This week’s Meet a Mom interview is with Lauren Schweibold, a Greenwich Mom of three who moved to town four years ago from New York City. Like many Big Apple transplants, she and her family first settled in Riverside, and more recently moved to mid-country to raise their growing family (Charlie, age 6, Grayson age 4 and Finley, 1 month). “We moved to mid-country because a newborn baby plus moving homes is a great idea, ha! We love having some land and seeing as I’m a bit of a nutty animal lover, having wildlife all around us,” shares Lauren.
In addition to wrangling three busy kids, Lauren is the owner of Madison Events, a full-service events firm that is known for throwing fabulous parties in Greenwich, NYC, and beyond. We spoke to Lauren about her Greenwich life, growing Madison Events after a career in finance, and more.
How would you describe Madison Events and what separates it from other events businesses?
Madison has always been a passion project of mine. Event planning was a hobby before it was a job and it truly makes me happy to organize events for people. I love taking their vision and putting all the puzzle pieces together to come up with an event that’s a reflection of the client and meets their goals. I think what separates me from other event planners is that I don’t take on tons of clients so I am able be very personalized, creative and extremely detailed with each event. I’m very good at waking up in the middle of the night to think through various ideas about how to make someone’s event better and unique, so I want to make sure I’m only channeling those sleepless nights to a few clients at a time, ha. Another element that separates me is that I have done a considerable amount of pro bono work for non-profits over years in New York City and now Greenwich. I try to take on at least one significant role per year to ensure I’m using my skills to give back.
That’s so great. Before launching Madison Events what were you doing?
After graduating from Villanova, I joined the Corporate Marketing & Events Department at Bear Stearns where I worked for 5 years. I was lucky enough to work on some of their most high profile events, which was very stressful, but an absolutely tremendous learning experience. I started Madison on the side in order to help non-profits restructure their events to hit higher fundraising goals and so I was a pretty busy 25-year-old.
I spent 15 years at various financial firms including Keefe, Bruyette & Woods (KBW) and Guggenheim Partners before transitioning full time to non-profit at The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS). I worked as their Event Director where I ran their fundraising galas and learned the ins and outs of major fundraising events. I was also the Development Coordinator for Friends of Finn, a group of high profile young donors spearheaded by Amanda Hearst who worked to combat puppy mills. Throughout my five years with the HSUS, I continued to organize social, non-profit and corporate events for Madison Events clients, so there was never a dull day.
You have such an amazing list of clients – what are a few of your favorite events you’ve worked on?
I’ve organized intimate concerts for Third Eye Blind and the Counting Crows and feeling the energy in the room watching a famous band play for a small crowd was infectious. There’s a thrill at sound check when everything comes together and you can’t wait for the attendees to arrive and see what you’re seeing. I recently coordinated a private event for Vanessa Williams, who is so cool, smart and creative, so it made for a very fun planning process. Seeing her thrill at the final product was a major highlight of my career as she’s seen many events and could have really hired anyone. However, as an animal activist and lover, my favorite events have been non-profit fundraisers to help combat cruelty to animals. I’ve been lucky enough to work with some incredible lovers including Amanda Hearst, Georgina Bloomberg, Suzy Welch and Prince Lorenzo Borghese, as well as many other celebrities. Being able to use my skills to work with like-minded individuals towards a common goal is incredibly fulfilling. I love social and corporate events, but my heart will always be with the non-profit sector.
What are some of your favorite local nonprofits that you’ve done work for?
I’m on the board of Breast Cancer Alliance, which is incredibly well run thanks to a huge network of supporters and the leadership of Yonni Wattenmaker. I co-chaired their luncheon in 2019 and they’ve been stuck with me ever since. With so many of us affected by this disease, it’s just a no-brainer to work to combat it. I’ve also worked with REACH Prep and The Bruce Museum, both wonderful organizations doing great things for our community. I have tons of experience with non-profit events so I can help streamline a bit of the process and enjoy doing so.
What, in your opinion, are the must-have ingredients for an amazing event?
Creativity and the little details will separate your event from the next. Again, I don’t work with a ton of clients, so I’m able to brainstorm ideas to make an event unique and memorable.
What are your best at-home entertaining tips?
Know your crowd and what they like. For some it’s incredible food, others its decor and for people like me, it’s something funny to play or do. What’s going to make your time together memorable?
What do you like most about your job?
Seeing the hosts face when everything comes together. The absolute delight and excitement, it never gets old.
If someone hires you for a wedding or other event, what can they expect?
A lot of brainstorming and back and forth on ideas. Again, I really like to find what makes each event unique. I will guide each client through the process, but finding those little details and ideas here and there to separate an event from the pack is what to expect from me.
How do you balance work with motherhood?
Ha, funny question – I don’t do it well, but I’m not sure who does? I am constantly trying to do a million things and never achieving them all. All I can say is that I prioritize my family and my job and everything else just has to fall behind them and I have to be okay with that. I can’t make everyone happy, but my husband, kids and my events, those I won’t cut corners on. I would say it’s more of a prioritization and less of a balance. I miss out on social things, I sometimes don’t take great care of myself, I’ve learned I have to say “no” when I want to say “yes” and sometimes life is messy. It is what it is, I do my best, but I don’t do it all and I fail often then learn from those lessons.
Moms are constantly bombarded with this idea of being everything to everyone and it’s not sustainable, so I simply do my best and let the chips fall where they may. I am also lucky enough to have an incredibly loving and selfless husband who always puts our family first as well as great “co-family” that has been helping us with our children and home for over 6 years. Pamela, Michelle and Patricia love us as much as we love them and they are part of the foundation of our family. So, I am really blessed to have the support system I do.
Anything else you’d like to share?
I worry that these profiles sometimes come across as someone having it altogether and that’s just not the case with me. I had asked if we could call my profile “Meet a Mess,” but believe that got shot down, ha! Again, I do my best to work while managing a family and I fail all the time. I do believe everyone struggles, no matter what they look like on the outside and I think it’s an important thing to make note of. Nobody’s perfect and I’m so far from it it’s hilarious, but I’m totally cool with that and that’s all that matters.