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Amy Scherzer's Diary: MOSI Hispanic Scientist of the Year Gala; Key to the Cure 2011

MOSI Hispanic Scientist of the Year Gala

Never stop asking questions, said Dr. Cristián Samper, 46, director of the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of Natural History, urging 1,300 middle and high school students to pursue science careers as he did. The Harvard-trained biodiversity preservation expert — a Costa Rica native raised in Colombia — is the Museum of Science and Industry's 2011 Hispanic Scientist of the Year.

On Saturday Samper mingled with 300 guests at the museum's formal awards gala, helping chairman Mario Garcia Jr. and the board of trustees raise $208,000 for YES! Team — Youth Enriched by Science — programs.

Key to the Cure 2011

Moffitt Cancer Center's most dapper doctors were thrilled to stroll around Saks Fifth Avenue's second floor Oct. 19, arm-in-arm with 10 stunning models. Even more thrilling was that the women they escorted at the 13th annual Key to the Cure are all cancer survivors.

"They don't often get to see their patients looking so beautiful,'' said planning committee member Wendy Pepe, co-chair of the event in 2008 and herself a survivor. Cheers from the 350 guests rebounded through the atrium rotunda, as Moffitt's Kathy Werner and Saks' Kim Biehl introduced Cheryl Clinton, Chantel Griffin-Stampfer, Eileen Loome, Ronda Parag, Tamara Phillips, Melissa Pittman, Stacie Stanford, Darby Steadman, Patricia Turner and Tammy Lynn Washburn. Shopping and sipping martinis should net $95,000 for Moffitt researchers, thanks to the party sponsors and Saks' donation of 2 percent of sales from Oct. 20 to 23.

Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce Women of Influence

Tampa Chamber of Commerce CEO Bob Rohrlack quickly attended to business before award-winning CNN reporter and anchor Soledad O'Brien addressed the organization's fifth-annual Women of Influence luncheon at A La Carte Event Pavilion.

One clap per sponsor, allotted Rohrlack, introducing himself as "the token male on the agenda" before reading the lengthy list of backers Oct. 19. That efficiency left time for U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor to note Tampa's history of entrepreneurial women and for Dr. Carmella Sebastian to represent Blue Cross Blue Shield.

But the 830 women (100 more than last year, plus a few dozen men), came to hear O'Brien, 45, and left impressed with her spunk and smarts. Growing up in an interracial family, the fifth of six children, all Harvard grads, spurred O'Brien's pursuit of high-impact documentaries dealing with diversity and adversity.

USF Women in Leadership & Philanthropy

Arctic adventurer/daredevil strategist Alison Levine verbally walked 280 women (and a handful of men) 29,000 feet up Mount Everest, "one step and 10 breaths at a time," as she ascribed survival techniques to leadership lessons at the USF Women in Leadership & Philanthropy fall symposium.

During lunch on a carpet-covered court at Muma Basketball Center, Levine, 45, let icy mountains serve as metaphors for attaining career peaks. Subzero temps, avalanches and fatigue taught willpower, preparation and judgment. Example: Learn to do more with less, "like what you can carry on your back and sled."

Know when to walk away from a deal, she said, recalling the whiteout in 2002 that forced her crew to turn back 200 feet from the summit of Mount Everest. But leaders don't quit; Levine returned in 2010 to finish the climb.

Among the founders at the Oct. 21 women's power lunch: Judy Genshaft, Pam Muma, Carol Morsani, Betty Castor and Linda Simmons, who recently received USF's Don Gifford Alumni Service Award.

Coming up

Nov. 3: Junior League of Tampa Holiday Gift Market Kickoff Shopping Party; 6:30-9:30 p.m.; Florida State Fairgrounds Expo Hall; $25 and up; (813) 254-1734 or

Nov. 3: 30th Annual Boys & Girls Clubs of Tampa Bay Steak Dinner; 6:30 p.m.; Desert Grill, Busch Gardens; honoree Richard Gonzmart; $300; or (813) 769-7536.

Nov. 4: 24th Annual Northside Auxiliary "Puttin' on the Glitz" benefits Auxiliary of Northside Mental Health Center's PhoneFriend for Latchkey Children; 6-11 p.m.; $75; (813) 985-3861 or (813) 995-0603.

Amy Scherzer's Diary: MOSI Hispanic Scientist of the Year Gala; Key to the Cure 2011 10/27/11 [Last modified: Thursday, October 27, 2011 4:30am]
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