Angela Hardgrave What’s better than looking fabulous? Looking fabulous for a fantastic cause, of course! That’s exactly the combination you will find at Montgomery’s Best Dressed Ball. The Best Dressed Ball is Montgomery’s premiere event for young professionals. This event honors the top 10 men and women who not only dress sharply and present themselves professionally, but are also recognized for their leadership and continued contributions to our community. This is the second year for this exciting event, which will be held on Saturday, October 28, 2017, from 6 p.m. until 11 p.m. at The Shoppes at EastChase.
Suzanna Wasserman, marketing manager at The Shoppes at EastChase and chairperson for the Best Dressed Ball, said, “The evening will be packed with dancing, entertainment, dining and auctions, and will culminate in a fashion show. The event will showcase Montgomery’s finest restaurants, wines, spirits and brews to create an evening not to be forgotten.” Last year’s gala had some “outrageously splendid over-the-top” live auction packages such as spa packages, jewelry, several big ticket items, and more, and boasted a great selection of food and music.
Wasserman explained the history of the event and its introduction to the River Region. “Best Dressed Ball was started in Baton Rouge, Louisiana with the American Cancer Society. Meredith Wills with the American Cancer Society had the initiative to bring the event to Montgomery. She recruited Taylor Dunn and me to serve as chairs for the inaugural event in Montgomery. After visiting two other Best Dressed Ball events in New Orleans and Baton Rouge, the team created the first event in October of 2016. With over 400 attendees, the inaugural Best Dressed Ball raised over $95,000 to help in the fight against cancer. The community response to this campaign has been incredible!” Wasserman said.
Proceeds from the campaign benefit the American Cancer Society in its efforts to fight against cancer in every community. According to their statistics, approximately 1.7 million new cancer cases are expected to be diagnosed this year, and over 500,000 Americans will lose their battle with the disease. They want to change that. With over three million volunteers “saving lives and fighting for every birthday threatened by cancer,” they are the largest private, not-for-profit funder of cancer research in the United States and have invested over $4 billion in research since 1946. The American Cancer Society has been a part of saving more than 1.5 million lives over the past two decades and have contributed to a 20 percent decline in cancer death rates since 1991 and a 50 percent drop in smoking rates. Many of the young professionals that are chosen for the Best Dressed Ball have some connection with cancer, which makes the nomination even more meaningful to those involved.
Tickets and sponsorship information can be found at montgomerysbestdressed.org or by calling Meredith Wills at 314.612.8177. Last year’s sponsors included Victoryland, The Shoppes at EastChase, Wind Creek Casino and Hotel in Montgomery, and Pure Barre, as well as several health organizations, foundations, law firms, media outlets and individuals. Whether you attend the ball, sponsor the event, or even donate to the American Cancer Society, you are taking part in an amazing event that honors some deserving individuals in the River Region and helps those who are battling overwhelming odds to hopefully and prayerfully celebrate another year with those they love.
2017 BEST DRESSED BALL NOMINEES
Abby graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill and works as an account manager with Lundbeck Pharmaceuticals where she is dedicated to improving the lives of patients with epilepsy. She and her husband, Brian, have four children. Abby participates in honor of her mother, Marilyn Nicholson, a breast cancer survivor.
Brooke is a sixth grade English teacher at The Montgomery Academy. Brooke was voted Best Teacher in The Montgomery Advertiser’s Best of the Best awards in 2016, and she also served as a coach for Girls on the Run in the River Region. Brooke and her husband, Alan, have one daughter. Brooke lost both of her grandfathers to cancer. However, her mother is a breast cancer survivor and has been in remission for 10 years.
Chantel Davis Bass
Chantel graduated from Alabama State University with a bachelor’s degree in business/marketing and secondary education. She works as the general manager, catering manager and marketing director at Peppertree Steaks N Wines and also teaches continuing education wine classes through Auburn University Montgomery. She is married to Andrew and she has one son, Lawrence, aka LJ. Her grandfather lost his battle with colon cancer, and she participates in his honor.
Kevin serves as the IT director for The Center for Pain and enjoys playing soccer and volunteering with the Habitat for Humanity and is looking to help raise awareness and funding for cancer research after losing an aunt and grandmother to cancer in 2004. Kevin is dedicated to giving back to the community and doing his part to help serve the causewhere he can.
Jason was born in Nashville, Tennessee, and now lives in the Old Cloverdale area of Montgomery. He is a financial advisor with McDonald & Hagen Wealth Management. He also serves on the board of directors for Hospice of Montgomery. Jason and his wife, Alice, are committed to helping patients and families in the fight against cancer. They are proud supporters of the research, education and preventative measures funded by the American Cancer Society.
Kwantrice is a graduate of Troy University, with a degree in business management. She is employed at Baptist Medical Center South where she serves as the manager of Patient Access. Kwantrice has two children and is a volunteer for many community causes, as well as an active member of the Freewill Missionary Baptist Church where she supports the youth and young adult ministry. She became passionate about raising cancer awareness after witnessing her Uncle Bennon Provitt’s and close friend, Dr. Tomeka Danielle Russell’s courageous battles against the disease.
