NY NOW Podcast

Walk It Out

May 11, 2021 NY NOW Season 1 Episode 37
NY NOW Podcast
Walk It Out
Show Notes Transcript

Gift for Life, the gift, stationery, and home decor industries’ sole national charitable organization, has teamed up with NY NOW and DIFFA (Design Industries Foundation Fighting AIDS) for the AIDS Walk New York 2021. The AIDS Walk New York is the largest single-day AIDS fundraising event in the world. In its over 30 years, the event has inspired nearly 890,000 people to walk and millions more to donate, raising nearly $155 million to combat HIV and AIDS.  Listen as we share the history of Gift For Life and hear from a few Board and AIDS Walk team members on why being a part of this team is so important to them.   

GUESTS:  
Tim Hart – SVP NY NOW, GFL Board Member and AIDS Walk Team Member      

Lenise Willis - Editor in chief of Gifts and Decorative Accessories, GFL Board Member and AIDS Walk Team Member      

Kelly Bristol - VP Association and Buyer Engagement at Brandwise, GFL AIDS Walk Team Member      

Matthew Katzenson - CEO of Fine Lines, GFL Board Member and AIDS Walk Team Member      

MODERATOR: Amy Loewenberg- Relations Manager at NY NOW, GFL AIDS Walk Team Member      

RESOURCES   
| NY NOW Podcast Page:
https://nynow.com/podcast   

| NY NOW Email Subscription:
https://app.smartsheet.com/b/form/147c19d133dc472cbc83778bcaec0402   

| NY NOW Digital Market:
https://nynowdigitalmarket.com   

| NY NOW :
https://nynow.com  

Dondrill Glover:

Welcome to the new york now podcast, a modern wholesale market for retailers and specialty buyers seeking diversity and discovery, gathering twice a year in America's design capital, New York City. It's where buyers and designers unearth have refreshed and dedicated collection of eclectic lifestyle products. Welcome to the new york now spotlight podcast.

Amy Loewenberg:

I'm Amy lowenberg, relations and partnership development manager at New York now, and I'll be bringing you important information, conversations and perspectives from both sides of the aisle. I treasure the relationships I've established and I relish in the new ones I make every day sharing information and introducing our amazing community of retailers, buyers, artists and makers to my spotlight podcast and my store tours on Instagram. today's podcast, we're going to be going in a slightly different direction. Normally I spotlight buyers and vendors and we dive into their business and perhaps a cause that's important to them. But for this podcast, we're going to hear from a few members of the gift relief board and AIDS Walk team members. We will learn why they do what they do and why being a part of this team is important to them. New York now has had a relationship with gift for life and differ for many years and we value our partnership with them as we do the many other organizations in our industry that we work with. But for those of you who are not aware of what gift for life does let me share some history. gift for life was founded by Peter Shaaban of appelman shopping in 1992, in response to the tragic loss of industry lives to AIDS. The organization's first meeting at the National stationery show brought together a cross section of the industry's leading publishers, market centers, sales reps, manufacturers and retailers, all willing to convene and work together towards a common goal. Since that time gift for life has raised nearly 6 million for AIDS research, education, treatment and care through nationwide at market events cause marketing programs and direct donations. In 2008 gift for life selected differ design industries Foundation Fighting aids, one of the largest funders of HIV AIDS service and education programs in the US as its sole charity partner. New York now has participated in the AIDS Walk New York, which in normal times takes place in Central Park. And for this year's walk, we're going to get back to normal times and the great outdoors. The AIDS Walk will take place on May 16. And working alongside of gift for life and differ we will raise funds for the Gay Men's Health crisis gmhc, an organization providing care prevention services and advocacy for 13,000 people living with and infected by HIV AIDS in New York City. In the 35 years, this event has inspired more than 890,000 people to walk and millions more to donate raising 155 million to combat HIV and AIDS. Throughout this podcast, we will also hear from Peter Shaaban as we will share his words through previously recorded video. Now, let's hear from our speakers.

