Crain’s New York Business named Liz Neumark, the founder and CEO of Great Performances (GP), the city’s sustainability-focused catering and food service company with annual revenues of $50 million and with more than 500 employees, one of the 50 Most Powerful Women in New York. Neumark is the only woman of the 50 involved in food and one of only four who founded their businesses. The biennial list of the city’s most powerful businesswomen, published in Crain’s June 26 issue, focuses on those with the “mix of hard and soft power that drives an economy, fuels jobs and keeps the most vibrant yet complex city in the nation humming.” Candidates were evaluated by the financial size of their organization, their rank within their company, and the specific impact they’ve had on New York City through their professional and personal endeavors.
Liz Neumark; photo ©Michael Lionstar
In Neumark’s case, Crain’s noted she is “the woman behind the food at top galas, fundraisers, and intimate parties throughout the city,” and tagged her impact on New York to her work as a member of the West Side Campaign Against Hunger Advisory Board, a board member of the Fund for Public Housing and chairwoman of the Hudson Square BID.
Neumark’s profile on the 50 Most Powerful Women in New York list also referenced her early commitment to transparent, local sourcing for her 37-year-old company, the city’s largest food-focused organization owned by a woman. The organic farm she started in the Hudson Valley’s Kinderhook, NY—the first in the country to be owned and operated by a caterer—grows produce incorporated into GP’s event menus as well as those of the 14 restaurants, cafés, food trucks, and concessions it operates in New York City and Westchester County.
The profile concluded with the fact Neumark devotes 25 percent of her time to working on food-justice issues, which she said is the result of wanting “to be involved in communities of people who don’t have access to what we and our clients do.”
Some of that time is devoted to The Sylvia Center, the non-profit Neumark founded in 2007 that teaches children and their families how to cook and eat healthy food though hands on experiences on the farm and in the kitchen. Celebrating its 10th anniversary this year, The Sylvia Center has served some 20,000 students with its programs in New York City and Columbia County.
“It is a great honor to be included among a group of such extremely accomplished women… and a bit humbling when I consider their extraordinary influence on the city’s business, culture and civic landscapes. One of the most gratifying aspects of having been included is that by doing so, Crain’s is acknowledging the importance of the food arena in the fabric of New York,” notes Neumark.
This is Neumark’s second appearance on Crain’s New York’s 50 Most Powerful Women List; she was cited on the 2007 edition. Since then, Neumark has grown her company two to five percent annually and has developed a significant footprint for it in South Florida, where GP is the official caterer of three of the region’s largest annual public events: The Ft. Lauderdale International Boat Show, The Miami International Boat Show, and The Miami Open. And this year, GP has gone international as the developer and executor of the food and beverage program for Bermuda’s luxurious Loren at Pink Beach, the first new build hotel to open on the island in almost five decades.