By Cairo Amani
There is more to Pride Month than partying. Epic League Entertainment founder CJ Milan sent us a great reminder of that this year. When one of her interns, Daniel Pottinger, said his mother’s recent job loss would prevent him from attending one of the eleven colleges to which he was accepted CJ jumped to help him. “I’m as spontaneous as it gets,” she says, “so I asked, how much do you need? He said $20,000 and that’s how it all started.”
However, CJ is a trailblazer beyond this generous gift. A self-made success, she quit her reliable 9-5 to follow her passion of event planning. She now hosts events catering to diverse crowds from hipsters to housewives. CJ’s keys to success are simple and solid: “Know your game.” “Know your customer.” “Raise the bar.” “Reinvest in you.” Just to name a few.
While there is no doubt CJ is an inspiration to many, one has to ask: Who inspired her? “If you want to succeed, you have to do whatever it takes and my mother is that type of woman. I learned from the best.” CJ also cites Oprah Winfrey as a public motivational figure. If you’re wondering how you can get in on some of CJ’s legendary events, you’re in luck. She’s doing pride like it’s never been done before.
“The Epic League decided to go where no other New York Pride [lesbian] parties have ever gone before: BB Kings and Highline Ballroom. We really were inspired by great locations that are fresh and new to women loving women. We wanted to give the girls something they could feel and remember and feel beautiful in.”
If you’re wondering what the future holds for CJ and Epic League Entertainment, she let us in on a few things. They’re already discussing Pride 2015 and in terms of enabling tomorrow’s future ringleaders, she adds: “I will continue the scholarship program. I’m also working on Intelligent Teenager, which is an organization that provides young entrepreneurial visionaries with the opportunities to network, create new startups, and learn more about the world of entrepreneurship. This will kick off at the end of 2014. I’m really excited about it.” You can find out about CJ’s events at www.NYPrideLive.com. And while you’re dancing, remember every success is an opportunity to give back to the community.
Cairo loves moleskin notebooks, considers Scrivener a godsend, and enjoys reading, dancing, and board games that involve doing silly things for points. You can find out more about her here: about.me/cairoamani.
Photo credit: NY Pride Live