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Listening to Rebecca Linder talk about event planning and the art of engaging your audience is akin to being Luke Skywalker sitting down with Yoda to discover how to balance boulders with your mind. Or, for a more earth-based analogy, like being in a master class led by either Gloria Steinem, Melinda Gates or Sheryl Sandberg. Rebecca is generous with her knowledge, eloquent in her speaking and masterful in her planning and team-building. She is on the pulse of what gets people excited about getting involved in something bigger than themselves. She is the corporate world’s secret weapon, and they’re lucky to have her.

It would be easy to say that Rebecca was born to be great at something. Her mother is Jamaican and her father is American, both of whom worked for the Foreign Service. Rebecca was born in West Africa and lived there, as well as in Brussels and Jordan, before moving to the U.S. at age 6. She returned to international life for high school in Greece, then back to the states to attend Boston University. Ever the pragmatist, Rebecca majored in economics and political science, but her flair for production couldn’t keep her from minoring in acting. After college, she tried acting but found the requirement to merely play a role for a limited amount of time wasn’t as satisfying as being part of the set design team and creating a world for the characters. She decided to shift to working behind the scenes, and in 1997 launched Linder Global Events, a decision that many would’ve regarded as short-sighted, but turned out to be innovative as all get out.

And one of Linder’s first jobs was managing an event for Mars (yes, THAT Mars) because a company executive who was also on the Board of the Smithsonian heard that she brought a unique quality to her work. That quality is best described as “three-dimensional thinking”.  Rebecca is more than an event planner because she doesn’t just see a client’s event as the first and last thing to be done; no, she sees the ‘Big Picture,” the branding, the messaging, the impact; she sees the potential lines of growth that come out of that event.  In a nutshell, events are merely the first step in bringing a company’s message to masses and using that message to have a positive effect on the stakeholders and communities associated with it.  Her company’s relationship with Mars is one of its most enduring.  As a long-standing partner, Linder Global Events has had the opportunity to work together with Mars to create and facilitate a myriad of events including a variety of leadership summits, their global flagship recognition program, engagement programs, as well as teambuilding and community outreach activities.  It’s exciting for her to see the work evolve over the last two decades.

Linder manages some of the DC-area’s most well-known events and prestigious philanthropic endeavors: The National Cherry Blossom Parade; Trust for the National Mall; USA Science and Engineering Festival (385,000 attendees and 2500 exhibitors); Landmark Music Festival, (50,000 attendees) and the grand opening of the National Museum of African American History and Culture in 2016. And that’s just to name a few. Linder’s clients include a virtual who’s who of Fortune 100 companies and nonprofits. Rebecca purposefully works with organizations that are doing their best to make the world a better place. And she does her part, too, sitting on the board of Generation Hope and serving as a mentor to the scholars and an advisor to the board for LearnServe International. Serving individual people, communities, and the planet is what makes Rebecca’s world go ‘round.

Rebecca is, simply put, a legend. No one helps organizations raise money like she does. Her company has earned a sterling reputation due to her outstanding leadership and fearlessness.  While many in her cohort deride millennials and their reputation as slackers, Rebecca believes they are the future of technology and advancement in all aspects of civic engagement. She sees that they are driven by their desire for authentic connection and hearing truths rather than platitudes. She believes in valuing service and using your position to do good in the world. Anyone who knows about her company has nothing but praise for what Rebecca and her team are helping others accomplish every day. She earned the Smart CEO Family Business Award in 2016, and Washington Business Journal ranks Linder in the top 5 largest LGBT-owned companies. And if you think she’s anything less than down-to-earth, consider the facts that her parents were her first employees, and that her partner Lisa and two beautiful children are the guiding forces in her life.

Anytime you have the chance to talk to Rebecca it is a gift. People inevitably walk away from conversations with her thinking, “Dang! I wish I’d have thought to ask her about xyz,” or “I cannot WAIT to get out and do something good in my community, too.” Perhaps it’s her passion for her work, or her dedication to her family, or just the fact that she’s one of those individuals who radiates something the rest of us aspire to harness within ourselves.

Whatever it is, Rebecca is special. Check her out at https://linderglobal.com

 

 

 

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nancyross and verratti