Meet Our 2020 Ice Ball Chairs: Leslie & Troy Marcus
Shimmering splendor, a who’s who of attendees, the hottest ticket to the coolest event in Austin… and then suddenly COVID-19 changed everything about Big Brothers Big Sisters’ 2020 Ice Ball Gala. Everything except – the need of children in our community. Children already isolated by challenges, now isolated by a pandemic. Facing a need that requires a solution more than ever before. A need Ice Ball event chairs Leslie and Troy Marcus are prepared to meet by transforming BBBS’ annual gala into an exceptional online event.
“This year will certainly be different since the gala will be virtual,” said Leslie. “However, one of the benefits of having a virtual event is that we will not be confined by the limitations of being in one room. We will be able to engage more people, touch everyone who is willing to hear the Ice Ball message, and spread the word about the importance of having a mentor and Big Brothers Big Sisters’ life-changing work.”
“A virtual event allows participation in the event in ways we haven’t had before,” she added. “We’re hoping to build a larger community that supports BBBS.”
Ice Ball 2020: A BIG Night In will take place August 22 from 6:30 pm to 8:00 pm. The event will be livestreamed so that participants can experience the magic of Ice Ball, while making a difference, from the comfort and safety of their own homes.
Viewers will enjoy inspiring stories, special guests, an online auction, a live auction, and the opportunity to learn more about BBBS’ mission and impact. As always, it will be a special evening with a life-changing purpose.
“Now’s the time to act, to lean in to this event,” said Troy. “We know we live in one of the greatest cities in the world, but there is still a lot of room for improvement. Opportunities in our community are not equal. Not everyone is thriving. If we raise the tide for those in our community who face the greatest challenges, we will raise the tide for our community as a whole. That can happen through Ice Ball.”
“Many of us are feeling more isolated than ever because of quarantine,” Leslie added, “but this year’s Ice Ball offers an opportunity to participate with your friends in an online event that has a great purpose and a big impact. It’s a curated experience that brings people together to focus on BBBS’ mission, and on helping children and families in our community when they need our support the most.”
Leslie and Troy have participated in Big Brothers Big Sisters’ Ice Ball event for four years, serving on the Ice Ball host committee for 3 of those years.
“We’ve all had a person in our lives, outside of our families, who has had an impact on who we are now and where we have ended up,” said Leslie who works in sales for a Vista Equity Partners company. “Troy and I have been fortunate to have had multiple people in our lives who were mentors, but we acknowledge how important it is to have had even one.”
“I’ve had three mentors in my life who have gone above and beyond,” said Troy, President of MIMCO, Commercial Real Estate Management and Investment. “One of those people, John Schweitzer, passed away just a few months ago, and it caused me to reflect on how selfless he was with his time. How he helped shape the path I’m on. Being able to help provide that opportunity for others is a great honor.”
Being mission-focused has helped Leslie and Troy, and the Ice Ball team as a whole, shift this year’s event format in response to COVID concerns. “We are optimistic that with this event being broadcast online, the night’s impact will be felt outside of Central Texas,” said Troy. “We want to inspire connected friends and family around the country to participate and to give, and in turn get them hooked on BBBS’ mission.”
“And the proof is in BBBS’ results,” said Troy. “BBBS’ data reflects the success and impact of their one-to-one mentoring model. This is not a case of planting seeds today and hoping to see a result in 20 years. What BBBS does works, and it can make a difference for children and families both today AND tomorrow.”
“Look at the information about BBBS’ Littles,” Leslie added. “Ninety percent live at or below the poverty line, and yet the number who are avoiding early parenting and going on to college far exceeds the national average for their peers. That is the result of having a mentor in their lives…. of having someone there who supports, encourages and inspires them.”
Though not originally from the Austin area – Troy is from El Paso but attended the University of Texas, and Leslie grew up in central New York and worked in Washington D.C. for a time – they now make Austin their home. They hope to use their nationwide connections, however, to take the Ice Ball gala to a new level.
“I’m excited to make Ice Ball more than just a Central Texas community event,” said Leslie. “I’m excited to engage my friends in New York and California to provide kids in our community with greater opportunities for their futures.”
“And, of course, none of this would be possible without the BBBS team and the host committee,” she added. “They have gone above and beyond on this event.”
“None of us planned for a pandemic,” said Troy. “But this is not a challenge or a curse. It is an opportunity to engage many more people than ever before. We don’t take this opportunity lightly, and we are excited about the possibilities and the chance to help even more kids in the Austin area.”
Learn more and sign up to participate in Ice Ball 2020: A BIG Night In at www.AustinIceBall.org