Monthly Archives: January 2014

4th annual AT&T YOUNG STARS SHOWCASE…. celebrating Aventura Marketing Council’s 25th anniversary

The beautiful Aventura Arts & Cultural Center recently welcomed over 300 guests, eager to see the Broadway-themed 4th annual AT&T YOUNG STARS SHOWCASE presented by Northwestern Mutual / Laser Financial Group.  A double celebration was in order as the Aventura Marketing Council (AMC) celebrated its 25th anniversary during the show, with AMC Chairman Cliff Schulman, Weiss Serota Helfman, once again serving as Event Chair.  Proceeds from the event benefited the AMC Education Foundation, supporting their educational and cultural outreach initiatives.


Fans join the Young Stars on stage for grand finale performance

As the doors to the theatre opened, guests were awestruck by seven year-old pianist Brandon Goldberg, dressed in a tux, playing his little heart out....all Broadway songs...and all from memory.  Brandon also provided accompaniment for one of the singers, as well as learning a medley of all the songs for the grand finale...what an amazing young man!

The first act was a surprise as the Aventura Marketing Council Troupe, choreographed by Jennifer Wilson, featured Elaine Adler, AMC; Maria Galletti, Aventura Turnberry Jewish Center; Elisa Silverstein, Rainbow Circus Productions; Ran Oz, CooLAM Productions; Aventura Comm. Billy Joel; Ben and Belkis Launerts, Parksman Parking; Fernando and Jaqui Levy Hara, mckafka Development Group; and Claudio Stivelman, S2 Development, all sang and danced to “We’ve Got Magic To Do” from the award-winning Broadway show, Pippin.  The show-stopping costumes, aerialists and dancers from Rainbow Circus Productions combined with the AMC Troupe performance, brought the house down... (but the rehearsals were the most fun of just had to see Ben Launerts trying on his spandex costume!)

Emcees for this special evening were popular entertainment reporter for Deco Drive (WSVN 7), Shireen Sandoval and Nickelodeon’s newest star of the series Every Witch Way, Nick Merico, one of the Young Stars featured in the 2010 AT&T YOUNG STARS SHOWCASE.

As each young singer took the stage, the audience applause and appreciation grew: Savannah Ashton, 16; triplets Brandon, Kaitlyn and Kyle Dawson, 13; Tiffany Donates, 16; Austin Gladstone, 15; Michelle Palm Martin, 14; Lannie Rubio, 14; Bianca Sirgany-Castro, 19; Alli Taylor, 16 and Isabella Vargas, 11; and VIP pianist Brandon Goldberg, 7 years old.  Throughout the night, the stage was filled with song and the talented dancers from Rainbow Circus Productions, overseen by Ran Oz.

Another surprise was in store after intermission  as Cliff Schulman, Comm. Joel and Ran Oz, complete with top hats, tux and canes,  brought the audience to their feet with their rendition of  “There’s No Business Like Show Business.”

Dr. Wilbert “Tee” Holloway, Area Director for Corporate and External Affairs with AT&T, said

“The AT&T YOUNG STARS SHOWCASE experience extends beyond the stage and the youngsters’ performances.  At the heart of this experience is a caring community that exposes our youth to the rigors and responsibilities of stagemanship.  We truly want to thank the entire community for supporting this outstanding opportunity.”

Jordan Laser, Managing Director of Northwestern Mutual / Laser Financial Group, said “The talent of these children continue to grow each and every year and I am so grateful that I can continue to support the dreams of everyone involved as presenting sponsor once again of the YOUNG STARS SHOWCASE.”

Citibank came aboard as a Gold Sponsor in honor of their new second Aventura branch at 189th & Biscayne Blvd. and Comm. Billy and Sandra Joel also were Gold Sponsors for the second consecutive year.

In the spirit of giving back, Herb and Gloria Barker of Barker Animation Art Gallery, gave each Young Star a piece of Disney artwork, and ten special “Friends of the Young Stars” included Ken Bernstein; Ron Book; Ben Cohen; Bill and Carole Landa; Alex and Monique Halberstein; Comm. Billy and Sandra Joel; Hon. Bob and Arlene Diamond; Stephanie, Jules and Eddie Trump; Diane and Alan Matus; and Elaine and Howard Adler.  Comm. Joel served as Commemorative Program Book Chairman to ensure a big, beautiful commemorative program book.

After the show, an exquisite dessert reception in the lobby of the Aventura Arts & Cultural Center featured tiramisu, macarons, chocolate ganache and cookies courtesy of The Cheese Course, Il Mulino, Mo’s Bagels & Deli, Novecento and Rococoa Café.

As the 2013 AT&T YOUNG STARS SHOWCASE drew to a close, plans were already underway for the 2014 show scheduled for Sunday, December 7th at the Aventura Arts & Cultural Center.  This year’s show was definitely the best yet....and so the question remains...what will they do to top it next year?

Highlights of the show will soon be up on Youtube.  For more information on the AT&T YOUNG STARS SHOWCASE, call the Aventura Marketing Council (305) 932.5334 or visit 

Photography by Andrew Goldstein

Aventura Hospital and Medical Center hosts ‘brand building’ expert Janice Winter

“Getting to know you – and go to you” was the brand-building theme of the day when Aventura Hospital  and Medical Center hosted an Aventura Marketing Council breakfast meeting featuring marketing and business development expert Janice Winter of Janice Winter Inc. -  specializing in building branded businesses, retail operations and customer engagement.

