CELEBRATING FIVE YEARS OF BRILLIANCE: Wow. Time zooms. It seems like just yesterday I attended the inaugural edition of the Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital’s gala benefit A Brilliant Night (ABN). But the dream team behind the award-winning event — co-founders Ivan Boulva, wife Marie-Claude Lacroix, Heidi Small, Suzanne Wexler and Neuro associate director Wendy Sculnick, along with other committee members Daphne Barron, Roberta Bennett, Megan Flynn, Katherine Marchand, Mia Patt, Jessica Scalera, Lucy Wenger, Robin Westhaver, Alana Wexler and Ellen Wolfe — has been at it for five years, recently pulling out all the stops for their milestone anniversary event at Windsor Station.
Presented under the honorary presidency of Alexandre Le Bouthillier, co-founder and CCO of Imagia, in collaboration with generous sponsors including lead Brilliant partner BMO Financial Group and Mastermind partners National Bank and CIBC, the 2019 spectacular was attended by close to 800 cocktail-chic supporters, including honorary vice-chairs Ivan Boulva, vice-president, development, Eastern Canada portfolio, Cadillac Fairview; Lorena Cook, co-founder, Sarah’s Fund, Cedars Cancer Foundation; Eric R. La Flèche, president/CEO, Metro; Madeleine Paquin, president/CEO, Logistec; Nathalie Pilon, president/CEO, ABB; as well as honorary ambassadors Olivier Boulva, partner at Keira Capital; Peter Lombardi, chairman, Construction CAL; Sébastien Fournier, vice-president, investment counsellor, Fiera Capital; RunsSoft Technologies president Frédéric Gauthier; radio personality/producer Lee Haberkorn; and LeddarTech media specialist Mélissa R. Shriqui.
While the festive eve — masterminded by Total Events — left no stone unturned on the foodie and fun fronts (think boundless gastronomic delights, gifted performers and a powerful interactive cinematic experience by Eclipse Productions featuring awesome host Adam Reid), it was the magic number announced at the end of the night that shone brightest. The tall tally was $859,000, topping the lifesaving $3.5 million raised in the first four years — funds indispensable to major scientific breakthroughs in brain cancer research by MUHC chief of neurosurgery Dr. Kevin Petrecca and his team. Pretty dazzling, non? Happy fifth, ABN!
SHOPPING FOR A BEAUTIFUL CAUSE (x 2): We skip now to two very special benefit evenings awash in much spirit and, yes, style at luxury emporium Holt Renfrew. (Fun fact: the pair of October events were the last to be held at the retailer’s current location on Sherbrooke St., before the remaining departments are moved over to their new home, the Holt Renfrew Ogilvy flagship on de la Montagne St.)
The first of the duo was a glam networking/shoe-shopping soirée hosted by Decarie Motors GM Cheryl Blas, founder, CEO and heart and soul of Women Who Drive (WWD). For those yet to have the pleasure, WWD is a timely and enlightened foundation celebrating and empowering women who get out there and drive infinite potential to soaring heights. Patronized by gaggles of inspired Montreal go-getters, the evening began with an action-packed cocktail dînatoire in Colette Grand Café, followed by an equally action-packed private shoe-shopping ad-event-ure on the famed footwear floor, replete with pro stylist to help navigate the tsunami of trending fall options. A percentage of all sales supported impressive WWD initiatives, including its bursary at Concordia University’s John Molson School of Business, funding the tuition of outstanding women in the fields of entrepreneurship, finance and business technology.
The second shop-for-the-cause notable was Cedars Private Shopping Night at HR: Shop to Help Stop Cancer, proudly chaired by dedicated foundation members Daphne Tsadilas Shamie and Paola Aprikian. Once again, a pack of community-minded Montrealers descended upon Holts in their swish midweek finery to feast on a delectable array of fine nibblies and bevs, enjoy some solid schmoozing and, of course, help raise invaluable monies for the Cedars Cancer Foundation, supporting excellent patient care, research and education in the fight against cancer.
Clearly, shopping can change the world.
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