“I was just thinking the other day what I wanted to do with my life: surgeon or fashion designer,” eleven-year-old Maya said to the crowd gathered at the Beverly Wilshire for The Independent School Alliance For Minority Affairs Impact Awards dinner honoring Brian and Mira Lee and Houlihan Lohey executive chairman Irwin Gold and celebrating the organization’s 30th anniversary. Maya, who is currently enrolled at the Archer School for Girl’s with the help of the Alliance, read her written remarks off her iPhone. The heads of many of the 54 private schools that make up the group were in attendance, and they were rapt.
“I pitched [Brian Lee] my idea for The Honesty Company,” said Jessica Alba of one of the evening’s honorees (Lee is also the brains behind LegalZoom.com and ShoeDazzle.com). “And he turned me down. I went back to refine and revise my idea. He made it into a sustainable business.” Alba added that Brian’s wife Mira helped convince him. Last night was Mira Lee’s first foray into fund-raising, and by the look of the crowded room and the amounts that live auction items were going for, she had better keep her phone handy—she’s good at this.
The event also drew musicians John Legend and Lisa Loeb. Loeb (whose play Camp Kappawanna opens at New York’s Atlantic Theatre Company this Saturday and have you seen her eyewear line?) grabbed her guitar to sing Stay and then, appropriately enough, a children’s song about a pancake.