On Friday 21st August 2009, The Armani Dinner for the STC Foundation event was held at the Sydney Theatre Company to raise much needed funds for the Foundation.

Having been to this event previously, I knew what to expect. The event and the companies associated with it belong to a brand group. This brand group is what I call the A-List group of companies.

They are brands that are all leaders in their fields in terms of quality, people, community and brand association. They do not sponsor something that doesn’t fit directly into their brand paradigm and they don’t let their brand be bastardised will-nilly with every event or opportunity that crosses their path.

People want to be associated with their brands. They want to belong, want to be invited and want to have some association in which to leverage their own personal brands.

The two brands that host the event are Armani and the Sydney Theatre Company. Armani is a globally dominant iconic fashion label only the mega wealthy, fashionable and deliciously sophisticated care to wear.

Sydney Theatre Company has over the years been the number one theatre group in Australia but was catapulted into another stratosphere when Oscar Winner and internationally recognised actress Cate Blanchett and her charismatic husband became the Artistic Directors.

Cate as we all know is one of the most loved actresses of our generation and is known as the Meryl Streep of modern times. She is in blockbusters and in low budget films and is known for her integrity as an actress and person.

Her husband Andrew Upton is well regarded, very talented and incredibly intelligent. He has vision, creativity and the love of a superstar. What more can one ask for?

Giorgio Armani is an icon. I can’t say more than that in fear that the words are not expressed as highly as I would like them to be, so I won’t try.

Together Armani and STC put on a yearly event and have done so for the past 3 years to raise funds. There are no B-Grade celebrities in sight like many events that invite celebrities just to have them there.

In the room there are business leaders, cultural experts, creatives, talented actors and singers. Each and every one of these people have something to contribute to the community and to the people around them.

As I looked around, I felt incredibly privileged to have been an invited guest at such an event.

There was Pink who incredibly generously donated her money to the tune of $42k along with her musical talents to sing a song for a donation of over $30k. She was beautiful, fun and looked like she really had a good time with the people who were there.

There were the Packers, Joel Edgerton, Mathew Newton and a host of other equally impressive and talented people.

People talked freely with each other on subjects such as child poverty and of course the arts. Not so much about fashion as one would expect although I couldn’t help myself but lead into a conversation about how much of a fan I am of Mr Armani.

We had a delightful young actress at our table, who was a shining example of the people that STC nurture. One day I am sure we will see her on the silver screen. She kindly complemented all the actors who performed that night and clearly is someone who is not only an actress but a good person with no airs or graces.

Companies represented in the room were not just any company, but ones that are aware of the benefits of arts to the community and are generous in their donations to the cause.

I can’t ever see this event exploding into one that has 1000’s of attendees. It is intimate, private and professional.

I can’t help but admire how well it was all orchestrated from the time of arrival to the hilarious MC’s, Cate and Andrew’s entertaining and meaningful speeches, Justin Millers brilliant auctioning skills (who else knows every name in the room and can coerce anyone into giving a generous donation through his charming and often cheeky demeanour) and the ensemble of talented actors that work for STC.

They even had an office band, who had only practiced their set that day. Oh, my gosh! I could have sat and watched them all day. They were brilliant.

The food was fabulous, the entertainment, simply the best and the company was intelligent, purposeful and genuine.

I do hope to be invited next year and thank both Armani and STC for the good they do for our community.

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Mellissah Smith

Mellissah Smith is a marketing expert with more than 20 years experience. Having founded and built two successful marketing companies internationally, she is well recognized as a industry thought leader and innovator. Mellissah started her career working with technology and professional services firms, primarily in marketing, public relations and investor relations, positioning a number of successful companies to list on the various Stock Exchanges around the world. She is a writer, technology developer and entrepreneur who shares her thoughts and experiences through blogs and written articles published in various media outlets. Brag sheet: #2 marketer to follow on Twitter (2003), Top 150 Marketers to Follow (2015), Top 10 innovative marketers (2014), 60K+ followers on Twitter with 97% authentic.

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