Saturday, May 18, 2013

Famed Shoe Designer At Philly's NMAJH June 12

On Wednesday, June 12 at 7:00 p.m., the National Museum of American Jesish History will launch a new speaker series, Dreamers and Doers, with entrepreneur and shoe designer Stuart Weitzman.

In a live interview with WHYY innovation reporter Zack Seward, Weitzman will speak firsthand about the Stuart Weitzman brand ─ telling a story of passion, vision, and a quintessentially American spirit. In addition, replicas of some of Weitzman's most famous designs, including the glass slippers used in Cinderella on Broadway, will be on display.
"I always enjoy sharing cherished moments and stories that helped shape where I am today in the fashion world. I hope my experiences can help educate and enlighten someone else's path to entrepreneurial success, as it is my pleasure to pass on that wisdom," said Stuart Weitzman.

A native of Long Island, New York, Stuart Weitzman grew up surrounded by the city that he loved and thousands of beautifully crafted shoes made by his father, Seymour Weitzman. Weitzman spent his childhood apprenticing under his father at the Mr. Seymour shoe factory in Haverhill, Massachusetts, learning each and every detail of how to make the perfect shoe. While footwear was his legacy, Weitzman had aspirations of a career on Wall Street and attended the prestigious Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. However, after his father's unexpected passing, Weitzman and his older brother Warren took over the family business in 1965. Because of the valuable teachings in patternmaking, production, and distribution from his father, Stuart started successfully producing the beloved footwear that women have come to rely on and admire for decades.

In addition to a long-standing career dedicated to making women smile through shoemaking, Stuart is also extremely passionate about a health issue affecting many of his clientele: ovarian cancer. The company held the annual "Bid for a Cure" Auction from 2001 - 2006, in which celebrities artfully decorated a shoe to be auctioned off for cancer research. In 2011, he created a "Young Hollywood Cares" collection, a design collaboration with young celebrities such as Scarlett Johansson, Julianne Hough, Chloë Grace Moretz, and Olivia Palermo, which supports the pioneering ovarian cancer research of Dr. Marsha A. Moses, Director of the Folkman Institute and a professor at Harvard Medical School.

Dreamers and Doers Speaker Series

Defined by a commitment to excellence, Weitzman's career and story are quintessential examples of an entrepreneurial, philanthropic, and uniquely American spirit. An annual program, Dreamers and Doers will tell the stories of individuals who embody this spirit and whose stories are characterized by the values critical to the success achieved by immigrants who came to America in search of opportunity and a better life ─ courage and imagination, aspiration and hard work, leadership and service. Here they shaped, and continue to shape, industry, innovation, economy, and culture ─ indelibly transforming the nation with a rich mix of ideas and ideals. Dreamers and Doers will inform and inspire audiences by encouraging them to explore how their own histories and identities shape and are shaped by the American experience.


The National Museum of American Jewish History, located on historic Independence Mall in Philadelphia, brings to life the 350-year history of Jews in America.  Tracing the stories of how Jewish immigrants became Jewish Americans, the Museum invites visitors of all heritages to share their own stories and reflect on how their histories and identities shape and are shaped by the American experience. An open door for all, NMAJH honors the past and contributes to a better future by sharing the power of imagination and ideas, culture and community, leadership and service, in ways that turn inspiration into action.

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