Society / The Seen

Houston’s Posh Winter Ball Turns Into a $760,000 Night Thanks to Women of Distinction

Heavy Hitters and a Reality TV Star Power the Dance Floor Fun

BY // 01.22.19
photography Daniel Ortiz, Dave Rossman, Jacob Power

With the poshest of sponsors getting this party started, the Winter Ball was guaranteed a stellar success. And so it was Saturday night with Tootsies, Gittings and Tenenbaum Jewelers stepping up to the plate at the Hilton Americas-Houston as well as with BB&T hosting the pre-gala cocktail party.

Of course, the trio of chairs — Dr. Sippi Khurana, Shawntell McWilliams and Cyndy Garza Roberts — added high notes to the “Crystal Winter Ball” as did the 2019 ABC 13 Women of Distinction. Greeted with cheers, applause and standing ovations were honorees Farida Abjani, Marilyn DeMontrond, Gaynell Drexler, Jo Lynn Falgout, Carolyn Faulk, Melissa Juneau, Dr. Kelly Larkin, Sneha Merchant, Claire Cormier-Thielke, Jerre Williams, 2019 Ambassador Merele Yarborough and Honored Hero Sara Cornelius, who shared her story of living with IBD.

They joined the ranks of more than 300 Women of Distinction, community leaders who have been spotlighted since the events founding in 1987. Since that time, the festive black-tie evening has raised millions of dollars for the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation. A number of those past honorees swanned down the catwalk as well. This Winter Ball brought in more than $760,000, easily surpassing funds raised in 2018, happy news for honorary chairs Mary Ann and David McKeithan.

Evening emcees Melanie Lawson, a former Woman of Distinction, and Art Rascon, both well known members of the ABC 13 news team, kept the program soaring as the honorees made their walk of fame down the hotel ballroom runway.

Entertainment began with America’s Got Talent finalist electric violinist Svet and continued after dinner with the sounds of Password. And, yes, the dance floor was packed and grew even cozier when the youngsters arrived for the H-E-B sponsored after-party.

PC Seen: Tootsies’ Donna and Norman Lewis, Tenenbaum‘s Tony Bradfield and Kevin Black, BB&T’s Bill and Courtney Toomey, H-E-B’s Winell and Doug Herron, ABC 13 general manager Henry Florsheim and wife Doe, CCFA board president Kevin Carter and wife Jacqueline, CCFA executive director Jenny Conaway, plus Yvonne and Rufus Cormier, Laura Ward, Carol and Tom Sawyer, Fady Armanious and Bill Baldwin, Pilar Colvin, Gayla and Donald Gardner, Amanda and Terry Boffone, Lisa and Jerry Simon, Cheryl and Percy Creuzot, Robin Young Ellis and Joe Ellis, Beth Madison, Stephanie and Ryan Fleck, and Lynda and Jim Winne.

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