Peter Shaaban:

In 1992, the pandemic of AIDS had become extremely visible in the gift stationery and home industry. Many friends, colleagues and Associates that were once there were no longer there. And it became apparent that they were all dying of AIDS. sitting and thinking about the fact that I was a member of a large industry. And the next day went and wrote a letter to 60 different members of the gift stationery and home industries. Everybody that I contacted, responded that they would be very interested in joining into this meeting. And it was memorable. Because it was the first time that I knew that all these competitors have the gift industry that I don't believe that ever been sitting in the same room together, had come together put their personal differences aside and decided that they would join together as an industry to try to make a difference in the world that we lived in.

Amy Loewenberg:

And now let's hear from Tim Hart, the SVP of New York now and get for life board member. So hi, Tim. Welcome.

Tim Hart:

Hey, Amy, thank you so much for having me. Good to speak with you again.

Amy Loewenberg:

Yeah, I think it's no secret to our listeners that we actually work together. And this is the first time I've had the opportunity to interview you as the SVP of New York now and a gift for life board member, why don't you share some of your thoughts on the importance of an organization like Gift for Life?

Tim Hart:

Sure. So I think we all know what a profound impact HIV AIDS had. First off The gift and home industry, they're also in New York City. And for that reason, HIV AIDS is and continues to be an issue. It's very close to the heart of the New York now team and family we've been involved with different gift for life since 1992. Which way predates my my involvement? I think when I, you know, hear about gift for life and reflect on what your organization is done, it's really shed light on a really important issue. And it's created long term commitments that are raising funds and creating awareness for HIV AIDS. I think it's fantastic that we've had this partnership, a gift for life, going back to 1992. And I'm very excited to be continuing that debate to walk in New York this year,

Amy Loewenberg:

agreed completely. And let's let's just dive in a little bit deeper. And let's talk about that partnership, and the needed role that New York now plays in supporting our mission. Yeah, I

Tim Hart:

mean, we're so proud of the work we've done with gift for life and different over the years. And that's for us. It's an ongoing and long term partnership learning traditionally, right, the annual fundraiser for gift for life party for life took place during New York now winter. For us, you know, all that support is really about part of our role in our community are all of our brands, our buyers, our designers, our makers, they will in some way, been impacted by HIV AIDS, you know, fundamentally, it's our job to bring our communities together, obviously, we do that best with our face to face markets twice a year. Our job is, but we have a broader role in that, you know, we are a unique role as a hub for our community coming together twice a year in New York City. And of course we do we can support our side those two events as well.

Amy Loewenberg:

I agree. I agree. You know, banding together, as an industry does strengthen us. And we've just we've experienced so much.

Tim Hart:

Yeah, I mean, as an industry, right, getting home industry is so diverse, there's been ups, there's been downs, I think, more good times, and bad times. Fortunately, that's why we're so strong, but it's up to all of us to support one another. That's why we continue to fundraise and support gift for life, and death. And you know, HIV AIDS is a very important cause to us. But we support our community in other ways as well. And this time last year, we produced a lot of content to help our community of small businesses navigate the pandemic via the paycheck protection program or other government programs around there was a really bewildering, confusing time. And we were so pleased to come together to provide resources to help small businesses, both retailers, and brands, get through that time. And I think also launching our digital market as an affordable, easy way for guys to come together to do business was an important part of us providing that community support. So you know, in this case, we're talking about the HIV AIDS and AIDS Walk, running or walking to support that. Now this time around, we're able to provide a $7,500 match for fundraising, which we're very excited to do. Yeah, I mean, we're super excited, I think we've now got to that match. And we were on the way to our goal on $27,000. But it is about being there for our community and providing support. And we will continue to provide that role as best we can, both inside and outside or in person markets.

Amy Loewenberg:

Completely agree and you know it, when we have opportunities to sit on a board like you do, we're so happy that you sit on the gift for life board and that you are working across all lines of the industry. It really does strengthen the relationships, and it can only benefit all of us for every single aspect that we play. Yeah, sure.

Tim Hart:

You know, I'm having the gift for life party for life in 2020 was actually the first social event I attended as part of New York now, I only joined in December 2019. I think Amy and I was on the team introduced me to Christie Forbes and Kathy Steele and I was on the board. And I was delighted for this time last year to be invited to participate on the gift for life board. So yeah, well, it's it's a very important thing for us to be involved with. But I'm excited to continue to build that relationship.

Amy Loewenberg:

What can we actually see going forward with New York now?

