My First Gala

All my life I have worked auctions with my family, so when my brother asked me to join him as a bid assistant at a benefit auction in Minneapolis I jumped at the chance. Over years, I had observed Andy’s work as a Benefit Auctioneer Specialist, and I’d realized it was different than household estates, farm equipment or even real estate auctions. I was so excited, I jumped at the opportunity to try something new.

The biggest challenge was going to be making the time. My full time job at the time had me working in St. Cloud from till 5:30 p.m., and they needed me in Minneapolis by 7:00 p.m. Fueled by excitement, I worked my full day, changed into a suit at my work, and drove straight to the event.

Arriving five minutes early, I began learning about the event. It was a huge gala for the American Heart Association. The goal of the night was to raise money for 2 pieces of research. Understanding the details of each was important so I could be an ambassador of the mission that night.

The first initiative was titled: Heart in a box. This research was to design and produce a specialized cooler that could prolong the amount of time a heart could survive outside of a human body for transfer. The human heart can survive outside a human body for a little under four hours. The reason why this was so important was because of distance. Transporting a heart from either the west coast or the east coast to Minnesota where one of the best heart transplant hospital is can be a huge challenge, and more time could save lives.

The second initiative was titled: Heart in a pig. This research was centered around being able to grow human hearts in pigs because thousands of people die on the heart transplant list every year. I may be possible to use pigs to could grow the necessary hearts for transplantation.

With these two noble goals in mind I began to work the floor during the live auction. I spent my time talking to attendees, building rapport and generally having a good time. I realized as I built relationships with these people and started to being able to read them, I was able to goaded a couple of people into bidding again, after all was said and done I had personally convinced donors to give up to another fifteen thousand dollars that wouldn't have occurred without me working the floor.

After all was said and done I left the event with energy and excitement pumping through my veins. I had gotten to work at 9 a.m. and finally let me head hit the pillow at 11:45 p.m., but it was all worth it! This was the night I fell in love with benefit auctions, and I knew I had to do everything I could to keep working them.

By Michael Imholte

Michael ImholteComment