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YWCA honors St. Petersburg deputy mayor

08.15.2014

The silent-auction tables held enough handbags to accessorize quite a few guests at "Purses & Passion," the annual fundraiser for the YWCA of Tampa Bay, held in the ballroom at the Hilton St. Petersburg Carillon Park.

A stylish group of several hundred patrons at the luncheon honored Kanika Tomalin, deputy mayor of St. Petersburg and the event's 2014 Woman of Distinction, who thanked members of her family for inspiring her. Her mother, Yvonne Jelks, she said, is "the most selfless woman in the world." Her father, David Jelks, embodies "unparalleled commitment." Of husband Terry Tomalin, she said: "He is love."

She used other descriptors to describe mentors who she said embodied "timeless elegance and grace," loyalty, "love for learning" and "fearless brilliance."

Keynote speaker Tonjua Williams, senior vice president of student services at St. Petersburg College, also credited community support with helping to guide her toward a successful career.

"No one gets anywhere without help from other people," she said.

Lenice Emanuel, the YWCA's president and chief executive officer, introduced event co-chairwomen Shameka Jones and Maria Rawls, and additional members of the board of directors: Roslyn Graham, Rebecca Armacost, Joan Steelman, Mary Wyatt Allen, Wilma Norton and Nonieka Forte.

Radio broadcaster Jayde Donovan was mistress of ceremonies.

'Membership menu'

Leaders of the St. Petersburg Woman's Club are offering three tiers of membership — Traditional, Weekend Edition, and Just Starting Out — for the 101-year-old organization, hoping to draw more community volunteers for the venerable nonprofit club.

The idea is to extend opportunities to women of varying ages and circumstances..

"Offering a membership menu for all ages and a choice of meeting times will open new possibilities, fresh direction with projects and invigorate the entire club," said president Joanne Walker. "The new three-tier concept will be similar to a church with one pastor offering three different times for services."

All members will be a part of the club, which is operated for charitable and educational purposes, and will share ownership of the clubhouse at 40 Snell Isle Blvd. NE, which is listed on National Register of Historical Places. Information: stpetersburgwomansclub.org; (727) 822-4982.

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