• 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.

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.

 

Denver native Keisha Makonese’s passion for planning events dates way back. Her latest gig as director of sales and corporate events at Wings Over the Rockies Air & Space Museum began nine years ago. In this role, Makonese helps oversee an average of 150 private events at Wings Over the Rockies each year, from making meetings for 20 people to annual dinners for 2,000 fun and interactive experiences.

 

You’d be hard-pressed to find a better champion of Amarillo than Hope Stokes, director of brand management for the Amarillo Convention & Visitor Council. Born and raised in the Texas Panhandle city, she graduated from nearby West Texas A&M University and her first job in the tourism industry was as an intern at the council. Stokes shared with us her love of her hometown.

What is your favorite thing about marketing Amarillo?