The 2017 Triumph Luncheon: Celebrating Victories Small and Large

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Photography by Roswitha Vogler

On Friday, November 17, 2017, the elegant Houstonian Hotel was the setting for this year’s Triumph Luncheon benefitting the Women’s Home. Chairs, Erika Bagwell, Donae Chramosta, and Lucinda Loya were pleased to welcome over 275 guests and supporters to celebrate the 2017 honorees, all of whom have had an impact on the Women’s Home and the City of Houston. ABC13's Gina Gaston graciously served as emcee.

Special guests included two notable speakers: Liz Murray, author of Breaking Night, a memoir of her life on the streets of New York City, and successful oilman, philanthropist, and cancer survivor Lester Smith, who shared his story of overcoming cancer and beating the odds many times over.

Ms. Murray related the story of her difficult childhood to her riveted audience. From this experience, she told them, she learned that one can either choose to remain where they are or choose to get help, make the right decisions, and head in the right direction. She also stressed how important nonprofits had been in helping her achieve the life she strove for.

Mr. Smith, who was born in a small town to blue-collar parents, shared how they taught him about life by showing him that actions can have consequences. They also taught him that, to have a successful life, he must work hard and do his best. He could either succeed or fail; it was up to him. A survivor of lung cancer, Smith sees each day as a gift for which he is grateful.

This year’s honorees joined a special roster of individuals and institutions who care about and support the Women’s Home. They are: Lester and Sue Smith, Lifetime Achievement honorees; Karen Ostrum George, Leadership honoree; Stuart Nelson, Program Excellence honoree for the Spirituality Program; and St. Martin’s Episcopal Church, Community Support honoree.

The eEvents Group, an award-winning event production and meeting company, made the luncheon an occasion to remember. Houston Grand Opera's Anthony Robin Schneider, accompanied by pianist Blake Salter, delighted guests with a live performance of Gremin’s aria. An added attraction was the Chopard necklace raffle. The stunning piece from the Ice Cube collection, inspired by the cubic shape and sharpness of ice cubes, featured immaculately placed diamonds in an 18-karat gold setting.

In all, the event was an occasion of abundant giving and inspiring stories. It was also a tribute to resilience. Everyone in attendance had in some way been part of triumphs small and large, and the afternoon gave them the opportunity to celebrate them.

CKW LUXE was proud to be the 2017 Triumph Luncheon Media Partner.

About the Women’s Home

A charity like no other, the Women’s Home has been helping women build whole lives for going on 60 years. During this time, it has been successful in offering many women, a number of whom are homeless and lack job skills due to substance abuse and mental illness, a home and a model of care called Whole Life. As well as the Triumph Luncheon, the Women’s Home hosts other occasions whose proceeds help those it assists in gaining a better life. 

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Sally Reynolds (Receiving award on behalf of St. Martin’s Church), Anna Dragsbaek