Cornelia Guest has been passionate about animals and nature since she was a child. Her passion is reflected in every aspect of her life including her philanthropy, animal activism, and business enterprises.
In 2009 she founded Cornelia Guest Events and Cornelia Guest Cookies, catering high-end charity and entertainment events with healthy, vegan dishes. Her mission is to encourage and inspire people to be conscious of the diet choices they make in their daily lives.
Daughter of American fashion icon CZ Guest and polo champion Winston Frederick Churchill Guest, Cornelia has been able to use her media attention and professional contacts to support Humane Society of New York, and was named by Donna Karan as one of the Women Who Inspire. Cornelia is also an advocate for New Yorkers for Marriage Equality and hosted their fall 2010 event with Mayor Bloomberg.
How did you get into the non-profit industry?
I have always been rescuing or helping animals since I was a child, as it’s so important to me to give back.
Who-what inspired you to become a philanthropist?
Animals have been a huge inspiration to me; I remember reading about Elsa the Lion in Born Free and I wanted to be just like Joy Adamson. Dian Fossey who did such incredible work with gorillas their conservation was also a great inspiration for me.
Define a great philanthropist.
Any person that has passion & love for the philanthropy that they are involved.
Tell us about your cruelty free bag line and cookies.
I love a chocolate chip cookie and saw no reason I couldn’t make a cruelty free one. All proceeds from my cookies go to the Humane Society of New York. As for my line of cruelty-free handbags, I wanted to create an intelligent bag alternative for people- one that was under $300 dollars, while also being beautiful, elegant & functional.
"One of my favorite things in the world is a warm chocolate chip cookie. So I decided to make my own. Not too sweet, not too large, no animal products… just right. And I only wish I could eat just one! I tested these cookies on so many of my friends, and I never saw anyone who did not come back for more. A percentage of the sales of Cornelia Guest Cookies goes to the Humane Society of New York. I’m on their board and am honored to work with them. They are lovely. They take such wonderful care of so many critters, a cause so dear to my heart. Critters and chocolate chip cookies…what could be better."
What was your greatest achievement as a philanthropist?
I love when my cookies sell out, knowing that the proceeds will be benefiting all the critters at the Humane Society of New York.
Favorite travel destination?
Role model - personal and business?
Aileen Mehle, Diane Von Furstenberg, Dr. Dame Daphne Sheldrick
One food or drink left on earth, what would you choose?
Red Wine & Cornelia Guest Cookies
What literature is on your bed stand?
Moveable Feast, Hemmingway – my favorite. Also Rita Mae Brown's Nine Lives to Die.
What's next for Cornelia Guest?
Expanding the Cruelty Free world of Cornelia Guest
(Proto Credit: Bruce Weber)