Monday, April 26, 2010


I learned something new and useful at last Thursday’s Very Smart Gals luncheon at Cipollina’s. Size matters, when it come to luncheon tables. On those rare occasions that I’ve hosted luncheons that required more than four chairs, and we’ve ended up at a rectangular table, the conversations tended to be between people sitting across from or next to each other, which limited the interactions. King Arthur’s round table wasn’t just about equal status, it was about hearing everyone, and gal howdy there was some muy rico repartee going on last Thursday between Lisa Stark-Walsh, Fayruz Benyousef, Harriett Kirsh-Pozen and Benita Giller.
New York gal, Lisa Stark Walsh, MA is the Executive Director of the Texas Medical Association Foundation, which among many, many other things, provides Texas children with helmets to prevent head and brain injury while riding a bike.  We were intrigued with her story of her and her husband’s adoption of a child from China. I did a little grant writing for Lisa some years ago and was so impressed by her that I determined to keep her in my circle of Very Smart Gals.  Benita Giller is a nationally recognized artist and prolific world traveler, always in search of beads and inspiration for her beautiful jewelry and other artwork. Ironically, although we both live in Austin, we met in Italy at an artist retreat (me being the only non-artist in attendance). In addition to being staggeringly creative, she’s got a super-dry wit that I adore. What a lucky day that I met Benita! 

Harriett Kirsh-Pozen is a wonderful person and the Executive Director of a wonderful organization, Candlelight Ranch, an outdoor camp for families and special needs kids. Harriett was one of the major masterminds behind the Dell Jewish Community Center, and due to her sincere and engaging personality and sharp mind, is very well connected in Austin.  It took about 10 seconds for Harriett and Benita to figure out that that although they’ve never met, they know a lot of the same people and may even be related. Fayruz Benyousef, CFRE, Partner, The Dini Partners, is a star in the non-profit fundraising industry and one of the most highly respected gals in the business. She was the Development Director with Ballet Austin, is a past president of the Austin Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) and was named the 2006 Outstanding Fundraising Professional of the Year by AFP - Austin. Fayruz has a precious little daughter who is super-lucky to have such a smart mom!

I feel so fortunate to have such stimulating and “together” women in my life! Thanks gals for bringing your wit and brilliance to my table!

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