Great leaders and grand visions

Featured image
Amanda Waldron, Kate Davis, Ashley McDermott, Muffie Potter Aston, Gabriel Rodriguez, Anjali Melwani, Joanne de Guardiola, and Betsy Pitts at The Society of Memorial Sloan Kettering's 16th Annual Spring Ball.

Meanwhile when the town’s around, as it is here in New York, there is a lot going on in the philanthropic worlds; and today we are devoting our space to seven events including the Society of Memorial Sloan Kettering’s annual Spring Ball, which is one of the top social events of the season, black tie of course, and the women show you the fashion (for that sort of thing) and look chic and fabulous. Plus there’s a cocktail party to celebrate the supportive friends of the Lighthouse Guild. There’s the Luisa Diaz Foundation’s annual Mi Amor Graciousness (MAG) Gala; And also The Museum of the City of New York’s CENTENNIAL GALA; plus the Police Athletic League Executive Committee cocktail reception; the annual Waxman Luncheon, benefitting the Samuel Waxman Cancer Research Foundation; as well as ADDF’s 13th Annual Great Ladies Luncheon and Fashion Show in D.C.

And it is the season for another week or ten days when Summer is a-comin’ in and everything quiets down and the only steady sound in my neighborhood is the hum of the a/c’s keeping things cooler inside.

The Society of Memorial Sloan Kettering (MSK) hosted its 16th Annual Spring Ball at The Pierre, generously sponsored by De Beers, to celebrate its long-standing history of supporting patient care and research programs at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSK), raising over $2 million.

More than 430 guests joined members of The Society of MSK including Muffie Potter Aston, President of The Society of MSK, and co-chairs Kate Davis, Fiona Druckenmiller, Joanne de Guardiola, Ashley McDermott, Anjali Melwani, Betsy Pitts, and Amanda Waldron to enjoy the glamourous and informative evening. The Spring Ball and Junior chairs dazzled in natural, responsibly sourced diamonds from De Beers.

Spring Ball Chairs Amanda Waldron, Kate Davis, Ashley McDermott, Muffie Potter Aston, Joanne de Guardiola, Betsy Pitts, and Anjali Melwani.

The Society of MSK’s 2023 Spring Ball fundraising initiative supported the MSK Global Cancer Disparities Initiatives (GCDI) program, which was launched in 2011 to advance MSK’s mission to improve outcomes for people with cancer in low- and middle-income countries, with a focus on sub-Saharan Africa.

As one of the world’s most respected comprehensive centers dedicated exclusively to cancer, MSK has committed more than 135 years to exceptional patient care, innovative research, and training the next generation of clinicians and scientists. The evening’s remarks included an inspiring speech from Dr. T. Peter Kingham, MD, Director, Global Cancer Disparities Initiatives.

The Society of MSK’s 16th Annual Spring Ball.

The Society of MSK also hosted its Junior Party, co-chaired by Genevieve Davis, Mercedes de Guardiola, Audrey McDermott, and Serena McDermott. This portion of the evening hosted guests 21-30 years old and featured dancing to DJ Twilo.

Junior Chairs Serena McDermott, Mercedes de Guardiola, Genevieve Davis, and Audrey McDermott.

