The Business of Women: Visionaries Breaking the Mold

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The tables were set at the Colony Hotel for Guild Hall's annual Visionaries Luncheon where they honored 2024 Visionaries Rebecca Hessel Cohen and Sarah Wetenhall.

How does the Chair of America’s largest female-owned car dealership unwind? On a yacht, of course. Juliana Terian, who helms Long Island’s Rallye Motor Company, invited a Palm Beach group for a shoe-less cocktail party for Caron Treatment Centers on said yacht. Terian, whose late husband Peter co-founded the Long Island luxury dealership, is on Caron’s New York Advisory Board. They’ll honor her at their Manhattan gala, May 22, at Cipriani 42 St. (

She bought her first boat to help her heal when she lost Peter. “I just wanted to lay on the water,” she told me. “I love boats so much, I could live on one. This boat has been to the Bahamas, Saint Martin, Saint Barts, around the Northeast, and of course to Florida. This winter I’m trying out Palm Beach.” So, buddy Marc Rosen had invited some of us.

Juliana Terian and Congressman Tom Suozzi.

Others, like long-time friend Tom Suozzi, flew in. He’s the Long Island politico/lawyer/CPA who won the hotly contested special election for George Santos’ (New York 3rd) Congressional seat. “I’ve known Juliana for a long time,” Suozzi told me. Rallye had a Lexis dealership in Glen Cove, where he served as Mayor for eight years. Terian was a substantial contributor to the Morgan Park Music Festival that he still chairs. “She’s a remarkable woman,” he noted, “who’s achieved great success.”

That success was hard won — literally, in a bitter court battle. When Peter died in 2002, leaving the business to her and their daughter, others sought to wrest control. She prevailed. “And it’s been smooth sailing ever since. It’s three times more profitable now, than it was with Peter,” she told me. “We have 500 employees. As Peter always did, I put them first.”

Philanthropy is also high on her list. She introduced me to Caron’s National Gift Officer Todd Whitmer and Florida Regional Vice President Christine Storm. “Caron is one of the oldest not-for-profit centers for alcohol drug addiction,” Todd told me.

“We just opened a state of the art Medical Center in Florida (Keele Medical Center in Delray), with a Neurocognitive Assessment Program,” added Storm. “Because both genetics and environment are factors in causing addiction. Our treatment focuses holistically on the entire family system. Not only each patient, but family members get therapists.”

Christine Storm, Juliana Terian, and Todd Whitmer.

Tom Souzzi thinks holistically about politics. When he reclaimed his district for Dems, TV talking heads opined he could give lessons on how it’s done. Here’s lesson number one: “Listen to what the people are saying,” Souzzi told me. “Then respond. Don’t ignore the issues. Offer solutions. Theodore Roosevelt used to say the best politician is the one who says what people are already thinking. You’re called a Representative. Represent.”

Lesson number two: bipartisan compromise. “There are so many good people on both sides of the aisle,” he continued. “But, too many people are afraid of their base. The Democrats are afraid of the far left, and the Republicans, the far right. They need to be afraid of the people. And most of the people are in the middle.

L. to r.: Mira and Vincent Ricardel; Geoffrey Thomas and Chris Franklin.
James Guardino and Jacqueline Russo.
Sean Chalice and Janelle Polito.
L. to r.: Maureen Lippe and Pamela Fiori; William and Karen Wolff.
Billy Beadleston and Jackie Drake.
Juliana Terian and Marc Rosen.

Come spring, Juliana’s yacht will be back in the middle of the Sag Harbor marina. It’s a short walk to Rebecca Hessel Cohen’s flagship LoveShackFancy store.

Earlier that day, the LoveShackFancy Founder and Creative Director was honored as Guild Hall’s Visionary 2024. It was another happy opportunity for some Northeasterners — who weren’t already here — to weekend in Palm Beach. Sarah Wetenhall, owner and CEO of the Colony Hotel, welcomed all to the celebration, which began with mimosas in the courtyard, continued with lunch on LSF pink floral tablecloths, and ended with a sit down convo between Sarah and Rebecca.

The packed house at the Colony Hotel for Guild Hall’s annual Visionaries Luncheon.

Rebecca Hessel Cohen and Sarah Wetenhall in conversation.

“The Visionary Luncheon celebrates individuals who are charting new territory in art, design, lifestyles and food — following their passions and disrupting the industry with new ways of doing business,” Andrea Grover, Guild Hall Executive Director, told me.

“LoveShackFancy, which had taken the country by storm, was born in the Hamptons. Rebecca Hessel Cohen’s clothing echoes that sensibility: whimsical, with patterns from nature, and designed for comfort.

“Sarah Wetenhall is a change agent in the field of hotels. In 2016, she and her husband Andrew bought the Colony from his parents. They’ve also put it on the map, as a multigenerational destination that feels like a tight knit family.” In fact, we had just seen Kelsey Grammer at the pool, who told me he comes regularly with his clan.

L. to r.: Rebecca Hessel Cohen, proud papa Marty Cohen, and Guild Hall Executive Director, Andrea Grover; Enter momma, Michele Cohen.

“Guild Hall and the Colony were built almost at the same era,” Andrea continued. “So, today is a lot about renewing iconic institutions through generations.” She introduced me to Lincoln Palsgrove IV, great grandson of Guild Hall (and Four Arts) founder Mary Woodhouse.

Lincoln Palsgrove IV and Courtney Leidy.

Cohen’s story is also multigenerational. It started with her wedding at the family Bridgehampton home. When she couldn’t find the right dress for her bridesmaids, Rebecca designed seven of them (with a little help from mom and a Manhattan-based seamstress). She loved it and merchandised it. Gwyneth Paltrow gave it a Goop boost.

In five years, that dress has grown into a brand that includes women’s and children’s clothing, perfume, accessories and home designs. “When are you getting a men’s line?” Someone asked at the luncheon. It’s coming. And more, we suspect.

Palm Beach winters are part of Rebecca’s family tradition. “I feel like I grew up at the Breakers,” she told me. “I have all these amazing holiday memories there: sitting on Santa’s lap, spending Easter. We just celebrated Passover at the Colony.”

Rebecca and her mother designed the bridesmaid dresses together and created seven dreamy gowns. PHOTOGRAPHY BY JOHN DOLAN

Palm Beach vs Hamptons style? “The Palm Beach look is very floral and fancier,” Rebecca told me, “a bit preppier, very pastel, very ladylike, the epitome of chic. It’s always felt a little Southern but now, with Palm Beach women skewing so much younger, I’m seeing more of an eclectic mix of styles, more pants and neutrals, a little more edge in the mix.

“The Hamptons, I think of as bohemian and beachy. It’s anything goes, but not too flashy. Lots of laces and blue tones. And white white white. I have a whole closet filled with white dresses. They’re not going out to lunch in the Hamptons, just dinner, often in people’s homes. So, it’s a bit more laid-back.”

Michael Cinque, Amy Slack, Alexandra Ontra, and Lincoln Palsgrove.
Delores Wolf, Gigi Mahon, and Christine MacDonald.
Anne Chaisson, Lisa Schutz, Ken Wyse, Kim Brizzolara, and Peggy Siegal.
Christina MacDonald, Andrea Grover
Jeannine Dyner, Kristin Eberstadt, Melanie Crader, and Kendra Korczak
David Granville, Tracy Mitchell, Joanie Amadori, Sally Van Erk, and Jeff Pfeifle.
Marisa Marcantonio, Michael Weber, and Nancy Madden.
L. to r.: Simone Asseraf, Nicole Shaffer, and daughter; Eleanora Kennedy and Mireya D’Angelo.
Jeannine Dyner, Tracy Mitchell, Melanie Crader, and Andrea Grover.
Lauren Layne Merck, Bettina Anderson, Sarah Wetenhall, and Roosmarijn de Kok.
Michele Cohen, Suzanne Golden, Marty Cohen, and Ellen Myers.
Lisa Schutz, Burt Minkoff, and Ken Wyse.
Susan Mark, Renee Belfer, and Sondra Mack.
Andrea Grover, Lisa Perry, and Michele Cohen.

There ya go: Palm Beach makes the Hamptons look laid back. After all, both these Palm Beach events took place in one day. In between, we joined Lisa Perry’s private tour of her pop up Oona Gallery at the Royal Poinciana Plaza. Lisa founded Oona House two years ago in East Hampton as a warm environment to showcase women artists, designers and craftswomen. Will there be men artists joining the increasingly popular space? Many have asked, she said. Can you guess the answer?

Teresa Chope, Stephanie Loeffler, Lee Fryd, Nicole Noonan, Lisa Perry, Kara Ross, and Susan Cushing at Oona Gallery at the Royal Poinciana Plaza.

That was just one day in Palm Beach, a town that often feels like one big country club. Set it in the coifed and coutured ’60s and it might make a perfect backdrop for a television social satire!

Photographs by Jerry Lacay/ (Caron); CAPEHART Photography (Guild Hall).

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