The 2nd Annual Cerebral Affair, produced by Atlas Meeting & Incentives!

This past September, Atlas Travel Meetings & Incentives (MICE) organized, produced and attended The Lisa Colagrossi Foundation’s second annual Cerebral Affair Gala at Chelsea Piers in New York City. The foundation’s mission is to raise awareness about brain aneurysms and to provide financial support for continued research and medical care. The Cerebral Affair Gala is a main source of fundraising, with this year’s event producing record revenue.

The Chelsea Piers event space was filled with over 250 guests moving seamlessly around the first room of the evening, which housed the auction tables, open bars, and a red carpet backdrop. The eager chatter amplified into a uniform sound of cheer, ringing throughout the space. Everyone was clearly ecstatic to be a part of raising awareness for a crucial cause.

Dinner and a Show

When it was time to kick off the evening, guests filed into the dining area where tables were set with exquisite detail. Across each chair was a souvenir: a laminated poster, designed by Atlas, that highlighted the night’s entertainment and was signed by each performer. A spotlighted floral display illuminated each table, and wine flowed along with the conversation.

Voices came to a hush as the introductory video began to play on both drop-down screens. This production had cameos from household names such as Robin Roberts, David Muir, Kevin Sorbo, and John Harbaugh. These famous folks came together to express their support for the foundation and its incredible impact on brain cancer awareness. The video set the night up for the hype that would soon come after.

Following the video, the night’s entertainment took the stage. This included emotional ballads from Broadway stars, speeches from the foundation founder Todd Crawford, famous actors, news anchors, and sports figures. There was also an interview with the parents of recent brain aneurysm victim, NFL player, Konrad Reuland. The emotion in the room rose with each speaker’s word.

 MICE Team Concludes Another Success

Throughout the event, Todd could not speak more highly of Jennifer Murphy, Director of MICE and the MICE team! He admits that although he is a bit of a control freak, after seeing the excellent execution done by Atlas at last year’s gala, using Atlas again was “a no-brainer”.

“Because things just went off without a glitch, no major glitch – they were seamless. The optics of the event were tremendous; people were talking about the event for weeks afterword, the feedback that we had was tremendous, it was a no-brainer. That instilled in me a tremendous sense of confidence in Atlas, Jennifer, and her team to run everything this year. They take on everything from beginning to end, which then frees me up.”

– Todd Crawford, Lisa Colagrossi Foundation Founder

Although planning an event of this scale has its fair amount of stressors, the MICE team enjoyed the chance to see their hard work come to life before their eyes.

“I think the Cerebral Affair gala went better than expected and smoother than the last. There will always be challenges that come up during the event, but overall the experience was very successful for the attendees, our client, and the Atlas staff”

– Stephanie Chandler, Rewards & Recognition Manager

The event truly sailed as smooth as the yachts docked right outside on the Hudson River. In fact, the main challenge for the MICE team was actually something that greatly benefited the foundation!

“The impromptu live auction from the VIPs was both a high point and a challenge. It really engaged the audience and had guests donating to the foundation. Vincent Curatola auctioned a lunch with the Sopranos cast, Ken Rosato gave away a backstage tour of ABC studios, and Tommie Harris promised tickets and a VIP experience to a football game of the winners’ choice. It was certainly challenging afterward, trying to figure out who won each experience with the VIPs; none of it was planned! However, it made the event all the more memorable for the attendees.”

– Amanda Lukowski, Meeting & Event Coordinator

A Cerebral Affair Comes to a Close

A model race car, inscribed with the name of the late NFL football player Konrad Reuland, was one of the auction items.

His mother, Mary Reuland, who spoke at the event, came to the checkout station to purchase one. Of course the MICE team did not charge her for it and ended up sharing an emotional moment with her.

“She was so grateful; she gave us all big hugs and started crying. I would say that was probably the highlight of the night for me. It always feels great when you successfully complete an event for a client, but working with a non-profit organization you can’t help but feel like you contributed to the success of the foundation itself and the people they help.”

– Stephanie Chandler, Rewards & Recognition Manager 

Todd has already contracted Atlas to begin planning next year’s Cerebral Affair, which the Meetings and Incentives teams expects will be as successful and rewarding as the past two years!

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