Tim Hart:

Yeah, for sure. I mean, like I said, it's a long term and ongoing partnership on in the short term, we're very focused on achieving our goal for eight o'clock New York, which obviously be on May the 16th. So I think we have three weeks of fundraising left so we want to continue to push towards that our team, which obviously Amy is a big part of me as a personal connection to this cause as well is very involved in that fundraising push but following a talk New York in May we're going to continue to look for ways to support gift for life and and support death. But this is not something we're doing the AIDS market. So it's a long term commitment for us.

Amy Loewenberg:

It's It's It's good to hear you say that and I can hear the professional support and I can hear the personal support. What What does eat mentioned it a little bit before but like what what does it really mean for you personally?

Tim Hart:

Yeah, so I mean, New York City is my adopted city. I'm sure those who don't know me can tell from my accent. I'm not from the US. I'm from London originally, but I've now been in New York. 16 years and New York is my adopted city and you HIV AIDS is a very important cause an important issue for the city. So I'm thrilled to be able to do something to support the issue. And then obviously now working in the gift and home industry as well, like I mean, I talked about that the industry has been touched so much by HIV AIDS on issue. And I'm delighted to be supporting that as well. So I feel there for me, both personally and professionally. I'm just delighted to be involved in doing what we can to support.

Amy Loewenberg:

And let me ask, what are you going to be doing on May? 16?

Tim Hart:

Yes, so first up on May 16, I will be taking my son to soccer practice nice and early on, there'll be some walk in there. But yeah, I like to run by the East River. I'm here in Manhattan sometimes do a 10 kilometer run, in order to talk wearing my T shirt. Of course, I guess thinking about it, maybe I can run up to Central Park and run around Central Park instead, that might be more fitting like given in a normal year, New York takes place in Central Park. So perhaps I'll do

Amy Loewenberg:

you'll be able to run right by me. I'll be walking, but you can run right by me.

Tim Hart:

We should do I mean, we wish we should have registered to wave of virtual high five?

Amy Loewenberg:

Well, I know I said it before. But we all are all very happy that you're on the gift for life board. And that we're just looking forward to continuing the support of such an important cause and working with all the amazing, talented people in our industry. Tim, I just I want to thank you so much for your time and your candor. And is there anything else you'd like to add? Before we end?

Tim Hart:

I want, to say Thank you, Amy for First of all, listen to you. And you were indeed kind and friendly. Also, as well for bringing gift for life in the cost to my attention when I first joined over a year ago. So um, thank you for advocating for that. Yeah. Well,

Amy Loewenberg:

you were very welcome. And with that, I will just say thank you. And I guess I'll talk to you later. Oh, thanks, Amy. See you soon. Bye. So now we're chatting with Lenise Willis. We all know who you are linear. But for the very few who may not. You're the editor in chief of gift and decorative accessories magazine. So welcome.

Lenise Willis:

Thank you.

Amy Loewenberg:

I'm personally super excited when I see gifted deck pop into my inbox, you guys keep us updated on all the really important need to knows. But why don't you give us a little bit more detail about gifted, decorative accessor? Sure. Um,

Lenise Willis:

yeah. So you know, we were like 104 years old, I obviously haven't been here the whole time. But we are a very old magazine, which I think in itself is really cool. Because I never thought honestly, as a millennial that I'd be working for a print magazine that was successful. You know, it's a little bit of a dying breed. but so. So that's very exciting. You know, we are a b2b magazine, and we serve the independent retail community. And we help connect retailers with vendors and makers and trade shows. And I kind of feel like we're at the center of the retail conversation. So, you know, we're networking and talking with trade shows and online platforms and consultants and consumer research analysts and retailers and vendors. And, you know, we just kind of get to be at the little epicenter of the retail industry. It's so it's great.

Amy Loewenberg:

It is great. It's a really important role you guys play. I mean, I rely on you guys for a lot of information. Good. So let's, let's jump in here. What are your thoughts on the importance of an organization like gift for life and differ? And then heavy question, and then how does gift and DAC play a role in supporting their mission? Yeah, absolutely.

