Stephanie White Events
Stephanie White Events


 Honor, Support & Connecting Our Veterans to the Resources they need! 

Founder Mr. Ozzy Ramos sits down with The Savvy Event Guru

*The Savvy Event Guru had the wonderful pleasure of sitting down with Founder of the American Veterans Ball, Mr. Ozzy Ramos in November 2020 to discuss this incredible event, geared towards  connecting, supporting and honoring our Veterans! 

*This incredible event has been in existence for several years, changing the lives of many veterans and non-military civilian that encounter this event. I am so very excited to learn more about the American Veterans Ball, an Organization Driven by Passion Rooted in Purpose and Anchored to the Future Leaders of America. (


The Savvy Event Guru: Good Afternoon Mr. Ozzy Ramos!  How are you doing? Thank you so much for taking time out of your busy schedule to do this interview with me.

Mr. Ozzy Ramos: Hey Steph, I am well.  You're very welcome.  Thank you for interviewing me.

The Savvy Event Guru: You're most welcome. How have you and your family been doing during this Pandemic?

Ozzy Ramos: We are doing well.  Just trying get through the pandemic!

The Savvy Event Guru: Good, I can agree with you. This has been an interesting year. 

Ozzy Ramos: Yes it has been. 

The Savvy Event Guru: Well I don't want to take too much of your time up, so let's begin.

The Savvy Event Guru: So please tell me a little more about yourself.  Who is Ozzy Ramos?

Ozzy Ramos: Ozzy Ramos is a Humanitarian, a leader, and I am servant of God. In my daily life I try to show kindness, empathy, and compassion towards others. My parents are from Puerto Rico, but I was raised in Brooklyn NY. They came to New York from Puerto Rico in the early 60's to make way for a better life for me and my siblings. My father was a hard working factory Cobbler who made women’s shoes. He was always a great provider who possessed moral and ethical compass.

                                           Photo by Brian Silver from DC Hot Spots

Photo by Brian Silver from DC Hot SpotsOzzy Ramos: My family did not have much money and we grew up very poor, but one thing my parents instilled in me, was the ability to go into the world and do good to make a difference!The Savvy Event Guru: Wow! It sounds like your parents were amazing people.

The Savvy Event Guru: So what would you say Motivates you? 

Photo by Brian Silver from DC Hot Spots

Ozzy Ramos: Serving God’s purpose is what motivates me to serve others! I believe that I’m at a point in my life where my passion has intersect my purpose which has led me to my vocational calling, which I like to call "Ozzy's Journey". A vision which propels adolescents to young adults through a youth empowerment, development, and educational mobilization which contributes to the production of exceptional young citizens and leaders for the Greater Good of humanity.

Photo by Brian Silver from DC Hot SpotsOzzy Ramos: Just to add more to what I just mentioned, My mission in life is to "plant seeds", touch people's lives, and to inspire change in other people lives. I recognize that I have a "Rare" gift that allows me to do that and I’m very careful and respectful of that gift in how I use it to impact other people’s lives.The Savvy Event Guru: Wow! Thats amazing.  It's very rare that people even recognize when their passion and purpose have collided and it's wonderful that you use those gifts to serve people.  At the end of the day I feel that we are here on earth to serve others. 

The Savvy Event Guru: So Veterans Day was last month and I hear that you, yourself are a Veteran. If you don't mind me asking which branch of the Military did you serve? 

Ozzy Ramos: No problem at all, yes, I was in the United States Marine Corps. I retired Chief Warrant Officer 3 in 2005 after serving 21 years. During my last duty station I was stationed at Marine Barracks 8th & I, Washington, DC where I served as the Program Coordinator for the President Support Program which included the security at Camp David, White House Communication Agency, Annapolis, MD and the Marine Barracks.

The Savvy Event Guru: Wow, you have had quite the career. What would you say were some of your most memorable moments in the Military?

