Chatfest fosters networking and friendships

"Table Talk" fundraiser celebrates the gift of gab

"Table Talk" fundraiser celebrates the gift of gab

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Honorees Mayor Annise Parker and Commissioner Sylvia Garcia Photo by Sarah Gish
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Chairs Andrea Georgsson and Sarah Cooper Photo by Sarah Gish
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Emily Suchomel, left, Heidi Horton and Ana Hernandez Photo by Sarah Gish
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Marian Luntz, left, Patricia Gras and Brené Brown Photo by Sarah Gish
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Iska Wire and Laura Mayes Photo by Sarah Gish
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Abby Whitmire and Karen Walrond Photo by Sarah Gish
News_Table Talk_Annise Parker_Sylvia Garcia
News_Table Talk_Andrea Georgsson_Sarah Cooper
News_Table Talk_Emily Suchomel_Heidi Horton_Ana Hernandez
News_Table Talk_Marian Luntz_Patricia Gras_Brene Brown
News_Table Talk_Iska Wire_Laura Mayes
News_Table Talk_Abby Whitmire_Karen Walrond

Pack the ballroom at the Hilton Americas with more than 500 women and you will hear more than the walls talking. The Friends of Women’s Studies hosted its 13th annual “Table Talk” fundraiser yesterday, and everyone had so much fun gabbing that it was hard to hear University of Houston Women’s Studies Director Elizabeth Gregory announcing raffle ticket sales over the din.

Chaired by Andrea Georgsson and Sarah Cooper, the event grossed $110,000 and benefited the Women’s Archive and Research Center (ARC) and the UH Women’s Studies Program. This year’s special honorees were Mayor Annise Parker (who agreed to take part in the fun several months ago before the election) and Harris County Commissioner Sylvia Garcia.

This is one of my favorite fundraisers because I’m a girl who loves to gab, and “Table Talk” is one big chatfest. There were 50 conversationalists, one at each table, who shared their life experiences and discussed their careers and areas of expertise with guests.

You couldn’t miss 6-foot, 7-inch Heidi Burge Horton – former WNBA star and one of the “world’s tallest twins” – as she held court. Lawyer and Cinema Arts Festival Houston founder Franci Crane were conversing, as were t’afia owner Monica Pope, River Oaks Chamber Orchestra founder Alecia Lawyer, shame researcher Brené Brown, peace activist Lee Loe, construction CEO Laura Bellows, and even CultureMap’s socialmeister Shelby Hodge. Artist Gael Stack extolled creativity with fellow artists Lynn Randolph and Mary Ross Taylor.  And as we chatted with our conversationalist, journalist Kalyani Giri, we veered off into the topic of the multiculturalism of Houston and stories about immigrant grandparents landing here.

“Table Talk” proves that getting together for a good chat can lead to lifelong friendships and business mergers. Just ask Daniel Kornberg and James Harrison, founders of HarrisonKornberg architects, whose wives Mary Scott Hagle and Shannon Buggs met at TT in 2002.