Unknown:

I think it's very important. I will say that, you know, Gibson DAC has, historically kind of always been on the board, someone from our team has always been on the board, honestly, because it makes sense for our magazine, like, we want to support the industry. And I always think of the gift industry as a big family. And that's how it feels to me. So, you know, because we're sort of at the center of those conversations. I feel like gift for life also plays that same role there at the center of the gift industry, like bringing people together for you know, in supporting a great cause. So, I don't know, I just I just love the board in general, like I love when we go to our board meetings. I know, I'm all over the place, I'm not answering your question. I think it is important as an organization to have a place where even competitors, like people from all facets of the gift industry can come together, and and just support this awesome cause and they're not worried about, you know, all like you're my competition or your front. You know, it's like we just all come together for this common goal. And I just think that's beautiful in itself. And so gda has always been really happy to be a part of that gift for life, family, and you know, just like that beautiful support that comes out of that. I do think gift for life is really important and diffa to have these organizations to help bring awareness of a HIV AIDS in general, I will say I'm the only millennial on the board or one a few that have been on the board. And from a millennial standpoint, until I joined the gift for life board. I never thought about the AIDS epidemic like it for our generation. It's very like, Oh, I thought that was an ad thing. You know, like, it's, I know that sounds like I'm really not even I'm not that naive. But

Amy Loewenberg:

we know you're not that naive. We know,

Unknown:

I just don't think it's at the forefront of a lot of millennials minds. And so, you know, I think first of all, when Peter Shaaban, the founder, you know, he always tells his story, when you're a new board member of why he founded the organization. And hearing him talk about friends in the industry that were lost throughout that time period, and how different trade shows were, you know, they would go to a trade show and realize, Oh, so and so isn't here anymore. And for us, I mean, I want to cry when I hear and talk about it. It's like when we go to trade shows, it's like a family and friend reunion. And I just can't imagine going to a trade show and being like, Oh, 15 people that I knew are not here anymore. So for me, that kind of touched a lot of heartstrings and why I wanted to personally be involved. And then on a second note, when they started telling me their recent stats of how many people today are still affected. Um, you know, if you look at a couple stats, like even it's like 37,000 people every year, there's new HIV positive cases. And the highest percentage is among 25 to 34 year olds, which are millennials. So it's not at the forefront of millennials minds, and yet, they're being greatly affected by it. So I think when I heard that, I thought, Oh, my gosh, like, this is still a really current thing. That not as many people are talking about anymore. And so I know way long winded roundabout way, I'm, I'm very long winded.

Amy Loewenberg:

I love it so much. It's okay.

Unknown:

But in a long winded way, that's why I really, really think different life and differ are so important because they're fighting to keep it at the forefront of people's minds, because this epidemic cannot be forgotten. And, you know, that's kind of what we're all working toward, I think, did that somehow answer all your questions,

Amy Loewenberg:

answered a lot, it actually almost answered the next one, I was gonna ask you, but I mean, like, I can absolutely hear the passion in your voice. And nobody else can see your face, because it's the podcast, but I can see you and I saw the emotion rot all over your face. And it is important that that it is it is an important dialogue that we must be having now. And I love what gifts Dec is doing, you know, just being a part of the media, you helped to orchestrate that way to make it easy for us all to cross lines, you know, and work together being on the board is important. And being the only millennial on that board. It's important. So congratulations for being on the board stay on the board.

Lenise Willis:

Thank you.

Amy Loewenberg:

Um, is there any thing else that you would like to add or share? Um,

Unknown:

I mean, not mean, I will say, you know, as far as GDS role, because I know, I didn't touch quite as much on that. But again, we're all about, you know, connecting people to the information that they need, and connecting people to one another in a greater sense of what we do. And so that that is part of our role in gift for life, it's connecting retailers with this great cause. It's sharing information about what gift for life is doing, you know, like, we make a lot of great decisions at the board. But nobody knows what's happening unless we write about it. So that is obviously a way that we support gift for life, we have always, I think for the last 10 I know, 10 years, it might be more than 10 years, our regional excellence award ceremony that we do every year, gift for life has been a great part of that for the last decade or more, giving away an award and doing a text to donate initiative. And we're doing that, again, not shameless self plug, we're doing that.

Amy Loewenberg:

That's okay.

