I had the pleasure of meeting Shep Gordon and narrating a one-on-one conversation with him in front of an audience of 300 incredible leaders on the Summit at Sea boat last year. It only makes sense to kick off my Art of a Manager series writing about Shep because if there has ever been a manager who operates as an artist, it is he. If you haven’t seen Supermensch on Netflix, I highly recommend it.
When my friend Noah McMahon told me how amazing Shep’s New Years’ festivities are each year in Maui and I happened to briefly mention it to my family, that was it – we were going. With my mom, dad, brother, sister, and my fiancé (we got engaged on Christmas!), we got to see a truly magnificent array of performers come together at Shep’s home for an audience even smaller than the one we spoke in front of the year before.
Whether it was reconnecting with Steven Tyler and witnessing him still belt out songs like Dream On at the age of 69 stilling sounding in his prime or Mick Fleetwood playing the percussion with so much exuberance that afterward I felt compelled to let him know if everybody in our world had as much passion as he for what we do as he did tonight, our world would be a utopia (to which he proceeded to kiss my hand), the star studded night was filled with harmonious energy and the welcomeness Shep preaches – As my friend Aaron Bay-schuck put it, it was like LA without all the industry conversation. Nobody had to ask any of these artists to perform – This is what they live to do. You couldn’t get Mick off the drums if you tried.
Despite getting to witness the performance of a lifetime, what fascinated me most about the affair was not who attended or performed, but instead the way Shep has partnered with the Maui Food Bank on his series of NYE events for over 20 years now! Fun Fact: the bartender has been operating Shep’s party for 21 years. Through these events, they have provided 1,600,000 meals for the people on the island, to which Shep says has accomplished a miraculous feat: Nobody on Maui is hungry.
Coming from LA, where hunger and homelessness is a rising and critical issue (one I have written about before), this seems unfathomable. It leads to the question as to whether or not leaders such as ourselves are capable of having the same impact through similar events and meaningful pursuit of making a difference in our community. When I wrote last time, Rebecca Greenberg told me she was going to set me up to meet with one of California’s senators to learn more and discuss the issue. This is an issue I am deeply passionate about and look forward to getting involved with in 2018 – I promise to keep you posted on what I learned so we can come together to make a long-term difference in LA in a similar fashion as Shep has in Maui. Happy new year!
I made donations to both of these organizations this morning so a few families can start off their new year without being hungry. If you feel compelled to start your year off giving too, you can donate to Shep’s cause of choice here – https://mauifoodbank.org/
Or an organization I found in LA with the same mission here – http://www.foodonfoot.org/
I decided one of my commitments to 2018 is to begin sharing my experiences and perspective more with you, my friends and our industry. Looking forward to continuing the conversation as we create together this year and beyond! Feedback is always welcome. If you’re not into it, feel free to unsubscribe.