By D. Channing Muller Posted April 21, 2010, 9:40 AM EDT
MIAMI/SOUTH FLORIDA High school classmates Andi Dyal and Jennifer Schwartz went their separate ways to attend college at New York University and University of Florida, respectively—but both became event planners. After stints working on projects such as Fashion Rocks, Condé Nast’s now-defunct annual fashion show and concert in New York, Dyal returned to Miami in 2006 to work as the Biltmore Hotel’s senior social events catering manager.
The two women reconnected in early 2008, when Schwartz, the former marketing and special event coordinator at Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Miami, began working with Dyal to plan a fund-raiser at the Coral Gables property. “When I was dealing with Andi—whom I didn’t realize I knew from school—I kept thinking she was very professional and got back to me really quickly,” Schwartz says. “It turns out she was thinking the same thing.”
Once they figured out that they knew each other (both had changed their surnames after getting married), they started talking about going into business together. In June 2008, the duo founded Anjé Soirees.“Each of us came to this company with different backgrounds in terms of event experiences, which forms this great dynamic,” Dyal says.
Through their new firm, the partners have organized monthly networking and cocktail parties for the Green Monkey Yoga Studio in Miami and coordinated Self magazine’s Yogapalooza with Crunch Fitness in Lummus Park in September.“I told [Andi] what she needed to do, and she created a point-by-point checklist of what I said and made sure it was done,” says Self promotion director Mark Harnett. “I only had to explain everything once, and she had great follow-up, with pictures for me to send to our clients. Anjé turned out to be a great one-stop-shop.”
Anjé’s nonprofit roster includes one of the city’s most exclusive charity galas of the year, the Vizcaya Museum and Gardens’ ball. The event committee contracted the team in 2008 and 2009 to help plan the black-tie dinner on the historic property for 300 donors.
“Their biggest strength has been their ability to work as a team and flesh out what needs to be done, then reduce it to paper so [the committee] knows what to do,” said Don Kress, president of the property’s fund-raising organization, the Vizcayans. “They put in really long hours, and their ability to negotiate contracts with the caterers, musicians, and all related groups for an event is excellent.”