“And I like large parties. They’re so intimate. At small parties there isn’t any privacy.”
Since 11th grade English class I have been enthralled by The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald as so many others. It makes you dream of lavish parties and hope for the future. This quote by Jordan Baker is the one that sprang to my mind immediately after attending the first annual Lady Project Gala and was the one I chose to begin my reflection.
As the sun set behind the backdrop of Broadway on the West Side of Providence, the elusive Barnaby Castle remained a glowing beacon on a fairly quiet street for that time on a Saturday. Upon entering the house you are immediately in awe of the history that is etched into every inch of the house. A grand staircase leading to the upper levels and a quickly filling first floor where attendees are reviewing silent auction items, indulging in oysters and cocktails, and beginning to talk amongst themselves.
As I walked from room to room enjoying the atmosphere and trying to take it all in, I was able to reflect on the importance of the Gala and appreciate how humbling it was to be there. I was surrounded by my fellow Lady Project team members, team members from as far as Boston and New York City, members of the PVD Lady Project, Board members, sponsors, and members of the community showing their support for a good cause. I have now been a part of the Lady Project for going on three years. This Gala was a celebration of the Lady Project making a positive impact on many lives and communities including mine for five years. Five years of connecting, inspiring, and showcasing awesome women doing amazing things.
At the height of the party, there were over 120 people chatting and celebrating the Lady Project. I had the pleasure of sharing my experience with a few and it was inspiring to hear so many other stories of how the Lady Project was leaving its mark on the city of Providence, the state of Rhode Island, and spreading across the United States. Referring back to my opening quote, this large party led to many intimate conversations. The halls and rooms of Barnaby Castle were filled with women sharing their stories, people sharing a laugh, or just taking a moment to embrace something positive.
An image which will be one I never forget is that of our fearless leader Lady Project CEO + co-founder Sierra Barter smiling with a glass of red wine in her hand looking stunning as she stood in front of a large fireplace. Talk about debunking the old boys club. Her power and drive ceaselessly guide the Lady Project to the heights that it has achieved. One key characteristic that I believe every leader should possess is one that Sierra constantly embodies: if you ask something of your team you should be willing to step in and do it as well. Sierra works her 9-5 and then puts all of her time and energy into the Lady Project + her team. She will be the first one at an event and the last one to leave. She will always have a smile on her face and stand by her team + the members who she cares so deeply about. The Lady Project was created with the simple idea of developing a safe place for women to be vulnerable and succeed together. Now it has been five years and the night of the Lady Project Gala symbolized so much of her success.
I personally joined the Lady Project by becoming an intern who fell in love with something she never knew she needed. A group of supportive, diverse women who strive to achieve things together. The night of the Gala was emotional to see so many prominent members of a community I am proud to be a part of coming out to support the Lady Project and our cause. Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza took a moment and addressed the congregation of attendees. His constant support is always appreciated by the Lady Project team and makes me proud to say our home and headquarters is in Providence, Rhode Island. I am an Upstate New Yorker, born and raised, but I decided after graduation that Providence, Rhode Island was where I wanted to call my home because of the people I’ve met and the experiences I have had here.
The Gala wouldn’t have been possible if it wasn’t for the Gala committee, volunteers, and sponsors. The Gala committee worked hard to make the night one that all attendees would never forget. The volunteers worked until late into the night to make sure that the event was a success. Our sponsors were the ones who made the whole night possible. A simple thank you will never be enough to show the appreciation of so many who the Lady Project has left a positive impact on.
The Lady Project is a community which will continue to grow and I look forward to being a part of that growth. This Gala is one of the steps that will help that growth continue.
Thank you to our sponsors, Gala committee, team and volunteers. Again, here is a list of the incredible sponsors who made this night possible-- Coastway Community Bank, (add)ventures, Amica Mutual Insurance Co., The Vanech Pontarelli Private Client Group, moo.com, Chloe Wine Collection, Origin Beverage Co., Revival Brewing Company, Anchor Distilling Company, Cherryhill Flowers Johnston, Valet Connection, The Granny Squibb Company, Polar Seltzer, Hanna Furey Photography, Patois Catering, Ogie's Trailer Park, Julians, El Rancho Grande, Laughing Gorilla Catering, The Grange Providence, and Laughing Gull Chocolates!
Photos by Hanna Furey