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(L to R: Front row) Alisa Bert, Aventura Hospital and Medical Center; Janice Winter, Janice Winter, Inc.; Dianne Goldenberg and Kathryn Walton, Aventura Hospital and Medical Center; (L to R: Back row) Tony Gomez, Elaine Vinas, Denver Hopkins, Denise O’Connell and Judy Newman, Aventura Hospital and Medical Center

Bob Hollander of Brown & Brown Insurance, standing in for AMC Cliff Schulman of Weiss, Serota, Helfman, helped welcome hundreds of “famous name” business and community leaders gathered at Florida International University’s Kovens Conference Center along with Aventura Hospital CEO Dianne Goldenberg. During the “A-List” AMC networking event, guests learned  about Aventura Hospital’s “A-List Healthcare” encompassing comprehensive patient services and state-of-the-art technology facilitating greater efficiency and rapid care.

Goldenberg noted, “Every day, we’re focused on how our team at Aventura Hospital can provide the best Emergency Department staff, the best doctors and nurses, cardiovascular surgeons, anesthesiologists,  pathologists, oncologists, respiratory therapists, lab techs, behavioral  health workers, wound care, diabetes education, and overall operations. We’re here to serve the community with an ongoing commitment to providing ‘A-List Healthcare.’”

Striking up the “brand,” Winter provided insight into how iconic brands are built. Formerly an executive with Estee Lauder, Winter went on to serve as president of Judith Ripka Companies, playing a pivotal role in leading the growth of the business from its early stages as an entrepreneurial startup into a renowned luxury lifestyle brand with 13 U.S. retail locations and over 200 points of wholesale distribution. She also founded Luxury Brand Consulting, Inc. in 2007 - a company focused on brand building, marketing and business development,

“Branding is based on developing a set of associations so consumers can make an emotional connection,” Winter explained. “Building a brand involves talking about your culture and what you stand for.”

Sharing the Judith Ripka success story, Winter emphasized, “Our strategy was centered on product differentiation and customer engagement to forge relationships and become part of the community. We made it fun to come to our stores and created a jewelry and lifestyle brand for women who had a lot of roles to play in their lives. We also focused on being a ‘value engineer’ by building stores that looked beautiful for a whole lot less.  Consistency is key - so our sales team had to have a total understanding of who we were and what we stood for in terms of the ‘customer experience’ regardless of what town we were opening a store in.

“Building a brand starts with digging in to understand what customers are looking for, what their needs are, where you’re going to resonate and how you’re going to differentiate. Ultimately, building a brand and building a business evolves from finding your authentic story, communicating it, and engaging with the customer. Be determined, find your passion, make it your own and have a ball doing it!”

For more information about Aventura Hospital and Medical Center, phone: 305-682-7000 or visit To learn more about brand building with Janice Winter, phone: 631-944-2883 or visit

Written by Bari Auerbach

Photography by Andrew Goldstein

Barker Animation Art Gallery 2nd annual ‘Art from the Heart’

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Gloria Barker, Barker Animation Art Gallery; Emcee Channing Crowder, NFL Alumni; Herb Barker, Barker Animation Art Gallery

 “Only a life lived for others is a life worthwhile-” Albert Einstein….. and Gloria and Herb Barker live that philosophy every day.

As owners of Barker Animation Art Gallery in The Village at Gulfstream Park and the Barker Character and Comic Museum in Cheshire, CT., they own one of the largest personal collections of animation and entertainment artwork and character collectible toys and artifacts on the planet.

Best known for their philanthropic contributions, the Barkers have donated over $1.8 million in animation artwork for children’s hospitals during the last nine years, as well as an unbridled enthusiasm for art appreciation.   They have also donated over $250,000 of artwork to JAFCO, Jewish Adoption and Foster Care Options, $100,000 of artwork to the Hollywood Boys and Girls Club and recently were awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award for their donations. Gloria and Herb became very active with the Embrace Girls Foundation and have sponsored the first “Glo’s Room” makeover at The Lenore B. Smith Elementary School in Liberty City. Gloria also received the Miami Gardens “Excellence in Education” Council Honors Award for her work with that organization. Some of their major donation recipients include: Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital, Miami Children’s Hospital and Mount Sinai Medical Center.

This year, the Barkers partnered with the Aventura Marketing Council for the second year to donate a magnificent mixed media serigraph of the centennial of the Statue of Liberty, signed in gold by artist Melanie Taylor Kent.

The event was hosted by Aventura Turnberry Jewish Center, where over 70 AMC member charities, non-profits, religious organizations and schools received this very generous donation, no strings attached.  Some organizations chose to place the artwork on auction, some wanted to present it to a major sponsor, and some wanted to brighten a child’s hospital room with it.

“The Statue of Liberty is our symbol of freedom, hope and opportunity...needed so much today,” said Herb Barker, when asked about his reason for selecting this piece of artwork.

“I was just thrilled to see the happy and delighted faces of the wonderful friends who came to the Art from the Heart event,” said Gloria Barker.   “These people dedicate their lives to helping others, and I want to continue living so I can continue giving!”

Herb summed up their philosophy on life, saying “My hope in giving is that I make the world a little bit better of a place.”

Barker Animation Art Gallery is located in The Village of Gulfstream Park at 1270 Seabiscuit Trail, Hallandale Beach 33009.  For more information, contact 888.224.2357 or visit

Photography by Andrew Goldstein