Wednesday, ladies who lunch (and who were not at the Nationals baseball game) took advantage of the unseasonably warm and sunny fall weather which presented itself seemingly as a courtesy to the cause.Â At La Maison Francaise, women (and a few men) who support The George Washington University Medical Faculty Associates Women’s Health Board and who are doing their part in the fight against breast cancer, donned pink in various forms.Â Even if you (like me) weren’t wearing pink as you entered the Embassy, you quickly were surrounded with the most creative ways to use the color.Â Playing to the theme of La Vie En Rose, the luncheon room popped with pink on the table with flowers, napkins, tablecloths, ribbons, all done tastefully.Â Speaking of taste (and we’ll get to the menu in a bit), the sight for sore eyes were the extensive displays of sweet treats “Pretty in Pink Dessert Table”. You’ve never seen anything like it.
The guests met and mingled outdoors on the terrace while sipping pink champagne from flutes tied with pink ribbons around the stems, and if bubbles weren’t your thing, there was a full bar to quench your thirst.Â As we moved into the luncheon room after sufficient girl gabbing, we wound through the sold out tables, saying our hellos here and there (this was the place to be that day), and finally sat eagerly to hear from Cokie Roberts, who introduced Honorary Chair and Keynote Speaker Carly Fiorina.
Our feminine feast consisted of pink all the way around with roasted beet and goat cheese Napoleon, then seared salmon in champagne sauce with raspberry reduction, and pomegranate sprinkles on the risotto, then of course, the finale that amazing dessert bar.
As Cokie Roberts talked from the podium, she surprised many of us by sharing that Washington DC has the highest mortality rate in the world from breast cancer.Â She spoke of her experience with the disease and how she met Carly Fiorina, who at the time when she was diagnosed, had left leading HP and was running a campaign as a Republican for the United States Senate.Â Cokie quoted Carly as saying, “After cancer, Barbara Boxer isn’t so scary,” which drew chuckles from the audience.Â As a slim, healthy looking, Carly walked up to the podium during applause, I didn’t recognize her from the first time I’d seen her years ago when she spoke at a luncheon for NoVA businessmen.Â Then, she had short almost aggressive spiky hair, was wearing a tough woman suit, and matched the face that graced the cover of her just released hardback. She read her speech, pretty much word for word, didn’t really talk to many of the admirers who wanted to steal a few minutes from her before and after her talk and to be candid, there was an aura of her really not wanting to be there.
This, blonde, soft, relaxed, glowing, confident woman was different. She seemed at peace.Â Carly is a three year survivor.Â She has undergone 11 surgeries, has looked death in the face, has lost her step daughter and yet – she was less tough appearing and sounding, and this time, carried an aura of positivity and appreciation ofÂ life. Carly spoke from her heart, looked at her audience directly in the eyes. She was impassioned, every word she said, counted for something. You could have heard a pin drop as she told her own tale. But as she ended her account, she inspired each of us by reminding us that every person in the United States of America (“I’ve been all over the world, there is no better place to be, to make something of ourselves”) has potential. “I started as a secretary. I ended up running one of the largest corporations in the world.” She said, it doesn’t matter, who you are, where you come from, it is about what you want to do. Â Carly reminded us that everyday matters, that in life, the goal is to get old, so celebrate by living every day to the fullest.Â Life is short, because yes, it is short. Don’t be embarrassed by our age, be proud, every year counts. Â And yes, while she was a leader, being a leader isn’t about the biggest title and the biggest corner office. It’s about making a positive difference, making something better everyday.
Her speech blew us all away, and deservedly, earned a standing ovation.Â Â Words to live by.
The funds raised from this inaugural event go directly to the Mobile Mammography Program (The Mammovan).Â From corporate and individual supporters, La Vie En Rose brought in over $275,000.Â Sponsors included McKesson, Martone Construction, Huelet Parimucha Healing Design, EHR Revolution, and BB&T Bank.
All financial supporters walked away with a pink KitchenAid Mixer but everyone received a canvas gift bag from International Council of Shopping Centers filled with beauty products compliments of Personal Care Products Council (the best gift bag, evahhh), and other little goodies like a mini-Grey Goose bottle, Godiva chocolates, a cookie in the shape of the Mammovan and many other treats.
The George Washington University Medical Faculty Associates, a 501 (c) 3, maintains a comprehensive breast care program as well as The Mobile Mammovan Program, which started in 1996 and offers screenings to about 2,300 women a year, almost half of which are low-income and uninsured.
photos courtesy of Egg in the Nest
Pamela Lynne Sorensen is the founder of Pamela’s Punch, a leading source of information for the “who, what, when, and where” of Washington, DC’s elite social, professional, and philanthropic scene, which she founded in November of 2006. In 2012 she launched Pacific Punch, based in Los Angeles. Pamela comes from an extensive background in sales and business development from a variety of industries, has been involved with charities and fundraising for a number of years and holds several Board and leadership positions. She currently resides in Arlington, Virginia and when she’s not out on the town, she’s reading or writing while sipping fine wine, or traveling the country and the world ISO adventures, beauty, fun, food, style, libations, music, and the good life. Follow her on Twitter at @pamelaspunch.