Thursday, March 1, 2012

Junior League Sustainers' Legacy Luncheon

The Junior League Sustainers' Legacy Luncheon is always a day filled with love and friendship.  We celebrated 10 years of fabulous speakers on Tuesday afternoon.  Cheryl Burstein was the chair and I was honored that she asked me to be the honorary chair, as I had created the event and chaired it for the first five years. 

I was privileged to give a little history about the Legacy Luncheon during the event.  It really started as a way to bring all 700 of our members together to celebrate our combined Junior League legacy.  My one wish for the luncheon was that when everyone left, they "felt the love" of their JL membership.  As a past president of the League, my membership has always meant a great deal to me.  Many of my best friendships were made during League activities.  I am also so proud of the women who came before me.  The Junior League of Sarasota started in 1957 as the Junior Welfare League until our city had grown sufficiently large enough to be considered for membership in the Junior League in 1976.  Many of those women from that time really made many of our charitable organizations into what they are today.  The Junior League of Sarasota has a long and proud history and I am so happy to be a part of it.   

Our speaker this year was author Kati Marton who spoke about her book Hidden Power - Presidential Marriages That Shaped Our History.  The book starts with Edith and Woodrow Wilson and ends with Laura and George Bush.  Kati told us her new French edition also has a chapter about the Obamas.
A few tidbits from her speech - Bill and Hillary Clinton have a true love story and is not a marriage only for political purposes.  Also, Nancy Reagan was good at firing people and Ronald Reagan never fired anyone in his life. 

I will tell you more about the book next week in my book club posting.  We are reading it right now and I will be the facilitator at our meeting.  Kati was kind enough to give me a list of questions to ask during our discussion.  How fabulous is that?!

A few tidbits about Kati herself...She was married to two powerful men, Peter Jennings who is the father of her two children, and Richard Holbrooke, from whom she was recently widowed.  When the names of her husbands were announced during her introduction, the crowd audibly oohed and aahed, which I thought was kind of interesting.  It reminded me of our nation's First Ladies.  Kati is an accomplished woman in her own right, but when her husbands names were announced, that's when people were really impressed, kind of like how First Ladies are seen.

Others seen at the luncheon and not photographed below were Joan Campo-Liga, Cindy Bailliette, Michelle Crabtree, Betsy Bagby, Irene Bagby, Sue Hoffman, Caroline Lawrence, Tish Fitzgerald, Cerita Purmort, Sheila Lirtzman, Debbie Shapiro, Jane Smiley, Susan Rife, Olivia Thomas, Kim Wheeler, Stacey Corley, Mary-Lou Moulton, and on and on.

Debbi Benedict (me), Kati Marton, and Cheryl Burstein

Barbara Petrecca, Myrna Welch and first president of the Junior League of Sarasota, Suzanne Bissell

Dee Stottlemyer and Leila Windom

Jan Jung, Mimi Goodwill, Wendy Hopkins, and Cindy Malkin

Cady Ferguson and Diane Geimer

Julie Riddell and Renee Hamad

Jane Kiebitz and Melba Jimenez

Peggy Wilhelm and Christine Johnson

Dorothy Stuart and Shirley Ritchey

Charlie Lenger and Graci McGillicuddy

Leslie Jones and Angie Stringer

Caryn Patterson and Donna Barcomb

Karee Valek and Meg Ferlise

Carol Forrester and Belinda Coffrin

Sharon Hicks and Patty Bettle

Sharon Rolle and Sally Crowell

Carol Williams and Stephanie Kost

Mindy Mast and Barbara Barrett

Mary Lou Thomas and Dr. Holly Barbour

Nancy Bailey and Jenny Hime

Beth Knopik and Kim Cornetet

Peggy Abt and Carolyn Johnson

Stanley Eade and Lisa Ward

Jennifer Vett and Valerie Dorr

Tracy Seider and Loren Mayo

Jane Koontz and Lynn White

Peg McKinley, Susan Powers, and Paula Clemow

Kathy Standard and Kristi Bundrant

Martha Rogers and Wendy Weiss

Beth Cannata-Keefe and Tracy Eisnaugle

Part of my book club - Kim Cornetet, me, Melba Jimenez, Gila Meriwether, and Lisa Beckstein



  1. I love this - what a wonderful event you created! You must be very proud.

    1. Thanks, Susan! It has turned into a really lovely event.