Ozzy Ramos: I would have to say one of my most memorable moments in the military for me is when I was promoted to Sergeant and promoted to Warrant Officer.  Other great moments for me while I was in the Military involved taking care of the Marines; providing leadership, guidance and sowing seeds into the other Marines. 

The Savvy Event Guru: Thats very impressive.  Thank you for sharing. 


American Veterans Ball

The Savvy Event Guru: What would you say inspired you to start the "American Veterans Ball" organization?

Ozzy Ramos: What inspired me to begin the American Veterans Ball (AVB) was the identification that there was an immediate disconnect between veterans and respective branch of service post active service. Veterans need and thrive on those structural and institutional disciplines whether in or out of the uniform. We all witness many veterans that are suffering from a host of problems such as; depression, homelessness, unemployment, broken marriages, drugs, alcohol, and a sense of not belonging to anything anymore. Many veterans are struggling in life looking for that passion and purpose in life is what veterans thirst for after leaving the military. As a veteran I recognize that there is a profound need to stay CONNECTED to the military in some sought of way and AVB is a great platform to do just that. It allows veterans to be a part of something meaningful that is bigger than themselves. Even though we don't wear the uniform any longer, out of habit we still look for that structured as a way of life. This connection does carry a profound sense of pride and impact for those that experience an AVB event.

Ozzy Ramos: So basically, I saw a gap and created a solution to fill the hole in connecting veterans to each other post active service and giving them the opportunity to network and enjoy a great show. AVB is unique as it is the only ALL Armed Service Ball in the country.

The Savvy Event Guru: Wow, that is admirable.  You truly understand the need because you are veteran yourself.

The Savvy Event Guru: What is the goal and mission behind AVB? (American Veterans Ball)

Ozzy Ramos: The goal of the American Veterans Ball is to connect our past and present Military Professionals to the Future leaders of America, while keeping them true to the RED, WHITE & BLUE. The AVB was created to provide ALL VETERANS of the "Armed Forces" with the opportunity to participate in an annual service ball, similar to our active service components. The AVB will also serve out its mission by creating a pathway that will reignite, connect with, and maintain our patriotism with our fellow veterans through this unique event for years to come during this event once a year.

Photos by Brian Silver from DC Hot Spots

The Savvy Event Guru: Where is the American Veterans Ball headquartered?

Ozzy Ramos: In Stafford, VA

The Savvy Event Guru: When and where did the first American Veterans Ball take place?

Ozzy Ramos: We had the first AVB event in 2015 at the Fredericksburg Hospitality House and Conference Center in Fredericksburg, VA and since have grown tremendously.

                                          Photo by Brian Silver from DC Hot Spots

The Savvy Event Guru: How would you say that the response has been towards the American Veterans Ball?

Ozzy Ramos: When we first put on our first event, we did little to no advertisement with our event and yet drawn a sold out event. Since then we out grew every other local venue in our area and have now moved up into the MGM National Harbor, MD. The response has been overwhelming and have experience significant growth. All of our attendees can identify, relate, and support AVB because it’s such a worthy and much welcome event for those who serve. It also creates the opportunity for community leaders and businesses to also get involved with. We have been truly blessed in creating the magic that comes along with our efforts.

The Savvy Event Guru: What other organizations are affiliated with the American Veterans Ball?

Ozzy Ramos: AVB is affiliated with the organization Home of Miracles & Embraces, Inc., a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to youth development, leadership and variety of humanitarian issues that affect our youth today. Here lies the connection to our youth and their future. We support sending kids to camp, leadership conferences, JROTC, and other types of youth related educational programs. This is why we are driven by passion, rooted in our purpose, and anchored to the future leaders of America.The Savvy Event Guru: That sounds like a great organization.  Who are some of the Big Sponsors for the American Veterans Ball?

Ozzy Ramos: Some of our big sponsors are NBC Universal Comcast, GEICO of Fredericksburg, VA and Washington DC, Reality Realty, Trilogy Security Services, Guarantee Rate Mortgage company, Larry Stokes & Associates, Stephanie White Events, and Think Big International to name a few.