Unknown:

So we are encouraging our readers to text to donate, you know, to support gift for life and the organization that is supporting this year. So

Amy Loewenberg:

that's great. I mean, that that's what this is all about, by the way, so it's quite alright to say that. So, before we go, you're in Chicago now. Correct?

Lenise Willis:

I am. Yes. No, I

Amy Loewenberg:

don't know it well enough. But I will be there soon. And I will reach out to you for sure. When I hit there. Yeah. Why don't you share with us what you're going to be doing on May 16 in honor of the aids walk.

Unknown:

Yeah. So I'm so excited because you wouldn't think there'd be all these great walking areas in a city you know, coming for I grew up in North Carolina my whole life. I've never lived anywhere else. And now I live in Chicago. But so my husband and I have actually been walking the 606 every Sunday, and so may 16. on that Sunday will be no different except I'll be obviously wearing my gift for life shirts and counting the cause and and doing a little SM live stories on GTA is on Instagram about all the miles were walking while shouting about AIDS Walk New York, and very good for life t shirts. So we will be walking in the 606 winches apart park in Chicago that was built kind of over an old rail railroad line. So it's just a really cool Park and it connects to like different towns and it just goes on for miles and miles. So that is where I will be walking. And you guys can check me out at guess index Instagram.

Amy Loewenberg:

Well, we definitely will. Thank you so much for sharing all that fun stuff with us. It's been a pleasure talking with you. Yeah, of course. It's

Unknown:

been a pleasure talking with you, too. And thank you guys so much for doing this. And I'm near now just as a great supporter of gift for life. And we cannot thank you guys enough.

Amy Loewenberg:

Well, hey, partners across lines. That's what it's all about. Right? That's right. All right. Listen, you have a good day, and I will talk to you soon.

Lenise Willis:

All right, thankyou, you too.

Peter Shaaban:

Last March during the gift for life board meeting. We read in the newspaper that morning, the story of a baby that had been born with age that was now two years old, had a zero viral load. We knew that the work that we were doing contributed to the research, the availability of research in order to have the first indication that a virus could be cured.

Amy Loewenberg:

So now we get to talk with Kelly Bristol, VP of association and buyer engagement and brand wise and long term advocate for AIDS awareness. Welcome, Kelly.

Kelly Bristol:

Hi, Amy.

Amy Loewenberg:

It is really great to see you as always.

Kelly Bristol:

So awesome to see you to you.

Amy Loewenberg:

so brand wise as a new position for you. So would you like to share a little bit about what brand wise offers?

Kelly Bristol:

Yeah, sure. Thank you. So brand wise has been serving the gift in home industry for 25 years with software solutions to support order writing. their clients have been agency representatives. 1000s of reps in the gift industry use our software solutions to write great orders. And I credit brand wise for really being the keeping the industry afloat. And some of the most difficult years during the collapse of the economy. reps were still writing great orders because they had our software. But as a result of reps using our software, we have 1000s of vendors and nearly 300,000 buyers in our ecosystem. Our newest venture is an offering b2b marketplaces, for industry associations and their buyers. So we're currently working with the greeting card Association near and dear to my heart. Now museum store Association, the Canadian gift Association and the International housewares Association empowering their marketplaces, our partners are benefiting from our existing technology and our broad understanding of the industry and its needs. So it's been a great place to work. And I'm really enjoying working with the associations and their vendors and buyers in this way. I'm connected to the industry I love just in a way.

Amy Loewenberg:

That's I was just gonna say how lovely for you. You've got such an amazing background in our industry, and you get to approach and help people in in a different manner, which is lovely. It's so fun. every conversation I have is with an old friend. It's just great. I love it. Well, that's, that's great. You pay, you've actually been advocating for AIDS awareness and research for years. Right. So you have an interesting story to share. And so why don't you take us a little briefly through your advocacy history

