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Hollywood Comes to Santa Barbara!
23rd Annual Women’s Philanthropy Luncheon
May 31, 2007

 Presentation of Woman of Valor Award
The Eshet Chayil Awards
“What a rare find is a woman of valor.
Her worth is far beyond that of rubies.”
Jeri Eigner
Natalie Myerson
Maureen White

See the photos!

Featuring Keynote Speaker Joan Hyler, Talent Agent to Stars such as Madonna, Andy Warhol, Meryl Streep, Bob Dylan, Peter O’Toole and Hollywood’s Premier Jokemeister Bruce Vilanch, Head Writer for the Academy Awards, and for comedians Robin Williams, Billy Crystal, and Whoopi Goldberg.

200 women came together to celebrate philanthropy and honor three local “Women of Valor.”

Keynote speaker Joan Hyler, former executive with the William Morris Agency and CEO of Hyler Management was introduced by the hilarious Bruce Vilanch. Both spoke of the importance of bringing Jewish identity, ethics and meaning into every day life.

The blessing over the bread was led by Rabbi Allison H. Conyer of Santa Barbara Hillel. Also present was Rabbi Stephen Cohen of Congregation B’nai B’rith.

Lee Luria, first president of Federation's Women's Philanthropy Division, presented the first annual Woman of Valor Awards to honorees Jeri Eigner, Natalie Myerson and Maureen White for their The Honoreesmany contributions to the community. Cantor Mark Childs sang “Eishet Chayil: Woman of Valor.”

The Women’s Philanthropy Luncheon raises funds to support Jewish Federation’s programs and social services that benefit those in need locally, in Israel, and around the world. Cultural and educational programs sponsored by Jewish Federation are open to all, often free of charge.

Luncheon co-chairs were Lauren Katz, Dale Nissenson, and Joan Rothenberg.

A special thank you to:
Karin Millman and Claire Stancer of the Cook-It School; Pureology and Cheryl Genis Markham, Vice President, daughter of A.J. and Dan Genis; Underground Hair Artists; Viacom and MTV Network

See the photos!

2007 Women of Valor
What a rare find is a Woman of Valor, (Chayil).
Her worth is far beyond that of rubies!

Jeri Eigner and her late husband Stanley (z”l) have served Santa Barbara Jewish community life in many ways. Both served as presidents of Federation’s Board of Trustees and were instrumental in the purchase of the Bronfman Family JCC building at 524 Chapala. Jeri is a member of President’s Cabinet, a Lion of Judah and an emeritus member of the Board. She has been honored by the Anti-Defamation League, served on the board of Planned Parenthood and was a docent at the Santa Barbara Museum of Art. She has four children and nine grandchildren.


Natalie Myerson is a member of President’s Cabinet and a Lion of Judah. She and her late husband Raymond King Myerson (z”l) have two children and two grandchildren. Natalie started the local branch of the Brandeis University Women’s Committee, is a member of the boards of Hillel and the Anti-Defamation League and is a life member of Hadassah. She served as a county arts commissioner and is associated with the Santa Barbara Symphony, among her many contributions to the cultural, humanitarian, educational and civic life of Santa Barbara.


Maureen White is an emeritus member of Federation’s Board of Trustees and is a member of President’s Cabinet along with her husband Bernie. They have three children and nine grandchildren. She was the second president of Women’s Division, chair of Women’s Campaign, co-chair of the Annual Campaign and is a Lion of Judah. She has served as President of the Women’s Board of the SB Museum of Art, is on the Council Board of the Music Academy and is a life member of Hadassah.

Joan HylerJoan Hyler, our keynote speaker, founded Hyler Management in 1995 after having been a RSVP of the William Morris Agency; she represented icons such as Bob Dylan, Andy Warhol, Meryl Streep, Madonna, and Ann-Margaret.

A former President of Women in Film, Joan Hyler created both the Morning Star Commission and the Entertainment Council of the National Foundation for Culture. With Howard Bragman they created and produced the successful Jewish Image Awards.

A visiting professor at USC, Joan Hyler travels and lectures all over the world on film as well as women’s issues retaining a Board position on the Women in Film Foundation.

We've Got Bruce!
Bruce Vilanch
Hollywood’s Premier Jokemeister,
Comedy Writer for Robin Williams, Billy Crystal, Whoopi Goldberg and the Academy Awards

One of the most sought-after jokesmiths in the entertainment industry, Bruce Vilanch has become a recognizable face in his own right, thanks to the feature-length documentary "Get Bruce!" (1999) and his one-time stint as a regular on "Hollywood Squares" (1998 ), for which he also served as head writer.

Known for his eclectic eyewear and collection of unique T-shirts, he began as a child model for Lane Bryant, but when his initial efforts as an actor came to naught, he became an entertainment writer for the Chicago Tribune instead. Impressed by his review of her cabaret performance in 1970, Bette Midler hired him to punch up her act where he gave birth to Midler’s famed Sophie Tucker jokes. He later moved to Los Angeles where he wrote for variety shows like the original "Donny and Marie" and "The Brady Bunch Hour" (both ABC) and provided material for Richard Pryor, Lily Tomlin and Joan Rivers. He has maintained his connection with Midler through the years, working on such projects as the feature "Divine Madness" (1980) and the TV special "Bette Midler--Diva Las Vegas" (HBO, 1997), as well as writing for her short-lived but lively sitcom, "Bette!" (CBS, 2000 ).

Vilanch began contributing to Academy Awards telecasts in 1989, collaborating with the likes of Billy Crystal, Whoopi Goldberg and David Letterman, and graduated to head writer in 2000. He has roasted celebrities like Elizabeth Taylor and President Clinton. The Whoopi connection led to his providing the notorious material Ted Danson performed in blackface at a certain 1993 Friars Club roast of his then-girlfriend Goldberg, but his resume also includes "You Made Me Watch You", the touching Emmy-winning valedictory Midler crooned as a send-off to Johnny Carson.

He scripted most of the Academy Awards telecasts over the last decade, two of which won Emmys, including the one featuring Billy Crystal’s Hannibal Lecter entrance. Mr. Vilanch has also written for The Tony's, The Grammy's, The Emmy's, and just about every other award show to brighten your television screen. He also participates and volunteers at almost every charity function, especially those dealing with GLBT issues.

Mr. Vilanch just capped off his 14th writing gig for the Oscars in 2003. Currently he is writing for Bette Midler's 2003 Fall Tour and in September he will debut in the popular Broadway hit, "Hairspray". He will be in the touring company which opens in Baltimore, September 9, 2003 at the Mechanics Theatre.