During The Webster Group’s recent drive to produce three unbelievable galas in one week, I was able to steal some precious time to speak with The Webster Group’s Vice President of Production, Deborah Gitelson Krauth, who just finished producing a spectacular event at the Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium for the Lupus Foundation of America’s National Butterfly Gala.
Wendy: So Deborah, what exactly is Lupus and how does this tie into the Lupus Foundation of America’s (LFA) Butterfly Gala?
Deborah: Lupus is a chronic inflammatory disease that can affect various parts of the body, especially the skin, joints, blood. While, traditionally the butterfly represents freedom, transformation and recovery, one of the more common symptoms of Lupus is called a butterfly rash. It is a red rash across the nose and cheeks that resembles a butterfly. That is why the butterfly has become the symbol of hope for Lupus patients.
Given this, the Butterfly Gala is a celebration of hope honoring the outstanding individuals who have been champions for those living with lupus and their loved ones. The Butterfly Gala raises the public profile of lupus, generates funding and encourages greater public and private support for the life-saving research, education, advocacy and services for those touched by this disease.
Wendy: How many years have you been producing the LFA Butterfly Gala?
Deborah: Nine years! I remember the first one in 2004, we were at The Ritz –Carlton D.C., Marvin Hamlisch performed and John Palmer was our Master of Ceremonies.
Wendy: What is your favorite part of producing this event?
Deborah: I love that I have the opportunity to work with so many talented entertainers, come up with gorgeous décor concepts, and of course who doesn’t love working with the LFA team?
Wendy: After nine years of producing this event, how do you keep it exciting year after year?
Deborah: Well, we change venues every few years which will always bring new inspiration to the event, and every year we switch up format of the show to keep it fresh and exciting.
Wendy: How is it working with famed author and journalist, Lee Woodruff as the Master of Ceremonies this year?
Deborah: I loved working with Lee! She is so funny, gorgeous and always a professional.
Wendy: Would you mind giving me a brief overview of the entertainment of this year’s gala?
Deborah: Where do I start?
Singer Josh Krajcik and 2011 runner-up on THE X FACTOR®, received a special welcome from his mom, Lisa Pim, who is living with lupus, and opened the program with a powerful rendition of Etta James’s “At Last.”
Wendy: If you could give one piece of advice to a new event planner, what would it be?
Deborah: How about three easy things to remember?
- Always be nice to your vendors.
- Try to keep the show short and sweet.
- Buy some comfortable but good looking shoes!
A special thank you to Jeff Monner, EMT; Julie Shanklin, Syzygy; Ellen Cutler & Erica O’Brien, Occasions Caterers; Janet Flowers from Janet Flowers; Mike Ostrow, Entertainment Exchange (Dance Band – Free Spirit); Geoff Chesman, ImageLink Photography; Micheal Jasser, MarcParc Valet; Kathy Artley, ShowCor, Nancy Palmer and the Webster Group staff! We could not have done it without you…
Remember May is Lupus Awareness Month! To learn more about the Lupus Foundation of America Click Here!
Interview by: Wendy Drake, TWG President and Deborah Gitelson Krauth, TWG Vice President of Production