Alison Howlett Shake It Up for Parkinson’s
Thursday, 22nd May 2014

Alison Howlett is one of two Shake It Up heroes this week.  Alison has put her expertise as an executive producer to support Shake It Up in a variety of different campaigns with the latest launching Shake It Up onto the big screen.

Alison was a big supporter of Parkinson’s when she lived in NYC but her commitment was taken to a whole new level when her mother was diagnosed.  Since Alison moved to Sydney 3 years ago we have been incredibly fortunate to have her support Shake It Up.

What Drives Your Commitment to find a cure for Parkinson’s?

I got involved with The Michael J. Fox Foundation (MJFF) when I worked as a producer at Deutsch in NYC (the ad agency that does pro bono work for MJFF). I embraced the cause wholeheartedly as the team at the foundation was incredibly smart, dedicated and lead by Michael’s passion and commitment. After 6+ years working with the team and getting emotionally involved – my mother was surprisingly diagnosed with Parkinson’s. It was surreal. All these years of work and then my commitment got even deeper, even more urgent.

Why Shake It Up Australia? 

I moved with my husband and daughter from Brooklyn, NY to Mosman, NSW in 2011 and opened my first delivery of the Mosman Daily to find a photo of Michael with Clyde & Carolyn Campbell, announcing the partnering of MJFF and Shake It Up Australia. I called them the next day and we’ve been working together ever since! I adore Clyde, Cazz and their kids. Yet another reason for volunteering my time and energy to the cause.

Tell us what you are doing to Shake Things Up? 

I think the key to volunteering to any cause is to offer your strongest assets and let others offer theirs. That’s why my husband, Brett, and I like to work together on projects for SIUAF. He is the creative brains and I simply make it happen! I’m a producer and started my own company, The General Store Productions, here in Sydney to create my own projects across television, digital content and events. I love to produce, connect people, create interesting and compelling work to make a positive difference locally and virtually. So, I offer my time and ideas to the foundation to create content that educates and engages Australians about Parkinson’s.

Greatest Reward? 

My greatest reward was when I introduced my mum to Michael after one of his speaking engagement in Massachusetts. Seeing her, struggling with Parkinson’s, meeting him and feeling his energy and inspiration. It gave her (and me) so much hope. It was an incredibly touching moment for us both.

Best advice for people looking to Shake It Up?

Start small. Do what you can, when you can…and let it naturally grow towards getting more and more involved. It takes a TEAM to make a difference. And a team filled with a variety of dedicated individuals will make incredible changes.

Alison Howlett is the Executive Producer at The General Store Productions

In case you missed our latest television commercial currently being aired on NBCUniversal which was created and produced by Alison & Brett Howlett here it is!

Remember to check back in tomorrow to see our second hero post for the week – Brett Howlett. Brett has previously worked with some of the leading advertising agencies around the world as a creative director and is equally passionate about helping our cause.