Event Innovators 2011: What's the Best Advice You've Received?

May 11, 2011, 8:00 AM EDT

Cara Kleinhaut, Bill Homan, Liz Neumark, Dan Mathieu

Photos: Dan Hallman for BizBash

“Life is rough, tough, and desperately unjust. That was taught to me by my math teacher when I was about 11 years old.”
Tom Webster, partner and creative director, Mother New York

“Do what you do and do it well. We’ve built our business by focusing on what’s in our wheelhouse and knocking it out of the park.”
Jayne Sandman, director, BrandLinkDC, Washington

“The best advice I’ve ever received was, don’t ever think you can’t do it alone.”
Barbara Lynch, chef and owner, Barbara Lynch Gruppo, Boston

“Never lose sight of what makes you different. Don’t try to homogenize because it seems like everyone else is really successful at one thing and you haven’t done that.”
Marina Birch, principal, Birch Design Studio, Chicago

“Don’t take yourself too seriously, because no one else does. I reflect that a lot in what I do with my events and how I run my business. You can have it all, but you just can’t have it all at once.”
Dan Mathieu, co-owner, Max Ultimate Food, Boston

“Never forget where you came from or your way back. I always take that to heart.”
Brian Aaron, president, Aaron’s Catering, Miami

“To surround myself with people who are a whole lot smarter than I am.”
Liz Neumark, C.E.O. and founder, Great Performances, New York

“Your true abilities come out in a time of crisis. How you handle it, how you stay calm, and how that shows to everyone else is the most important thing.”
Rita Gutekanst, co-owner, Limelight—Food Illuminated, Chicago

“The best advice I’ve received was from my father, who told me that you set a goal, you put your head down, and you work really hard. Don’t listen to all the words around you, but just be focused. Give good value and be fair, and you’ll succeed.”
Bill Homan, partner, Design Cuisine, Washington

“Stay calm amongst all of the noise.”
Karla Dascal, president, Karla Conceptual Event Experiences, Miami

“Go with your gut. Don’t listen to other people; if you feel good about an idea, go for it.”
Bryan Rafanelli, founder, president, and C.E.O., Rafanelli Events, Boston

“The best advice I have is from a chef I trained with when I first started out. He used to say, ‘You don’t know the sweet until you taste the sour.’ And, being a chef, I just thought it was kitchen lingo—but it really is a life lesson.”
Domenic Chiaromonte, owner and chef, T2 Resto-Lounge and Events, Toronto

“If you’re not hearing ‘no’ enough, you’re not talking to enough people.”
Cara Kleinhaut, owner, Caravents Inc. Event Production & Design, Los Angeles and New York

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