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Society / The Seen

Million Dollar Party Sets Records

Houston’s Women of Distinction Bring Out the Big Spenders

BY // 02.13.17

Since it’s founding in 1987, the Winter Ball has raised millions of dollars for the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America but not until Saturday night had the black-tie gala saluting the city’s leading ladies hit the seven-figure milestone in a single evening. This diamond 30th anniversary gala at the Hilton Americas-Houston was indeed a night to remember.

Few will forget the convincing Marilyn Monroe impersonator, who warbled “Diamonds Are A Girl’s Best Friend” to the delight of the 650 guests.

Of course, ball chair Franelle Rogers and honorary chair Margaret Alkek Williams will treasure their success, but those holding memories of this night dearest are the 11 femmes who were honored as ABC 13’s Women of Distinction. They attained coveted membership in this power sorority that now enjoys a roster surpassing 300. In advance of the 2017 presentation, more than 50 of those previous honorees strode the runway in ballgown splendor.

Taking bows as 2017 Women of Distinction were Jo Furr, Dr. Sippi Khurana, Alissa Maples, Shawntell McWilliams, Cyndy Garza Roberts, Jessica Rossman, Susan Sarofim, Kim Tutcher, Kelli Weinzierl and Vivian Wise along with 2017 Ambassador Judi McGee. Spotlighted as 2017 Honored Hero was Texas A&M University swim team member Jonathan Tybur, who has overcome the obstacles of ulcerative colitis.

Adding to the evening’s coffers was presenting sponsor Mercedes Benz Dealers of Greater Houston, which donated two cars both of which sold above value in the live auction. A custom necklace from Franco Valobra was also on the auction block. Proceeds were also generated by the raffle for a $15,000 gift card to Tenenbaum Jewelers.

The party crowed included CCFA board chairman Brock Wagner, Kim and Dan Moody, Virginia and Dan Steppe, Elizabeth and Alan Stein, Amy and Rob Pierce, Kristina and Paul Somerville, Cathy and Dr. Gary Brock, Winell and Doug Herron, Pat Breen, Tony Bradfield and Kevin Black, Sofia Adroguè and Sten Gustafson, Marie and Bill Wise, Norelle and Brian Becker, Lesha and Tom Elsenbrook, and CCFA executive director Jenny Conaway.

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