The Women of Tomorrow Mentor & Scholarship Program celebrated its 10th-annual gala at the Mandarin Oriental, with nearly 500 of Miami’s leading philanthropists and celebrities in attendance. Founders Jennifer Valoppi and Telemundo president Don Browne, along with gala chairperson Marisa Toccin and WOT vice president and state attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle, helped forge a spirited celebration that was directed at creating awareness for Florida’s at-risk young women.
Dr. Krista Rosenberg, Alison Zhuk, Candise Shanbron and Cindy Dana
Jennifer Valoppi, Katherine Fernandez Rundle, Don Browne and Marisa Toccin
Marc Iacovelli, Carol Iacovelli, Brenda Nestor Castellano and Robert Castellano
The decor for the evening was done by Sharon Siegal and Deco Productions. The evening began with a lavish cocktail reception featuring hors d’oeuvre stations created by Mandarin Oriental chefs, as well as the silent auction of more than 100 premiere items from top hospitality, entertainment, fashion and luxury brands. Big-ticket items included Diamond (17 cts), Emerald (46.25cts), and Orange Sapphire (20.25cts) earrings by Jeffrey Rackover valued at $100,000, a 2011 U.S Open Package which included round-trip airfare, NBC Sports Hospitality Tent and accommodations at Four Seasons Georgetown, as well as a surprise item thrown in by a mystery guest of a one-week stay at his home on Avenue Foch in Paris.
Following the cocktail reception, guests were treated to a surprise performance by rap superstar Pitbull. The Miami native praised the work done by Women of Tomorrow, performed a brief excerpt from his hit song “Bon Bon,” then posed for photos with fans. The Soul Survivors then took the stage and performed while guests enjoyed a four-course dinner, which included Maine lobster, seared filet mignon with foie gras, twice-baked potatoes and three sinful dessert creations.
In attendance were the evening’s distinguished honorees: Honorary Chairmen Bruce and Tracey Berkowitz and the Fairholme Foundation; Legacy Builder Honoree Cesar L. Alvarez; Empowerment Award Honorees John. S. and James L. Knight Foundation and Alberto Ibarguen, who attended with his wife, Susana Ibarguen; Humanitarian Chairpersons Christian de Berdouare and Dr. Eugene and Suzie Sayfie; Mentor of the Year Dr. Randy Schenkman; and Excellence Honoree Ingrid Fatio, with husband, Jean-Louis Fatio.
VIPs in attendance, who helped raise more than $400,000, were Fran and Mel Harris, Tara Solomon and Nick D’Annunzio, Lola Jacobson, Cindy Carr, Lora and Fred Drasner, Jose and Brenda Diaz-Balart, U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Karen Piazza, Swanee and Paul DiMare, Ferne and Daniel Toccin, Frances and Eugenio Sevilla-Sacasa, Princess Thi-Nga of Vietnam, Laura Buccellati, Gustavo Novoa, Mark and Alison Zhuk, Nick Buoniconti, Dr. Barth and Kathy Green, Barbara and Alex Havenick, Ana-Marie Codina Barlick and Robert Barlick, Betty Amos, Maria Carvalho, Neki Mohan and Jason Martinez, David Efron, Mariita Srebnick, George Feldenkreis, Mohammed Abdulaziz and Zona Zaric, Dr. Krista and Paul Rosenberg, Dr. Diane Walder, Monica and James Goldsmith, Carol and Marc Iacovelli, Jeffrey Rackover, Deborah Scarpa, Robyn Perlman, Sherry and Tom Ireland, Lauren and Charles Fernandez, Jorge and Cyndi Gonzalez, Jennifer Diliz, Belinda and Rick Tuckerman, Damian and Abby Thorman, Leslie Lott and Michael Moore, Sharon and Julian Siegel, Cindy Dana and Jason Wells, Candise Shanbron and Justin Cernitz, Lisa Stewart Hughes, Mark and Millinda Sinnreich, Elsie and Eugene Howard, Bonnie Epstein, Aymee and Peter Zubizarreta, Jamie Byington, John “Footy” Kross, Trina Robinson, Lissette Gonzalez, Pam Giganti-Bunge, Shannon Hori and Nicole Henry. Also in attendance from Telemundo with Don Browne, his wife Maria Junquera, Stefanie Fernandez and stars Maritza Rodriguez, Catherine Siachoque, Miguel Varoni, Jorge Luis Pila, Aylin Mujica, Gabriel Valenzuela, Maggie Rodriguez, Enrique Acevedo, Vanessa Hauc, Carmen Dominicci, Mariana Rodriguez, Jorge Bernal, Mary Gamarra,
Women of Tomorrow currently mentors approximately 2,000 at-risk young women in 99 public high schools in 42 cities in Broward, Miami-Dade and Palm Beach counties with its network of 250 mentors. Women of Tomorrow has awarded $2.7 million in scholarships to 973 mentees. For more information, call 305-371-3330 or visit www.womenoftomorrow.org.