Gabby attends the Girls Inc. of Delaware Evening of Celebration at Archmere Academy in Claymont where Carla Markell, Tina Betz and Connie Bond Stuart are honored

Ladies Night

(click here to see photos from this event)

One heck of a summer storm—we’re talking major hail, people—didn’t stop the many devoted supporters of Girls Inc. of Delaware from coming out to the annual “Evening of Celebration” at Archmere Academy. Girls Inc. feted three “Strong, Smart, Bold” women—Delaware’s first lady Carla Markell; Tina Betz, Wilmington’s director of cultural affairs; and Connie Bond Stuart, former president of PNC Delaware. Stuart, whom we wish well on her new endeavor in Indiana, gave a particularly emotional speech. “There comes a time when we come to a crossroad and have to make a hard decision,” Stuart said, voice thick with sentiment. “Recently it was announced that I will be leaving Delaware … this has been a very difficult and bittersweet decision. Time will tell how strong and smart it was, but it was definitely bold.” Well said, madam.

Markell and Betz had a good-natured relationship one-upmanship thing going on. After Betz’ shout out to husband Rick Betz of Fat Rick’s BBQ fame, whom she met in junior high, the crowd oohed and aahhed; Markell, undeterred, mentioned that she met Gov. Jack Markell in kindergarten. “Top that!” she said. “We think he was the one who taught me to tie my shoes, but we’re not certain.” Incidentally, our chagrined first lady spoke for about five minutes before stopping herself and saying, “Oh! By the way, I’d like to introduce my husband, who is here tonight.” Cut to a magnificent wave by the governor. Didn’t you know, Carla? It was ladies night!

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Betz, with her trademark loose-and-limber locks, looked city hip in wide-leg linen pants and well-played touches of orange and turquoise. Geek-chic, she took her iPad to the podium with her—speeches on a piece of paper are so 2008.

I chatted with longtime Girls Inc. employee Kim Shubert, who told me that the “feisty” Zenaida Otero Gephardt is doing a knock-out job as president of the Girls Inc. of Delaware board. I also got to catch up with honorary gala chair Kathleen Furey McDonough, partner at Potter Anderson & Corroon, whose fabulously stylish daughters, Annie and Caroline, took Europe by storm in 2011.


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