As former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright noted in a recent campaign stump for Hillary Clinton, there is a special place in hell for women who don't help other women. With that in mind, it was definitely a heavenly scene at the Astorian when the Greater Houston Women's Chamber of Commerce held its annual meeting and awards luncheon.
The special event venue was packed to the rafters with high-powered professional women and community leaders, apparently all committed to helping the sisterhood advance professionally. Albright would have been pleased.
With KTRK Channel 11's Deborah Duncan as emcee, the event served to bid adieu to outgoing board chair Denise Castillo-Rhodes, Texas Medical Center executive vice president and CFO, and welcome incoming chair, Valerie Gibbs, Allegiance Bank executive vice president and chief C&I officer. State Rep. Ana Hernandez did the honors of inducting Gibbs and new board members.
The fast-paced awards presentation honored numerous women — Elizabeth Brock of CenterPoint Energy as Committee Chair of the Year, Shelby Hodge, editor at large with CultureMap for Media Excellence, Brenda James of Clayton Personnel as Volunteer of the Year, Ruth Reading of Burnett Specialties as Ambassador of the Year, Dr. Kathryn Peak of St. Luke’s Heart Institute for Role Model Awards, Amy Lach and Lacey Krause of Pierpont Communications for Star Awards, Ariana Smetana of artVIA as Entrepreneur of the Year, Rhonda Arnold of Houston Airport System and Irene Helsinger of Newport Board Group as Presidents Key Supporters.
The packed gathering includedAlicia Smith, Ellie Francisco, Virginia Hodge, Cyndy Garza Roberts, Linda Lorelle, Lucinda Loya, and Donae Chramosta, Anne Carl.
Proceeds benefit the chamber's community programs which include providing scholarships for female students and working to increase the number of women on corporate boards.