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6th Annual Haute Tea

Hats, Heels, and Hope for a Cure Take Center Stage at Haute Tea benefitting the Diabetes Research Institute

Spring was in full bloom in the middle of fall inside of the St. Regis Bal Harbour’s Astor Ballroom thanks to bountiful florals and colorful hats adorning guests at the Young Society of Love and Hope’s 6th annual Haute Tea ladies luncheon emceed by CBS Miami News Anchor Rudabeh Shahbazi, Monday October 30, 2017. The sold-out fundraiser was held in honor of Love and Hope Committee National Chairman Kathy Simkins and drew more than 220 South Florida philanthropists and fashionistas to celebrate her philanthropic efforts, see the latest fashion trends and raise funds for the cure-focused work of the Diabetes Research Institute (DRI).

Event chairs Lauren Geduld, Jillian Posner, and Dana Swickle welcomed friends and guests during the champagne reception – where they enjoyed the signature Peach Bellini-inspired drink named the “Kathy-lini” after the day’s honoree, bubbly, light bites and the melodic sounds of a live string quartette.

After some mingling and selfies, attendees were led into the main ballroom for the program led by Shahbazi – where Love and Hope Executive Chairman Sandra Levy and Michelle Rubell, daughter of event honoree Simkins,gave heart felt speeches about Simkins presented her with an award on behalf of the Young Society of Love and Hope for her decades of support of the DRI’s work to cure diabetes.

Guests soon saw first-hand how supporters like Simkins impact the lives of people living with the disease after hearing moving speeches by moms of daughters with type 1 diabetes Uchi Botero, a fellow DRI supporter, and Dr. Norma Kenyon, a DRI scientist. DRI Foundation Senior Vice President Lori Weintraub thanked everyone in attendance for helping move research forward and giving hope to parents like Botero and Kenyon.

During the program, guests also enjoyed a delicious lunch, tea, live and silent auctions featuring exclusive getaways and luxury experience and items, and a Neiman Marcus Bal Harbour fashion show – where models worked some of the most-sought after designer duds on the raised runway at the center of the room.  

Later the winners of the annual hat contest were announced by special guest judges and fashion influencers Danie Gomez-Ortigoza of Journey of a Braid, Lauren Cohen, writer of's What to Wear Where Column, and Maria Tettamanti of The Wordy Girl – who had been browsing the room for the best hats, headbands, and fascinators throughout the day. Suzy Buckley won for Most Enchanting (best head to toe look), Jenni Coba for Most Whimsy (best look that fit the theme) and Sherri Fox for Haute Couture (best custom-made headwear). 

Shahbazi wrapped up the afternoon thanking everyone who made the event a success including all the following generous sponsors: The Leon J. Simkins Charitable Foundation, Warren Henry, Haute Living, St. Regis Bal Harbour, Neiman Marcus Bal Harbour, The Steven & Lauren Geduld Family Foundation, Jill Viner, Jenni & Joshua Coba, Sandra & Sid Levy, Maserati of Ft. Lauderdale, The Tonkinson Foundation, Betty Brandt, Jerry & Stacy Capote, Sherri Fox, Jill Rosenhaus, and Norma Ross, Parenting for Success.

Photos by Gonzalo Gamero and Andrew Milne.

View more photos on our Haute Tea Facebook Album
Read the Haute Living Article


Diabetes Research Institute Foundation
200 S. Park Road, Suite 100
Hollywood, FL 33021
[P]   (954) 964-4040
[TF] (800) 321-3437
[F]   (954) 964-7036

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