Lauren is a graduate of Huntingdon College, finishing in 2002 with a Bachelor of Arts in kinesiology and human performance. After college, she chose to follow her passion for skin care and makeup and became a licensed aesthetician. Lauren is the owner of Montgomery Aesthetics. She is thrilled to be an honoree of Montgomery’s Best Dressed Ball so that she can help raise money for cancer research. Her grandmother was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2016 at age 88, so this cause is near to her heart. Lauren is proud to report that her grandmother survived breast cancer and is doing well.
Bryan holds a master’s degree in economic and workforce development from the University of Southern Mississippi and a bachelor’s degree in finance from Auburn University Montgomery. He serves as economic development representative at PowerSouth Energy, where he directs economic and community development initiatives throughout PowerSouth’s service territory. Although Bryan stays busy with work, serving on multiple boards and enjoying time with his new wife, Katy, he is proud to help bring awareness for this cause.
Anna and Stephen Dees
Anna is a graduate of the University of Alabama. She is an active member of the Junior League of Montgomery and serves as a volunteer for a number of local charitable organizations, while also keeping up with the couple’s two children. Stephen is a Montgomery native and graduate of the University of Alabama and University of Alabama School of Law. He is a shareholder at the law firm of Rushton Stakely and specializes in professional liability and healthcare litigation. Anna and Stephen are participating in memory of Anna’s grandmother, Marjorie Bishop Green, and Stephen’s coach and friend, John Tatum, who both passed away after a battle with cancer.
Rachael Saucer Gallagher
Rachael graduated from The University of Alabama and currently works as the assistant director of admissions at The Montgomery Academy and is also a realtor with Bell & Corwin. Her spirit of service is evident through all the time she gives to local nonprofit organizations including the Montgomery Zoo, Blue Gray, Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts and more. Rachael and her husband have a daughter and two dogs. Rachael is participating for her grandparents that have battled cancer, some won and some lost.
Derrick grew up in Scottsboro, Alabama, and attended The University of Alabama in Huntsville and graduated with a degree in interior design. He currently works as an agent with Allstate Insurance but loves to flip houses. In his spare time, he enjoys visiting the lake and the beach and spending time with his two dogs, Cash and Jack.
Elizabeth traded in her master's degree in music to become a lifestyle blogger. She also serves as a social media and marketing strategist for Ashley Gilbreath Interior Design. Elizabeth and her husband have two children. You can follow her for all things family, fashion and everything in between via Instagram at @elizabethbkimbrough. Elizabeth is participating in honor of her father, who defeated his battle with stage four cancer and has been cancer free since 2004.
Leo Lewis Jr.
Leo is the pastor of The Pattern, a contemporary congregation of believers in Montgomery. He has done foreign mission work in Africa, India and Haiti, as he strived to be an extension of the body of Christ to the people of those nations and countries. Leo is a singer and songwriter who loves to express his love for God through the conduit of Christian music. Leo is married to Jessica Lewis, and they have three children. He is a graduate of Leadership Montgomery class XXXII. Cancer has claimed the lives of each of his grandparents, so this cause is near and dear to his heart.
Patrick has worked, managed and owned some of the finest restaurants that Montgomery has to offer. After spending a little over five years as the general manager of The Capital City Club, Patrick and his wife Ashley have new ambitions for Montgomery's culinary enthusiasts. Patrick's idea of a good time is being intertwined in the sounds, smells and all the moving parts that make a restaurant successful. But he says it doesn't compare to a day on the beach with his wife and son. Stay tuned for more information on his ventures.
Dr. Jones is a graduate of OSU medical school and completed his obstetrics and gynecology residency at Wright Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio. He is a robotic-traineddaVinci surgeon for the Jackson Clinic, specializing in women’s healthcare. Philip and his wife, Emily, are blessed with four children. Philip lost his mother to ovarian cancer when he was only ten years old. He honors her life, and others touched by cancer, by participating in Montgomery’s Best Dressed Ball.
Scott serves as the COO of Stratice Consulting, a local IT staffing firm. He contributes to the development of talent in the IT field by sitting on the board of the South Alabama Chapter of the Project Management Institute, as the vice president of marketing. He has made his home in Montgomery and is a member of Eastern Meadows Church of Christ. Scott is passionate about supporting the American Cancer Society’s research in memory of his grandmother, Reba McMahand, and cousin, Kyle Gage. Scott and his wife, Jordan, are proud parents of twins, with one more due in December..... GO HOGS!
Alexia was awarded a track and field scholarship to Mississippi State University, where she met her husband of nine years, Michael Henig, who moved her to Montgomery. Together, they have two beautiful daughters. Alexia is the proud owner of Splurge, a women's clothing boutique that was recently awarded the 2017 Best Boutique in Montgomery by the Montgomery Adviser Readers Choice Awards. She claims that one of the most rewarding aspects of her job is assisting ladies, of all ages, in personal styling. She loves helping them to not only look great, but also seeing them radiate with confidence when finding that perfect outfit. She participates in honor of her paternal grandmother, who was diagnosed with leukemia in 2011 and is still currently fighting this horrible disease. She also dedicates her walk to both of her husband’s late grandmothers, one of who was a three-time breast cancer survivor and lived a wonder long life post cancer, and the other one who's life was cut short due to Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma.