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Marylouise Oates, Sarah Brown, Lorette Gross and Gina Furth

Sarah Brown Champions Activism and Advocacy at 2012 Annual Luncheon

Offering key insight into strategies for advancing women’s and mothers’ health around the globe, Sarah Brown — author, advocate, and wife of former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown — was honored at the Women’s Guild annual luncheon on April 12. Held at The Beverly Hills Hotel, the event provided Women’s Guild members an opportunity to recognize Brown’s work by honoring her with the Woman of the 21st Century Award.

The luncheon featured a conversation between Brown, whose husband sat at the helm of British government from 2007 to 2010, and Willow Bay, prominent Bloomberg Television correspondent and Huffington Post senior editor. During their candid dialogue, Brown explained that she had been moved to act on behalf of women’s health as a result of a panel discussion on infant mortality. “I realized,” she said, “that if you weren’t saving the lives of their mothers, then you’re not really going to be helping their children.” The Huffington Post features a recap of the Q&A.

Despite having, in her words, “no role, no title, and no formal office,” Brown realized that her position presented a wonderful opportunity if she was willing to speak out on behalf of something she believed in.

Her efforts, said Women’s Guild President Lorette Gross, distinguished Brown as “an unparalleled advocate for women’s health. Her trailblazing work in this arena raises the bar and inspires us to work harder to make long-lasting improvements in the industry.”

Luncheon co-chairs Gina Furth and Marylouise Oates planned an elegant affair that also honored Women’s Guild member Shelley Cooper, who received the 2012 Evelyn Clayburgh Award for her outstanding leadership, service, and dedication. In praising her many achievements, President Lorette Gross noted that, “her contributions to the organization included not just her active participation and unwavering commitment but also Shelley’s “great style and flair, which show in everything she does.”

Sharing her thoughts about Women’s Guild’s many accomplishments, Melinda Wayne Munoz — Women’s Guild Lung Institute patient (recipient of a lung transplant) and daughter of John Wayne — rounded out the afternoon program. Her remarks struck a chord with luncheon attendees, who included prominent celebrities like Geena Davis, Henry Winkler, and Jamie Gertz.

With vital leadership from the luncheon committee, the event continued to raise critical funds toward fulfilling Women’s Guild’s pledge of $20 million to endow the Lung Institute. Led by Doctors Zab Mosenifar, medical director, and Robert McKenna, surgical director, the Lung Institute is the first and only facility of its kind in the West and is a pioneer in combating chronic pulmonary illnesses.