Kelly Bristol:

on a little journey? Yeah, well, I became involved in advocacy in 1999 way back when, actually excuse me, 1995 I forget myself when I started working at amfar, which is the American Foundation for AIDS research. While there I learned a lot about AIDS and the drugs being developed to combat it. That was really interesting for me, part of my work and amfar was serving as the liaison for gift for life, which had been founded just a few years before in 1992. And it was founded at the National stationery show, which is a fun time. At the time gift her life was working on raising its first million. Now the group has raised more than $5 million for AIDS research and education and HIV AIDS prevention and treatment. So it's really it's really wonderful what can be done in our gift at home. industry. So when Yeah, isn't that amazing? and counting, and all through events and you know, other programs to raise funds, but basically the events that have been happening at market and in fact, when I worked at gift for life, I am far with gift for life. What I was doing was creating those fundraising events that happen at the industry shows around our country, including la Atlanta, of course, the National stationery show, and Dallas, another fun tie in for me was the very first marketplace I ever walked into. But my, my background with gift for life, and one gift for life was raising money and directing all its funds to amfar. I also had the pleasure of helping the board decide on what grant they would fund which was really interesting, we got insight into what researchers what projects they weren't wanting to work on and fun. So I learned a lot about it was like medical, but it was interesting to know what projects they thought would help find a cure. So through this, I was, you know, I just became really connected to the cause. And of course, gifts for life and gift for life is what brought me into this gift industry. So after working at amfar, my next job was at the National stationery show. And then my job after that was that the Dallas market center. So it's you know, gift her life is near and dear to my heart because of what it supports because it supports something I believed in way back in the day, AIDS awareness and research. And also because it's been part of my life for so long. Wow, it has to feel really rewarding to know that all of the special events and fundraising efforts have have made such a difference in the advancement for the research of AIDS. And oh my gosh, and back in the day, like we were I remember the first gift for life logo. And I know the person who created the first like pin that we sold for $1 at all the you know, in Atlanta, and you know, everywhere that back in the 90s there wasn't the same markets as there are now. But we were selling them out of cans and collecting money and cans. So it's gratifying to know how much money has been raised for this important cause.

Amy Loewenberg:

Yeah, and and and here, you are now on the gift for life New York now diffa eight block team, right? Yeah, we're working to support the cause. And, and even though we've kind of heard why this is an important one for you. What other message would you like to share? Like, why? Why is it important for you personally?

Kelly Bristol:

Well, I mean, I had so many dear colleagues and clients while I was at amfar, who were people with AIDS, and some of them we lost. And of course, each loss was far too early. There were so many in those early days, the gift industry was deeply affected by aids, and we'd lost so many great people, including some founders of gift for life. I also have friends who have lived with AIDS for like, some 30 years now. So I walked for them to raise the funds for programs and services to fight AIDS, find research and support those in need of care. I really do hope for a day when there is a cure.

Amy Loewenberg:

Yeah, I do, too. I do too. But I just I appreciate all the work that you've done in your path. And you continue to do and I I love working alongside of you. I love working with. That being said, I kind of know the answer to this, but what will you be doing on May 16? In honor of the flock?

Kelly Bristol:

Oh, I think you'll be walking with you, Amy, we're talking about doing the 10k loop in Central Park. Right.

Amy Loewenberg:

I know, which is funny because as I talked to all the other people that we've interviewed, and they say I'm doing 10k I'm like, well, you can walk by me and wave. I'm not doing it, but I think I'm gonna do it.

Kelly Bristol:

Yes, yes, we'll treat ourselves to an awesome brunch or lunch. Dining outside afterwards. Sounds like I like Yeah, I like to walk to honor the spirit of the day and the generous donations I've received from my friends and industry colleagues. And it's fun that I'll be able to walk it with you again this year because we can and we will take pictures and we will post and we will let everybody see our journey along the way. So listen, Kelly, thank you so much for taking some time with me today and sharing your history and your thoughts and your passion and keep doing what you do. We will see each other soon. Can't wait. Thanks, Amy. Okay, bye, bye.

Unknown:

For the last 21 years. I always sat back and said let's give full life gonna be like next year and I can say confidently that next year. We will be bigger, stronger, more productive with more people involved than we had the year before. Our mission is to continue to raise funds for education, awareness, prevention, and for the betterment of humankind.

Amy Loewenberg:

So now we're talking with Matthew Katzen sin CEO of fine lines. Hi, Matthew.

Matthew Katzenson:

Hey, Amy, how you doing?

Amy Loewenberg:

I am good. But we're gonna jump right in. Okay.

