Monday, March 18, 2013

WRC's Renaissance Luncheon

Lots of happy, chatty women abounded at the Women's Resource Center's Renaissance Luncheon last week at the Ritz Carlton.  A crowd of over 500 women seeking to redefine balance in their lives by listening to keynote speaker, Anne-Marie Slaughter, the author of the controversial article in The Atlantic, "Why Women Still Can't Have it All".

 This is what I got out of her talk....That instead of using the terms "men and women" in the work/home dialogue, we should use "breadwinners and caregivers".  I like that. At any given time, men and women equally should be able to embrace either of those roles. After working for 37 years, seven days a week, literally, my husband chose to sell his company and is currently the sole caregiver for his 97 year-old father, instead of putting him in a nursing home, and I am the breadwinner.  I was able to be a stay at home mom and community volunteer for many, many years during the first 25 years of our marriage and we were both happy I was able to do so.  Wouldn't it be nice if the current workplace embraced that idea?  Both men and women can be both breadwinners and caregivers at any given time of their work life cycle and not pay a price for it in a career trajectory.

After Anne-Marie's talk, there was a panel of local women discussing their lives and the whole breadwinner/caregiver thing.  Those on the panel were Lorna Alston, Wendy Mann Resnick, and Flori Roberts, who was the honorary chair of the event.

The luncheon was very well done and very pretty.  The lighting was lovely and not usually something you see at a luncheon.  That kind of extra thing is normally reserved for an evening event, so it was quite a visual treat!  The centerpieces were charming - tiny dress forms in blue tulle with scales hanging off both sides, indicating the balancing act we all perform.  I liked how as you entered the grand hallway in front of the ball room, you walked past posters of clients the WRC had impacted.

Barbara Ackerman was the event chair and Kathy Leon was the emcee of the day.  Representatives from the two community foundations, Veronica Brady and Jocelyn Stevens, did a very nice job of doing an "ask".

The food was quite good and the starter soup was interesting and different.  I like it when they shake things up like that.  The dessert, a choice of chocolate cake with chocolate buttercream or vanilla cake with raspberry jam, was supposed to resemble beach rocks and was both thematic and tasty!  Almost everyone at our table had half of each one.

And in other Ritz valet news....I left the luncheon just as the panel started, as did many others, and I only had to wait 10 minutes to get my car.  Yay!!

Others seen in the crowd were Teri Hansen, Scott Anderson, Leanne McIntire, Rachel Schaeffer, Gila Meriwether, Joy Naylor, Janet Hunter, Eva Slane, Peggy Abt, Donna Gerdes, Sally Yanowitz, Barbara Zdravecky, Jan Chester, Laurin Ripley, Karee Valek, Isabel Norton, Pam Daniel, Phyllis Anderson, Elaine Briggs, Kathy Coffey, Pat Johnson, Barbara Freeman, Donna-Lee Roden, Dr. LB Wish, Marilyn Bezner, Annette Dignam,  Felice Schulaner, Kirstin Fulkerson, Dottie Garner, Leslie Glass, Elizabeth Van Riper, Diana Kelly, Kim Bald, Ann Thompson, Ellen Berman, Judy Zuckerberg, Anne Weintraub, Salena Whilhoit, Brenda Terris,  and oh so many more.

Audrey Coleman and WRC board president, Renee Hamad

Liz Maggio and WRC Executive Director, Janice Zarro

Keynote Speaker, Anne-Marie Slaughter and Betty Schoenbaum

Kay Delaney and Hillary Steele

BJ Creighton, Beverly Bartner, and Norma Savin

Debbie Partridge and Veronica Brady

Denise Barker and Patty Bettle

Brad Goddard and Flora Major

Gayle Guynup and Phil King

Flori Roberts and Norma Cohen

Marilyn Schroeter and Diane Slattery

Melba Jimenez and Robin Serbin

Sally Schule, Joel Ellzey, and Barbara Banks

Chair Barbara Ackerman, Lorna Alston, and Wendy Resnick

Dr. Karen Hamad and Dr. Cindy Von Waldner

Heather Clark and Linda Macaskill

Susan Brennan and Kim Wheeler

Becky Bolletti and Carolyn Spizzirro

Christine Jennings and Kelley Lavin

Ilene Denton and Jocelyn Stevens

Julie Riddell and me

Walking in

The centerpiece

The place setting

The menu

The entree

The dessert

The panel setting

The first course

Friday, March 1, 2013

Junior League Sustainers' Legacy Luncheon

I must confess, I am a little biased when it comes to this luncheon, as I created it and chaired it for the first five years.  It is now in its 11th year and the event on Tuesday was better than ever!  Who wouldn't love hearing all about the personal, private moments of life with Princess Diana and her sons?

