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Giving Back With Style


By Mary Menser

If you sat in on a board meeting of the Triangle's rapidly growing new group, you probably wouldn't be surprised to learn that the attractive members are models.Models for Charity But what mightsurprise you is that, unlike many amateur models, these people aren't hoping to become the next Gisele Bundchen. Instead, they're young professionals who’re using their business savvy, as well as their good looks, to make a difference.

Less than a year ago, Raleigh lawyer Michelle Congleton, 35, founded Models for Charity as a fun way for local businesspeople to get involved with Triangle charities. The result is an organization that's raised thousands of dollars for causes including the American Heart Association, the Red Cross, WakeMed Children's Hospital and the N.C. Art Museum.

To help her manage the group’s in-demand services, Congleton tapped her friend and colleague Jennifer Gray to serve as vice president. Carolina Woman caught up with Gray, a 30-year-old Raleigh assistant district attorney, to get the scoop on giving back with style.

Q Why did you get involved in Models for Charity?
A I've always been curious about modeling and thought it seemed fun and glamorous but never had an opportunity to get involved. When Michelle approached me with her idea, I thought it was the perfect way to try something new and have a good reason for doing it.


Q How does it work, exactly?
A We have three different ways in which we give back to the Triangle: We host our own fundraising fashion shows twice a year; we volunteer as a group at various charity events; and we each agree to give at least 25 percent of any income we receive from paid jobs to local charities.


Q Growing up, did you want to be a model?
A Of course, don't all little girls? It seems so fabulous and fun to dress up and have your hair and makeup done! But it's very hard to just stumble into a modeling career. It was more of a fantasy in the back of my mind, and I opted for law school instead. Which is also glamorous!


Q So, do you have to be gorgeous to join the group?
A No, definitely not. We are first and foremost a charity, and we certainly wouldn't want to discourage anyone from wanting to get involved! Some of the requests we get ask for certain height or diversity, but it's all different. Plus, we have many members who don't actually want to model and who help with a lot of our behind-the-scenes stuff.


Q What's the biggest kick in modeling for charity?
A The most fun is definitely the fashion shows — getting to wear amazing designer clothes and having our hair and makeup done.


Q What's next for the group?
A We hope to continue to grow and be able to participate in as many events as possible. This month, we’re coordinating and walking in a runway show during the ARC of Orange County’s anniversary celebration (Sept. 12) as well as modeling for some of the amazing designers featured in the fashionSPARK 2010 Fashion Show (Sept. 17).


Q What would you say to women who think they don't have enough time or money to give back?
A First, that every little bit really does count and it adds up quickly. And, if you can't give money, then give your time and effort — even if it's only an hour a week.


Q How can Triangle women get on board?
A Please visit ModelsforCharityRaleigh.com.


Beth Yerxa, founder of the nonprofit Triangle ArtWorks, announced the launch of its website to educate and connect the artistic community and its supporters in the Triangle via discussion forums, articles and blogs.


Raleigh native Lauren Kennedy, who has been in numerous Broadway shows, performed a one-woman musical to benefit the environmental nonprofit N.C. Beautiful.


Kathy Hopwood, a Hillsborough-based artist, won second place for her sculpture “Whispering Moons Remember What Is Forgotten” in the 30th annual Fine Arts Festival sponsored by the Arts Council of Southern Pines.


Chapel Hill’s Allison Wood, owner of LetterPerfect Speechwriting & Presentation Coaching, wrote a speech that was selected for publication in the June edition of “Vital Speeches of the Day.”

Duke University, in Durham, announced the Fulbright Student Scholarships to travel abroad for study for the 2010-2011 academic year, including:
Alixandra P. Barasch, to teach English in Macao
Elana M. Berger, to teach English in Spain
Lynn S. Elharake, to teach English in Malaysia
Ariana S. Minot, to study Physics in France
Ciara F. Wirth, to study Education in Ecuador


The Art Institute of Raleigh-Durham hired Jen Salzburg as the head of Graphic Design and Web Design & Interactive Media and Amy VanAuken as the head of Fashion Marketing & Management.


