Those classic Frank Sinatra lyrics, "If I can make it there, I'll make it anywhere," are always on my mind when I start something, or someplace, new. Born and raised in Staten Island, New York, 'making it' to me as a young woman meant having an Upper East Side apartment, a city job that required a briefcase (when it was still cool to carry one), brunch on a Sunday at Bubby's and getting in my 6-mile evening run around Central Park.
I remember the first time I felt like I had truly made it. It was July 1999, and I had successfully achieved all of the items listed above, yet the career was still on a low simmer. I was standing in front of my office fax machine at New York City Parks & Recreation (well before Leslie Knope made working at Parks & Rec a fun place to be). Our team was reviewing the final plans for Moon Day, an event we had dreamed up to celebrate the 30th Anniversary of the landing on the moon.
This was my second year creating partnerships and coordinating events with Parks and Rec, yet it was my first big production in Central Park. It was at this time, still standing at the fax machine, that I got the call. Moon Day would be featured in the Family Fare section of the New York Times. It was a small piece, but I was giddy. It was happening.
The event turned out to be a big success for our team. From Neil deGrasse Tyson, to the CBS broadcast of the lunar landing, to a perfectly-timed spot with Park's Commissioner Henry Stern and Buzz Aldrin (yes, the second man to walk on the Moon) riding across Sheep's Meadow in the Omega Lunar Rover. The day would not have been possible without a little help from our friends at Target, which at the time was a small, relatively unknown company (they would not open their first store in Manhattan for another decade)! I was thrilled when they said yes to my pitch for the title sponsorship of Moon Day, and I'm very happy that Target's relationship with Parks and Rec continues to this day.
After Moon Day, my talent for coordinating logistics, collaborating with clients and raising awareness for noble causes in fast-paced, high-profile environments continued to grow. From the NHL All-Star Weekend to the Lake Placid Film Festival, dinner under the stars with Isabella Rossellini to the UC San Diego Women's Conference. My favorite, however, was the opportunity to work three Olympic Games as part of NBC Universal's operations team.
I traveled from New York to LA, Sydney to Athens, London to Milan. I needed a new place to call home, and to keep track of my growing collection of bicycles and beanies! San Diego became that place in 2004, and although a far cry from New York's Central Park, the incredible people, the never-ending sunshine (okay, maybe not this month), and the easy access to the great outdoors is hard to beat.
Even with a home base for the past 12 years, the journey I am on is ever-changing. This idea of Top Rope Media came about in the fall of 2015, then simmered along in 2016. Now here we are in 2017, and I still enjoy meeting new people, learning about their needs, and thinking, hey, I can fix that. It's still exciting to build relationships between big brands and small non-profits. To grow memberships by helping people become better connected to a cause they love. The days of standing in front of my trusty fax machine, sending out personalized press releases and proposals are long gone. I still personalize, however, I now use a more rapid fire method: digital marketing.
As a strong, competitive woman, I am focused on getting to the finish line, and often forget to enjoy the journey. The beginning of a new year for me means starting fresh, launching this website and writing my first blog post. It also gives us the opportunity to enjoy the journey again. It's similar to that feeling you get when you climb a mountain. The sweaty palms, the adrenaline rush, the whipper you take as you fall from exhaustion, or from a misplaced hand or foot. Then seconds after the fall, there's the catch by your belay partner holding the other end of the rope. You're safe. Yet instead of calling it quits, and being lowered to the ground, you steady yourself, raise your head and continue on your journey. You start fresh.
- Meredith C. McConvill