2019 Crystal Winter Ball Honors ABC13’s Women of Distinction

By Jennifer Roosth        Photography by Dave Rossman, Jacob Power, Daniel Ortiz

THE SETTING: Over 650 guests recently gathered at the Hilton Americas for the 2019 Crystal Ball Winter. The honorees were: Farida Abjani, Marilyn DeMontrond, Gaynell Drexler, Jo Lynn Falgout, Carolyn Faulk, Melissa Juneau, Dr. Kelly Larkin, Sneha Merchant, Claire Thielke, and Jerre Williams, while the 2019 Ambassador was Merele Yarborough. The evening was led by emcees Art Rascon and Melanie Lawson, a former Woman of Distinction.

THE STYLE: The high-energy crowd started the evening mingling, bidding on unique auction items with the cocktail party. The décor highlighted the crystal theme with ice sculptures as centerpieces and shades of silver and blue throughout the room. An electrifying violinist, Svet, opened the evening with a performance then later, the dance floor was packed to the sounds of Password and the evening was orchestrated by event producers Ellie Francisco and Niki Smith.

THE PURPOSE: This years’ ball, which raised $760,000, was chaired by Cyndy Garza Roberts, Dr. Sippi Khurana, Shawntell McWilliams, all former Women of Distinction and Honorary Chairmen Mary Ann and David McKeithan. Benefiting the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation, the Winter Ball honors 10 Women of Distinction and one Ambassador who have supported the community through volunteerism. Honored Hero Sarah Cornelius shared her journey with Crohn’s demonstrating the importance of the funds raised at the event and generated a standing ovation from the crowd.