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A few weeks ago I announced that I was being honored by the Smahrt Girl Foundation as a recipient of the Icon Award at the 2nd Annual Brunch & Ball Gowns Benefit Gala. My goodness, what a prestigious foundation and honor. The Founder is Pamela Ellis, she is a super savvy business women. The foundation is shifting the lives of girls and young women with empowerment and education. The gala consisted of Houston top influencers and leaders in business, technology, policy, finance, philanthropy, government and media in Houston and the surrounding area. The event was held at Hotel ZaZa.


SMAHRT GIRL HONORS − Lashanda Gary, Founder, Dream.Build.Success − Mandy Kao, Founder, Mandy Kao Foundation − Delesa O’Dell-Thomas, Principal, HISD Young Women’s College Preparatory Academy − Dr. Leticia Plummer, CEO, Maxwello Dental − Nicole West, Founder, The Westco Experience − Toni Whitaker, Fashion Designer − Mary Young Police Officer, Houston Police Department

. David Johns, Executive Director of the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for African Americans, was the keynote speaker. Smahrt Girl Foundation Founder Pamela Ellis, honorary chairs Dr. Austin and Mrs. Loren Lane, committee chair Erica Rouse were all in attendance and many more.

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I made my way down to downtown Houston on Saturday morning with some friends and family to enjoy this perfectly planned extravaganza. The entire day was a whirlwind of whimsical beauty, fashion, food, selfies, philanthropy, and self-reflection.

. At the event, we laughed, had lots of time to take pictures and talked about our passions to give more. My favorite part of the event was having the opportunity to speak with a few of the teens girls in attendance. I was so impressed and inspired when they spoke of having big dreams and goals.

. For more information about the Smahrt Girl Foundation and how you can get involved visit


LaShanda Gary

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