Kacey Koeppel, 39
Strategic Events Consultant
Member, JAR Trailblazers
Neighborhood: Upper West Side
Most NYC Moment: A friend snuck me into a Saturday Night Live year-end party and Renée Zellweger told me I had great hair.
Biggest misconception: That New Yorkers are rude.
Favorite Broadway show: Meteor Shower
Favorite bar: e’s Bar
What’s the one thing every New Yorker should do: Get to know at least one of your neighbors.
Favorite New York sports team: New York Football Giants
Favorite Sport: Swimming. I’m a U.S. Masters Swimmer and I swim for a team called Red Tide. In the summer, you might find me out at Grimaldo’s Chair in Brighton Beach.
College: Manhattan College
At what age moved to city: 18
Why did you become a Trailblazer?
My friend Robbie Brenner invited me to the first Fireside Chat, where Allison Arden was interviewed. I was inspired by the energy and enthusiasm of the people involved and the mission of the organization.
Favorite JAR event to-date?
Our event with Charlie Puth, for which we partnered with Z100 and Facebook hosted. Z100 helped us to secure Charlie Puth for a“friendraiser” in order to grow awareness of JAR, the Trailblazers and the work we’re doing to support our community. Charlie Puth sang to a private room full of people. I helped organize the event and, when you see people showing the enthusiasm you hoped they would, it’s a good feeling.
Most memorable moment of the event?
When Charlie engaged with the audience in between songs.He made the guests feel like he was there for them, that he was excited to be performing for us.
What is it like to attend a Trailblazer meeting?
There’s always a pretty detailed agenda. While we are a “junior” board, it still feels like the work we’re doing is extremely impactful and that ours is not just a figurehead role. The work we’re doing is actually making a difference.
Tell us about your birthday campaign.
This past year, for my birthday, I asked my friends to make donations through Facebook in support of JAR. Coming from a non-profit background, my philosophy is “if you don’t ask, you don’t get.” Facebook auto-generates a fundraising goal of $200 and I felt I could beat that if my family and friends supported me. I raised that goal to $500 and ultimately brought in around $800.
What about JAR’s mission most appeals to you?
I am a New Yorker and love this city. When I walk down the street, I feel safe. Being part of an organization that works with city officials, law enforcement and the community to help maintain that feeling of safety and security in a major city is what most appeals to me.
The people who are involved in the organization are incredible—diverse people who come from all walks of life, and I feel privileged to be a part of this group.
Where do you see the Trailblazers in five years?
I would like to see us increase our membership to the point where there’s an executive board and general membership of people who become more involved over time. As our membership grows, we can increase our philanthropic goals and reach a wider group of organizations with the grants we are able to support.
What advice would you offer someone joining a young leadership organization in the city?
Dive in head-first. Don’t be afraid to share your ideas, and pick something you’re passionate about.