Council roasts and toasts honoress

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NEW YORK - The Direct Marketing Association Insert Media Council's 10th annual "Roast and Toast" Holiday Luncheon saw far more toasting than roasting for honorees Frank C. Hudetz, chairman/CEO of Solar Communications, and Jill Eastman-Vidal, director of third party marketing at 1-800-Flowers.com, as well as corporate award winner Bookspan.

Industry leaders celebrated amid the food, wine and door prize drawings Dec. 13 at the Yale Club of New York.

"This is not a business day," said Jim Zuckermandel, council co-chair and president/CEO of Zed Marketing Group. "It's really a day for passion for what we do."

Each honoree got time in the limelight, starting with Ms. Eastman-Vidal, veteran of Newport News, Hanover Direct and Muldoon Direct. At 1-800-Flowers she oversees list management, package inserts, insert media programs and syndication relationships, and she was recognized for her multitasking abilities.

"There's an old saying, 'If you want something done, ask a busy person,'" said Jeff Holland, vice president of new media development at Singer Direct.

Held to standards such as Yahoo Hot Jobs tips, military leadership principles and the dictionary definition of "hayseed," the Illinois native was recognized as an icon of integrity, fairness and efficiency by her colleagues and husband through speeches and limerick.

The Bookspan toasting featured a short movie presented by Sandra Roscoe, executive vice president at Singer Direct, that took viewers on the journey of an insert at the Bookspan distribution center to the tune of Haddaway's "What Is Love?"

Love and care for its business partners were things Bookspan was praised for along with the sheer span of its programs.

"If you are a broker, you can't help but include the Doubleday programs in your recommendations," said Marie Buzzeo, vice president of insert management at Direct Media Inc.

Mr. Hudetz is credited with taking Solar from a single product and market focus as Solar Press to a cross-functional direct marketing production services company that reportedly grosses $60 million in sales with 500 employees.

Younger brother Peter Hudetz, executive vice president at Solar, gave the crowd tips on how to annoy the business leader, such as sharing embarrassing childhood stories. Others were more sentimental, including Leon Henry Inc. senior account executive Joel Katz.

"I owe my career, my beginning and my existence in this industry to you and your company," Mr. Katz said in reference to Frank C. Hudetz and Solar.

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