New speakers announced for Art of the Gala on October 23

art of the gala austin

This year’s Art of the Gala is expanding to include speakers from beyond Austin as well as events beyond the gala.

Our morning panel, “Make it Magical: Creating Extraordinary Experiences” will cover those elusive yet critical characteristics that keep people coming back for more. We’re excited to feature panelist Sandy Marple, VP of Special Events at Neiman Marcus, a Texas event legend who was hired under the late Stanley Marcus, Sandy was a longtime protégé of the Merchant Prince. She credits him with much of what she’s learned about producing successful events. Sandy and her team work with the 42 stores, vendors, and charity organizations to produce more than 4,000 events a year.

Sandy will be joined by panelist Brian Worley. Brian’s resume puts him among the top event producers in the country. Event productions range from top entertainment networks, corporate clients, celebrity and high profile weddings, movie premieres, and product launches. He has produced and designed everything from the red carpet and media tent for the Emmy’s, the Teen Choice Awards VIP tent, and the Foundation Polo Challenge in Santa Barbara for Prince William and Kate Middleton.

While all kinds of events are opportunities to fundraise and build a community, not all events are glamorous. We take the idea of “event” to a new level this year to include a very timely and important topic:”Corporations & Nonprofits Uniting in Recovery: When Catastrophic Events Hits Home.”

This morning panel will feature corporate sponsors Peter Roberts of Anheuser Busch, Leslie Sweet of H-E-B, and Sunny Howard of American Red Cross to talk about efficient and effective responses in times of crisis and natural disasters. As in any gala or other fundraising event, corporate participation is critical for disaster relief, and few corporations can match these speakers for experience and philanthropy in times of disaster.  What can be learned from disaster-event fundraising and applies to other event opportunities?

Plus, you won’t want to miss our luncheon keynote, Jack Ingram, whom most of us know as the popular singer-songwriter, but who also pulls together one of the season’s best fundraising events, Mack, Jack, & McConaughey, a two-day fundraising event that has raised almost $7.5 million in five years. He’ll share stories about putting together star-studded concerts, coordinating goals and schedules with Texas royalty, Mack Brown and Matthew McConaughey, and keeping everything focused on the mission at hand.

Next week, we’ll announce our morning keynote, more panelists, and all of our Roundtable expert speakers! Learn more about Art of the Gala and get your tickets before October 1 to catch the early-bird rate.

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