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Houston's Women of Distinction honored in $400,000 virtual Winter Ball

Houston's Women of Distinction honored in $400,000 virtual Winter Ball

2021 Women of Distinction Chrons Colitis Winter Ball
Woman of Distinction Roslyn Bazzelle-Mitchell (seated).  Photo courtesy of Winter Ball/Kristina H. Somerville
2021 Women of Distinction Chrons Colitis Winter Ball
Event chair Kristina H. Somerville.  Photo courtesy of Winter Ball/Kristina H. Somerville
2021 Women of Distinction Chrons Colitis Winter Ball
Grande dame Joanne King Herring receives the he first-ever Paul G. Somerville Legacy Award.  Photo courtesy of Winter Ball/Kristina H. Somerville
2021 Women of Distinction Chrons Colitis Winter Ball
2021 Women of Distinction Chrons Colitis Winter Ball
2021 Women of Distinction Chrons Colitis Winter Ball

What: Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation 2021 Winter Ball

Where: Homes across Houston

The scoop: More than 250 guests gathered virtually from the comfort of their homes for the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation 2021 Winter Ball, Uniting to Care & Cure, Hollywood-Style. The annual, cherished event was chaired by Amy Pierce, Kristina Somerville, and Stephanie Tsuru, who are all past Women of  Distinction.

The Winter Ball was the culminating event honoring the Women of Distinction Class of 2021. The ball raked in more than $400,000and received sizable support from sponsors including Sewell Automotive Companies, H-E-B, BB&T  (now Truist), Fabergé, Memorial Hermann, Saint Arnold Brewing Company, Gittings, and Tenenbaum Jewelers.

As those who are familiar know, the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation Winter Ball honors 10 Women of Distinction and one  ambassador who have supported the community through outstanding volunteer leadership.

This year’s honorees were Robin Angly; Roslyn Bazzelle-Mitchell; Lara Bell; Donae Chramosta; Tracy Faulkner; Leila Perrin; Pat Mann Phillips; Christie Sullivan; Elizabeth (Beth) Zdeblick; Sherri Zucker; and Beth Wolff, the 2021 Ambassador.

Beloved society icon Joanne King Herring received the first-ever Paul G. Somerville Legacy Award for her lifetime of philanthropic work  in the spirit of Women of Distinction. Honored hero Wendy Kovich shared her story and journey with Crohn’s disease. The evening was hosted by the event chairmen, along with Johnny “Bravo” Holloway and Wendy Kovich.

The high-energy livestream included a “Uniting to Care & Cure Hollywood-Style” theme, with a  pre-show VIP event hosted by The Bubbleista and “Where are They Now” clips from last  year’s honored heroes as they have navigated the challenges of the pandemic in their  medical care.

Presentations of the Paul G. Somerville Legacy Award and the  2021 Women of Distinction honorees were intermingled with auction, raffle, and Fund the Mission moments. A Tenenbaum Treasure raffle offered gifts for every ticket holder.  During the Fund the Mission portion of the night, sponsored by  Sewell Automotive Companies, more than $63,000 was raised to further the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation’s mission.

Fabergé sponsored a Women of Distinction exclusive design experience as part of the auction. Entertainment came courtesy of Julie Johnson and Band. The evening was produced by Karana Audio Visual Services.

Sadly, during the event, the externally hosted chat platform was hacked. One or more intruders used racial slurs and other inappropriate language in the event chat box. Organizers quickly rectified the situation and released this statement. 

We deeply regret that our participants had to see such terrible language in what we had  intended to be a safe place where we could celebrate our community and our honorees. As an organization that is deeply committed to anti-racism, we have been actively expanding  our diversity and inclusion efforts in our research, patient engagement, staffing, and more. 

The Foundation is actively investigating this incident with our technology vendors to  ascertain exactly how the hackers were able to infiltrate our event and to try to prevent  anything like this from happening again. 

We are saddened that this incident marred an otherwise wonderful celebration of our  inflammatory bowel disease community and our amazing honorees.

Who: Foundation board president Chris Rowley and his wife, Catherine; Lesha and Tom Elsenbrook, Winell and Doug Herron; Margaret Alkek Williams; Sharon Owens; Susan and Edward Osterberg; Brock Wagner; Hallie Vanderhider; Bobbie Nau; Sippi and Ajay Khurana; Brigitte and Bashar Kalai; William and Courtney Toomey; Dena Rafte and Bob Brown; Matt and Wendy Kovich; Steve Wyman; and Kathy and Mark Crosby. Also attending were director of fundraising campaigns & volunteer engagement, Ursula Washington, and executive director Leigh Ellen Key of the  South Texas Chapter of the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation.