Women of Tomorrow Mentor and Scholarship Program to host annual gala at the Mandarin Oriental 3/20/10


Valued Mentoring Organization Raises Money to Save Young Women At-Risk
Billboard nominated singer, JenCarlos Canela, to Perform Live at Gala

On Saturday, March 20, 2010, the Women of Tomorrow Mentor & Scholarship Program will celebrate its Annual Gala at the Mandarin Oriental with nearly 500 guests for their spring-inspired dinner party. The event will feature a live performance from Telemundo’s Latin heartthrob and Billboard nominated singer/actor JenCarlos Canela, music by the Steve Chase Band, and an extravagant live auction emceed by WPLG Channel 10’s Calvin Hughes and Neki Mohan, who is also a WOT mentor.

This year’s Gala has been made possible by the committee’s star players: Founders of the Women of Tomorrow Mentor & Scholarship Program, Jennifer Valoppi and Telemundo president Don Browne; Gala Chair Marisa Toccin; WOT Vice-President and State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle; Honorary Chairmen Madeleine and Micky Arison; Legacy Builder Honorees Lora and Fred Drasner; Empowerment Award Honorees Jason and Haley Binn; Mentor of the Year Karen Piazza; and Excellence Honoree Sharon Siegel, President/Founder of DECO Productions and Grande Affaires.

“At a time when people all over are losing jobs, it is more important than ever that we provide a way for our girls to receive the skills and higher education necessary to succeed in a modern world,” said Jennifer Valoppi, founder of the Women of Tomorrow Mentor & Scholarship Program. “The grades of our girls go up every year they are in our program. WOT girls have a 90% graduation rate, which is incredible by any standards, but when you consider that they come from an at-risk population, it’s even more amazing. We are extremely grateful for the continued generosity of our supporters and are looking forward to an incredible gala, especially with JenCarlos, who actually wrote a song inspired by our girls! It’s going to be amazing.”

The evening will begin with a lavish cocktail reception in the Mandarin Oriental Ballroom Foyer with floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the shimmering bay. Guests will be greeted by Women of Tomorrow mentors, mentees and program graduates just before entering the reception area which features specialty cocktails and passed hors d’oeuvres created by Mandarin Oriental’s executive chef Didier Pouzier. An auction with more than 100 premier items will be donated by top hospitality, entertainment, fashion and luxury brands, including The Miami Heat, Prada, Cartier, Saks Fifth Avenue, Neiman Marcus, Romero Britto, STK Miami, The Miami Dolphins, Sony Ericsson, Trina Turk, The Florida Marlins, and a Barry Gibb signed Epiphone guitar, to name a few. While nibbling, bidding and enjoying the libations, a photographer will be on-site to catch special moments on video and film and print still shots immediately for guests to take away as keepsakes.

Following the cocktail reception, guests will be escorted into the Mandarin Oriental Ballroom, where tables will be adorned in bright, orange linens embellished with hand-beaded burnt orange overlays. Each table will feature tall mosaic vase centerpieces on sunburst-shaped mirrors, filled with fresh-cut flowers in sunset tones of rust, coral, yellow and orange and accented with hanging flower blossoms and votives. Metallic trimmings, standing vases of dark orange pampas plumes and crystal-beaded chandeliers tie into the bright, cheerful color palette to emulate the feeling of hope in a new day.

“The decision of orange as a prominent color, to us, was a very organic and obvious choice for this event,” said Sharon Siegel, President/Founder of DECO Productions and Grande Affaires. “Women of Tomorrow gives people hope for tomorrow – it’s like a sunrise on a beautiful new day, just like the cheery, spring colors we used to build the production for this.”

Executive chef Pouzier will honor attendees with an indulgent four-course meal. Guests will feast on Lobster and Avocado Timbale with white asparagus and a ginger-mint coulis as a starter, Vine-Ripened Watermelon with feta and a mint chiffonade for an intermezzo, an entrée of Filet Mignon with Seared Foie Gras with a Perigourdine sauce, twice-baked potato and bundled fresh vegetables and Rich Molten Chocolate Cake with vanilla ice cream and Grand Marnier Soufflé with crème anglaise for dessert. Guests will be served a selection of paired house wines and fresh coffee.

The dinner gala will be complemented by the vocals of JenCarlos Canela and music by Miami’s own Steve Chase Band, in addition to a live auction hosted by Emmy Award-winning newscaster Calvin Hughes and local news anchor, reporter, and WOT mentor Neki Mohan, both known for their outstanding work on WPLG Channel 10. Miami’s top VIPs and philanthropists will be bidding on a series of luxurious items, including tickets to The Jay Leno Show, two tickets to Super Bowl 2011, a custom piece by world renowed artist Romero Britto, and a decadent “Shoe of the Season/Girlfriend’s Shopping Day” package from Saks Fifth Avenue; which will include $2,000 shoe credit, personalized cosmetic makeovers and a private catered lunch for five at the Fifth Avenue Club, amongst other items.

The grand finale of the event will feature a live performance by Telemundo star JenCarlos Canela for the after dinner crowd to enjoy. The Steve Chase Band will perform high-energy set list that will be sure to fill the dance floor. The silky-voiced Steve Chase, along with his orchestra will perform favorites from the 1950’s to the new millennium.

A Cuban-American born in Miami, JenCarlos Canela got his start in the world of entertainment at an early age. He’s acted in Telemundo novelas “Pecados Ajenos,”“Doña Bárbara” and most recently was the lead in “Mas Sabe El Diablo”. Last year his singing career took off with, “Amor Quédate” the single from his first album “Búscame,” which debuted at No. 2 on the Billboard Top Latin Albums charts. “Búscame,” produced by Rudy Perez, sold more on its first week than albums by established tropical stars such as Victor Manuelle and Olga Tañón. JenCarlos is nominated for a 2010 Latin Billboard Award in the category of “Debut Latin Artist of the Year.” Canela wowed gala attendees last year by singing a song he wrote about Women of Tomorrow, which was inspired by the mentees in the program. He met the girls while they were on a field trip at Telemundo.

About Women of Tomorrow
Women of Tomorrow was conceived in 1997 by Television Journalist Jennifer Valoppi and co-founded with Don Browne, Telemundo Network President. The Women of Tomorrow Mentor & Scholarship Program is designed to inspire, motivate and empower at-risk young women to live up to their full potential through a unique mentoring program with highly accomplished professional women and scholarship opportunities. Women of Tomorrow currently mentors approximately 2,000 at-risk young women in 99 public high schools within 42 cities in Broward, Miami-Dade and Palm Beach County with its network of 250 Mentors. Research shows that Women of Tomorrow Mentees have increased self-esteem, a 90% high school graduation rate, and increased academic performance each year they are in the program, to a statistically significant degree. Women of Tomorrow has awarded $2.3 million in scholarships to 841 mentees. For more information, call 305.371.3330 or visit www.womenoftomorrow.org.