Celebrating International Women’s Day at Great Performances
By Carina Hayek and Sarah Prawl
Although we officially observe International Women’s Day once a year, at Great Performances, every day is Women’s Day!
Early in her career, Liz Neumark, founder and CEO of Great Performances, was pursuing her passion of photography and needed additional ways to make ends meet. She turned to food service jobs—a common solution for many people in the arts—but found it challenging to find opportunities, especially ones that were safe. Seeing an opportunity, she started Great Performances Artists as Waitresses, a service dedicated to hiring women in the arts as servers for special events.
Over the years, the company and its range of services grew and now, almost 40 years later, is the leading catering and events company in New York City, offering a multitude of hospitality services. It’s a point of pride for Liz that many members of the senior leadership team are women and that of the more than 1300 employees, almost half are women.
“On this Women’s Day, I celebrate my good fortune to have worked many decades for the women-centric firm that is Great Performances. Opportunities to thrive and grow abound, which is why I have stayed put since the company’s inception. It's also important to me that we are dedicated to mentoring the next generation of smart, vibrant women who will continue to propel GP to—and beyond—its next chapter,” says Linda Abbey, Executive Vice President.
In 2017, Liz was recognized as one of Crain's New York’s most powerful women of 2017', with a nod to her time spent working on food-justice issues, sustainable food sourcing and work with The Sylvia Center, the non-profit she founded in 2007 which focuses on inspiring young people and their families to establish independent healthy eating habits.
“I celebrate Women’s Day every day,” stated Liz. “It’s exciting for me to watch women grow and develop within the organization. It’s a huge challenge for women to balance their careers and their lives, and I want to enable them to do both.”
The theme for International Women's Day 2019 is #Balanceforbetter, and while Liz is fair to all employees, she’s particularly sensitive to the challenges working mothers face. As a working mother, she struggled to find the balance between running a company and raising her family. As a result, she’s long championed paying people for the jobs they do, not for the hours they work.
At GP we continue to celebrate and encourage women's achievements and support gender-neutrality in the workplace.