 The Savvy Event Guru: You have a lot of wonderful supporters. 

The Savvy Event Guru: So what do you want people to take away from the AVB event? What "Message" do you want people to receive?Photo by Brian Silver from DC Hot SpotsPhoto by Brian Silver from DC Hot Spots

Ozzy Ramos: The message I want others to receive that as veterans and for veterans we have a social responsibility to pass on the torch of knowledge for a better tomorrow to a younger generation of leaders that will need a leg up through the portals of an older generation of veterans and their lessons learned. The AVB provides both platform and connection in making these efforts possible.

                                            Photo by Brian Silver from DC Hot Spots

The Savvy Event Guru: Wow, that is admirable!!  So it sounds like it all about giving back, whether it is connecting our veterans with resources or giving the youth a leg up!

Ozzy Ramos: Yep, that's it!

The Savvy Event Guru: So with everything going and with this year's 2020 American Veterans Ball being postponed until 2021, what has AVB been up to?

Ozzy Ramos: Yes, the 2020 AVB event was postponed due to the COVID 19 epidemic. We are not motivated by money and the anticipated revenue that our event brings into the organization. This does not define who we are. We have a moral, ethical, and social responsibility to our attendees, staff, and volunteers. Therefore, we will always put the health and welfare of others ahead of our personal ambitions for growth of our event. This is really important to me and the AVB team. We hope and pray that we will be able to have it on Friday, November 5, 2021 at the MGM National Harbor. MD.

Ozzy Ramos: Some of what we've been up to during this Pandemic period is the distribution of MASKS to Veterans and others in need throughout our community. To date we have distributed over 5000 masks and hand sanitizers to all of our local First Responders. We have also distributed approximately 26 Air Purification units to local elder home facilities to help take care of our most vulnerable. Click this link to read our most recent story with the Freelance Star:

The Savvy Event Guru: Okay thats wonderful!  Due to the pandemic and the Mask Requirements for people, masks are few in number.  I am so glad that your organization has continued to look after the veterans to make sure they have what they need. A lot of times our Veterans are forgotten and homeless veterans are forgotten more often than not. Ozzy Ramos: This is very true. The most important message we send our via our efforts to veterans is that they are not alone and that we need to stay CONNECTED. As a leader and founder of this great organization it is important for me to keep my fingers on the pulse on a host of issues that plague veterans today so we can bridge the gap and focus on their needs.The Savvy Event Guru: Mr. Ozzy you are truly a hero. Thank you for all that you do for Our Veterans.

The Savvy Event Guru: So what's next for the American Veterans Ball? Where do you see your organization going in the future? 

Ozzy Ramos: First off you're very welcome I take what I do very seriously. It's my ministry. 

Ozzy Ramos: The future of AVB is very bright! I see the AVB event being replicated across the country on the same day. We already know that our production platform works in bringing veterans an “experience” of a life time. Veterans that attend our AVB event leave with a wow-factor and thirst to come back the following year. I know that there are veterans out there that the AVB mission and goal is something they will love to connect and be a part of and I am committed in making it happen for them. If I can be of any assistance to any veteran, I will. It’s a lifetime commitment that I am dedicated to. 

Photo by Brian Silver from DC Hot Spots

The Savvy Event Guru: That will be amazing.  There is certainly a need for organizations and events such as yours in every state.

The Savvy Event: How can one donate or be a part of the American Veterans Ball event and organization?

Photo by Brian Silver from DC Hot SpotsOzzy Ramos: To lean more about the American Veterans Ball people can visit our website  If you are looking to VOLUNTEER for one of our events please email us at If you are looking to donate please go to our HOME PAGE on our website and click the link MAKE A DONATION. 

Ozzy Ramos: We are also on Facebook under AMERICAN VETERANS BALL - AVB and on Instagram @american_veterans_ball and the Direct AVB contact number is 540-288-7100.

