You’ll notice Amy Atkinson in a crowd. Her long strawberry-auburn tresses could star in their own movie.
You might hear Amy before you see her – that convivial personality and confident laugh. Her Ballet Ball co-chair, Amos Gott, is a little quieter when you first meet him. A steady sort, with perfect style. Less quiet the better you know him.
Amy and Amos stop in at Bacon today for a slightly offbeat interview about what it’s been like to work on this fundraiser together, what brings them joy, what makes them worry, what TV shows they like, and what they used to read when they had time.
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Hi, Amy and Amos! I know you’re pretty busy right now in the run-up to Saturday night’s party. I love and appreciate all your energy and enthusiasm in planning it! That being said…
True or false: Chairing one of Nashville’s biggest social events is time-consuming and sometimes soul-crushing work.
Amy: Ha ha ha! “Soul crushing?” No. It’s been time-consuming and soul-lifting. Truly, the Nashville Ballet support team has made it fun and easy.
Plus, there’s so much love for Nashville Ballet that fundraising was surprisingly easy. I am so grateful to the many friends who have supported Ballet Ball this year during Paul Vasterling’s 20th Anniversary and Ballet Ball’s 30th Anniversary.
Amos: Does it take a lot of time? No question. However, I wouldn’t say it’s soul-crushing. It’s been extremely rewarding!
How can you tell when your co-chair is stressed out? How does he or she relax?
Amy: Amos makes me calm because I know “he’s got this” and he does this type of thing all the time. However, I have seen him stress out about small things, like “where am I going to brunch?” and “what are you and Vincent saying about me?” Amos’ partner Vincent Dreffs has been one of my best friends LONG before the two of them met, so sometimes we like to tease him, which is fun (for us).
Amos: Rarely is Amy stressed out, but I can tell when she’s anxious. We’ve been friends for years so you just develop that sense. While I can’t say for certain, I’d say being with her posse of pups (and cat) are what help her relax. And probably a glass of wine…
What is your co-chair’s greatest strength?
Amy: His sense of style and his talent for being ahead-of-the-curve when it comes to cutting-edge event designs and experiences. He likes to do the unusual, the memorable, and always do it with style and beauty. His confidence in style choices and etiquette is a strength too.
Amos: The first I think of is patience and communication. She’s great at staying calm under pressure, and expressing her thoughts eloquently and typically with a bit of humor.
Please fill in the blank. My co-chair makes me crazy when…
Amy: When Amos isn’t available to socialize with us! It makes me crazy when I have a fun plan but he is booked. Ugh. Annoying.
Amos: Amy never drives me crazy! (Do you think I’m going to put this in writing?!?)
Dallas Wilt is your honorary chair. Thoughts?
Amy, speaking for both: Dallas has really been an integral part of this year’s trio of Ballet Ball leaders. She’s been with us every step of the way. Here’s a photo of the day we asked her — we tricked her to meet with us under the guise of another topic (“we need your accounting expertise”). She was absolutely shocked when we asked her. We promised – with fingers crossed – that she wouldn’t have to do ANY work whatsoever but she jumped in and helped with fundraising, planning, and creative ideas and simply added joy to all we did. We truly wanted to simply use the opportunity to honor her many years of work for the Ballet. However, she has so many talents and a volunteer spirit, that she was an active participant in all things Ballet Ball. I now consider her a beloved friend and I know Amos does too. We love Dallas!
Do you ever have a moment to read right now? If so, what do you like to read?
Amy: Right now? No, not a book. I read every morning while it is still dark, but it’s the news and daily articles about the ever-changing digital marketing field. No time for a book right now, which is a bummer… and embarrassing.
Amos: I wish I had the time to sit down and enjoy a good book these days, but that hasn’t been an option lately. However, I’m looking forward to having a bit more time after the Ball. Tim Ferriss’ “Tools of the Titans” and “Tribe of Mentors” are great motivators for me as he interviews the best in their fields (business, sports, military, entertainers, politicians, etc), asking them all basically the same type of questions. It’s easy to pick up and read and leave inspired and with some great advice.
Amy: My favorite books are about politics and history – I’ve read all of Jon Meacham’s books. I love biographies. But, I am also a big fan of some fiction and have read all of Pat Conroy and John Irving’s novels.
