They partied in art galleries, in an artist's studio, in a remodeled River Oaks home. They boogied at the Black Swan, Elaine Turner and at points across the city as young professionals played for 10 weeks raising serious dollars for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society in the popular Man & Woman of the Year competition.
Their efforts far surpassed expectations. When the curtain finally fell on Friday night's Grand Finale Awards Gala at River Oaks Country Club, the YP effort had nearly doubled the original goal with proceeds coming in at a whopping $912,000. That figure will place the Houston chapter's fundraiser in the top three out of 63 chapters nationwide.
Leading the charge to reach that unexpected figure was Woman of the Year Carolyn Dodson, formerly with M.D. Anderson, who managed to corral $132,000 for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. CenterPoint Energy's Jason Ryan won Man of the Year honors by rallying his supporters to the tune of $110,000. Not far behind was Heritage Texas Properties' Mike Mahlstedt who raised a commendable $101,000, having held one of his fundraisers in his newly-remodeled River Oaks home.
Corporate support took this benefit over the top both through sponsorships (65 total, triple last year) and corporate support of individuals such as Sheldon Kramer in wealth management with Wells Fargo and Leslie Sharp in the oil and gas field, both of whom credited big business for their success.
In another record, the silent auction with close to 100 offerings brought in $151,000. No one could have been happier with the evening's results than event chair Brian Ross, an attorney at Gibbs & Bruns and a lymphoma survivor.
Rounding out the contenders for Man & Woman of the Year were Taft McWhorter, Phuc "Froggy" Dang, Freddy Goerges, John Harmon, Michael Lehtenberg, Chad Pilbeam, Dr. William Wierda, Kathryn Hite, Rula Khoury, Justine Klinke, Renee LeBas, Brandy Liss, Christie Miller and JJ Saltsman.
Troops rallying for the cause included Brittany Sakowitz Kushner and Kevin Kushner, Jonathan Farb, Milo Hamilton, Phyllis Childress, Beth Wolff, Monica Hartland and John Blaisdell, Rachel and Daniel Fein, Karina and Carlos Barbieri, Ted Loch, Corie and Matt Johnson, Man & Woman of the Year campaign manager Helen Oettinger and Leukemia & Lymphoma Society director Billy Sue Parris and Tom Parris.