Mary Morrison joined the Clinton Global Initiative at its inception in 2005 as director of membership. Her current responsibilities as director of operations—working on several large events per year, including the three-day annual meeting in New York—have taken her to Hong Kong to plan for the first C.G.I. International affair this December.
Flowers: “Aisling Flowers has been our florist from Day One. Tess Casey works well with us; she’s made a commitment to the organization because [C.G.I.] is helping to change the lives of people around the world. Aisling takes every opportunity to make more out of less money. Tess is very conscious with our budget, always pushing the envelope while aiming to be eco-friendly. She understands that the people we’re catering to are diplomats and that the events need to be elegant with a socially conscious message. Her work consistently has lasting values: She has created vases filled with apples that were later donated to City Harvest, and her vases and materials are sustainable—sometimes hand-picked from Africa.”
Production: “California-based company Five Currents has also been with us since the beginning. They oversee the creative and production services of all our events. In a moment’s notice, they will move with us to Asia and New York to scope out venues and vendors. They are also responsible for introducing us to our local production management company, Lankey and Limey.
“I can really depend on Lankey and Limey. They are the liaison for all of our local labor. This year, at the staff after-party at Moda, the crew worked well into the middle of the night loading up the sets. I can’t be in two places at once, and I trust Dominic will have things under control behind the scenes, best representing President Clinton and his foundation.”
Set Design: “Eight Hands High has worked with us since 2005, and like our other vendors, they consistently make our events worthy of our attendees. While designing elegant and functional scenery, they stay mindful of our budget and our desire to be socially and environmentally conscious in all facets of our event.”
Venue: “Our hotel options are limited in New York, because our opening and closing ceremonies for the annual meeting involve 1,300 guests. The Sheraton New York ... goes above and beyond to accommodate our challenging requests, from redesigning a space before an event, allowing us to take over the hotel for an entire week, or covering their walls with our material. They are always kind and friendly while giving up every nook and cranny for C.G.I.; they once moved the bag- and coat-check area so we could use it as a gift-bag distribution room. We’ve used them for a few years and have formed a great bond and partnership.”
Security: “T&M Security understands the extra consideration that has to be taken when dealing with such an eminent crowd. The partner of the company used to be a Secret Service agent, taking care of big delegation security. He has great connections with the police. When we have 35 to 45 heads of state, business leaders, Bill Gates, and Bill Clinton in one room, they coordinate everything to ensure the safety of the event’s guests. They close down the streets; they have contacts to make sure the police are in the loop to help stop traffic when the motorcades come through.”