When Melinda Sullivan, Hartford philanthropist and one of Malta House of Care’s 2013 Wonder Women, won an auction bid from the fundraiser to see “Phantom of the Opera,” she received an extra surprise, a meet-and-greet with the actress playing the lead, Christine. Sullivan, who attended the show with granddaughter Hayley Scherer, not only met Marni Raab, who stars in the show, but musical conductor Kristen Blodgett as well. The surprise was arranged by Farmington resident, Tim Stella, who serves as the associate conductor for the Broadway show. Pictured are Hayley Scherer, left, Raab and Sullivan.
More than 400 people showed up to honor Dr. Patricia DeFusco, Medina Jett, Jocelyn Maminta, Yvonne Martin, Jeanne Milstein, Shari Phillips, Belle Ribicoff and Melinda Martin Sullivan, all chosen for their altruism and community leadership by Malta House, a non-profit that provides free primary medical care to those in need.
“I give away a lot of money,” joked Martin Sullivan about why she was chosen as one of the 2013 award winners. “Seriously though, I quietly try to make better the lives of those in the community who need help,” said the well-known philanthropist. “I don’t look for attention I have lived a very privileged life and it makes sense that I help others.”
The reception was a perfect way to start the Mother’s Day celebration a bit early for DeFusco, whose daughter Katie Cavanagh had nothing but praise for her mom who is a Hartford Hospital oncologist.
Several past “Wonder Women” including Karen Cronin Wheat and Thea Montanez were part of the crowd and among the few guys there, there was Malta House Foundation president Peter G. Kelly.
Emcee for the awards program was ESPN SportsCenter co-host Sage Steele.
And it was done in style Thursday night at the impressive circa 1919 Hartford home of the state’s Attorney General George and Diane Jepsen, complete with champagne and the kind of vibe that can only happen when a lot of powerful women fill a room.
“I’m honored and flattered,” said Medina Jett, a West Hartford attorney and former insurance general counsel who is one of eight women who will be honored at a “Celebrating Wonder Women” gala on May 7 at the Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts. Active in several non-profits, Jett, who brought her two young daughters to the private reception, also serves as a mentor for middle-school students.
Others honorees announced at the reception were Dr. Patricia A. DeFusco, a specialist in hematology and oncology and medical director of the Partnership for Breast Care at Hartford Hospital; Jocelyn Maminta, a WTNH reporter and anchor and co-founder of Caroline’s Room at Yale-New Haven Children’s Hospital and Connecticut Children’s Medical Center; Yvonne Martin, director of Strategic Accounts of the Integrated Business Solutions team at United Technologies Corporation; and Jeanne Milstein, retired Child Advocate for the state of Connecticut.
Milstein, by the way, has a new job, deputy commissioner, Strategic Planning and Policy Development for the New York State Office of Children and Family Services.
“I do the work that a lot of other wonder women do,” she said flashing a smile when asked about the accomplishments that have garnered her the title of a Connecticut “Wonder Woman.” “I have always tried to the voice of those who might not have the access or ability to do it for themselves.”
Also tapped for their philanthropic contributions and community leadership are Shari Phillips, co-owner of Per Se Spa and Matthew Phillips Salon in West Hartford; Belle Krasne Ribicoff , a retired arts editor, critic, university administrator, and board volunteer for educational and cultural organizations; and Melinda Sullivan of West Hartford, a patron of the decorative arts and education.
On Thursday, March 14, former New York City mayor, Rudy Giuliani, will deliver Central Connecticut State University’s Annual Robert C. Vance Distinguished Lecture at 7:30 p.m. at Welte Hall. Before his speech, Giuliani, also a former federal prosecutor and presidential hopeful, is best known for his leadership following the horrific 9/11 terrorist attack in New York, will meet with students and attend a dinner in his honor. He now heads an international law firm that includes an office in Hartford.
Cindy Lovell, new executive director at the Mark Twain House & Museum, will be feted at a welcoming reception Thursday from 5 :30 to 7 :30 p.m. The reception coincides with the opening the Twain House’s latest exhibit “The Gilded Age of Hartford.”
Malta House will be announcing its 2013 roster of “Wonder Women” Thursday at a VIP reception at the home of Atty. General and Mrs. George Jepsen. Each year, the a non-profit that provides primary medical care to those without insurance, celebrates a group of women selected for their public service and philanthropy.
The group will be officially honored at the “Celebrating Wonder Women,” fundraiser at the Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts on Tuesday, May 7, from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m.
It’s St. Patrick’s Day time and that means it also time for the annual Archbishops’s St. Patrick ‘s Day Breakfast, Friday at the Connecticut Convention Center at 7 :30 a.m. Guest speaker will be Mark Kennedy Shriver, nephew of the later President John F. Kennedy and son of Sargent and Eunice Shriver, the breakfast benefits The Foundation for the Advancement of Catholic Schools.
Honorary chair is Dr. William Petit, Jr. of the Petit Family Foundation.
The gala begins at 6 p.m .at The Society Room in Hartford and includes dinner and auction with tv personalities including NBC Connecticut’s Brad Drazen, , WTIC sports Joe D’Ambrosio, Fox Ct’s Joe Furey, and WFSB’s Kara Sundlun and Dennis House. Go to intervalhouse.org for ticket information.
Also on Saturday,
Need a good laugh and some equally good music? You might want to head to the Mark Twain House & Museum Saturday for the “The Jill and Julia Show” with Julia Sweeney and Jill Sobule. Sweeney, a mother married to scientist Michael Blum, is best known as a former member of the “Saturday Night Live” cast, the actress/comedian/author behind the perceived gender-neutral “Pat,” and the subsequent movie “It’s Pat.”
Sobule, best known for the top 20 hit “I Kissed a Girl,” is an accomplished musician whose work is personal and socially conscious.
Go to marktwainhouse.org for information.
Eleven Cigna volunteers stepped up recently to help patients of the Malta House of Care Free Mobile Clinic. The volunteers, led by Sue Glucksman and Paul Sanford, collected items for a tag sale they manned in the Cigna cafeteria, then used the proceeds to purchase flowers and boxes to spruce up the registration areas at the clinic’s site at St. Augustine’s Church in Hartford’s South End. Malta House is a mobile unit that travels to several locations around the city to provide free medical care to individuals who have no health insurance. Volunteers included those standing, Jenny Euting, left, Hamani Franklin, Father Jose Mercado, pastor, Saint Augustine’s Church, Janet Whitehead, Tracy LeSure, Mike Rogers, Graham Kist, Paul Sanford, Paul Williams and Michael Sturmer. Seated are Xiomara Anderson, left, and Sue Glucksman.