IT’S ANOTHER LILLY PULITZER TIE DAY for Scott George, who is in between morning business meetings and fundraising lunches at the Community AIDS Network ...
... One day last year, after 13 years of chairing galas for the Asolo Theatre, the gala re-opening the Historic Asolo Theater and the grand finale for the Sarasota Opera starring Barbara Cook, Scott sat down with Margaret Wise over lunch to get her advice on where to put his energies. She urged him to get involved with an organization he truly cared about. He’s now serving as the Community AIDS Networks’s first director of development, marketing and public relations. CAN Executive Director Michael Cuffage has turned him loose, knowing he’ll shake things up a bit.
My partner of 31 years, John Mason, brings me breakfast and newspapers every morning. It’s the only thing he does. (Just kidding.) Sixty percent of the time, I talk myself out of going to the gym before work. I could be weeding outside in the garden, or I could be making people crazy. Sometimes I watch MSNBC.
I drag my lazy Gordon setter, Nigel, out of bed around 9 o’clock. This is the laziest dog we’ve ever had. I am a clothes horse/old preppy with almost more Lilly Pulitzer than any woman in Sarasota. I was always used to getting dressed up for my former business, but, unless I’m out asking for money and support, I haven’t figured out what to wear other than khakis and a LaCoste shirt. I’ve got to choose from 20 pairs of khakis, 60 LaCoste shirts and 18 pairs of Gucci loafers. My partner calls me ‘Imelda.’ It’s harder to get dressed this way than putting on a suit, jacket and tie. I don’t know why, but it is. I have 30 suits I never wear and five tuxedos.
I get bombarded with tickets, requests, questions and more requests daily. I will be relieved when I can start focusing on fundraising — my main job the moment Stephen Sieg takes over CANDance. CANDance Co-Chairs Penny Hill and Jackie Rogers and I are in constant communication regarding everything from food and invitations to the auction items and seating arrangements. I was fighting with everybody about changing the CAN logo, but I got my way. I said it looked like a snail.
The most valuable part of my day is when our executive director, Michael Cuffage, and I sneak outside for sunshine and fresh air. I have 15 minutes alone with him, and I learn about CAN history; who to trust and not to trust; who I can be obnoxious with and who I can’t; his wife and my partner; our dogs and his schemes — he has these amazing ideas on how to take over the world. I adore this man.
I’m having fun lunching with friends and philanthropists (I take long, long, long fundraising lunches!) to generate interest in CAN, but in order not to gain weight, I no longer look at the menu, and just say, “Caesar salad, no croutons.” I had lunch with Sally Schule and Susan Jones at Libby’s. It was great fun, because Susan and I have been trying to meet each other for years. Everyone has been trying to put us together.
I’ve never worked for anybody else on a schedule, and I’ve never taken a nap in my life because I’m a AAA personality. (It’s worse than a Type A.) I actually will come home and pass out. For the last six months, I’ve actually had to report to an office. I hate them (offices). I feel like I’m wasting time and feel guilty. I leave the office every day at 3:30, and by 4, I’m usually trying to spend money at antique stores, Barnes & Noble or The Met.
Most people assume that John and I are out every night of the week. If I don’t have to go out, we are at home eating a glamorous dinner in front of the TV — Meissen china and Georg Jensen silver, mind you. I am a needle pointer and spend the rest of the evening working on a canvas, watching TV (idiotic housewives or foreign films) and talking on the phone at the same time. People always ask me what my favorite restaurant in town is, and I always say, “my house.”
DANCERS for CANDance are constantly calling to find out how many tables the other dancers are getting because the more tables, the better chance you have of winning. I get the checks for ticket sales. The minimal job is making sure the right people sit at the right tables. This should be an easy task, ha ha.
After a couple of cocktails at Epicure the other night, Anne (Weintraub) dragged me away from my guest to show me a CANDance rehearsal video, which was spectacular. Everyone is getting more excited and hysterical because they want to be the best they can be. They each get 10 dance lessons — Anne has already had 21, and you know she’s going to have more. They’re all working like demons. Our sales are going through the roof.