Matthew Katzenson:

Let's do it. All right. Why don't you tell us a little bit about fine lines? Well, fine lines is a sales agency. We're manufacturers reps based out of the West Coast. We're 32 years old this June 1. Oh my god. Crazy. That's crazy. Yeah, we covered the 13 western states, and have showrooms in Seattle, and Las Vegas and Los Angeles. You know, we've just been kind of playing this game for many, many years. And I love the industry and love the work that we do. We have great brands, I have great reps, we have awesome customers. So we are very happy to be on what I deemed to be the beginning of the other side of COVID. And that feels really good. And we're seeing business kind of begin to thrive. That's super exciting. And yeah. Happy to be here talking to you today.

Amy Loewenberg:

Oh, well, I love chatting with you. You do you have some really fine lines. I have to admit, I know your lines.

Unknown:

Thank you. We're very lucky to partner with such great vendors. Yeah.

Amy Loewenberg:

Well, listen, you've been doing this for just a little bit of time now. Right?

Matthew Katzenson:

Yep.

Amy Loewenberg:

So I'm thinking about how immersed you've been in the industry, and that you've probably seen a lot in regards to the tragic loss of our friends and colleagues, as a result of AIDS. So what do you wish everyone knew about this cause? And why is it important for you to raise awareness for the education and prevention of HIV is

Matthew Katzenson:

such a big question, Amy?

Amy Loewenberg:

Big, big question.

Unknown:

That's a big question. Um, you know, I think for me, being a gay man, and a business owner, and having had been so personally impacted by HIV and AIDS, throughout my entire adult life, and the industry being so impacted, and we lost designers and sales reps, and store owners, and so many incredible people over the last, I don't know, 40 years that I'm, you know, the, it's so important to remember that this is a disease that is still very significant, and that there's work to be done, and that there are people that need help and support. So I feel very passionate about kind of continuing the work that I do to raise money and to be, you know, a person who puts a spotlight on this disease, I feel that, like I said, a lot of passion around just, I think it's easy for diseases that have been around for so long to get forgotten or put on the backburner and other causes become significant and relevant and the cause of the moment. But I think with HIV AIDS, as it has really spread demographically, across the country in the world, that there are so many people that are in need of services, medical care, counseling, medication, all of it, so so I just feel very passionate about just staying in that conversation.

Amy Loewenberg:

It's an important conversation to continue. Absolutely. We shouldn't let that voice stay down. What are you looking for, and hope for the organization to achieve in the near future?

Unknown:

You know, I think you've we've pivoted a bit, and although, you know, in 2021, and, and we've included hunger and food access as a part of our golden mission, which I feel really good about. And I think it's very important. I think that again, the key is giving people access to services that don't have access to services and giving people access to education and how to handle and manage living with HIV, because that's become really a norm. But there are so many people in this country in the world who still don't have access to medication and to really understanding how the disease is transmitted and what they can do to prevent that transmission, how they can be personally responsible. And if that for some reason, they contract HIV, what are the steps they need to take to be responsible not only to themselves, but to those people that are in their lives? So um, so I feel like that work is still really important and I think, you know, Bringing the hunger piece in and the food access piece into different life is just a really a natural progression of the work we do. Because I feel like we've been subsidizing organizations like God's love, we deliver and project angel food since our inception. And so it feels like, it just makes a lot of sense and really helps, you know, keep our community engaged in not only HIV and AIDS, but also letting people know that their money is going to really helping communities that are in so

Amy Loewenberg:

yeah, absolutely. I mean, HIV is is an AIDS runs parallel to homelessness, which runs parallel with lack of food and human care. So I think the work that good for life is doing is really beautiful. So thank you so much for being such a, an advocate for such an important cause.

Unknown:

Oh, my god, you're welcome. Thank you. Yeah, I mean, it's really, I think it's easy to do the work when you believe in what it is that you're doing. Right. And, and so that's just how it feels. And one of the things about giving, which I always say over and over again, is that I feel like people are just ready to give, they just need a reason to give, and they need to know how to give. And once you put that in front of people, it's just incredible how people show up to contribute in whatever way they can. And they're able to do that. So I feel like this is our season of giving to support AIDS Walk New York and kind of really support the Gay Men's Health crisis and the work that they do in the tri state area. So, you know, every year we're blown away by how much our team raises. It's incredible. Like, we have like 13 people on our team. And we are like in the top 10 in fundraising every year. You've got people like Delta that have 300 people on their team. And I mean, we just kick ass in that way. And that's pretty exciting.

