What: The 2019 Crystal Ball Winter Ball
Where: Hilton Americas
The scoop: More than 650 Houstonians packed the Hilton Americas for the 2019 Crystal Ball Winter Ball, chaired by Cyndy Garza Roberts, Dr. Sippi Khurana, and Shawntell McWilliams — all former Women of Distinction — and honorary chairmen Mary Ann and David McKeithan. The Winter Ball was the culmination of ABC13’s Women of Distinction presenting the class of 2019. The evening brought in over $760,000; major sponsors included Tootsies, Gittings, and Tenenbaum Jewelers.
Benefiting the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation, the Winter Ball honors 10 Women of Distinction and one ambassador who have supported the community through volunteerism. This year’s honorees were Farida Abjani; Marilyn DeMontrond; Gaynell Drexler; Jo Lynn Falgout; Carolyn Faulk; Melissa Juneau; Dr. Kelly Larkin; Sneha Merchant; Claire Thielke; Jerre Williams; and Merele Yarborough, the 2019 Ambassador. Honored hero Sarah Cornelius shared her journey with Crohn’s, demonstrating the importance of the funds raised at the event and generated a standing ovation from the crowd. The evening was led by emcees Art Rascon and Melanie Lawson, herself a former Woman of Distinction.
The high-energy crowd started the evening mingling and bidding on unique auction items with the cocktail party sponsored by BB&T – Courtney and William Toomey. Raffle gift cards for $5,000 and $10,000 from Tenenbaum Jewelers were an especially hot item. As the guests moved to their tables, the décor kept the crystal theme with ice sculptures as centerpieces and shades of silver and blue throughout the room. Violinist, Svet, who has shared stages with superstars like Jamie Fox, Kanye West, and Beyonce and was featured on Americas Got Talent, opened the evening with a performance.
Images changed on the massive LED wall throughout the night keeping the attendees wrapped in the cool of the event. During the raise the paddle portion of the night, more than $65,000 was raised to further the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation’s mission. The dance floor was packed to the sounds of Password with the after party sponsored by H-E-B. The evening was orchestrated by event producers Ellie Francisco and Niki Smith.
Who: Tony Bradfield and Kevin Black, foundation board president Kevin Carter and his wife Jaqueline; Fady Armanious and Bill Baldwin; Donna and Norman Lewis; Winell and Doug Herron; Twila Carter; Sharon Owens; Susan and Edward Osterberg; Christine Underwood; Carol and Tom Sawyer; Marian Harper; Brock Wagner; Laura Ward; Beth Madison; Robin Young Ellis and Joe Ellis; Jim Winne and his wife, Lynda; Kristina and Paul Somerville; Beth Wolff; Margaret Alkek Williams; Amanda and Terry Boffone; Hallie Vanderhider; Tracey and Andy Hull; Pilar Colvin; Lisa and Jerry Simon; Stephanie and Ryan Fleck; Yvonne and Rufus Cormier; Cheryl and Percy Creuzot; Vanessa and Michael Manners; Ed McMahon; Gayla and Donald Gardner; and Jenny Conaway.