Karen Perry-Weinstat – Founder of Event Journal

[quote style=”boxed”]Question everything but – at the end of the day – believe in yourself and believe you can do it (whatever that is.) Positive attitude radiates and attracts staff and clients who buy into that energy.[/quote]

Karen Perry-Weinstat is founder of Event Journal, Inc., a full-service marketing company for fundraising events. She created the first digital e-journal system that replaced dated paper journals or program books. The web-based digital journal is complemented by an e-journal presentation shown at the event and a host of ancillary materials. Perry-Weinstat and her team are recognized experts in expanding audiences and improving outcomes for special events held by nonprofit organizations. As a media director at two of New York City’s top advertising agencies, Perry-Weinstat worked on Fortune 100 accounts including Colgate Palmolive, American Home Products, Nabisco and General Mills. She also has held positions in publishing and broadcast television. She has extensive fundraising experience as a board and committee member of local and national nonprofits.

What are you working on right now?

I am developing upgrades to my company’s web platform to stay current with digital technology. I also am altering the primary marketing message to convey that my company offers a comprehensive suite of solutions to nonprofits nationwide.

Where did the idea for Event Journal come from?

I thought that the old format of printed event journals used for nonprofit events were wasteful and passé. I created the e-journal as a result.

How do you make money?

Event Journal, Inc. partners with nonprofits of all sizes to maximize success of their fundraising events. We charge a fee for service and outline additional charges should they be needed. Our goal is to help our clients raise the most money possible from their events.

What does your typical day look like?

My days are long and varied. I attend networking events, professional meetings and fundraising events; lead and attend sales presentations both in-person and via web; interact and manage staff; troubleshoot with vendors; manage HR, payroll, legal and financial matters; and lead the areas of sales and marketing. I frequently begin work that requires concentration from home at 7:30 a.m., get to the office by 10 a.m. and leave at 7 or 7:30 p.m. After dinner, I usually spend another hour on the computer catching up for the new day. Work extends to weekends too, when a few hours on a Saturday and/or Sunday allow me focus I may not have in a busy office.

How do you bring ideas to life?

I read everything from novels to industry publications. I listen to clients and anticipate trends. When I get an idea I let it germinate. I discuss it with a variety of colleagues, employees and advisors. I investigate steps involved and cost/benefit comparisons in moving forward. At the end of the process, regardless of what I’ve heard, if I want to do it, I jump in with both feet, rally the troops and push toward the goal. It’s electrifying!

What’s one trend that really excites you?

In the world of fundraising events, I’m intrigued by event programs and marketing materials that incorporate story-telling and focus on the mission of the work of the organization. Anyone can throw a party, but it takes a special touch to move event guests to become ongoing supporters and to turn ticket purchasers in to major donors.

What was the worst job you ever had and what did you learn from it?

I worked at a small ad agency in Rockefeller Plaza. The dour owner wore polyester shirts and drank the stereotypical three martinis for lunch. The firm primarily handled industrial accounts and the small staff was generally miserable. I learned numerous things like: never work for a boss whose attire is embarrassing, never work for a lush, and never work where the staff is miserable. When I started my own firm, I was determined to create a “work family,” where everyone enjoyed coming to the office.

If you were to start again, what would you do differently?

Lighten up.

As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?

Question everything but – at the end of the day – believe in yourself and believe you can do it (whatever that is.) Positive attitude radiates and attracts staff and clients who buy into that energy.

What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?

I was underfunded and began the business with support personnel who did not share my philosophy of business. Eventually, with much heartache, expense and anxiety, I cleaned house–but not before losing some key clients. I learned that any activity you initiate from a place of need attracts people who drag you down.

What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?

New York needs some good Philly Cheesesteak joints!

If you could change one thing in the world, what would it be and how would you go about it?

My pet peeve has always been litter on our streets and trash on our highways. This may sound trite in a world with children starving and wars raging, but it galls me to live in a trash-strewn environment. First, I’d advocate for stricter anti-littering laws. I’d work with the Ad Council to create campaigns maligning litterers and encouraging responsible litter disposal. I’d raise money for more trash receptacles and staff to empty them. I’d engage community organizations in service projects and reward communities for clean streets.

Tell us something about you that very few people know?

I am enamored of Native American spiritual practices and folklore.

What are your three favorite online tools or resources and what do you love about them?

Goodreads – As an avid reader, I really enjoy this social networking site for others like me.
Netflix – I’m amazed by the ability to watch any TV series or movie on demand on multiple devices, plus outstanding original programming, for a reasonable monthly fee.
Facebook –With friends and family scattered across the country, I don’t have to leave my desktop to stay connected!

What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?

The Way of the Peaceful Warrior by Dan Millman. It illustrates the power of your mind and what you can accomplish when you let go of self-limiting beliefs.

Three people we should follow on Twitter and why?

@ariannahuff: Arianna Huffington, a true intellect and rational observer of what’s relevant in politics and the world.
@spanx: Sara Blakely, founder of Spanx, who never took on investors, runs her business her way and is now a billionaire.
@carriewilkerson: Founder of The Barefoot Executive. Great business tips…

When was the last time you laughed out loud? What caused it?

I recently watched Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee by Jerry Seinfeld on the Crackle app on my iPhone. He was talking with Seth Meyers and they are two funny people!

Who is your hero?

My sister, who through sheer determination and stubbornness (coupled with intelligence and common sense), worked herself to number one in her law school class. Her career as a top-flight mergers and acquisitions attorney led her current position as senior vice president and general counsel of a private equity and operating company. She negotiates sales and purchases of large companies and oversees the work of law firms serving her company around the world. Simultaneously, she’s got a strong and successful marriage, has raised three well-balanced and high-achieving daughters and is a phenomenal sister and friend to a very lucky few.


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