Carol Cutler-White was named dean of Sponsored Programs and Federal Relations at Wake Technical Community College.


Clair Brown, a pianist, and Emily Siar, a soprano, were awarded the 2010 Kenan Music Scholarship for the fall semester at UNC-Chapel Hill.


Michelle Maiden, of Knightdale, received Meredith College’s Alumnae Legacy Scholarship, which is awarded to students who excel in academic achievement, service and leadership at the state, national and international levels.


Raven King, a junior at N.C. Central University, in Durham, was selected for the U.S. Olympic Committee’s Finding Leaders Among Minorities Everywhere program for her achievements in volleyball, academics and community service.

Emily Parks, owner of Raleigh-based organizing company Organize for Success, celebrated its third anniversary.

Donna Preiss, CEO of Raleigh-based The Preiss Co., a provider of off-campus student housing, presented “You Can’t Manage What You Can’t Measure” at the National Multi-Housing Council Executive Leadership Conference in Washington, D.C.


Vickie Bevenour, president of the RDW Group, a Cary-based career fulfillment firm, earned the Certified Personal Brand Strategist designation from Reach Communications Consulting.


Elizabeth Porter joined Innovative Talent Solutions, a staffing firm in Raleigh, as office manager.


Ragsdale Liggett announced:

Carrie Barbee, an associate attorney in the litigation department, was named to the board of directors of Meals on Wheels of Wake County.
Melissa Dewey Brumback, partner, was appointed as vice chair of the 10th Judicial Grievance Committee.


Dr. Amy Strong joined Fuentek, an intellectual property and technology-management consulting firm in Apex, as a technical marketing writer.


Jane Nance was named manager of quality control at Zebra Print Solutions, a commercial print and fulfillment firm in Morrisville.


August Cohen, owner of Raleigh-based Get Hired Stay Hired, a hiring-assistance firm, contributed to “The Twitter Job Search Guide: Find a Job and Advance Your Career in Just 15 Minutes a Day.”


Lou Jurkowski, CEO of BJAC, a woman-owned Raleigh architectural firm, announced that the company won the Design Builders Institute of America Award of Excellence in the healthcare category for its collaboration on the Randolph Hospital Outpatient and Cancer Center.


Melanie Black Dubis, a partner at Raleigh law firm Parker Poe Adams & Bernstein, gave a presentation on legal concepts and practices with social media for the Research Triangle area chapter of the Association of Corporate Counsel.

Peggy Bloodworth of entrée vous announced the business is merging with Mark Day To Go catering at their new Chapel Hill location.


Bonnie Jenkins was hired as the general manager of the Olive Garden Italian Restaurant at Capital Boulevard in Wake Forest.


Van Eure, the owner of the Angus Barn in Raleigh, is for the 22nd consecutive year chair of the Thad & Alice Eure Walk for Hope, which is named after her parents.

Hope L. Murdock was elected to serve as the 2010-2011 chairwoman for the Durham County Women’s Commission.


Gov. Bev Perdue named Norma Houston, a faculty member in the UNC-Chapel Hill School of Government, to the State Highway Patrol Leadership Advisory Group.


Pat Long, vice president and co-founder of Longistics, a global logistics solutions business in Research Triangle Park, announced:
• She was appointed to the N.C. Logistics Task Force by Gov. Bev Perdue.
• She was appointed to the UNC Global Research Institute advisory board.

Cindy Hale joined Anorac Agency, a branding and strategic communications agency in Raleigh, as an account executive for its healthcare division.

Susan McDonnell is celebrating 15 years with R + M, a branding agency in Cary.

Diane Kuehn, CEO of VisionPoint Marketing, in Raleigh, served as mistress of ceremony for the awards dinner at the Business Opportunity Conference of the Carolinas Minority Supplier Diversity Council.

Terry Spicer, CEO of Epiphany Public Relations in Raleigh, was the official publicist for the 76th International Grand Conclave of the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity.

Caroline Rhinebarger, CEO of Strategic Guru, a Triangle-based marketing agency, announced that the business was relocating to Morrisville.

Marbles Kids Museum in Raleigh named Molly Sapienza of RBC Bank to its board of directors.

