Amy Scherzer’s Diary: Wrap-Up of the Tampa Social Scene

The 28th annual Girl Scouts’ Women of Distinction luncheon, YMCA Community Impact Award Dinner, GalaRE 2019 and the WEDU Be More Awards.
Published March 13

Girl Scouts’ Women of Distinction

Bank of America chief operations and technology officer Cathy “MacGyver” Bessant conquered countless challenges, including climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro, “by believing you can,” she told Girl Scouts of West Central Florida supporters at the 28th annual Women of Distinction luncheon.

The 2019 honorees are women’s equality pioneer Dore Beach; banker Rita Lowman (“Be a generalist, not a specialist, learn everything you can,” she advised); St. Petersburg civic leader Terri Lipsey Scott; and advocate/strategist Arlene DiBenigno whose daughter Alexandra accepted on her behalf. Arthenia Joyner was inducted into the Hall of Fame for her distinguished career in law and politics. Woman of Promise Rachel May Zysk was chosen from under-40 professionals.

CEO Jessica Muroff invited Bessant, a 2001 Woman of Distinction, into the Hall of Fame during the March 7 benefit for Rising Diamonds scouts at the Hilton Tampa Downtown.


YMCA Community Impact Awards

“March forth,” intoned Rev. Dean Pfeffer in his March 4th (get it?) invocation at the Tampa Metropolitan Area YMCA’s 2019 Community Impact Award Dinner. Many more smiles followed as U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor, the first woman to represent Hillsborough and Pinellas counties in Congress, was honored for “thoughtful public service, “as well as being a Y member for 23 years.

Joe and Tampa Y Governance Board Member Jill Valenti earned the Red Triangle Award for their sincere and significant fundraising and math tutoring. Three sides of the triangle represent spirit, mind and body, the Y’s mission. The 500 guests also met 14 Volunteers of the Year during the dinner at TPepin’s Hospitality Centre which raised $280,000 to promote the Y’s healthy lifestyle training.


GalaRE 2019

It’s no easy task, judging the best of the best of 235 fine arts and crafts creators exhibiting at the 49th annual Raymond James Gasparilla Festival of the Arts. Former Tampa Museum of Art director Andy Maass judged wisely and well, awarding $75,000 in prize money March 2. The winning works were showcased all together in a museum setting later that night at GalaRE where patrons and artists bought and sold, connecting over buffets by Capitol Grille and Riverside Cafe and music by Unique Full Circle.


WEDU Be More Awards

Tears and laughs commingled at the 14th annual WEDU Be More Awards luncheon as emcees Lisette Campos and Jack Harris honored non-profits who turn ”tragedies to testimony.” More than 40 qualified in categories such as Be More Informed, Be More Brilliant, Be More Entrepreneurial and so on. See them all April 4 at 9 p.m. on the PBS station.

Gulf Coast Jewish Family & Community Services earned Be More Humble, the People’s Choice award. King High teen Harsh Bagdy’s Metropolitan Ministries project won Be More Inspiring. Deejay Mason Dixon presented Be More Involved to Kind Mouse volunteer Sydney Merritt. Children First, a Head Start program of excellence, took home the top honor, a $2,500 Be More Unstoppable grant. The Feb. 28 event at the Glazer Family JCC was sponsored by 200 Muslim Women Who Care.