The Savvy Event Guru: Wonderful! People have several ways to get in touch with your organization.  Thank you so much Ozzy for your time today.  I am grateful to get this interview with you despite everything that is going on with the Pandemic, etc.

Ozzy Ramos: No thank you, I am grateful to be interviewed. It has truly been an honor. 

Photo by Ms. Jackie Hicks, Make-up by Ms. Letitia Thornhill For More from The Savvy Event Guru check out Our website at and also check us out on THE SAVVY EVENT GURU YouTube Channel at

TRAIL BLAZING AT ITS BEST! An Evening with CEO & FOUNDER of Proof Modeling Agency Mr. Ronald Byrd!I have had the wonderful pleasure of working with Mr. Ronald Byrd since 2015 and my experience has been nothing short of amazing. Not only do I call Ronald Byrd, a business partner but also a friend. I am delighted that Mr. Byrd would take time out of his busy schedule of running his Modeling Agency to do this interview for me. Mr. Ronald Byrd and The Savvy Event GuruThe Savvy Event Guru: Thank you Mr. Ronald Byrd for doing this interview.Mr. Ronald Byrd: Your Welcome! Thank you for this opportunity.The Savvy Event Guru: Your very welcome. So let's begin.The Savvy Event Guru: A lot of people that I meet in and area Washington, DC are rarely from the Washington Area. Where are you originally from?Mr. Ronald Byrd: I'm a native WashingtonianThe Savvy Event Guru: Okay wonderful!The Savvy Event Guru: When did you first begin working in the Fashion Industry?Mr. Ronald Byrd: I was thrusted into the fashion industry when working soon after high school for a men's clothing store and it was on from there!The Savvy Event Guru: What influenced you to get into the fashion Industry? Did you have a mentor?Mr. Ronald Byrd: I think it was 1984 when I got my big break by landing a sales position working at Gucci Watergate in Washington DC. After working with the influential, rich and wealthy from all over the world, who would also travel to shop at Gucci, I would say that it was some of the best experiences one could have especially as a young black man from DC. I had always had an infinity for style and fashion but being apart of this operation and learning so much, I thought that this was the professional direction I wanted to go in. The Savvy Event Guru: So when did you begin your Blog “Style Speaks”?Mr. Ronald Byrd: Style Speaks came about after working as a concierge temporarily; one of my tenants in the office building would always speak to me and we'd compliment each other all the time on our attire and I loved talking about fashion with him. He suggested that I should take my questions and answers to the streets and create a video blog acting as a roving reporter on the streets of DC. The objective was just to approach people while he recorded me and talk style and fashion. I was like "are you crazy" and then I thought if he thought I could do it and it was a good idea then maybe others would too. He never got the chance to record me but I got a friend to stand in for him and it was on and Style Speaks was born!The Savvy Event Guru: WOW, so it sounds like the tenant in your office building's job was to "Plant the Seed" and you were supposed to take it from there? And that you did!The Savvy Event Guru: What did your BlogStyle Speaks include?Mr. Ronald Byrd: Style Speaks was just something that I felt that people or maybe just myself was missing. I had always been complimented on my fashion choices but no one would ask why I selected what I did or what makes me comfortable in certain looks and the colors etc. So for me it was just about the dialogue, the back and forth with real conversation about fashion. I never felt I was any expert by no means but I considered myself kinda of a deep person and a conversationalist so why not engage people whether they were into fashion or not. Everyone has a since of style whether they know it or not and Style Speaks was just based on that premise, "let's get the conversation started". I began with talking to people on the streets and that blossomed into meeting people in cafe's and coffee shops and even meeting people at their businesses and homes. I've had the luxury of interviewing random people, special guests, doctors, entrepreneurs, restaurateurs, models, actors, designers and blue collar workers alike.The Savvy Event Guru: Wow, so it sounds like your Style Speaks Video blog really took off! The Savvy Event Guru: How many years did you do this blog? Why did you walk away from this brand?Mr. Ronald Byrd: I began doing Style Speaks in 2013 and