The 2020 Leukemia & Lymphoma Society Woman of the Year Lauren Paine, center, and her support group at the virtual gala watch party.
Leukemia & Lymphoma Society 2020 Man of the Year winner Kyle Santolini of Martha Turner Sotheby's International Realty.
Brad & Joanna Marks, Woman of the Year runner-up, at the Houston Cattle Baron's Ball at the George Ranch. (Photo by Mike Charlton)
Leukemia & Lymphoma Society 2020 Woman of the Year Lauren Paine celebrates her win and the $144,000 she raised for the non-profit.
The 2020 Leukemia & Lymphoma Society Man of the Year team Sommer Leonard, Matthew Lawrence, Mary Hooton, Kyle Santolini, Ryan Broussard, Stephanie Carroll, and David Carroll.
Lauren Paine and her pals at the 2020 Man & Woman of the Year watch party, Chris Mastrangelo, Kelsey Groves, Scott Gildea, Danny Tyroch, Kayla Kelley, Schuyler Evans, Angela Nichols, Brian Gendron and Dr. Alayna Pagnani-Gendron.
Typically, the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Man & Women of the Year fundraiser involves 10 young professionals willing to host creative events geared to bringing the most funds in order to win the coveted title. No surprise, the 2020 program was upended by COVID-19 and the players had to resolve to means other than large social gatherings to bring in the dollars for the nonprofit.
But in the end the hardworking volunteers raised, in a mere 10 weeks, a commendable $550,000 for the effort to find cures for blood cancers. Man of the Year Kyle Santolini of Martha Turner Sotheby’s International Realty, brought in $64,000 while Woman of the Year Lauren Paine of Northwestern Mutual of Houston brought in earnings of $144,o00.
While it was considerably less than the 2019 total of a record-breaking $1,875,848, the 2020 effort is highly commendable considering the obstacles to the traditional fundraising. Exceptional creativity and social media were key in overcoming the pandemic cloud.
“Well, it was very hard but my team came together to come up with ideas on how to raise money in a sensitive but effective way since we knew the patients still needed our help more than ever,” Woman of the Year runner-up Joanna Hartland Marks of IW Marks Jewelers tells PaperCity.
“So we created a website, a Facebook page and an Instagram page for our team, JoMama’s Jewels . . . I created videos each day and the jingles were created personally for our team by Vincent Powell, a former American Idol finalist. I did a raffle drawing each week with some amazing prizes that were donated to us. We got donations from $5 to $10,000 and raised over $70k just by our team. I would say that is pretty spectacular for virtual only and with all the uncertainty of the times.”
Joining Hartland Marks in the spotlight as Man of the Year runner-up was David Schonian of Escondido Resources.
Joining the challenge as co-chairs of the 2020 event were Scott Gildea and Stephanie Carroll, winners of the 2017 fundraising campaign. Emcees Johnny Holloway and Becca James announced the winners to watch parties around the city.
Contestants included Caroline Christian, Bill Stubbs and Melissa Zier.