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Jaclyn Smith and Wendy Goldberg

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The Power of Friendship on Display at Annual Spring Luncheon

Jaclyn Smith inspired, promoted and praised the power of female friendship as she accepted the 2016 Woman of the 21st Century Award at the Women’s Guild annual spring luncheon at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel.

Smith, an internationally known actress, model and entrepreneur, and a breast cancer survivor, spoke before a crowd of nearly 600 guests about her illness and the therapeutic power of friendship.

“I’m living life to the fullest with my family, my life and my work, and it’s because of you, women who care and who make a difference,” said Smith, who has been cancer-free for 14 years. “My girlfriends empowered me and blessed me. It’s with these memories that I appreciate that Women’s Guild offers hope and care for those people whose lives have taken an abrupt detour. Ladies, I admire your sense of purpose and all that you do.”

Board member Wendy Goldberg introduced Smith and recalled how in the 1970s she saw Smith in a commercial and suggested that her husband, Leonard Goldberg, cast her in “Charlie’s Angels.”

“I said, ‘Leonard, I don’t know if she can act but she’s a star,’” Goldberg said. “What we learned instantly is that Jaclyn’s beauty permeates her soul, talent, brains, grace and charm. She has it all. She’s also known for her huge heart and philanthropy.”

Access Hollywood host Billy Bush emceed the event, which was chaired by Lisa Platt and Georgina Rothenberg. Among the Women’s Guild members and guests were Vanna White, Beth Hall and Astrid Swan.

Luncheon Chair Lisa Platt; incoming President Gina Furth; Luncheon Chair Georgina Rothenberg; Jaclyn Smith; and outgoing President Hella Hershson

Luncheon Chair Lisa Platt; incoming President Gina Furth; Luncheon Chair Georgina Rothenberg; Jaclyn Smith; and outgoing President Hella Hershson

President Hella Hershson took a moment to reflect on the impressive accomplishments in Women’s Guild’s past. “This is an extraordinary group of women,” she said. “We have raised almost $50 million for Cedars-Sinai over the past 50 years.”

She then gave special recognition to Beverly Firestein, Barbara Herman and Deanne Kass, who have each served for more than 50 years on the Women’s Guild board. “We never forget the contributions of our members who have paved the way for our success,” Hershson said.

Immediate Past President Lorette Gross was honored with the group’s Evelyn Clayburgh (Evie) Award, which recognizes a member for outstanding leadership, service and dedication to Women’s Guild. “She embodies intelligence and creative thinking, tenacity and leadership, loyalty to her friends, dedication and commitment to everything she does,” Hershson said of Gross.

Vanna White

Vanna White

Hershson also praised Women’s Guild’s remarkable success toward its fundraising commitment to the Women’s Guild Simulation Center for Advanced Clinical Skills at Cedars-Sinai. “I’m so proud to say we’ve already passed the $6 million mark and we’re racing toward completion of our $10 million goal,” she said. Hershson then presented a check for $1 million to Vera Guerin, chair of the Cedars-Sinai Board of Directors and former Women’s Guild president.

“It makes me so proud to accept this amazing donation,” Guerin said. “I know how hard this group of dynamic and fabulous women work to achieve their goals, and it is my privilege to work alongside them.”

The luncheon also marked a change in leadership, as Gina Furth was officially installed as Women’s Guild’s incoming president.

“This is a dream come true for me and I want you to know why,” Furth said. “I’m dedicated to continuing the legacy I was left, to support the most exceptional medical center in the country. It’s a legacy not just from my parents but from women who have held this presidency before me — dedicated, committed, fierce and, at the end of the day, women who make their mark.”

Furth said she has grand plans for the organization’s future. “My goal with Women’s Guild is to take it to the next level, complete our pledge to the simulation center, define our next project and bring in the funds to make a big difference,” she said.

Guests were treated to a fashion show by Brooks Brothers, showcasing the new women’s collection designed by Zac Posen. Brooks Brothers Beverly Hills General Manager Peri Ellen Berne offered commentary on the collection. Caudalie, Lanvin, Montage Beverly Hills, Thale Blanc and XIV Karats provided raffle prizes. All attendees received a gift bag that included a copy of The Blue Bloods Cookbook by actress and model Bridget Moynahan and Women’s Guild Advisory Executive Vice President Wendy Howard Goldberg. However, former President Judy Briskin was the big winner of the day, taking home the grand raffle prize diamond earrings valued at $5,000.