The Park City Women's Business Network was founded by Bernadette Martinelli in 1993, and is dedicated o network, support, promote and educate women in business.

That means it also pays attention to the young women who are preparing to graduate from Park City High School.

"Those who started the organization felt it was important to promote women's education through scholarships," said Lori Harris, president of the Park City Women's Business Network board. "Over the years, we have presented some type of event to raise funds for these ladies' scholarships."

Continuing the tradition, the PCWBN will present its annual Fall Fashion Fundraiser Scholarship Benefit at the Chateaux at Silver Lake on Wednesday, Oct. 17, at 6:30 p.m.

The night will feature live and silent fashion auctions, hors d'oeuvres and beverages.

Throughout the years, the fundraiser has morphed, Harris said.

"We started off with a luncheon with a keynote speaker, but our actual first fashion show was held eight or nine years ago," she said. "It was an all-male fashion show and many of our renowned leaders in the community were the models.

"The women had a good time and I think the men did too, but we changed it to what it is today five or six years ago," Harris explained. "We'll auction off the fashions that will be modeled on the runway."

The fashions have been designed and donated by local and Salt Lake-based boutiques, said Harris, who owns Mary Jane's Boutique on Main Street.


Advertisement

"This year, we have 10 boutiques and designers total, so we'll have 20 outfits up for auction," she said.

Some of the participants include Mary Jane's, Panache, Fight Boutique, Farasha, Name Droppers, J Hilburn, Purse Strings to name a few.

"We also will have a silent auction that will include items donated from various businesses from our local community," Harris said.

Those items include a large package of products and services from Splendor, an acupuncture package from Zante Spa and art from the Terzian Galleries.

Also, during the event the Park City Women's' Business Network will announce the 2012 Candy Erickson Woman of the Year.

Erickson, a longtime Park City Council member, passed away in the spring of 2011 after a battle with cancer.

"Candy was one of our founding members and ran the fundraiser for years until she was too ill to do it any longer," Harris said.

The award is given to a local woman in business that helps make the community a better place, Harris said.

"When we started this award four years ago, we wanted to highlight a woman in the community who was not only inspirational in business, but also in philanthropic endeavors," she said.

Past recipients include Becky Kearns who works at Zion's National Bank, Deer Valley Resort's Coleen Reardon and Gallery MAR owner Maren Mullin Bargreen.

"It has certainly gone to worthy women in our community," Harris said.

Choosing the Woman of the Year is a difficult process, because there are so many great women in the community.

"There is an application process and people will nominate these women," Harris said. "Our board reads through and discuss the nominees and anonymously vote."

The votes are tallied, but none of the board members know who the winner is until the night of the event.

"It's always the exciting part of the evening," Harris said.

Of course the purpose of the fundraiser is to collect money for the scholarships, said Melissa Hagen, network's fundraiser chairwoman.

"To date, PCWBN has raised more than $103,000 that has been awarded to 50 graduates over the years," Hagen said. "The girls that we pick for the scholarships are very accomplished students and this is a way to reward them for all of their hard work."

Choosing the scholarship recipients is more difficult than choosing the Woman of the Year.

The network works closely with Nancy Michalko, Park City High School's scholarship coordinator.

"She gets the girls signed up for the scholarships," Hagen said. "There are certain requirements regarding grades, test scores and volunteering in the community that they need to fulfill and she has a list of questions that the girls have to answer. On top of that, they have to write an essay."

The PCWBN board then examines the applications.

"It's so difficult, because we sometimes have 100 amazing women and we need to only choose five," Hagen said. "It becomes quite an emotional process, because these ladies will write about the things they've had to overcome in their lives."

Earlier this year, the Park City Women's Business Network was able to hand out a total of $15,000 to five graduates.

"I had the wonderful opportunity to talk with these ladies on a one-on-basis and I know it means so much to them to be able to go to college with us on their side," Hagen said. "I think we choose girls that will get to the next level and having the scholarships will inspire them.

"It wasn't so long ago that many of us network members were in high school," she said. "We remember what it was like, and maybe if there were something like this scholarship for us, it would have motivated us to do more or work harder to get to the next level. We want to make sure we support them and they become a contributing member of other communities after they finish school."

The Park City Women's Business Network will hold its Fall Fashion Fundraiser scholarship benefit on Wednesday, Oct. 17, beginning at 6:30 p.m. at The Chateaux at Silver Lake. Tickets are $50 and can be purchased online at www.pcwbn.org .