 2018 study trip.
The 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.
How 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.
How 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.
Finally, 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.
Here 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.
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.
Recently, 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!
The two 'Julie-Ann Marshalls' met through LinkedIn. JAM kept noticing she had a namesake, realized that they are both from the UK, both work in events and the friendship grew from there.
What do you enjoy most about what you do?
The thing that I most enjoy about making cakes and designing them is the look on customers faces when they come to collect the cakes. Its awesome when they smile and go quiet, while they take in what is in front of them. Pure happiness.
Name 3 things you can’t live without.
My Kitchen Aid mixer, it’s a lifesaver, my arms would be the size of Popeye’s without it. My husband, who makes dinner if I’m too busy making models or baking. My children who have been my testers – a very important job!
What was your most memorable event/job?
The most memorable, is yet to happen. I’ve got a very big cake to make in the summer and its going to be huge.
If you could trade places with one other person for a week, who would it be?
My mum, she is such a great cook, and has so many hints and tips for baking, she could write a book. Or Mary Berry, the famous British baker and host of the Great British Bake-off, but just to get close to her co-host Paul Hollywood. He is so fine and a great baker of breads!
Who would you like to share tea and biscuits with and why?
Dawn French, (the British comedienne from shows such as the Vicar of Dibley and French & Saunders). I love her happy go lucky lifestyle and she acts like she doesn’t care what other people think of her. It would also be a bonus that she can make me laugh. Everyone needs a good cake and chat.
If you weren’t in this field of work what would you be doing?
I am a qualified holistic therapist, hairdresser, beautician, masseuse and reflexologist so I would be doing that. Take your pick! But I do love baking.
I photograph special events, celebrities, and people at their very best and ready to celebrate at parties, on the red carpet and at society galas. I love being part of these amazing moments and working with a wide range of clients from the art, fashion, and business worlds, as well as cultural and academic institutions like the Whitney Museum, Christie's, Cartier, the UN, the NAACP/LDF, and Harvard.
Name three things you can't live without
First my mother, who is a fantastic friend and confidant and of course my friends, meditation and my hip hop class.
What is your most memorable event?
It is hard to pick just one, photographing the Alexander Wang fashion show during Fashion Week was fantastic. At the shows all of the photographers are at the end of the runway in the photographers 'pit' as it is known in the business. It's aptly-named because you are standing elbow to elbow with the other photographers all vying for great shots. There is a hierarchy to the whole arrangement and a particular technical knowledge required. When the music comes on and the models, who are perfectly made up in gorgeous clothes, walk the runway it is truly thrilling.
Who or what inspires you?
I have been obsessed with photography since my days in the darkroom and I am a very visual person, I tend to 'think in pictures'. I am always looking at photographs in magazines, on line, and in galleries and museums. As far as photographers go I especially love Irving Penn and Lillian Bassman. Living in Manhattan is both crazy and magical. If I just walk out of my front door in Soho I am surrounded by so many people, so much energy and so much that is inspiring.
What advice would you give to someone wanting to go into your line of work?
Photograph all the time. Try to apprentice yourself with an established photographer as I did and you will learn a lot. It is important to have a good technical grounding and also to have a burning passion to make photographs. As with all art forms you have to be a little obsessed with it in order to have the tenacity and perseverance to constantly find a way to make it work for you. I think that when you do what you love it propels you; it is really not like working, all of your energy comes from a very deep place.