Record-breaking Winter Ball
An amazing auction and the recognition of a large number of Women of Distinction — past and present — made the 30th anniversary Diamond Winter Ball one for the record books.
Not one, but two Mercedes-Benz vehicles — a 2017 Mercedes-Benz SLC Roadster and a 2017 Mercedes-Benz C300 Cabriolet — were auctioned off for a combined $104,000 at the gala held at the Hilton Americas-Houston. The vehicles were donated by Mercedes-Benz Dealers of Greater Houston.
Along with funds raised via the other live auction items, including a trip to Los Angeles to see the Jimmy Kimmel Show and a custom necklace by Valobra, plus raffle tickets for a $15,000 Tenenbaum and Co. gift card, the evening brought in a record-breaking amount of just over $1 million dollars, benefiting the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation.
The non-profit organization is dedicated to finding cures for Crohn's Disease and ulcerative colitis, and to improving the quality of life of children and adults affected by these diseases.
Event chair Franelle Rogers and honorary chairman Margaret Alkek Williams welcomed more than 650 guest to gala, which honored a number of Houston women for their support of the community through volunteerism.The roster of this year's Women of Distinction includes Jo Furr, Dr. Sippi Khurana, Alissa Maples, Shawntell McWilliams, Cyndy Garza Roberts, Jessica Rossman, Susan Sarofim, Kim Tutcher, Kelli Weinzierl, and Vivian Wise.
Also honored during the program were 50 former Women of Distinction from the past 30 years, including Judi McGee, who was named the 2017 Woman of Distinction Ambassador.
The ballroom was decked out with black and white tables accented with a touch of pink as digital diamonds cascaded across a giant flat screen in keeping with the theme. Guests were treated to a performance by Dru Peacock Wiser, who channeled Marilyn Monroe singing “Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend," assisted by dancers Brenden Winkfield, Doug Dorsten,Rob Flebbe, and Gavin Calais. The number was produced by J & D Entertainment.
Texas A&M swimmer Jonathan Tybur, the evening's featured speaker, received a standing ovation after sharing his journey with ulcerative colitis.
Seen in the crowd were Shannon Hall, Judy Oudt, Claudia and Jan Rask, Kristina and Paul Somerville, Caroline and Gary Kenney, Winell and Doug Herron, Tony Bradfield and Kevin Black, Kim and Dan Moody, Jennifer and Joe Van Matre, and Virginia and Dan Steppe.
Also enjoying the evening were CCFA board chairman Brock Wagner, Pat Breen, Maria and Bill Wise, Norelle and Brian Becker, Julie Vogel, Elizabeth and Alan Stein, Lesha and Tom Elsenbrook, Diane and Towbin Englet and CCFA executive director Jenny Conaway.