last year in 2019, I decided to stop doing the video blog, because I was no longer uploading my interviews to my YouTube channel maybe a year or so before the year 2019, due to some personal issues and I actually just got tired and overwhelmed with doing the blog. It was a lot to get those interviews booked and at one time I had done four interviews in 1 month. Once I created my modeling agency called PROOF in late 2014, I just couldn't continue to do both, the Video Blog and the Modeling Agency.The Savvy Event Guru: That is completely understandable. Sometimes it's just time to move on! The Savvy Event Guru: When exactly did you begin your modeling agency “Proof Modeling Agency”?Mr. Ronald Byrd & Real Housewives of Atlanta Star & Bailey Modeling Agency Owner, Cynthia Bailey - January 2015Mr. Ronald Byrd: I started PROOF Modeling Agency in December 2014.The Savvy Event Guru: Where is your agency based?Mr. Ronald Byrd: My agency is based in the Washington, Maryland and Virginia areas. I've also had clients in New York and Boston and now I currently have clients in Atlanta and Delaware.The Savvy Event Guru: Okay, wow so your modeling agency reaches a lot of major Cities! That's impressive! The Savvy Event Guru: How many models to date, have you worked with at Proof Modeling Agency?Mr. Ronald Byrd: That's a hard question but maybe 30 - 35 clients including my current 13 clients.The Savvy Event Guru: What is your vision and mission behind Proof Modeling Agency?Mr. Ronald Byrd: My vision for my Modeling Agency is only to be the best all exclusive male modeling agency in the area. I like to think that I have the best of the best model /actor clients. Of course I want to work with clients who have a sense of professionalism, drive and passion. PROOF is a very eclectic group of men who may or may not be deemed industry savvy.  I employ not your average size models who would sometime be viewed as the industry standard. My mission is to change the face of male modeling and continue to fight and advocate for not just my models but for all models to get what they deserve in compensation whether it be monetarily of otherwise. The Savvy Event Guru: What influenced you to start your all guys Modeling agency?Mr. Ronald Byrd: When I decided to create PROOF Modeling Agency, I didn't really start out by only using male models to be a part of my agency. I actually have had two female models very early on but coming from a teaching and mentorship aspect, I just didn't feel that managing female models was the best fit for me personally. I couldn't provide what the ladies needed and give them the tutorage, that I could give the men, having been a male model myself, it was just a comfortable position for me and I just felt that I should practice what I preach.The Savvy Event Guru: Who are some of the organizations that Proof Modeling Agency is affiliated with?Mr. Ronald Byrd: PROOF Modeling Agency isn't currently affiliated with any other companies or organizations at this time but in the past we have been blessed to have sponsors for shows that I've put on through my Agency!The Savvy Event Guru: Do your models participate in any annual/yearly events? If so what events?Mr. Ronald Byrd: Yes, there are a few annual benefit events and fashion shows that I like to support and so does my clients; such as your annual benefit, with Stephanie White Events and DCFW and a few more.The Savvy Event Guru: Thank you so very much and your models do a FINE Job! I am grateful to you and your agency! The Savvy Event Guru: How has having your modeling agency changed you as a person? Think to when you first started up until now.Mr Ronald Byrd: I don't think that starting the agency has changed me much, I've been around a long time and having such incredible clients over the years has just given me more gratitude, also coupled with being humble, this has allowed me to strive to be the best agent I can be and the best person I can be.The Savvy Event Guru: What advice would you give to someone wanting to enter the Fashion industry as a model?Mr. Ronald Byrd: I get this question everyday and is one of the reason why I started PROOF. I say to them, "Do your homework and know that modeling is not just about having a good looking face or a great body, it's about hard work and having a lot of patience". "No one gets rich over night but have faith in yourself and trust the process and find someone that believes in you and of course believe in yourself."The Savvy Event Guru: Thats great advice! With all the competition out here for