Million Dollar Party Sets Records: Houston’s Women of Distinction Bring Out the Big Spenders
'Marilyn Monroe' sings 'Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend" Photo by Daniel Ortiz
Honorary chair Margaret Alkek Williams, chair Franelle Rogers, Photo by Dave Rossman
Ajay & Dr. Sippi Khurana, Photo by Kim Coffman
Alissa Maples, Photo by Daniel Ortiz
Burke Saucier & Susan Sarofim, Photo by Dave Rossman
Carolyn Faulk, Pat Studdert, Photo by Kim Coffman
Jessica Rossman & Gordon Bethune, Photo by Kim Coffman
Jo & Jim Furr, Photo by Dave Rossman
Kelli Weinzierl, Shawntell McWilliams, Photo by Dave Rossman
Kim Tutcher, Photo by Dave Rossman
Thomas Roberts & Cyndy Garza Roberts, Photo by Dave Rossman
Vivian Wise, Franco Valobra, Photo by Dave Rossman
Dr. Mike & Caorlyn Mann, Judi McGee, Dr. Paul Mann, Photo by Dave Rossman
Hallie Vanderhider, Fady Armanious, Photo by Daniel Ortiz
Bill & Courtney Toomey, Photo by Kim Coffman
Brigitte & Bashar Kalai, Photo by Kim Coffman
Paul & Kristina Somerville, Photo by Kim Coffman
Claudia Rask, Cathy Brock, Bobbie Nau, Anita O'Shaughnessy, Photo by Daniel Ortiz
Doug & Winell Herron, Photo by Dave Rossman
Joe & Jennifer Van Matre, Photo by Daniel Ortiz
Norman & Donna Lewis, Photo by Dave Rossman
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.