As part of its continuing efforts to build awareness about obsessive-compulsive disorder, the James E. Marshall OCD Foundation honored Charles H. Townsend, president and chief executive officer of Condé Nast Publications, and E. Scott Beattie, Elizabeth Arden’s chairman and ceo, at its annual Beyond Beauty dinner at the Union League Club in New York Tuesday night.
Townsend and Beattie were cited for helping to advance the foundation’s goal of finding a cure for the disorder, noted Linda Marshall, the foundation’s secretary and co-founder and president of Elysée Scientific Cosmetics. Marshall’s son, James, died of complications arising from his affliction by obsessive-compulsive disorder six years ago.
Marshall cohosted the presentation with CNN’s Soledad O’Brien, and the two kicked off the festivities by presenting a $284,000 check to physician Gerald Nestadt, director of the OCD clinic and principal investigator for genetic research at Johns Hopkins Medicine.
“Six million people in this country suffer from OCD in some form,” O’Brien told an audience of some 250 people, adding that Johns Hopkins has identified genetic factors indicating susceptibility to OCD.
Nestadt called the grant a “boon” for his department. “You can’t understand how important this is to a fledgling field like OCD,” he said. “We don’t have the support that many other disorders [receive].”
Taking the stage to introduce Beattie was former honoree Marc Pritchard, president of strategy, productivity and growth at Procter & Gamble Co. He called Beattie a “visionary,” who took Arden on a “road to growth” from $50 million in sales less than a decade ago, to a company now projecting annual sales of nearly $1.2 billion.
Beattie told WWD he was very happy to be so honored. “Chuck [Townsend] is a close friend, and our companies have come together to help a great cause.” Commenting on the successes of the foundation, which has raised $750,000 in the last four years, Beattie said, “That’s to the credit of Linda [Marshall]. She is innovative and persistent in building it up each year.”
Linda Wells, editor in chief of Allure, which, like WWD, is owned by Condé Nast, introduced Townsend, saying that in tough times he has made worry lines go away — without Botox — thanks to the buoyancy and optimism he inspires.
“This is an organization at the beginning,” Townsend said of the Marshall OCD Foundation. “This is how great things start, with this many people in rooms this size. I’m proud to play a role in the beginning of this organization.”
He added that making a difference has to be done “one step at a time.”
Cabaret singer Andrea Marcovicci, who spoke about her own experiences with OCD, capped off the evening with a three-song set.