She’s got party DNA

August 1, 2012

“Absolutely I love a party! I was raised in a family that loved to entertain. My mother would say, ‘Oh, let’s have a hat party’–and all of a sudden there would be 100 people at the house, eating and drinking and having fun in their hats.”

“Or my father, the president of a Madison Avenue ad agency, would out of the blue call my mom and say, ‘I’m bringing 20 people home in 10 minutes.’ And there would be a party.”

Partying--and planning parties--are strands in Kim Gericke's DNA

So explained Event Sales Manager Kim Gericke when we stopped by Jules Catering’s Somerville office to become better acquainted with this newest member of the sales team. (Kim celebrates her first anniversary with Jules today, August 1.)

“By age three I knew how to pass trays and mix a martini!” Kim laughed.

Mad man’s daughter

Another ad man's daughter

It sounds a bit like Mad Men, we observed.

“It was straight out of Mad Men! Remember ‘Winston tastes good like a cigarette should‘? That was my Dad’s account.”

Are there similarities between you as a child and Don Draper’s daughter, Sally? 

“Not at all,” Kim countered. “Mostly what I learned from my parents was how to work really hard. To cite just one example, I’d go on shoots with my Dad and, as the boss’ daughter, I put in at least as much effort as anyone else.”

So your parents encouraged you to work hard and enjoy a party–

“That’s the way we were raised.”

A background in tv marketing and promotion 

“For much of my life I worked in television,” Kim continued, “starting off in a ‘Can I get you a cup of coffee?’ secretarial position, which also involved tape-dubbing. This was at WWOR TV in New York, and it worked out really well for me.”

“Before long there was an opening for a production assistant on the syndicated show Romper Room (1953-1994), where I was charged with keeping track of scripts and kids. TV production, by the way, is where I began to develop and hone my organizational skills.”

“After just six months on Romper Room a position opened up in WWOR’s Promotion Department, which is where I learned to write copy, including scripts for the voiceovers that ran as the credits rolled. It was exciting because I was writing for live announcers… This was live TV!”  

“Another really great part of this job happened each February when WWOR would fly me down to Florida, where all the Mets promos were shot. These were high-end commercials involving professional ball players, and it was fun.”

Don’t tell us you’re a Mets fan…

“No!”

“Things took a turn for the worse when I moved to a station in Hartford that also broadcast the Mets, because when that station was sold to FOX all the creative people were let go, including me. Which is what led to my moving to Boston and gradually transitioning into a full-fledged catering career.”

From television to catering

“First, on a very part-time basis, I worked for The Catered Affair. Later I became an Events Manager there, which suited me fine because I’m well organized and bossy,” Kim laughed. “On and off I worked with them for 10 years, eventually doing their marketing and advertising.” 

“From there I went to Different Tastes, which is where I learned how to sell catering, and then I moved on to Wildflour Catering. Now, as you know–because it’s my first anniversary–I’ve been with Jules for one full year.” 

Party set-up at a Jules-catered event

 

 Kim and Jules

Event Sales Manager Kim Gericke celebrates one year with Jules

“I’ve worked at some great places, but I have to say Jules’ food blows me away,” enthused Kim, unprompted. “Quality food is easy to sell.”

“And I love my job because I love to create a party. I think about it thematically, and because of my marketing background I give a lot of thought to who I’m trying to reach–and how.”

“One way I do this is by extrapolating from client websites. For example, leading up to a WebMD party I found a Thai Lettuce Wrap recipe among the website’s healthy recipes, and this kernel of an idea grew into a fabulous cocktail party. [Jules’ Owner-Chef] Anita is always wonderful to brainstorm with, and she just ran with this. She and the chefs are forever coming up with new ideas and fun themes.”

“Media people are my niche…I work with a lot of advertising agencies. It’s all about marketing and what’s a good fit.” 

When we asked Jules’ Director of Business Development, Jenny Willig, to weigh in on Kim’s first anniversary with Jules, Jenny said, “Kim, with her vibrant personality, has been a great addition to our team.  Her creativity and interest in food trends has helped her pull off some really fun events.”

 
Photo Credits:
Portraits of Kim: Liz Muir
Kiernan Shipka and John Hamm: Frazer Harrison/Getty Images North America
Romper Room: Wikimedia Commons
Mets Logo: New York Mets
Jules Party Set-Up: Liz Muir 
 
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