Note from Jennifer: I think you might like Virgil Wander by Leif Enger if you are in the mood to pick up a novel this Spring!
Amos: Michelle Obama’s book “Becoming” and “Honor and Respect” (I’m a sucker for my etiquette education!)
What TV series are you watching right now?
Amy: Currently, there’s no new series that is “must-see TV.” So, I am re-watching Mad Men (my fave). I love The Handmaid’s Tale, Game of Thrones, Power, and The Marvelous Mrs. Maizel … but I need new episodes! My favorite past TV series has to be The Tudors. I love period pieces and subscribe to streaming services for Brit Box and Masterpiece Theater.
Amos: Similar to the who-done-it books I read as a kid, shows like Manifest, Law and Order SUV and NCIS are favorites. And I love documentaries and docu-dramas, like Victoria on PBS. And of course a great comedy like Will and Grace.
Amy’s note: We are Will and Grace, Amos!
What’s the difference between watching a series and reading a book?
Amy: TV is non-committal. I am a multi-tasker (yes, I’ve read the latest research that says that’s bad… oh well, that’s what I am). When watching TV, I can also easily be on my computer, exercise, clean my house, etc.
Amos: For me, it’s the difference between focus and escape. Reading a book requires more concentration, thought and imagination, while watching a series generally is a mental escape.
What’s the difference between watching a series, reading a book, and walking a dog?
Amy: Walking a dog (or four, as in my case) is the greatest! Exercise, bringing joy to my dogs, seeing neighbors and enjoying the outdoors with my husband and our dogs. It’s the best.
Amos: Walking a dog requires the discipline to do it, but allows for an escape to the outdoors where anything from day dreaming to deep thought can occur.
What do you learn from your pet(s)? And: what do you learn from your significant other?
Amy: My pets teach me that soft blankets, treats and exercise are the best. Brannan is a daily example of how to be the best son/daughter to your parents. His care for his parents is impressive. He also takes great care of me including cooking fresh vegetables for me!
Amos: What I need to learn from my pets is how to relax, and sleep more. And what I learn from Vince is similar – to slow down and make more time for myself instead of work.
What makes you happy?
Amy: So many things! I love mornings, walks with Brannan, music, a clean house, healthy food, social media, girlfriends, pop culture, rescue dogs, fashion, great wines, and learning about the “next new thing.” My biggest hobby these days is hiking and it makes me happy in so many ways. I try to hike 5-6 miles at Radnor Lake several times a week. I am also a big fan of the arts scene here in Nashville, particularly Nashville Ballet and OZ Arts contemporary arts center. Brannan and I also love exploring Nashville’s many new restaurants with our friends.
Amos: Being exposed to things that inspire me. A gorgeous setting in nature, an extraordinary meal experience, reading a great blog post, or even something random that creates a new thought that I can build upon.
What do you worry about?
Amy: Ugh… you name it, I worry about it. It doesn’t keep me from doing things or enjoying life, i just worry about every scenario, possibility and remote tragedy. That’s another embarrassing admission. (You’re not printing this stuff are you?)
Amos: I work with a lot of projects at once, so it’s understandable that there are things to worry about. But I’m not one who lets fears and anxiety rule my thoughts, instead opting to keep myself on track and organized.
What is the meaning of Ballet Ball 2019? Alternatively: what is the meaning of life?
Amy: Ballet Ball is about celebrating the love of Nashville Ballet and the community that supports it. Ballet is a celebration of art, strength, health, grace, passion, and beauty. Ballet Ball features great music, food, friends, love, and fun. These are some of the best things in life and give it meaning – at least to me!
Amos: I worked on the design of the 2002 ball, which ultimately caused me to move to Nashville where I continued to design so many throughout the years since then. And this year’s ball is 17 years to the day since that event. So for me the meaning of Ballet Ball 2019 is celebrating the past 30 years while also celebrating the future by creating an event that is traditional in ways but also with elements never done before at the event or in the venue. Similarly, life should also be experienced the same way. With respect to your past, but striving to create new and exciting things of your future.
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Amy Atkinson is the founding partner of Amy Atkinson Communications – a marketing, PR and social media agency which focuses on senior-level integrated promotional work.
Amos Gott owns an event planning and design firm, specializing in social, corporate and non-profit events.