So I just got home from the 2009 Spring Cairnwood Gala. Last year, after doing the music program for the 2008 Spring Gala I wrote what at that time was my most carefully crafted blog to date (click here to view last years blog) . When I wrote it, I included all kinds of shout-outs and links thanking everyone from the Cairnwood staff, its board members, and (just about) every vendor that donated their time and services… but I missed one, and I’ll get to that in just a bit.
First let me say that when I got home and emptied my pockets tonight, they were filled with business cards and notes, all collected with the intention of outdoing last years blog. That blog will take a while to write, and craft, and gather pictures and information. It will require links to vendors and thanks to key people involved. I will write that blog, but not tonight.
On Thursday I thought I had an 11:00am appointment, but had apparently misread my schedule as the meeting was really scheduled for 1:00pm. Shannon Walko – marketing manager at Cairnwood – had mentioned that they would have vendors setting up as early as Thursday morning so thinking I had a few hours to kill I hopped in my car and drove over to Cairnwood. Shannon was there, along with Evelyn Stephens, Lindsay Martin and several decorators (Hope, Donuta & Jen from H&D Design and Jeff from Natural Designs)… but the person who impressed me most that day was Leila Miller.
I overlooked Leila in my blog last year, and seeing her in action on Thursday made me realize that I had missed a person who was likely one of the most instrumental elements of the Gala’s success. She had very little time for chit-chat as she was intensely focused on directing the glassware to different sections of the mansion. Rock glasses to this bar and martini glasses to that bar, Leila oversaw as hand-truck after hand-truck of hundreds of beverage glasses of every imaginable shape and style was carefully directed to its proper location with meticulous attention to detail. (I honestly never knew there were so many types of drinking glasses, but then again I’m a DJ right?)
Again on Friday, as I sat in my office mulling over the final decisions of which Scott Joplin Rags and subsequent Jazz artists were to be included in the ‘Roaring 20’s’ theme of the evening, Leila was at Cairnwood, tirelessly assisting Shannon and Evelyn and making sure everyone was in place. By 5:00pm that night I was dressed, set up and ready to go while Leila was still in her street clothes, crossing T’s and dotting I’s attending to overlooked details while assisting volunteer vendors where she could. To be honest, I was starting to wonder if she would get changed in time for the guests arrival but sure enough she was, still as focused as ever.
Leila Miller has to be one of the hardest working people I have ever seen in action. The girl just didn’t stop. Even when there were some technical problems with the electricity there was Leila on top of it, flipping breakers and testing outlets. All around while people drank and made merry Leila was unstoppable, and she didn’t skip a beat, she was always ‘on.’ We had a moment towards the end of the night when I just had to ask her “What are you like when you’re not working?” and she cracked the biggest smile and just laughed, but then it was back to business.
So before I even begin sorting through my business cards and attempt to dive into writing my all-inclusive ‘epic’ blog summarizing the evening’s magic that was the 2009 Gala, I had to give props to Leila, without whom the event would not have been such an amazing success.
Thank you Leila,
Leila currently works with Kendall Brown at Eclatante Event Design – www.eclatantedesign.com