Additional Guests Included: Christopher D. Allen, Kate Allen, Dr. Sherrell Aston, Charlie Ayres, Sara Ayers, Daniela Balzano-Hull, Zoe Bazos, Katherine Bradley, Scott Buccheit, Ann Coley, William Conte, Annie Cordingly, Courtney Corleto, Wendy Cromwell, Andrew Davis, Roberto de Guardiola, Dr. Lisa DeAngelis, Naeem Delbridge, Dr. Kojo Elenitoba-Johnson, Lisa Errico, George Farias, S. McKinley Frantz, Fiona Gallagher, Jenny Galluzzo, Isabel Gillies, Isabel Gilles, Chris Grubbs, Gillian Hearst, Grace Hightower, Susan Fales-Hill, Craig Huff, Tracey Huff, Charles Kalvaria, Harry Kargman, Jill Kargman, Dr. Szilard Kiss, Grant Keating, Daniel Koch, Karl Knapp, Luisa Knapp, Peter D. Jones, Leslie Jones, Stephen Ketchum, Cindy Ketchum, Nathan Lee, Clayton Marsh, Connor McDermott, Jeffrey McDermott, Prakash Melwani, Aleesha Melwani, Gillian Miniter, Marcia Mishaan, Mary Kathryn Navab, Jamie Niven, Deborah Norville, Erik Oken, Jennifer Oken, Peter Okin, Dayssi Olarte de Kanavos, Claudia Overstrom, Jordan Pantzer, Marcy Pantzer, Yesim Philip, Renee Rockerfeller, Gabriel Rodriguez, Hilary Geary Ross, Adnan Sachee, Steve Schwarzman, Christine Schwarzman, Martha Sharp, Allison Sheehan, Austin Sims, Michael Sotirhos, Dr. Zsofia Stadler, Tom Strauss, Annabel Strauss, Lisa Stuart, Ferebee Taube, Brook Taube, Andrew Thomas, Kathy Thomas, Kristen Trustey, Karl Wellner, Ali Wentworth, and Bettina Zilkha.

Jenny Galluzzo, Marcy Pantzer, and Courtney Corleto.
L. to r.: Annie Cordingly, Ashley McDermott, and Katherine Bradley; Peter D. Jones and Leslie Jones.
Dayssi Olarte de Kanavos, Ashley McDermott, Isabel Gillies, and Alli Wentworth.
L. to r.: Kate Davis, Genevieve Davis, and Andrew Davis; Muffie Potter Aston.
Erik Oken, Jennifer Oken, Andrew Thomas, and Kathy Thomas.
Karl Wellner, Jeffrey McDermott, Deborah Norville, Ashley McDermott, Anjali Melwani, and Prakash Melwani.
Joanne de Guardiola and Grace Hightower.
L. to r.: Muffie Potter Aston and Dr. Peter Kingham; Naeem Delbridge, Gillian Hearst, and Scott Buccheit.
Anjali Melwani, Lisa Stuart, Kathy Thomas, and Deborah Norville.
Claudia Overstrom, Renee Rockerfeller, Yesim Philip, Kathy Thomas, and Mary Kathryn Navab.
L. to r.: Jamee and Peter Gregory; George Farias and Marcia Mishaan.
Steve Schwarzman, Christine Schwarzman, Muffie Potter Aston, and Dr. Sherrell Aston.
L. to r.: Betsy Pitts, Hilary Geary Ross, and Gillian Miniter; Kate Allen and Lisa Errico.
Ferebee and Brooke Taube.
Connor McDermott, Serena McDermott, Jeffrey McDermott, Ashley McDermott, Audrey McDermott, and Clayton Marsh.
Peter Okin and Dr. Lisa DeAngelis.
Ashley McDermott, Karl Knapp, Mary Kathryn Navab, Michael Sotirhos, Luisa Knapp, Craig Huff, and Tracey Huff.
Muffie Potter Aston and Lisa Stuart.
Roberto de Guardiola and Ambassador Georgette Mosbacher.
Daniela Balzano-Hull.
Christian Novogratz, Coco Spagna, and McKinley Frantz.

Jennifer Fischer, Lighthouse Guild’s Ambassador at Large, hosted a cocktail party to celebrate the supportive friends of the organization at the Fischer’s Fifth Avenue apartment. The event’s purpose was to raise awareness for vision health and vision impairment.

Jennifer and her husband Ambassador David Fischer were the honorees at Lighthouse Guild’s Palm Beach event in 2022. Jennifer welcomed the group and extolled the importance of the organization’s mission. She introduced Dr. Calvin W. Roberts, Lighthouse Guild’s CEO and President, who spoke to the power of assistive technology and expert training to equip people who are visually impaired with the tools they need to achieve independence, educational success, and career goals.

