Women's Housing Coalition party

May 16, 2010|By Sloane Brown, Special to The Baltimore Sun

The Women's Housing Coalition celebrated its 30th anniversary by throwing a party at Baltimore hot spot Pazo. A couple hundred folks noshed on various Mediterranean dishes while hanging out in the restaurant's lounge area and perusing the silent auction.

"Pazo is full of energy. It's hip. It's fun," said Andrea Russell, who co-chaired the event with Linda Stone. "People are having a good time."

Many of the guests had personal connections to the organization. Beth Andresini, owner of Thyme For You, was a guest chef at the WHC's previous fundraiser, the Kitchen Party, for years. This year, she brought her friends Ann Quasman, WCBM "WomanTalk Live" host, and Jo Ellen Soesbee, owner of Reliable Repairs, to help support one of her favorite causes.

"And this year, she [Andresini] gets to eat," said Quasman with a smile.

Michelle Hernandez, PNC Bank branch manager, also teaches financial literacy in one of the WHC houses. Nancy and Craig Charlow, a First Home Mortgage Corporation underwriter and a mortgage banker, respectively, claim WHC as their neighbor in Charles Village. Kevin Kelehan, Carney, Kelehan, Bresler, Bennett & Scherr partner, works with WHC in his job as an affordable-housing lawyer.

Cheryl Carter, Reznick Group partner, and Deborah Dopkin, Towson-based attorney, huddled in one of the lounge areas, sampling tapenade with Michele Gilligan, WHC past president. Meanwhile, board president Dianna Boucher made her way around the restaurant welcoming friends and supporters.

"I've assisted in previous WHC housings," said Frank Coakley, assistant secretary for the Maryland Department of Housing. "Plus, Joann would shoot me if I didn't show up," he said, referring to WHC executive director Joann Levy.

Over at the bar, Levy was busy greeting folks in between bites of bruschetta.

"At my son's bar mitzvah, I forgot to eat. So, I promised myself I would eat tonight," she said with a laugh.

Sloane Brown can be contacted at sloane@sloanebrown.com.

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