By Leah R. Harrison
More than 700 people gathered at the Buckhead Theatre on Tuesday, May 12, for FED Talks, the Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta’s campaign closing and community event. The evening honored oral surgeon Perry Brickman with Federation’s 2015 Lifetime Achievement Award.
The first of the night’s three guest speakers, Joel Peresman, the CEO and president of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Foundation, carried forward what seemed to be the theme of the night, gratitude. He reflected on his good fortune at being able to work for an institution and in an industry he loves. From his roots at the William Morrison Agency to management positions at Madison Square Garden, Peresman now oversees the major marketing and fundraising efforts of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s museum and library and archives.
Spanx CEO Jan Singer told of her fortuitous journey from secretary to chief executive. After leaving New York to go home to Massachusetts to gain the necessary typing skills, she returned to the Big Apple and never looked back. She rose through the ranks at brands including Chanel, Calvin Klein, Prada, Reebok and Nike and took the helm at Spanx in Atlanta 10 months ago. She told of the combination of guts, chutzpah and hard work that led her to her new role.
Dr. Joshua Green a community mission to Israel and Hungary in 2008 opened his eyes to the work of the Federation system. Since then he has served in many capacities in Sarasota, Fla., and in 2009 joined the Jewish Federations of North America’s National Young Leadership Cabinet, for which he is now co-chair designate. While he has a thriving urology practice specializing in male infertility, Green and his wife, Julie, make it a priority to commit time and resources to Federation.
A brief video about Brickman’s efforts to expose the history of discrimination against Jews at Emory University’s School of Dentistry shifted the focus to the new Lifetime Achievement Award winner. His children, Lori, Teresa and Jeff, detailed many of their father’s admirable qualities.
His wife of 60 years, Shirley, told of how they met when she and a friend visited the Emory campus when he was a college sophomore and she was a high school sophomore. Emory was not yet coed (women were first admitted in 1953), so, she said, girls on campus were a hot commodity.
Brickman thanked Federation and accepted the award with deep appreciation, gratitude and humility.
Slideshow: FED Talks 5-12-15