Friday, March 13, 2009

Newmark Schools Annual Art Show - April 24, 2009

I'm working on a fundraiser right now for a school in New Jersey for kids with developmental disorders and disabilities. My interest in this area stemmed from my time with Autism Speaks. It boggles my mind that these parents could be you, me, anyone we know, ready to have a child, go through all of the joy and fear of those first few years and all of a sudden you realize things just aren't as you expected and your child is struggling. From there comes the doctor appointments, the therapies, the realization that a regular school just won't cut it.

Newmark School in Plainfield (grades K-8) and Newmark High School in Carteret (grades 9-12) are state-approved private schools that meet the individual needs of these children, while challenging them academically and socially.

Each year, the Newmark Schools hold an Art Show, which is an opportunity for the students to express their insight, intelligence and intuition. The Show features work by the students that is sold to attendees during a wine and cheese reception and viewing. The pieces are created by the students as a result of their strong determination to succeed and a passion to discover the power and strength within the artist. These are some of the pieces from last year's show:

The Newmark School is approaching fundraising this year in a smart way. Everyone knows this is a tough time to get big donations so we're reaching out to as many people as we can to build the Newmark School community, raise awareness for the school and just cover the costs of the event. Entry is just $25 and artwork is $40-$60 with a percentage of original artwork sales going directly to the students.

We're reaching out to related associations, local businesses, hospitals and medical centers to attend and purchase artwork for their office walls. If you can make it, please visit for RSVP information!

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Friday, March 6, 2009


A few weeks ago, on the same day, I heard mention of BNI twice. Like everyone else these days, business is slow and I'm reconnecting with contacts and reaching out to build new relationships, so my ears picked up when I heard "Business Networking International." A quick google and I had learned about two nearby chapters that meet one morning every week to share referrals.

The unique aspect of BNI is that only one person from each industry/job can join each chapter to limit competition and create a collaborative environment. I personally struggle with selling myself and need more than a crowd of strangers and a glass of wine to network productively. BNI meetings are very structured, which helps at 7 a.m. when it's hard to think straight. Each member gives a short commercial, reminding the group about their business and what referrals would be most helpful. Each week, a different member is able to give a longer (10 minute) presentation to provide more detail about his/her services. Then it's time for the referral exchange. At the first meeting of I attended, which had 30 members, 15 referrals flew across the room. At the second chapter I visited, they talked about the $3 million+ in closed business the group had secured for each other in a year. I was hooked.

Now a group of us are starting a new chapter in Hoboken, NJ. For anyone in Hudson County, who is part of a business where they have to go out and find work for themselves (freelancers! small business owners! salespeople!) and wants MORE business, let me know if you're interested in joining our group!

For another quick and thorough description about BNI, check out