Getting to know the "Gala Team"

Who's behind one of the biggest parties in San Francisco? Meet the lovely ladies who make up the Minds Matter of San Francisco's Gala Team: Sonali Sheel (left), Camille Merritt (middle), and Naoko Miyamoto (right).

(Not only are they super amped for MMSF's Spring Gala 2013, but they also love getting groovy at Roller Disco)!



(Regarding the Spring Gala) What are you most excitedabout?

Naoko: I'm excited to see your lovely faces there!

Camille: The VIP section is going to be pretty amazing – Champagne, Fireball, and a Chef-manned hor d'oeuvres station – can't really go wrong. The photobooth is pretty exciting too!

Sonali: We just secured an exciting collaboration with TrendSeeder, a NYC-based company that links emerging designers to customers. They are organizing local designers to attend the event, models to wear their clothing, and setting up a pop-up shop for guests to purchase items.

Highlights of this year's Gala?

Naoko: I can’t give everything away, but we’ll have three bars, a cool DJ duo, and a special performance by Hubrist before they head off to South by Southwest.

Camille: ...and of course an incredible crowd!

How was last year's Gala?

Sonali: Last year's Gala set the bar high. The DJ said it  was "the craziest non-profit party he's ever been to." We sold out the venue and enjoyed spending the night dancing and drinking for a great cause. We were also able to raise awareness for Minds Matter throughout San Francisco, which was really beneficial to the organization.

How did you get involved with throwing the Spring Gala?

Camille: I started out volunteering as a mentor last year and wanted to get more involved, so this year I joined the fundraising team as VP of Events. After throwing a couple events in the fall, I joined as a co-chair to help run ticket sales.

Sonali: I really enjoy planning events and have been a part of Minds Matter as a mentor for 2 years now. I love the organization and wanted to get more involved!

Naoko: I was on the Gala Committee last year and wanted to be more involved this year.  The Gala is a big part of MMSF’s success and allows us to send our amazing mentees to great summer programs.

Also, it turns out I like to throw big parties.

Noted! So, what do you think about this year's venue?

Sonali: The Julia Morgan Ballroom is a beautiful venue in the heart of downtown SF. It is a classy space that is large enough to give guests the option to have a drink and talk, peruse the silent auction, take a photo at the photobooth or rock out on the dance floor.  I am looking forward to seeing the venue come to life on March 9th.

Naoko: Julia Morgan Ballroom is a gorgeous venue with great views of the city.  People can hang out by the two fireplaces, the cushioned seats next to the windows, and admire SF from the 15th floor. Ladies, this is also a very popular wedding venue if you are in the market for one!

Camille: Julia Morgan Ballroom is really beautiful! It's bigger and better than last year - with lots of space for dancing!

Speaking of dancing – are people planning on dancing all night?

Naoko: The after-party will be at 5A5, they're opening their doors to us for the second year in a row.  It’s just a few blocks away from the Gala, so it’ll be easy to get to. More than anything, it’s a place where we can continue our festivities late into the night!

Do you already have your dress?

Sonali: I just got mine!I'm excited to see everyone dressed up and ready to party - it's shaping up to be an unforgettable night!

Naoko: Yes and no. It's fun to have an excuse to shop!

Camille: Not yet... but whatever I end up wearing will involve sequins.

Final part(y)ing thoughts?

Camille: Can't wait to see some of SF's smartest, most attractive people on March 9th! Don't forget to buy your ticket here!

Naoko: Keep an eye out for our Hyphy Committee!

Sonali: If you are on the fence about coming, I can promise a great night! It is a once a year opportunity to party with some of SF's finest young professionals for a truly great cause.