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The 2023 Women of Substance honorees are announced as a leadup to the upcoming Women of Substance Luncheon

Photo credit: Priscilla Dickson

The Celebration

On Thursday, September 28, 2023, over 150 guests joined the 2023 Women of Substance in the Galleria at Saks Fifth Avenue for the announcement and portrait unveiling of the 7th Annual Women of Substance honorees. Those chosen as a Woman of Substance will be honored at the 7th Annual Women of Substance Luncheon on Wednesday, November 1, 2023 at 11:30 a.m. at the Post Oak Hotel. Amy Pierce and Dr. Sippi Khurana (both former Women of Substance) were the cochairs of the fashionable event.


The Story

Attendees learned about the honorees when the cochairs read short bios of each one describing their invaluable contributions to the Houston community and beyond. A Gittings pop art portrait of each honoree hung from a semicircle of ornate towers making for a dramatic setting for the announcement. Before being formally presented at the upcoming luncheon, the portraits remained on display at The Galleria through the first week of October. During the announcement and unveiling, guests were treated to the skillful playing of a guitarist as they enjoyed butler-passed hors d’oeuvres and libations from 51Fifteen. 


The Moments

After welcoming everyone in attendance, president and CEO of PDV Special Events, Paul-David Van Atta, introduced the afternoon’s hostess, General Manager of Saks Fifth Avenue, Heidi Parkhurst. Charles Rotramel, CEO of Houston reVision, whose mission it is to break the cycle of juvenile justice involvement and homelessness among youth in Harris County, expressed his gratitude for the organization being named the beneficiary of all event proceeds for the next three years. Each honoree received a gift from Saks Fifth Avenue and an incredible floral bouquet as their name was announced.


Women of Substance Honorees 2023: Gina Bhatia, Laura Davenport, Elsie Eckert, Debbie Festari, Leisa Holland-Nelson Bowman, Kathy Givens, April McGee, Jordan Seff, Elizabeth Stein, Paula Sutton, Stephanie Tsuru, and Rini Ziegler 

Lifetime of Substance Honoree: Cora Sue Mach

Spirit of Substance Honoree: Eileen Lawal

Guests: Regina Rogers, Yvonne Cormier, Astley Blair, Cheryl Byington, Michael Broderick, Donae Chramosta, Andrew Cordes, Gregg Harrison, Jill Deutser, Sidney Faust, Diane Grendel, Courtney Hopson, Kase Lawal, Marla Hurley, Nicole Lassiter, Lenny Matuszewski, Bruce Padilla, Stephanie Perkins, Leila Perrin, Heidi and Nick Rockecharlie, Astrid Van Dyke, Kathi Rovere, David and Mary Ann McKeithan, Michele Smith, Fran Lichtenstein, Sylvia Forsyth, Gayla Gardner, GiGi Huang, Melissa Mithoff, Susan and Dick Hansen, Beth Wolff, and Butch, Steve and Joella Mach.


About Houston reVision

Houston reVision is a community of kinship, connecting caring adult volunteers, case managers, mental health professionals, and faith communities with disconnected youth. It is located in the Gulfton neighborhood of Houston, which is the most densely populated area in Texas. It is also home to the highest number of refugees and immigrants compared to other places in the United States. Referrals to the program come from partner agencies, including HISD, Harris County Juvenile Probation Department, Texas Juvenile Justice Department, Texas Department of Criminal Justice, and other agencies in the community. As the primary partner of Harris County Juvenile Probation, reVision has contributed to the steep decline of youth incarcerated in Harris County since its inception in 2011.


For more information and to buy tickets or a table for the 7th Annual Women of Substance Luncheon, visit: or contact Terri Thorne at (707) 799-1303.

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