When Lakeland unveiled the Movers & Shakers Gala in 2008, Nellie Schmitt was among the first group of movers and shakers that delivered an amazing evening setting the stage for the success of this amazing event.
So, it's only fitting that in this year's final field, Nellie's daughter, Lauren Schmitt, helps us close out our 12-year run.
"I remember how fabulous she was," said Lauren, who's attended almost every Gala. "I remember her partner, Darrell, hoisted her above his head and I was like, 'Holy cow, my mom can dance!' There was so much buzz and excitement that first year. This feels like a nice ending note for me to be involved."
The Gala is part of a busy 2019 for Lauren, who's getting married in January and is postponing her honeymoon until after the Gala. Don't be surprised to see the wedding theme play a role in her dance.
And while Lauren doesn't have a formal dance background aside from some lessons here and there, she is no stranger to the dance floor.
"I'm always the first one on the dance floor and last to leave," she said with a laugh. "If it was a job to go to weddings and dance, that's what I would do. I've got my mom's rhythm, so hopefully that will help."
Lauren's connection to Lakeland isn't limited to the Gala. The co-founder of Double Vision Films, LLC, she served as advisor of Lakeland's Spectrum yeardisc for three years, helping students learning filming and editing skills.
"The Gala has transformed over the years, and it's great to see it supporting scholarships for students," she said. "It was really cool to get to interview the students, and then to call our student and tell them we had selected them."
Her background in film will come in handy for this event, as she already has an eye for what the camera likes.
"In dancing and in filming, everything is all about using the space and making angles look good," she said. "Frank's studio is full of mirrors which is nice because you can see all the angles. We're working on something that will be upbeat and fun."
Lauren's professional dance partner is Frank Gillitzer.
Lauren is dancing to support Jazmine Tidwell.