Submitted by Mike Williams — Managing Editor
N.C. State grad Aviva Imbrey and UNC-Asheville grad Andres Martin are very different people. Martin calls Imbrey creative and artsy. Imbrey describes Martin as a geek. Together, this Chief Geek and Artsy Director formed Gumption, an event planning company that works with local businesses and charities.
Imbrey, 25 and Martin, 27, met while working for Target and began to envision an organization that would do more than just offer great events. Imbrey, who is from Charlotte, says she and Martin just wanted to build something that would make the community more vibrant.
It starts with Battle of the Bars coming up Saturday. Martin, an Asheville native, says the event should be a win-win-win situation for everyone involved because it will bring business to the bars during non-peak hours, give attendees a truly awesome experience and raise money and awareness for the non-profit CancerNeverSleeps Inc.
Though Imbrey and Martin are different, their love for events, charity and community bring them together. Both are involved with the Inter-Faith Food Shuttle, Susan G. Komen for the Cure and others. And they both love planning events. They promise some surprises from Gumption in the near future and look forward to working with more non-profits.
Here are my seven questions with the duo behind Gumption.
Q: Why the name Gumption? Do you ever get people playfully asking what the word "gumption" means?
Aviva: When I was growing up with my brothers we used to have a fake wrestling ring where my father would introduce us and hed always say, She is not going to take any more of you Gumpt! From that point on gumpt and gumption was part of my vocabulary.
The word means having initiative, courage, spunk and guts. Gumption is what gets you up off your butt and makes you start working towards your goals.
After going through other lists of names for weeks, Andres and I met at Capital Club 16 and made Gumption the one! It personally jumped out at us because the meaning aligned so much with what we were doing to create a company taking risks and driving towards our dream!
Q: You guys officially launched Gumption this year. Where did the concept come from, and why do you think Raleigh needed something like it?
Aviva: It was born out of the idea that having fun with friends, being entertained and partying CAN do more. We wanted to create a way for people to connect within their community and help grow the companies and organizations that make Raleigh more vibrant.
Andres: Raleigh is an incredible incubator for upcoming professionals. We have some major universities helping young, talented people enter the first stage of their professional careers. In a way, we think Gumption can help retain that talent and keep young professionals here.
Q: How is Gumption different from other event planning/management companies in the Triangle?
Andres: Most companies work with a specific client to fulfill their vision. Gumption is different in that our client is the general public. We craft our events out of a desire to give people a unique and fun experience that's authentic to Raleigh and something you're not going to see anywhere else. We work with local businesses to support the local economy.
Aviva: Did we mention that philanthropy is at the heart of our business? We will never put on an event that doesn't support a local non-profit organization.
Q: Lets talk about the events youre planning. As you mentioned, they all consist of community involvement. Are charities really tied to all of them?
Andres: [All] of these events are tied directly to non-profits. Our slogan is Have Fun, Give Back. Each of these events will work to satisfy both pieces of that by giving people some incredibly fun times that truly support local non-profits that need more awareness. The awesome part is that we have even more planned. There's no shortage of crazy ideas between us.
Aviva: So if you visit LiveGumption.com right now, you will see three different events listed: Battle of the Bars, Zombie Bar Raid and Raleigh Living Dead. With Battle of the Bars and Zombie Bar Raid, event attendees will find themselves enjoying some of Raleigh's best social scenes right in the heart of downtown. Raleigh Living Dead is a different beast altogether and will be one of the best Halloween experiences you will find as it will be Raleigh's first Halloween street festival taking over City Plaza.
Q: For the Battle of the Bars event, whats the concept about? Its your first event, so what do you guys expect?
Aviva: Battle of the Bars is really a play on your classic bar crawl, [but] with some big differences. The number one thing the event attendee has to keep in mind is that these bars are trying to win them over as they ultimately choose who wins the competition based on their experience at each venue. What this means for the event attendee is some really incredible drink specials, complemented with live entertainment, deejays and other activities.
Andres: Participants will have the opportunity to mix and mingle as they explore incredible venues like Isaac Hunters, The Big Easy, The Oxford, The Hive, London Bridge Pub, Tir Na nOg, and Rum Runners.
Q: Why did you want to partner with CancerNeverSleeps Inc.?
Aviva: [They are] grassroots just like Gumption. It is a local non-profit that is truly contributing resources back into the Raleigh area. It gives cancer patients an outlet to express their stories with one another and find someone that truly understands what they're going through.
Q: The Gumption mission statement says the company is grassroots, of the people and about giving back. You both are in your mid-twenties. Is this something you feel our generation has fallen behind on? The idea of giving back?
Andres: I don't think it's necessarily something our generation has fallen behind on. We truly believe that the majority really wants to give back. If we didn't believe that, we wouldn't have structured our entire company around that idea. I think a lot of times it can be challenging for some of us to truly give back. Life is full of complications and a lot of us don't have the time or money to just give it away. I also think that some of our incredible local non-profits just don't have the awareness they need to spur action. A lot of times people are motivated to give when something tragic happens. We believe Gumption can help by finding and uniting the people in our community that care.
And, this is the only way I know of where you can give back while dressed as a Zombie!