The Junior League of Sarasota Sustainers held their Legacy Luncheon on Tuesday at Michael's On East and Royal Chef Darren McGrady was the featured speaker.  He was extremely self-effacing and very entertaining as he spoke about being a royal chef for Queen Elizabeth and then for Princess Diana after her divorce from Prince Charles.  He was very protective of Princess Diana's memory and told lovely, heart-warming stories about her and made it very clear he was not a fan of Camilla Parker-Bowles, now the Duchess of Cornwall.

He was with Princess Diana right from the beginning, in some ways.  He said he and his family slept on the street the night before the Diana's wedding to Charles, so they could get a good view of the proceedings, long before he was employed by the royal family.  He was still her chef at the time of her death. After that, Prince Charles asked him to work for him, but he declined and instead moved to Dallas, TX to become a private chef for a family there.

Sharing several stories with us, he lifted the veil on the Royal Family and on the type of gracious living that we commoners can only imagine, including the specific way to cut the carrots that the Queen will carry in her pocket to give to her horse and that fresh scones are made daily for tea - not for the Queen, but for the Queen to crumble on the carpet and give to her corgis.  Ah, the life of a royal pet!

Chef McGrady also told of the many state banquets he prepared for including serving the food on the priceless Meissen china from the 1600s.  He also mentioned that tea sandwiches are cut in an octagon and not a square or a rectangle, as that signifies a coffin or wishing death on someone.  Remember that next time you take tea!

This is my favorite luncheon of the year because I get to reconnect with many of my League friends and relish the legacy of the Junior League of Sarasota in the community.  The League has a rich history and many of the  female community leaders in town received their training from their Junior League service.  The membership requirements have changed dramatically over the years, so if you have thought about joining the League in past, no matter what your age is now, now is the time to look into becoming a Junior Leaguer.  You won't regret doing so!

Those below with (pp) after their names are past presidents of the Junior League of Sarasota.  There are several other past presidents of other Junior Leagues who have transferred to our League.  The ones I know (I'm sure I missed some!) are identified with (ppol).

Others seen in the big crowd were Stacey Corley (pp), Susan Gilmore Clark, Lelia Windom (pp), Sue Hoffman, Valerie Dorr (pp), Sandy Strom, Sharon Hicks, Mary Ellen Moore, Mollie Thibodeau, Paula Clemow, Mindy Mast, Graci McGillicuddy, Sarah Lodge, Martha Rogers (ppol), Barbara Barrett, Debbie Shapiro, Maryann Boehm (pp), Cerita Purmort (pp), Peggy Abt, Jenny Hime, Caryn Patterson, Dee Stottlemyer (pp), Peg McKinley, Heather Clark, Lisa Ward Eding (pp), and on and on.

Event co-chairs, Cheryl Burstein (pp)and Susan Powers

Cady Ferguson and me (pp)

Chef Darren McGrady and Kathy Standard

Current League President, Donna Mateer, Erin Duggan, and Abby Weingarten

Susan Brennan and Julie Milton

Jane Kiebitz and Stephanie Kost

Mary Owen and Betsy Bagby (ppol)

Tish FitzGerald, Sue Bissell (pp), and Marilynn Koach (pp)

Sue Renfrew (pp) and Myrna Welch (pp)

Barb Lewis, Belinda Coffrin, Mary-Lou Moulton

Alicia Chalmers, Leslie Jones (pp), and Dorothy Stuart (pp)

Gloria Koach (pp) and Anne Garlington

Carlotta Cooley and Shirley Ritchey

Veronica Brady (pp) and Beth Cannata (pp)

Carmen Baskind and Laura Peters

Dr. Arthur and Lynn Guildford

Liza Battaglia and Karen Flanigan

A friend and Karen Fessel

Melba Jimenez, Kim Wheeler, and Renee Hamad

Jennifer Vett, Elizabeth Wery, and Nancy Bailey

Donna Barcomb (pp), Donna Berlin, Rebecca Blitz, and Kim Cornetet

Julie Riddell and Michelle Crabtree

Angie Stringer (pp) and Jessica Rogers

Cornelia Matson, Bonnie Chapman, Barbara Frey, Patty Bettle, and Carolyn McEntyre

Sandy Slaminko and Kay Chandler

Laura Peters and Margarete van Antwerpen

Robyn Fergeson, Mary Jim Fergeson (pp), and Donna Bewley

Cheryl Smith, Joan Campo-Liga, and Marilyn Kessler

Carol Williams (ppol)

The table

The centerpiece

The place setting

The entree

The dessert