Amy Loewenberg:

Well, that's a really good lead into asking what will you be doing on May 16. And on our VA block?

Unknown:

Well, you know, we're doing it virtually for the second year in a row and, and I live in Oregon, in Southern Oregon. And the last couple of years, I haven't been able to be in New York, but I always do a 10k last year, I did a hike with a bunch of friends. And we hiked this kind of killer Table Rock mountain, that's like almost a perfect 10k hike. And that was a lot of fun. I'm not exactly sure where I'm going to hike, but I'm definitely going to hike that day. And I'll invite some friends and my husband and we'll do a fun walk somewhere. And, you know, just be mindful of what the work that we're doing and the money that we're raising and where it's going to and also having a good time and really enjoying that process. So

Amy Loewenberg:

while we're definitely going to count on you posting some pictures so that we can follow you on on your hike journey. 100% Well, listen, thank you so much for taking this time with us. I really appreciate it. And I really appreciate you and it's been a pleasure to work alongside of you. And I look forward to continuing that journey. Thank you.

Unknown:

Yeah, you are so welcome, Amy. You're a doll and I love doing these kinds of things with you. So anytime you need me. I'm here. Okay. All right.

Amy Loewenberg:

You heard it here. So thanks so much, Matthew. Have a great day.

Matthew Katzenson:

You too, sweetie. Bye bye.

Amy Loewenberg:

Before we end I wanted to share a few of my own thoughts. I really want to mention my dear friend Michael danda. We lost him to AIDS in the early 90s. He was a sweet man who wanted the best for everyone. I only got to share a couple of years with him. But he made such an impact in my life. And I think of him all the time. I saw up close how aids invades the human body and takes the lives of our friends and families. Since then, over the years, I've participated in AIDS walks, pride marches, and numerous other important social justice demonstrations in support of the LGBTQ community. I also worked at Housing Works for five years, and if you don't know them, Housing Works. His mission is to end the dual crisis of homelessness and AIDS through relentless advocacy, the provision of life saving services and entrepreneurial businesses that sustain their efforts. I am proud to be a gift for life New York now diffa team member and I walk in support of the too many people lost and for our friends and loved ones who are still living with HIV and AIDS. I am grateful for the advancements made and that they can live quality lives. All the important organizations that play a part in fostering any industry and community coming together and making a difference is an important one. Thank you so much for listening to today's podcast. HIV and AIDS is an issue that's deeply important to the New York now team given the tragic impact that it's had on the home and gift industry. We are happy that with our platform We can show support by sharing information rallying together to help seek donations and put our feet to work to get that accomplished. Your support is critical. Nearly 40,000 new HIV infections are reported each year in the United States. The AIDS Walk New York is the world's largest and most visible HIV AIDS fundraising event. So this year as our cities are opening up, you will see our team and all the other AIDS Walk teams celebrating by grabbing our walking shoes and heading outside and clocking some miles for an important cause. So please join us in either participating in seeking donations yourself, or supporting us supporting the cause. And if you can't make it out, Mark your calendars for this year's AIDS Walk live at home and watch from the comfort of your own home. This year's virtual event will include live and televised in person viewing parties from Central parks the festa fountain and Golden Gate parks National AIDS Memorial growth. The live presentation will feature moving speeches from local and national leaders in the fight against HIV AIDS, heartfelt messages from special guests, and special entertainment from celebrity performers. So thank you again for listening. And please consider making a donation to the gift for life New York now diffa team by going to NY dot AIDS Walk dotnet slash g FLNY and OWDIF fa no donation is too small. And every dollar helps us to reach our team goal of $27,000 donations are being taken up to June 11. And remember whether you go for a stroll, jog, or sprint, we will all hashtag walk it out in our own way. And don't forget New York now is now an online 365 sourcing and connection platform. Make sure to sign up and sign in and definitely connect with me when you do. Thank you all again so much and I'll talk with you soon.

Dondrill Glover:

Thank you for listening to the New York now podcast. Make sure to tune in weekly for engaging and insightful conversations touching on the most relevant topics facing our community today. Is it through your mouth comm to learn more about our market, and how you can join in on the conversation