Q&A with Abigail Pollak
Latina Lawyer, Activist and Mom
SocialMiami.com’s Allison Weiss Brady interviews Miami social and political activist Abigail Pollak on her Presidential Appointment and why her love of Tiffany’s is all her husband’s fault.
AWB: Tell me about your recent Presidential Appointment by President Obama on the National Museum of American Latino Commission with Emilio Estefan, Eva Longoria, and Eduardo J. Padron, President of Miami Dade College.
I serve on the commission that studies the feasibility of building the First National Museum for the American Latino. By the end of our study period, we will report to congress on our recommendation to build the museum, its vision and mission, its funding. When built, at a minimum, the museum will tell the world the story and achievements of the American Latino in the United States.
I was honored to be handpicked by the President to serve on this commission. It was only Emilio Estefan and me that were chosen by the President to serve from Florida. Only four out of 23 members are appointed by the President. The rest are appointed by the senate or congress, but only four come from the White House, chosen by the President.
AWB: What was it like to have First Lady Michelle Obama at your home in Miami?
Having Michelle at our house was a delight. After receiving a phone call from then Senator Obama and a visit from Penny Pritzker at our home, we were asked to host Michelle. When she spent private time with us, she was dancing with the kids, laughing with them and just being her down to earth, nice and extremely supportive of her husband, as well as a very smart woman in her own right. I remember introducing her to the crowd and being so impressed with her credentials.
AWB: What do you think of President Obama winning the Nobel Peace Prize?
It’s a recognition by world leaders of the extraordinary work he is doing and their support to the work that needs to be done. People were questioning if it was “too early” to give the award and I say, when is it too early to bring peace to the world?
AWB: You went to the Supreme Court swearing in ceremony of Judge Sonia Sotomayor?
I was invited to the White House, the East Room, for the swearing in ceremony. It was a proud moment as a Latina and a lawyer. The event at the White House was small, but other than me, Michelle, Barack and Sonia’s mom, there were about 20 other people. It was so exciting to be a witness to that moment in history.
AWB: What’s your favorite jewelry store?
Tiffany & Co. in Merrick Park, but that’s all my husband’s fault!
AWB: Tell us how Tiffany & Co. recently recognized you for your philanthropic endeavors.
I was thrilled and honored to be recognized with people such as Irene Korge and Ricky Arriola. Both Irene and Ricky are top community leaders and selfless givers. I felt humbled to be named with them.
AWB: Tell us about any exciting events you are working on.
I am hosting a morning event at my house in January for Tiffany & Co. with Henry Gonzales, the Director of the Merrick Park store, called “Breakfast at Tiffany’s.” 30 of my best girlfriends will be presented with a showcase of the most beautiful diamonds brought in from Tiffany’s around the world for us to see as we listen to the store’s top gemologist about how these wonders are created by the most skilled artisans in the world. I had the opportunity to visit Tiffany’s Schlumberger collection as they were crafting pieces in New York City. Henry lets me have a sneak preview of the artisans working on the inside of the Fifth Avenue store. The intricacies of the designs, the amazing jewels, and the absolute talent of the artisans as you watch how they set the stones is truly a breathtaking experience.
AWB: I ran into you at the baby shower for Christina Getty-Maerks. What do you think is the ideal baby gift?
Having three little ones under five years old, I would say that the best baby gift is a series of onesies for zero to three months or three to six months old since babies grow so fast. I also love soft baby blankets.
AWB: Who are some of your favorite designers?
Chanel, Prada, and Valentino. I just bought the most gorgeous over-the-knee suede boots by Valentino.
AWB: Favorite restaurant?
Nobu. Starting with a bottle of Cristal, going through yellow tail sashimi and salmon sashimi new style, all the way to a Bento Box. Our favorite night out.
AWB: Congratulations on being named a 2009 Miracle Maker by Big Brother Big Sister of Greater Miami. What did that entail?
I was chosen by Big Brother Big Sister of Greater Miami based on my philanthropic and community service efforts in Miami Dade County. It’s based on length of service with a particular charitable mission, and the degree of one’s impact in that charity.
AWB: How are you involved with the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts?
I am a Board Member and serve under the leadership of our Chairman Ricky Arriola, who was also recently appointed by President Obama to the Arts and Humanities Commission. I am extremely lucky to have been asked by him to join the other excellent members of the Board and was recently voted in by the nominating committee.
AWB: What is the best feature in your house?
We have two playrooms we built for our two boys and our little girl and that is where we spend most of our family time. Each playroom is customized for their interests. The boys have their cars, can play baseball, race tracks and our girl has her “girlie” playroom, a princess tent, doll house, dolls with strollers – girlie items.
AWB: How has your life changed since having kids?
I was the type of woman who did not have a strong desire to get married and have children. I have three law degrees, worked billing many hours a year and traveled as much as I could. Until, one day I met an amazing man that changed my life for the better. Today, we have three loving and fun children under five years old and our life revolves around them. We can’t wait to see them every morning. My life has changed for the better in every single aspect with my children and my husband. I didn’t know there was so much love inside of me. They have taught me gratitude, appreciation and self-awareness. Of course, I still maintain my own business office!
AWB: Favorite international destination?
Seychelles. You can touch the stars with your hands as you stare at the steel blue Indian Ocean. So much beauty just for you to see. It’s you, your loved one and nature.
AWB: Are you a fan of photos?
On a rare occasion, but not really. I believe in living the moment.
Allison Weiss Brady handles marketing for celebrities and non-profits. She is active in many organizations in South Florida, New York, and Pennsylvania including Big Brother Big Sister, The Community Coalition, Voices Against Brain Cancer, Gene Spotlight, The Barton G. Kids Hear Now Foundation, and one of her family’s foundations Say Yes to Education, which recently partnered with Quincy Jones. Allison sits on the board of Russell Simmons’ Rush Philanthropic Arts Foundation, and she and her husband Chip Brady were honored by Russell Simmons at the 2010 Rush Philanthropic gala in East Hampton. She and her husband Chip are members of Art Basel’s Junior Host Committee and Allison is a member of the Vizcaya Preservation Luncheon Founding Committee. Allison was also the sole recipient of the University of Pennsylvania’s 2008 Young Alumni of the Year Award, and serves on the Overseers board for the Graduate School of Education at the University of Pennsylvania.