• Meet Victoria Schmidt, From World War II to 2017

     
    FROM THE Fall 2017 ISSUE
     

    As a 96-year-old, Victoria Schmidt has been working and writing since college, and she doesn’t plan on stopping.

Ninety-six years young—that’s how Victoria Schmidt, an author, speaker, career/life coach and whole host of other titles, describes herself. 

Clearly, she’s a very busy woman.

“Having lived this long, I’m still working very hard and am happy to do it,” she says. “I feel gifted. It’s my gift to give and keep on giving.”

Born on April 21, 1921, Schmidt grew up during the Great Depression, and the world, she says—is so different than it was then. 

Schmidt’s career and life path runs the spectrum. After college, she became a model and then, during the war, held jobs that were primarily for men at that time. She then went onto journalism, serving as a fashion editor for Women’s Day Magazine, and after that opened her own PR firm.

Twenty years after opening the business, a friend encouraged her to run for the New Jersey Assembly. While she lost, she did catch the eye of then Governor Tom Kean, who appointed her director of travel and tourism for New Jersey. This was in 1982. 

“Those times were what I refer to as the golden years,” she says. “Everything was upbeat and positive.”

While holding that position, Schmidt championed the state’s now-famous slogan, “New Jersey and You: Perfect Together.”

“I worked hard and worked with every aspect of tourism and all of the people who were working throughout the state and the communities,” she says. “It was my profession to bring attention to the state and how wonderful we are.”

As seems to be her custom, Schmidt worked in a number of positions after her director role ended in 1990. Recently, she released a book, “Victoria’s 95 Secrets to a Happy, Healthy, Long Life.” A few secrets? Practicing the power of positive thinking, don’t take growing old sitting down and don’t dwell on mistakes you’ve made. 

But will she stop there? Outlook unlikely. 

“I can’t stop working,” she says. “I want to get the message out of the things that I’ve learned. It’s my mission.” 

In the wake of COVID-19, the Philadelphia Convention and Visitors Bureau (PHLCVB) set out to provide planners with up-to-date intel and sound advice, appointing Dr. David Nash, founding dean emeritus of the Jefferson College of Population Health, in the process as its chief health advisor. Dr. Nash and Kavin Schieferdecker, senior vice president of the CVB’s convention division, share how the partnership came to be and its potential lasting impact.

 

Retreats and off-site meetings present wonderful opportunities for groups to collaborate, strategize and build relationships away from their normal office environments. With proper planning, these sessions can be highly effective and even pivotal in setting a new direction. However, off-sites may present some unforeseen challenges that can quickly deflate the energy in the room if not anticipated and addressed in advance.

 

A lifelon New Yorker, Emily Schmalholz was a TV producer at VH1 before moving into the events industry and landing at Westchester’s The Capitol Theatre. As director of special events at the historic space and its bar, Garcia’s, she says creating events and working in television have lots in common. “The ultimate goal for both is to tell a great story and create memorable moments.” Schmalholz, a self-described “event therapist,” had more to say about her work.

What’s the biggest difference between producing for television and producing events?