The Centre for Women’s inaugural Waves of Change Women’s Leadership Luncheon celebrated the life of our founder, Tampa Bay’s iconic and beloved Helen Gordon Davis today. It’s first recipient of the award named in Helen’s honor was another trailblazer, Gloria Steinem. Two women who made waves thus making changes in the lives of people around them.




135_gloria_steinem_2-11-15wOur honoree Gloria Steinem, received the first Helen Gordon Davis Women’s Leadership Award. Quickly recognized internationally as leader and spokeswoman for the growing feminist movement in the late 1960s, in 1971 Gloria Steinem rallied a group of leading women writers and editors to do the unthinkable: create a magazine by women, entirely for women, giving American women a new voice and a powerful platform to address crucial and often controversial societal issues. The first issue of Ms. magazine sold out in eight days.









052_gloria_steinem_2-11-15wWe were proud to have WFLA Newschannel 8 anchor Stacie Schaible as our emcee and moderator of our event. She opened the event while 400 women had their lunch and waited anxiously for the Gloria to take the stage.





064_gloria_steinem_2-11-15wAnn Madsen, Executive Director of The Centre for Women, followed with the story of how the Waves of Change Luncheon came about. The Centre for Women wanted to honor its founder with this annual award. And Ms. Madsen stated when she asked Helen who she wanted for this first award to go to she immediately said “Gloria Steinem!” And so the task of bring Ms. Steinem to Tampa began. When Ms. Madsen was given Gloria’s private cellphone number, she hesitated in calling. But after not hearing from Steinem’s office in New York, Madsen said “I knew what I had to do and picked up the phone and just called her.” And Madsen said Gloria, without hesitation said “ I’d be glad to come and honor Helen and her achievements and The Centre for Women.” A venue was booked at the last moment. Thanks to the Crowne Plaza for accommodating us. And an event committee was established that consisted of some of Tampa’s own movers and shakers and it was planned in just 45 days. As Madsen said, “So it came as no surprise to us that when tickets went on sale for this luncheon, it sold out in three and a half days – proof positive that when you say Gloria Steinem and Helen Gordon Davis in the same sentence, people take notice.”

079_gloria_steinem_2-11-15wStephanie Davis, daughter of Helen Gordon Davis, represented Helen at the luncheon. Stephanie, along with her sister, Karen Davis, and brother Grodon Davis were also in attendance at the luncheon honroing their mother. Stephanie Davis gave a heartfelt speech about her mom, her achievements and expressed how much her mom was honored to have everyone there to support her mom and her mom's legacy to Tampa Bay... The Centre for Women. She asked everyone to help continue her mom's work by contributing to The Centre for Women, where more than 65,000 had been helped since it opened its doors in 1977. Today, The Centre for Women continues to help women of the Tampa Bay region to succeed both perosnally and professionally.

098_gloria_steinem_2-11-15wLisa Brock, Brock Communications and co-presenting sponsor of this event along with the Women’s Tennis Association, had the distinct honor in introducing Ms. Steinem. Ms.Brock gave a riveting introduction. She stated in her intro, “ After a few rejections from large organizations with way bigger budgets than mine, and hearing things like, ‘She is a little too radical for our brand, and we’d like to support this but a few of our executives are uncomfortable with ‘her’ I did what I should have done from the get go - I called some bright, enlightened and curious women friend CEO’s who immediately understood the importance of bringing Ms. Steinem here with NO explanation of why. She further said in her speech, ”I wish we didn’t live in a world where Gloria Steinem is seen as a  radical, but it appears we do. So thank you all for being here today - to honor Helen Gordon Davis, who it is also fair to say, is a radical in her own right and another trailblazing woman on whose shoulders we all stand." Ms. Brock recalled a time of when she was 10 years-old and hearing of Gloria Steinem for the first time. “I heard my Grandmother say she was worried about ME - about my sister’s influence as the next oldest and ‘most impressionable.’ The quote still rings in my ears…’ She is gonna turn out like that Gloria Steinem…’  As Ms Brock further said “Gloria Steinem became an unknowing mentor to me. While she seemed confident and bold enough - everything I read about what she said made total sense.”

104_gloria_steinem_2-11-15wA Community Conversation commenced between Gloria Steinem and Stacie Schaible, with questions from Stacie, along with those women in the audience. Time flew by so quickly during this session. Ms Steinem gave so many quotable sayings today, “ I encourage mothers not to let go of their sons, but to hold onto them” or "If every one of us is an imaginal cell, then we’d make one hell of a butterfly."




166_gloria_steinem_2-11-15wGloria was presented with the Waves of Change Women’s Leadership award by Board President of The Centre for Women, Katie Everlove-Stone. Gloria ended the luncheon with some extraordinary closing remarks. A private reception after the lucnheon for Presenting Sponsors, Committee Members, and Senior Centre for Women staff followed. We apologize it could not have lasted longer than it did, but Ms. Steinem had to whisked away to catch a flight.






The Centre wishes to thank Gloria Steinem for taking the time to come to Tampa for Helen Gordon Davis and The Centre for Women. Helen’s family expressed their grattiude to everyeone who came to honor their mother. They said she was thrilled with the photos and stories that family and friends have shared with her.



Thanks to our many sponsors Brock Communications and The Women’s Tennis Association for being presenting sponsors. Champion sponsors: The Tampa Bay Rays and Premier Eyecare. Trailblazer Sponsors: PNC bank, TECO and Harris & Hunt Law Firm. Other sponsors are listed on our website www.thecentre.org and in our photos.

Ms. Magazine gave everyone in attendance a free one-year subscription. Thank you.

Thanks to Mamarazzi foto for taking the great photos of the event and their continued support of The Centre for Women.

And Extravaganza Productions for making us look good with sounds, video and room decor.

And a special thanks goes to The Centre for Girls and the girls who created the “original masterpieces” for our centerpieces on each table.

Eloise's Pastries for the delicious scones each guest received at their seat.

And our Waves of Change Committee who without their help this event wouldn’t have happened. The Honorable Charlotte Anderson, Simone Barefield, Dr. Dore Beach, Lisa Brock, Lucia Cotto, Kim de la Parte, Dr. Susan Dellinger, Katie Everlove-Stone, Dr. Kathleen Heide, Darlene Hester, Dianne Jacob, Karen Mertes, Paddy Moses, Debra Palmer, Alex Sink, Sartura Smith, Natalie Thomas, Nancy Vaughn, The Centre for Women: Ann W. Madsen, Executive Director, Kathleen Pravlik, Director of Advancement, Gail King, Advancement Coordinator

The Centre for Women Staff and volunteers who made this event so spectacular.

We plan to make the Waves of Change luncheon an annual event, each year honoring a courageous woman who shares this legacy of outstanding leadership with Helen Gordon Davis