The Raleigh-Durham chapter of the American Advertising Federation announced its 2010-2011 executive board members, including:
Amber Frasketi, of Howell Merrell & Partners in Raleigh, president
Mary Marcantonio, of M2 Media and Marketing in Raleigh, 2nd vice president
Jessica Brown, of McKinney in Raleigh, secretary

Leigh Griffin Duque is the new executive director of InterAct, the Raleigh nonprofit that helps victims and survivors of domestic violence, rape and sexual assault in Wake County.

Friends Unite, a Raleigh-based nonprofit involved with humanitarian projects in southern Sudan, India and Africa, recently opened its doors. Pamela Prather is vice president, Elizabeth Raiford serves on the board of directors and Deborah Loercher handles public relations.

The Orange County Rape Crisis Center hired Krista Park Berry as program director and Alyson Culin as development and marketing director.

Sharon Rosché, president of the Morrisville Chamber of Commerce, was elected to the Carolinas Association of Chambers of Commerce Executives.

The United Arts Council of Raleigh and Wake County announced its new members of the board of directors for 2010-2011:
Georgia Donaldson, of Leland Little Auction & Estate Sales
Kathy Knudsen, vice president of business development for VitalChart
Heoak Lee, vice president of Knightdale’s Black Belt World

Libbie Hough, owner of Hillsborough-based marketing firm Communication Matters, will serve a second term on the board of directors of the Mental Health Association in Orange County and the Hillsborough/Orange County Chamber of Commerce.

Sherrie Ferrell was named June agent of the month by Linda Craft & Team in Raleigh.
Wei Liu joined the Chapel Hill market center of Keller Williams Realty.

Heritage Wake Forest Realty announced:
Barbara Ashley joined the sales team.
Renee Carroll joined the company as a builder representative.


Christine Osborne, Anne Conklin and Jaclyn Barker joined the Cary office of Allen Tate Realtors.

Fonville Morisey Realty announced:
Angela French of the Cary office earned the nationally recognized Short Sales and Foreclosure Resource certification.
Jackie Alluisi joined the Brier Creek office as a sales associate.

Kim Dawson, of Prudential YSU Realty in Chapel Hill, was appointed chairperson of the N.C. Association of Realtors Forms Committee.

Janice Cutler, owner of North Raleigh Florist, was named chair of the Wake County Business Alliance for Mt. Vernon Middle School for the second consecutive year.

Mariah Wheeler, owner of the Joyful Jewel, a retail shop featuring the works of more than 60 regional artists, announced that the store moved to a new location at Hillsboro Street in downtown Pittsboro.

Caroline E. Shillito, owner and principal designer of emma delon, an interior design business, announced that emma delon became an industry partner of the Greater Chapel Hill Association of Realtors.

Raleigh natives Carri Lawson and McKenzie Amash opened Anna and Alice, a clothing boutique in the Lafayette Village center in North Raleigh.

Allison Kindt, of Raleigh, who is co-founder of luxury jewelry line Sweet Charleston Designs, showcased the company’s first two collections in New York City.

Suzanne Libfraind, president of Wardrobe Consulting in Raleigh, announced that the business is partnering with Share Our Shoes for “Back to School Shoe-Mania,” a drive to collect new or gently-worn shoes for financially struggling families in the Triangle.

Dr. Sarah Hollingsworth was named chair of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Duke University School of Medicine in Durham.

Kerry Waite, director of wellness programs for the YWCA of the Greater Triangle, announced that the Avon Foundation Breast Care Fund awarded a $50,000 one-year grant to the YWCA to increase awareness of early detection of breast cancer and to provide free screening mammograms for uninsured women.

Eileen Slutsky, of Aesthetics by Eileen, a provider of non-surgical cosmetic enhancements, announced that her business is moving to a new location on Lake Boone Trail in Raleigh.

Dr. Kathryn Manton and Dr. Holly Adams joined Eyecarecenter in Wake County.

Please send information and photos for this column to update@carolinawoman.com, with photos attached as 170-dpi.jpg or .tif files.
The deadline for next month's issue is the 10th of this month.

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