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On the Town: Women’s Council donates $20,000 to USC Verdugo Hills Hospital

On the Town: Women’s Council donates $20,000 to USC Verdugo Hills Hospital
Purnima Panchal, at left, and Tiffany Ajaryan present a mock-up of a $20,000 check to Keith Hobbs, USC Verdugo Hills Hospital CEO. (Ruth Sowby Rands / Glendale News-Press)

Fundraising and fun-raising were the order of the day last Thursday at the Victorian fashion show and luncheon put on by the Women’s Council at USC Verdugo Hills Hospital in Glendale.

Already having raised over $3 million to benefit the hospital, the council ponied up with another $20,000 for the hospital’s new neonatal intensive-care unit.

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Keith Hobbs, the hospital’s chief executive, accepted the giant mock-up of the $20,000 check presented to him by the council’s incoming president, Purnima Panchal, and outgoing president, Tiffany Ajaryan.

Hobbs introduced himself to his audience of some 70 council members and supporters by announcing that USC has put $30 million into the hospital, part of which will go toward enhancing labor and delivery services.

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Hobbs described the “nicview” cameras that will be set up in each of six private rooms on the eighth-floor neonatal intensive-care unit. Through the use of their iPhones and iPads, grandparents and family members will be able to watch their little ones off-site.

However, let the fashion show begin. Dressed in Victorian fashion, the event’s commentator and former hospital staff member Esther Hanna reminded her audience that before the 1851 introduction of the sewing machine, all clothing was handmade.

Women’s clothing was made up of voluminous layers, all to protect feminine modesty during the Victorian era in England.

The intricacies of dressing the fashionable Victorian woman were demonstrated by three models. Each one came out in her muslin underwear, fully covering all but her arms and lower limbs.

The models then put on thick, white stockings. Next, each had to help the other tie heavy corsets worn around their waists. Then came the lattice-like hoops, put on over each other’s heads.

Model Eileen An modestly puts on her Victorian stockings with the help of Women's Council member Ruth McNevin, also dressed in Victorian style.
Model Eileen An modestly puts on her Victorian stockings with the help of Women's Council member Ruth McNevin, also dressed in Victorian style. (Ruth Sowby Rands / Glendale News-Press)

Only now could the Victorian-style dresses be donned, replete with big bustles in back and puffy sleeves at the shoulders.

Feathered hats and parasols completed the ensemble. Commentator Hanna described the difficultly in sitting dressed as such. Each Victorian lady had to relearn how to sit down by not revealing skin if her hoop popped up.

Council member and real estate mogul Ruth McNevin, resplendent in a blue Victorian dress and hat, helped change the models. She was also recognized for her 6,600 hours of volunteer service to the hospital since 1987. As the council’s publicity chair, McNevin organized the paparazzi that shot photo after photo of the models at each stage of dress.

Alas, the afternoon came to a close, too early for many. Proceeds came to about $3,000, earmarked for more equipment for the neonatal intensive-care unit.

Another group of energetic, giving women in Glendale was also recognized. Phoencia restaurant was the setting on June 7 for the gathering of 65 former “Women Achievers,” sponsored by Business Life magazine.

Altogether, 480 Women Achievers have graced the magazine’s covers.

Ready for a reunion are Glendale Soroptimist Women Achievers, from left, Sandy Moreno, Margo Bottcher, Seda Khojayan, Jacqueline Hawley (Soroptimist president), Jory Potts, Edith Fuentes, Stella Fejtek. Kathy Lefkovits and Liz Mirzaian..
Ready for a reunion are Glendale Soroptimist Women Achievers, from left, Sandy Moreno, Margo Bottcher, Seda Khojayan, Jacqueline Hawley (Soroptimist president), Jory Potts, Edith Fuentes, Stella Fejtek. Kathy Lefkovits and Liz Mirzaian.. (Ruth Sowby Rands / Glendale News-Press)

This year marks the 29th publication of “Women Achievers.” The next group will be revealed to the public and honored in October. But the reunion mixer this month was strictly for the alums. Hugging and chatting took the place of formal introductions as old friends were welcomed and new friendships were made.

Greg Krikorian, president and chief executive of Business Life, and emcee Sandy Moreno recognized past Women Achievers, including former Glendale Mayor and current Glendale City Councilwoman Paula Devine, a Woman Achiever in 2010. Devine offered greetings from the city. Also recognized was former Burbank Mayor Marsha Ramos, named lifetime Woman Achiever in 2017.

Lynn White-Shelby was honored as the most longstanding Achiever present, having won the designation in the early ’90s.

The late John and Elsie Krikorian were the founders and editors of Business Life. It was John Krikorian’s idea to publish a special issue in 1989 to showcase women.

Son, Greg, is now president and chief executive of the magazine. The other hat he wears is as president of the Glendale Unified school board. It was his love of education and his parents’ passing that inspired Greg Krikorian to create two scholarships in his parents’ names to recognize deserving female students pursuing careers in journalism, marketing or business management.

Devine ended the program with words of advice to the Achievers: “Keep on doing what you’re doing. You’re fabulous.”

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