Dr. Cal Roberts, Jennifer Fischer, and Marc Rosen.

Dr. Roberts introduced Lauren Oplinger, who talked about her own experience with Lighthouse Guild and its impact on her journey after becoming legally blind in her 20s and continuing a career in finance.

The guests included Carole Delouvrier, Linda Filardi and Gary Talarico, Susan Gutfreund, Judith Hernstadt, Elizabeth Kabler and Peter Psaras, Margo Langenberg, Lauren Oplinger and James Duffy, Lighthouse Guild CEO Dr. Calvin Roberts and his wife Andrea, Marc Rosen, Roberta Sandeman, Denise Schwartz, Sharon Sondes and Geoffrey Thomas, Dudley Stevens, Shining Sung, Andrea Utecht, Saundra Whitney, and Victoria Wyman.

L. to r.: Carole Delouvrier and Saundra Whitney; Sharon Sondes and Geoffrey Thomas.
Andrea Roberts, Brian Dever, and Keana Glanton.
L. to r.: Poorvi Goel and Andrea Utecht; Roberta Houghton and Margo Langenberg.
L. to r.: James Duffy and Lauren Oplinger; Elizabeth Kabler and and Peter Psaras.
Susan Gutfreund, Marc Rosen, and Jennifer Fischer.
L. to r.: Victoria Wyman and Marc Rosen; Denise Schwartz, Gary Talarico, and Linda Filardi.

The Luisa Diaz Foundation hosted its Mi Amor Graciousness (MAG) Gala, in support of survivors of domestic violence and human trafficking. The annual event returned to New York for its ninth anniversary at the Plaza Hotel with an evening of compassion-meets-fashion and the “Runway of Hope.” Funds from the 2023 event benefited three charities: Safe Passage Heals, Hope’s Door and Team TLC NYC and raised awareness of the importance of the work of the Luisa Diaz Foundation.

Luisa Diaz and Valerie Vazquez.
Trish Steele.
Seth Herzog.

Survivors of domestic violence who have completed the program to break the vicious cycle of domestic abuse walked in the MAG Gala’s empowerment fashion show, dressed by designers Jovani, Anne Fontaine and Chiara Boni. The walk on the runway signifies the transition from a place of darkness to one of hope and light.

Luisa Diaz with models.

This year’s celebration also included an official proclamation from New York City declaring May 18th as “Kindness is Cool Day” from that day forth.

Notable Attendees included: Luisa Diaz, Ernie Anastos, Johnny Drinks, Seth Herzog, Jean Shafiroff, Deborah Hung, Nikki Haskell, Alan Brown, Noreen Donovan, Jose, Carmen, Tina Radziwill, Carmen D’Alessio, Maria Elena Christensen, Valerie Vazquez, James Brynes, Noreen Donovan, Bryan Griffin, Sofie Mahlkvist, Nadja Sayej, Sarah Prendes, and Joan Jedell.

Ernie Anastos, Luisa Diaz, and Alan Brown.

Hall of Fame broadcaster, WABC radio and “Positively America” host Ernie Anastos served as the evening’s host. Influencer Johnny Drinks was live streaming and served up the “Kindness is Cool” martini. Seth Herzog, resident comedian, and sketch performer with The Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon, presided over a live auction. The evening’s entertainment will include an electrifying performance by Sarina the Violin Diva and DJ Show N Tell.

For more information, please visit:

L. to r.: James Brynes and Noreen Donovan; Sofie Mahlkvist and Nadja Sayja.
Tina Radziwill, Carmen D’Alessio, Maria Elena Christensen, and Luisa Diaz.
L. to r.: Sarah Prendes; Bryan Griffin; Jose Castello.
L. to r.: Nikki Haskell and Luisa Diaz; Jean Shafiroff.
Luisa Diaz and Deborah Hung with friends.

Photographs by Matteo Prandoni & Sabrina Steck/BFA.comJill Nelson/Annie Watt (MSK); Annie Watt (Lighthouse); PMC / Mark Sagliocco (Luisa).

Recent Posts