When Gladys Mezrahi was 15, she convinced her principal to let her raise the money for constructing a new basketball and volleyball court at her school.
If she collected enough, she would be allowed to graduate, even though she didn’t go to class. Mezrahi organized the bingo night at the Tequendama Hotel in Bogota. More than 1,500 attended, she raised enough money to build the baskeball gym and volleyball courts, and she graduated.
“We made the deal but nobody knew. Nobody knew why I wasn’t going to class. My parents didn’t even know,” said Mezrahi, 52, now a marketing specialist who organizes corporate events in South Florida. “So while my classmates were learning math, I was 15 years old, sitting in front of the president of Avianca Airlines asking him to sponsor my event with a ticket to Cartagena for the bingo.”
Mezrahi’s ability to connect with others is what led the Organization of Women in International Trade to recently name her Woman of the Year. The group gave the accolade to her and her company, Indigo Events, an Aventura’s based firm she founded. Her clients include Visa, Miami International Book Fair, Disney Institute programs and The Organization of American States. Kate Hudson was one of the presenters.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to the Miami Herald
“This recognition was like, “Wow, I did it. I really did it,” said Mezrahi, 52, who believes the key to a successful event business is the relationships you establish with clients and vendors. “[It is] the proof of appreciation. No money can pay for that — those ‘thank yous’ and those letters of gratitude.”
In 1999 Mezrahi moved to South Florida with her husband, Samuel, a textile company executive. Her family, including her father, a surgeon, had been receiving kidnapping threats and they decided to leave for personal safety. Their children, son, Nessim, and daughter Debbie, had been atttending boarding school in the States.
In Colombia, she owned Advanced Cosmetics, a skin-care line that she says she later sold. In 2005, she founded Indigo.
Mezrahi now sees her first event, back in high school, as the beginning of her marketing acumen.
“I’m convinced that if a woman works, she has something more productive to teach her children,’’ she said. “And a single woman can move a whole village if she has a job. So I love mentoring women,” said Mezrahi, who says that ‘every event should be far from normal but close to perfect.’
She is educating future event-planners and women in the industry about event marketing. She will be speaking at the Catersource Event Solutions in Las Vegas on ‘how to add the wow with food in decor.’
The mother of two now has five grandkids and believes that part of being a woman in business is prioritizing your time.
“Your life is like an event, and it’s about organizing yourself,” she said.
Follow @catabalzano on twitter
For more information visit http://www.indigoevents.net/