My First Bell

December 7th was a pretty exciting day for me. Not only did I get to plan my first Closing Bell event, but I also got to be on the podium and ring the bell right next to performers from our Eclectic Christmas Choral concert and Donna Doherty, the woman whose tree is now on our doorstep. I have to say it was pretty magical how all of this happened. It was exactly 16 days into my new position as the Managing Director of Events (I had only been in NYC for 17 days) and everything was moving really fast. The tree lighting ceremony and the holiday party were my debut production events with my new team. The tree lighting ceremony, in its 88th year, is one of the oldest in NYC and the NYSE staff holiday party well, need I say more…. We are talking about tradition and 1,200 NYSE family members ready to eat, drink and be merry.  My team and I were anxious to put on a good show.

I was at my desk working on the details when I got a phone call from Donna Doherty. She told me a story about the beautiful Norway Spruce that had been her sons’ climbing tree for 17 years, and how she was forced to have it taken down because it was growing too close to her home. The arborist told her that the tree was given to us, and all she wanted to do was see the tree in its glory outside the façade of our Landmark building. I liked Donna immediately, but I was still trying to figure out what I do in this huge place, let alone try to figure out how to get her family into the Exchange to see her tree one more time. The three people in my office were preoccupied with discussing the weather report which forecasted rain all day long for my outside event – yikes! I scribbled some notes and politely but quickly explained my situation to Donna. She was very understanding, but I could hear the disappointment in her voice when she assumed that this was going to be another dead end conversation. Don’t worry though, this story has a happy ending. Not only were we able to get Donna and her entire family in to see her special tree being lit, we were also able to offer her a spot on the Bell podium on Friday to commemorate her experience.

The tree lighting ceremony was tagged – Expanding Borders – Spreading Holiday Cheer. We served Swiss-Miss hot cocoa with Reddi-wip (compliments of our listed company ConAgraFoods, NYSE:CAG) to literally thousands of people who walked by Broad and Wall. The Eclectic Christmas Chorals began at 2:00 p.m and went until 5:30 p.m.  Even though it misted all day long, the smiles on people’s faces made me feel like sunshine was beaming down on me. The holiday party was a hit. Friday’s celebratory holiday Bell closed the market up higher than it began. What a great 2 days. A picture speaks a thousand words. Check these out yourself.