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Houston’s New Women of Distinction Revealed, Surprised With Flowers and Cameras

Meet the 11 Difference Making Women in the Class of 2022

BY // 06.30.21

After surprising 11 ladies with the news of their upcoming initiation into Houston’s Women of Distinction ranks, the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation, WOD sponsor, treated the class of 2022 to a celebration luncheon in the Executive Lounge at the Hilton Americas-Houston. As is tradition, CCF staff and advisory board members traveled across the city with cameras rolling to deliver the happy news to honorees.

In early June, CCF staff was joined by Gayla Gardner, Susan Osterberg and Helen Shaffer in presenting armloads of flowers to the honorees who will be formally recognized at the Winter Ball. The 35th annual event will be held at the Hilton Americas-Houston on January 22, 2022.

Actually, a dozen women will be recognized during the black-tie evening. Norma Myers, who was instrumental in founding the WOD fundraiser, will be honored with the Paul Somerville Legacy Award in memoriam. That honor was initiated with the virtual 2021 Winter Ball, when Joanne King Herring took bows for earning the prestigious recognition.

Joining Myers in the spotlight will be Vicki West, who has been selected as the Women of Distinction 2022 Ambassador, recognized for a long career of philanthropy and community leadership. She is best known for her dedication to the Salvation Army and to the Houston Symphony.

Walking the runway as 2022 honorees are Anne Chao, Elaine Balagia Croucher, Joni Hruska Fichter, Maureen Higdon, Mandy Kao, Heidi Rockecharlie, Joy Sewing, Heidi Smith, Jo Dee Wright and Rini Wu Ziegler.

In honor of the milestone 35th anniversary, CCF has decided that rather than have official gala chairs, all previous honorees, and there are more than 300, will offer their support to the cause.

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The foundation is the leading nonprofit organization focused on both research and patient support for inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD). The nonprofit’s mission is to cure Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis and to improve the quality of life for millions of Americans living with IBD.

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