Log In   ·   Become A Member

INTERVIEW: Auctioneer Erin Ward On The Hamptons Heart Ball, Her Craft, And More

Courtney File

Erin Ward (right) with The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel star Rachel Brosnahan at the recent GLAAD Media Awards fundraiser in NYC honoring Madonna. (Courtesy Photo)

On Saturday, June 22, at the Southampton Arts Center, celebrity benefit auctioneer, Erin Ward will lead fundraising for the annual American Heart Association's Hamptons Heart Ball. This famous third-generation auctioneer is known for producing over one million dollars during the LGBTQ GLAAD Media Awards. Additionally, she is the president of the New York City Auctioneering Association.

Now on her way to Southampton, Ward hopes to eliminate heart disease and stroke by raising money for the American Heart Association.

"As a Long Island resident who began my career in the nonprofit world before becoming an auctioneer, I am especially excited to lead the bidding at the American Heart Association's annual charity event in Southampton," said Ward. "Heart disease and strokes affect millions, and only through a dedicated effort can we find the best possible treatments and preventions."

Can you tell us a little about your background in the non-profit world, how did you get into auctioneering?

EW: I was naturally drawn to the world of nonprofits as a young adult, as I wanted to be able to make an impact on the betterment of society directly through my work. However, as a third-generation auctioneer - my mother is an award-winning auctioneer, one of the few women of her day, and my grandfather was also an auctioneer - I also thought about continuing the family business, but wasn't sold on the idea. The day I realized I could combine the two career paths - philanthropy and auctioneering - a light bulb went off. I had found my calling and true career path - being able to use fundraising and auctioneering skills to help nonprofits raise money for worthy causes really spoke to sense of purpose. I immediately signed up for auctioneering school, and the rest is history!

You have "made it your mission to help the less fortunate," all while "rising to the top of a traditionally male dominated field." What do you think sets you apart from other auctioneers?

EW: All auctioneers specialize in their area of sales. They sell what they know the best or what they love, be it wine, cars, cows, real estate, art or in my case, helping others in need. I focus on nonprofits, as I take pleasure in bringing people together to support one another and a greater good. I don't think the auctions I lead are about me; instead, they are about making the world a better place and bringing people together to laugh, smile and feel good about helping the world.

Do you have an amount of money in mind that you would like to raise for the American Heart Association at the Heart Ball?

EW: A million dollars or more would be great. Heart disease and stroke cause 1 in 3 deaths among women each year - more than all cancers combined. This is not acceptable; we need all the help we can get fixing this.

Is there any cause that you have not auctioneered for yet that you would like to lead an auction for?

EW: Sure, so many! I would love to work for Planned Parenthood, especially right now, as well as the Surfrider Foundation and the Tony Hawk Foundation. Women's empowerment is my biggest passion - it is in large part responsible for getting me to where I am today and I want to give back as much as possible in order to empower future generations of women.

You are the president of the New York City Auctioneering Association; what does it entail?

EW: One of the hot topics right now is legal changes affecting our industry. Every city and state has different regulations for auctioneers; and NYC has a number of licensing laws, some in place since the 1800's and others that are brand new. It is my job and role of the NYC Auctioneering Association to help educate and inform members about this legislation, and how it impacts them.

You have been described as a performer, how do you get people to "dig deep into their pockets"?

EW: (Laughs) As a performer, I suppose I feel similar to a musician taking the stage. People come to an event to have fun and feel good about themselves. My job is to make them enjoy themselves, and be inspired to donate. I am always so excited to hear feedback such as, "Woah, you got me to spend more than I expected, that was awesome!" It's important to stay on point with the message and the mission, reminding attendees why they are there. I never make fun of people or make it about me. Charity auctions offer a moment in time that can make or break the success of an organization and its ability to support a cause. There is a lot riding on my shoulders but I remind myself that I just need to make the guests feel my excitement about the possibilities!

For more information about the Hamptons Heart Ball, visit ahalongisland.org.

Related Articles:

Be the first to comment on this article. (Just fill out the form below)

Submit Your Comment

Please note, you are not currently logged in. Your comment will be submitted as a guest.
To submit your comment as a member, please click here.
Your Name:
* Comments will be reviewed and posted in a timely fashion
* All fields are required
What color is a banana?
(For spam prevention, thanks)
Rosehip Partners Real Estate
Properties In The Hamptons

East End Tick Control
The East End's only New York State licensed dedicated tick and mosquito control specialists!

Hamptons Carpet One Floor & Home
We pay less,and so do you.With over 1,000 stores in our buying group, we can get the lowest prices from the best flooring manufacturers — and pass the savings on to you.Visit our other locations: Hamptons Carpet One Floor & Home, 675 North Sea Road,Southampton, NY 11968

Southampton Masonry-Visiting the Southampton or the Wainscott locations is an exciting experience.
Southampton Masonry has been serving Long Island's masonry and tile needs since 1975. Delivering quality products from Manhattan to Montauk for over three decades. The company's continued success is due primarily to their number one priority: customer satisfaction, with a promise of prompt and courteous service from the professional, knowledgeable staff. Southampton Masonry has the largest inventory on the east end. As direct importers they can offer a large variety of the finest quality products at the most competitive pricing for both your interior and exterior projects.

Hamptons luxury real estate specialist for 33 years, Andrea Ackerman offers outstanding expertise in the field.
Hamptons luxury real estate specialist for 34 years, Andrea Ackerman offers outstanding expertise in the field. Trusted, experienced and successful, Andrea has solidified herself as the go-to broker of the Hamptons and a wholehearted advocate for her clients. A pioneer in the real estate industry on the East End of Long Island, she is driven by her passion for the business. Andrea is based in the Bridgehampton office of Brown Harris Stevens as a licensed real estate associate broker and consultant. Formerly, a principal partner and Senior Director at Brown Harris Stevens, Andrea now assists in developing their corporate strategy for the Hamptons region, advising other brokers and sales associates, as well as being one of the top producers and listors.

Southrifty Drug 54 Jagger Lane, Southampton Village
Southrifty Drug is a small, neighborhood pharmacy with limited shelf space, and we have to be very selective about which over-the-counter items we carry. As a result you'll find a no nonsense concentration of very effective, high quality and useful products on our shelves. In this new section, we feature a number of these products that we feel are especially worthy of your consideration.

Burner Law Group, P.C.
Burner Law Group, P.C. are full service elder law attorneys concentrating in the areas of Estate Planning, Trust and Estate Administration and Litigation, Special Needs Planning, Guardianship and Elder Law. Offices in East Setauket‚ NY, Westhampton Beach, NY, and New York, NY.

Suburban Propane in Bridgehampton, New York has been serving proudly supporting our community for 90 years.
Suburban Propane has been serving the energy needs for home owners and business in the Hampton’s for decades. We offer friendly service by local professionals you know and trust, plus the peace of mind that comes from knowing we are among the leaders in the industry for safety.

WordHampton Public Relations
We build client revenues and reputations. Our reputation is built on delivering a strong media presence and, as a result, demand for our clients' offerings, resulting in a positive impact on sales. Successful campaigns start with understanding the goals of our clients and developing a customized strategy that will achieve those objectives.

SGF Acupuncture, PLLC. Is owned and operated By Sandra Geehreng Foster.
SGF Acupuncture, PLLC. Is owned and operated By Sandra Geehreng Foster. Her treatments are based on five element acupuncture. She also offers Far Infrared Sauna treatments. PEMF cellular excerise.

Spanish Maven was founded by Marisa Ramirez.
Spanish Maven was founded by Marisa Ramirez after she experienced learning English as a second language upon relocating to New York.