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Accomplished women (and men) inspire at luncheon

The annual Women in Power Luncheon, held by the National Council of Jewish Women, never fails to inspire. The energy generated by a roomful of accomplished women, and a few good men, is contagious.

Last Wednesday, just such a group filled the ballroom at Michael’s on East for the 27th annual event. They came to honor Laurel Lynch, Gerri Aaron and Veronica Brady who were selected for their community activities supporting the organization’s mission to improve the quality of life for women and children.

Laurel is the executive director of Manatee County’s domestic violence agency, HOPE Family Services. In her introduction, Patterson Foundation executive director Debra Jacobs told Laurel’s story of going from the victim of an abusive husband to becoming a leader in ending domestic abuse.

HOPE board chair Dee Bennett led the cheering section that came to support Laurel. Others at the table included Natalie Gundrum, Heidi Lemker and Dee Krantz.

Environmentalist Dr. Meg Lowman was scheduled to introduce Gerri, but she had to be out of the country so she made a “virtual” presentation via videotape. And Veronica Brady, who was introduced by Patricia Caswell, had her number one fan in the room. Her proud husband, Jay, watched his wife receive her award.

Susan Wilcox, a Florida native, has lived in Bradenton for more than 20 years. She has been active in many local organizations as a volunteer or an employee.