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Dr. Stacie Stephenson’s BTS Secrets to Childhelp’s Drive the Dream Gala

By Jessica Dunham

Photo of Dr. Stacie J. Stephenson by Bob and Dawn Davis Photography & Design

12.13.18

How Dr. Stacie J. Stephenson is making Childhelp’s Drive the Dream Gala the pinnacle of event season.

This year, Childhelp—an organization that assists abused and neglected children—celebrates its 60-year diamond Jubilee. Which means its annual fundraiser, Drive the Dream Gala, will be the event, boasting an impressive roster of celebrities, influential philanthropists and A-list entertainment. Set to break fundraising records, an all-star gala like Drive the Dream needs a chair of equal stature; enter Scottsdale’s Dr. Stacie J. Stephenson. She’s the director of Gateway for Cancer Research board of directors and the chair of Functional Medicine for Cancer Treatment Centers of America; along with her husband, Richard, she’ll chair the 2019 gala. “Childhelp has an inspiring story that deserves the spotlight of our community,” she says. “This organization spreads joy and love to children who may have never felt loved or safe.” Here, Stephenson shares her favorite local vendors for gala prep and hints at what to expect at this epic event. Tickets from $1,000, Feb. 2, The Phoenician, 6000 E. Camelback Road, Scottsdale 

Out of This World
“My focus is to create a journey for each guest, such that they have a sense of being transported into a world they have never experienced.” For this, Stephenson collaborates with Mike Ravenhill of MR Productions. “We’ve been making magical experiences for five years and counting.”

Kitchen Collaboration
"The award-winning culinary crew at The Phoenician is integral to the cuisine at the gala. Says Ford, who helms the gala’s menu creation and execution: “I like to meet with the local talent first to get their vision. The Phoenician’s team has an incredible reputation.” 6000 E. Camelback Road, Scottsdale, 480.941.8200

Devil’s in the Details
“Inspiration comes from everywhere. Engage a talented team of professionals, and they can amplify the vision.” To manage the details that bring a vision to life, Stephenson relies on Judi Yates of Schneider-Yates and Associates for event coordination. “Judi is my get-it-done go-to gal in the Valley.” 4071 W. Linda Lane, Chandler, 480.940.8666

Five-Star Fare
Stephenson’s personal executive chef, Markus Ford, heads up the event’s foodie-forward menu. “I use him to inspire the cuisine at all of my Gateway for Cancer Research events, including Vino con Stelle in the Valley.” She adds: “Chef Markus delivers my unique standards, from raw ingredient selection and global and local sourcing to fresh preparation and avant-garde presentation.” 708.421.6062

Flower Child
Blush pinks and ruby reds, delicate tulips and fragrant roses—a luxe floral design elevates an event in elegant ways. “White House Design Studio does a beautiful job with stunning florals,” Stephenson says. 4001 N. 24th St., Phoenix, 602.957.0186

Dress to Impress
“I love the feminine aesthetic of Dior, the playfulness of Dolce & Gabbana and the sleek edginess of Alexander McQueen. If I could put those together, then I would be so happy!”