• The ‘Event Therapist’: Emily Schmalholz

     
    POSTED April 3, 2020
     

A lifelon New Yorker, Emily Schmalholz was a TV producer at VH1 before moving into the events industry and landing at Westchester’s The Capitol Theatre. As director of special events at the historic space and its bar, Garcia’s, she says creating events and working in television have lots in common. “The ultimate goal for both is to tell a great story and create memorable moments.” Schmalholz, a self-described “event therapist,” had more to say about her work.

What’s the biggest difference between producing for television and producing events?

With events, you only get one chance to get it right! There are no re-takes, rewrites or edits. Your talent is typically not professionally trained actors and they tend to have a much deeper emotional connection to every element. Television shows are tightly scripted; with events we develop and provide the tools to create, surprise and delight that are organically created and fueled by the energy in the room.

The Capitol Theatre is beautiful—what sets it apart as a venue?

[It’s] a legendary music venue and event space located just 22 miles outside of New York City. Built in 1926 by noted architect Thomas Lamb, this rock palace has hosted concerts by pretty much every rock ‘n’ roll act imaginable. In 2012, the venue underwent a multimillion-dollar renovation, creating an unparalleled concert and event experience using digital projection mapping, state-of-the-art sound, lighting and video equipment. With a 2,000-person capacity, the room boasts a 65-foot domed ceiling, 44-foot-wide proscenium stage, a flexible general admission or seated floor plan and three elegant lobbies. The energy in the room is undeniable and is felt throughout every event, whether it’s a corporate event, benefit concert or private celebration.

Do you ever find yourself starstruck by the talent that comes through?

I am consistently amazed by the legends and talent that come through The Capitol Theatre and play our stage. After 25-plus years working in the music industry, producing both music television and events, I have found a way to balance my professionalism and fandom. That being said, I was absolutely in awe recently when living legend Bob Dylan arrived at our stage door to perform on The Capitol Theatre’s stage!

What does being an “event therapist” mean to you?

Planning an event in a unique location can be challenging. It requires creative vision and the ability to think completely out of the box. My experience has allowed me to guide hundreds of clients successfully through the process. I am grateful for the opportunity to plan events every day in such an incredible venue, so my “event therapy” comes at no additional cost to clients to ensure that all events at The Capitol Theatre exceed expectations.

For Andrea Mokros, Minneapolis-based public relations executive and independent event consultant, the last decade has been a whirlwind. From serving as special assistant to President Obama and director of strategic planning for then-first lady Michelle Obama, to welcoming newcomers to the Bold North as the vice president of communications and events for the Minnesota Super Bowl Host Committee, Mokros shares the key takeaways that inspire her work today. 

 

Tony Michaels is no stranger to navigating choppy waters. The CEO and executive director of The Parade Company, which puts on traditions like America’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and the Ford Fireworks, took the helm of the Detroit nonprofit during tough times, at the height of the financial crisis. “2008, 2009, are you kidding me?” says Michaels.

 

Originally from Ontario, Heather Odendaal got her start in event planning early, serving as her high school’s head of social events. She ended up on the West Coast, courtesy of her studies at the University of British Columbia, and launched her career in Whistler, working for the resort in marketing and events. Today, she’s CEO of Bluebird Strategy, a boutique event planning firm, and CEO and founder of WNORTH, a global community of women who have their sights set on the C-suite.