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“ ”

I knew that if I failed I wouldn't regret that, but I knew the one thing I might regret is not trying.
- Jeff Bezos | Whether you think you can or you think you can't, you're right.
- Henry Ford | The most difficult thing is the decision to act, the rest is merely tenacity.
- Amelia Earhart | Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.
- Howard Thurman | If people knew how hard I had to work to gain my mastery, it would not seem so wonderful at all.​
- Michelangelo |

Planning for Presidents

World Leadership Guest Series

Client O'Neill Properties Group Provided Event Planning + Organization
Project World Leadership Guest Series Year 2005
The Challenge

To generate unprecedented interest of both current and prospective members by demonstrating the uniqueness of O’Neill Properties Group’s newest asset, The Carnegie Abbey Club, a private sporting estate located in Portsmouth, Rhode Island, just north of Newport.

The Process

Muhlenhaupt was brought on board by O’Neill Chairman, J. Brian O’Neill, to personally assist him in coordinating all efforts surrounding the integration of the newly acquired property into the O’Neill organization, simultaneously polishing its established brand as one of the most highly coveted club memberships in the Northeast.

Collaborating directly with Mr. O’Neill, Rip Muhlenhaupt created the concept of “The World Leadership Guest Series” through which the Club would invite the foremost American and global leaders of the time to come to the Club, to enjoy its many amenities and share personal time with the Club’s members, their families and friends at invitation-only cocktail parties and extravagant dinners. The Club’s facilities, O’Neill’s adjacent Carnegie Tower and Cottages properties, Newport’s famed Bellevue Avenue mansions and Mr. O’Neill’s own Newport home, located just off Bellevue Avenue, were to be exploited for the enjoyment of members and their guests as part of the Series.

While the Secret Service had played an important role two weeks earlier, this event presented a very different and more complex challenge given the "rock star" stature of this former president at that time. Under the watchful supervision of the Secret Service – as well as Mr. Clinton’s personal public relations detail -- Muhlenhaupt was tasked with the development of stringent minute-by-minute timetables and step-by-step directions for the visit from the moment the motorcade was to arrive at the Club until its planned departure five hours later.
Problem Solved.

Enjoying Former President George H.W. Bush The first leader to be invited was former United State President, George H.W. Bush. On an absolutely picture-perfect mid-July afternoon – with only four weeks’ advance planning – some 500 Club members and their guests sat down to dinner with the former president in a beautifully decorated tent positioned alongside the Narragansett Bay. The fanfare provided by local Revolutionary War interpreters, band members and artillery as Mr. Bush and Mr. and Mrs. O’Neill entered the tent was followed by dinner and the guest-of-honor’s humorous and poignant remarks. Then, the fireworks began: a pyrotechnics display the likes of which Aquidneck Island had never before experienced!

Selection of local Newport talent to provide appropriate entertainment reflecting Clinton’s personal interests and presidential legacy, establishing protocols for member interactions for photographs and book signings as well as global media coverage, and, of course, arrangements for serving a magnificent dinner and an even-bigger-and-better fireworks extravaganza were all simply part of the requirement for success. Unquestionably, success was most definitely achieved!

Of all the wonderful moments that Rip recalls (in addition to the welcome sense of relief at its completion), is President Bush’s parting personal remarks, “Rip, you throw a helluva party.”