Blog: An expensive lunch with women of power

Luncheon panelists in the front row, from left: Martha Choe, Grace Chien, Donna Giordano, Sandra Madrid, and Amelia Letcher. One man, Gil Gido, attended the luncheon. (Editor’s note: This photo is altered. It is a composite of two different photos.) (Photo by Rebecca Ip/SCP)

In a tough economy, imagination can overcome the challenges of fundraising. The Executive Development Institute (EDI) raised $2,400 just for a lunch with women of power.

The lunch was held at the House of Hong Restaurant on Sept. 17. The panelists were Martha Choe, chief administrative officer of the Gates Foundation; Amelia Letcher, vice president of diversity affairs at Nordstrom; Grace Chien, chief of the Girl Scouts of Western Washington; Donna Giordano, president of QFC; and Dr. Sandra Madrid, senior adviser to the dean of the law school at the University of Washington.

When I asked the 14 young female professionals who funded the lunch whether it was worth the money, they all said yes. Many fun stories and off-the-record comments were shared.

I was the lucky host. Will I do it again? It would be my pleasure to. The lunch included an auction. The enthusiasm during the bidding stirred up excitement from the crowd.  Organizers, it’s not just the money you are aiming for. Whenever you have an auction, make sure you know your target audience and provide items that suit their needs. You need to engage the guests so they feel good while spending money on auction items, and so they want to return next year. ♦

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