Akron events are filled with community spirit – a legacy of the ethos of the corporate leaders of the 19thand 20th century. Mary Ann Jackson has built her reputation as Akron’s social maven in the footsteps of these philanthropists. Her involvement in a benefit guarantees that it reflects the roots of Akron society. Some of her projects include establishing the city’s year end celebration, First Night Akron. This celebration of the arts is a program of the Downtown Akron Partnership.
“Stephen Brand was president of the National Inventors’ Hall of Fame when DAP was looking for an event that would involve the community. He was a native of Boston and said he thought it was perfect for Akron,” said Mary Ann. Mary Ann would go on to host the first two years of the Inaugural activities for the National Inventor’s Hall of Fame. And her love of art has only grown over the years. She is very active with the Akron Art Museum. One of her more memorable galas was for the opening of the new facility.
Last week she co-chaired with Jacquie Mabry the first Hattie Larlham Goes Hollywood, a benefit at the Akron Civic Theater that showcased the costumes and film memorabilia of Stow jeweler, Richard John. This coming week she is event chair for the symphony’s longtime benefit.
Tire Barons wives loved to shop. Other affluent ladies enjoyed the specialty shops that supplied the Rubber City. This set the stage for Akron’s premier fashion runway event. Crescendo: Fashion Forward.Crescendo has been helping support the Akron Symphony Orchestra, the Youth Orchestra, and theChorus since those halcyon days. This year’s Crescendo will be an evening affair for the first time. And it will cater to guys along with the gals. Expect fashions from Dillard’s, Ann’s Boutique in Bath, A La Mode from Chagrin Falls, Ticknor’s, and Liberty Harley Davidson.
Mary Ann knows that the events need to be kept fresh. “Our guests don’t have to attend our events. They make decisions about how their discretionary time and treasure. Its important that they enjoy the events.”
What does the future have for Mary Ann’s events? “We see an increasing role for electronic media in building events.” Crescendo has a great musical invitation on YouTube and a fan page of Facebook. She and her committee members are investigating more ways to take advantage of the newest services.
Mary Ann is mentoring the ladies who are stepping into her shoes now that and her husband spend winters in Florida. You can be sure though that she will have plenty to occupy her while she is home.
Mary Ann’s Hint for First-time Events: You may start small but you need to make it memorable and a success. Great hype will get people returning and encourage others to attend.