When she launched Allen Consulting in 1978, society’s views on women in the workplace were just beginning to shift, but Holmdel business leader has never been one to wait around. She blazed a career path that 40 years later has become one of the Garden State’s most lauded business success stories.
“From a very young age I was taught ‘all people are equal’ and I guess that has been my mantra. From being the first woman TV producer in the Twin Cities to the first radio salesperson with a Todd Storz radio station, it has been my goal to pave the way for women to be able to achieve the success they so richly deserve,” stated Allen.
Four decades later, she’s just getting started, with three wine festivals this year, including the Waretown Spring Wine Festival in South Jersey, the Jersey Shore Wine Festival in Lakewood, and the inaugural Cuisine on the Green Wine Festival in Little Egg Harbor; a brew fest in Aitkin, Minnesota; and a street fair in West Orange.
One might think this kind of calendar of events may be taxing for Allen, but they would be underestimating the event production, marketing and sponsorship maven who has produced more than 1,000 successful events throughout the country over the last 40 years, including Alaska’s iconic Iditarod, New York City’s famed San Gennaro Festival and New Jersey’s own Oceanfest.
Her efforts have not gone unnoticed. She’s taken home dozens of prestigious awards over the years, such as the Garden State Woman of the Year Award, two awards from New Jersey governors, and a Top 50 Women in Business Award.
Not one to rest on her laurels, or even simply rest, the author and speaker has taught peers and other professionals from all 50 states through major associations, including the National Association of Broadcasters, National Main Street and the International Festival and Events Association (IFEA), as well as internationally in China, India, Japan, Singapore, The Netherlands and Malaysia, and her most popular book on sponsorships is now in its 10th edition.
Allen, who has also become a frequent source of thought leadership on marketing and sponsorship sales strategy in literally hundreds of published magazines over the years and on television programs, has led this business for the last 40 years in her converted historic Carriage House from the 1700s, based right in Holmdel.
She also gives back to those in need. In 2003, following an emotional tour around three sub-Saharan East African nations, she chose to dedicate her life to improving the living conditions for children, many of which are orphans, in the village of Mbiriizi, a rural outpost in Uganda, Africa.
During this time, she’s led dozens of trips to the village’s main primary day school with volunteers traveling with her to engage with the children and teachers during holiday parties and has also brought over doctors, nurses and dentists to treat ailments and in some cases even save children’s lives.
Through her organization, Sylvia’s Children, she has by far improved the infrastructure, constructing a medical clinic, housing, farms and other facilities; installed fresh wells and playgrounds; and has helped create a much more sustainable economy.
And a little over six years ago, she purchased the historic Butler Building and Opera House in Aitkin, Minnesota, which she has since restored to its original grandeur.
“Why did I buy in Aitkin, Minnesota,” said Allen. “First, I inherited a lake home up there that was built by my great grandfather and his children in 1914. And, why did I buy a 1903 building? It has an opera house upstairs where Judy Garland got her start in 1925! Who could resist!”
For more information, contact Sylvia Allen, Sylvia.Allen@AllenConsulting.com or 732-946-2711.