models, some sound advice from a Veteran Fashion Industry trail blazer is perfect! The Savvy Event Guru: What’s next for the Proof Modeling Agency?Mr. Ronald Byrd: I can't predict the future but even with the Pandemic, we've gotten off to an amazing start for this year, with some amazing new clients, working with producers on all types of projects outside of modeling also. We're a very flexible and talented group of guys and there's nothing out of bounds! The Savvy Event Guru: Wow thats very impressive! I think that it's important to not allow a pandemic threaten the progress of your business. There are ways to still move forward with projects, etc. Sometimes we have to find more creative ways to get things done. Mr. Ronald Byrd: That is correct!The Savvy Event Guru: So what’s next for Mr. Ronald Byrd?Mr. Ronald Byrd, Guest & Real Housewives of Potomac Star Gizelle BryantMr. Ronald Byrd: What's next for me, is to just continue to be the best that I can be, which is a work in progress. I also want to stay true to myself and hopefully this will bring more joy and happiness.The Savvy Event Guru: That's good! I think that regardless of what we do in life, it is important to stay true to ourselves. The Savvy Event Guru: How can someone who wants to join Proof Modeling agency get in touch with you? Mr. Ronald Byrd: People can reach me on social media under "Ronald Byrd".The Savvy Event Guru: How can people learn more about Proof modeling agency?Mr. Ronald Byrd: People can go to the company website at The Savvy Event Guru: Okay wonderful!! Thank you, thank you so much again Ronald for taking time out of your busy schedule to do this interview with me. I am grateful to you!Mr. Ronald Byrd & The Savvy Event GuruMr. Ronald Byrd: Your certainly welcome and thank you again for this opportunity. For more information on Proof Modeling Agency please check out "Proof Modeling Agency" on Facebook, @proofmodelingagency on Instagram and at www.proofmodelingagency.comFor More from The Savvy Event Guru check out Our website at and also check us out on THE SAVVY EVENT GURU YouTube Channel at
WE WILL SURVIVE CANCER! A FIGHT, A LOVE & A CAUSE! The Savvy Event Guru had the wonderful pleasure of sitting down with Ms. Gayela Bynum, Founder & Chair of the organization WE WILL SURVIVE CANCER. From the day that I met Ms. Bynum in April 2018,  Ms. Bynum has been nothing but sweet, kind and generous.  The Savvy Event Guru: Thank you Gayela, for taking time out of your busy schedule to do this interview for me. Ms. Gayela Bynum: Your most welcome! The Savvy Event Guru: Okay so let's begin. ☺ The Savvy Event Guru: Where are you originally from? Ms. Gayela Bynum: I'm originally from Oklahoma City, OK. The Savvy Event Guru: Okay wonderful! What would you say are 3 of your BEST personality traits? Ms. Gayela Bynum: Hmmm...My 3 best personality traits....The first is my "learned ability" to forgive others – it was a really hard and difficult journey for me to get to the place where I could forgive – I finally got there by understanding that if I expected God to forgive me for my sins, I had to forgive others.  We’re human; not one of us is perfect and not one of us should cast stones. The Second is my ability to "Accept" that I cannot control what others think about me and it’s none of my business.  My mother always said you cannot make someone love, like or respect you! And last, the fact that I respect and love beauty, intelligence and kindness, which also draws me to people who share those same traits. The Savvy Event Guru: WOW! Very well said! Thank you for being so transparent and so real with your answer. Many people would only go to the surface but you went so much deeper. I appreciate that. Thank you. The Savvy Event Guru: What would you say inspires you? Ms. Gayela Bynum: There are many things that inspire me. There's Art and then there's Music.  Beautiful, strong, kind, intelligent and independent women and men inspire me as well.  I am also inspired by People who aren’t part of the herd in thought, word or deed; people who give back to their community in some way and people who truly RESPECT others regardless of race, color, religious or political beliefs. The Savvy Event Guru: I am glad you mentioned giving back.  I think that it's important to give back to others.  To Whom Much is given, much is required. I believe wholeheartedly that we are here on this earth to serve others in some capacity. The Savvy Event Guru: What would you say that you’ve done in life, that has prepared you for what you do now? Ms. Gayela Bynum: That’s a super question, Stephanie.  In my early life, I was classically trained in music and art.  During my freshman year of college, I met what I considered at that time to be the most gorgeous and intelligent man I had ever seen.  I eventually married him following my sophomore year of college.  After we graduated, he joined the Navy and became a pilot.  We had two gorgeous sons and when my youngest turned two, I started working at the US Naval Air Station in Pensacola FL.  As a Navy wife, I learned to cook and became quite proficient in entertaining and moving.  Because of major life changes, I eventually moved to Washington DC (by myself), and began working in the Pentagon.  I loved working at the Pentagon and picked up a job on weekends working in reservations at the Watergate Hotel. In the evenings I went to school to learn RealEstate and eventually got my license.  But, I wanted to do more that reflected the artistic side of my personality, so I pulled on the skills I had developed as an art student and Navy wife and began planning and organizing events that turned into doing (amazing) fundraising events on Capitol Hill for members of Congress on both sides of the aisle.  It was a different time in those days and would be impossible today as the controversy and dissension would not allow it!  For me, however, it was a fun and really heady time, giving me an opportunity to meet and become friends with members of Congress and celebrities who participated in their events.  I was becoming entrenched in the heart and soul of the city of the world, Washington DC, and I loved it! The Savvy Event Guru: Omgosh, not only are you kind and very caring but you are also a "MOVER & a SHAKER". I am elated and very grateful to you, for sharing your story with me. You have a ton of experience with planning events and your experience has allowed you to reach so many different groups of people. Ms. Gayela Bynum: ☺Yes it has, Thank you so much and your very welcome. The Savvy Event Guru: So let's now talk more about your organization. The Savvy Event Guru: What influenced you to start the WE WILL SURVIVE CANCER organization? Ms. Gayela Bynum: My daughter-in-law, Michelle Tull Bynum was diagnosed with advanced Stage III breast cancer in September 2005.  She was 32 years old, a new mother with a 13-month-old baby.  Obviously the diagnosis was devastating to her as she should have been diagnosed while she was pregnant with Reid when she first discovered the aberration in her breast, however her doctor told her not to worry, she was too young to have breast cancer and her body was going through changes because she was pregnant.  Following her diagnosis, instead of hiding under the covers, Michelle, her sister and her family rallied and gathered a group of friends and formed Team Michelle’s Angels and walked in the Austin Komen Walk in November.  Michelle and all, raised over $25,000 in two months – I formed a team in DC to walk in the Haines Point event at the same time in support of Team Michelle.  In the ensuing years, Michelle raised over $125,000 for Komen Austin.  In 2009, Michelle was named spokesperson for that year.  She came to DC to raise money and several fundraising events were arranged for her by tu-anh, Lisa Spoden in her Capitol Hill townhome and the Capitol Hill Club.  Money’s were raised for Komen.  Additionally, friends involved in planning those arranged fundraisers collectively began what is presently named We Will Survive Cancer 501(c)3 Charity. The Savvy Event Guru: Michelle sounds like a very strong woman. I love the fact that Michelle did not allow her diagnoses stop her from working, raising money and awareness for Breast Cancer. The the work that Michelle has done is incredible.  The Savvy Event Guru: When was WE WILL SURVIVE CANCER organization officially started? Ms. Gayela Bynum: WWSC’s official start date was August 2009 The Savvy Event Guru:  How does WE WILL SURVIVE CANCER help the Community? What events do you participate in or put on aside from your gala? Ms. Gayela Bynum: As in every start up, WWSC wanted to provide financial assistance to persons living with and affected by cancer.  The exorbitant cost of one's treatment can cost $10,000.00 plus and eventually drains one financially.  What we quickly discovered was, we did not have the funds to provide such assistance. In our first year, WWSC put together a couple of gift baskets for two families at Christmas.  The following year we were able to gift, 10 families at Christmas.  Last year in our 10th year, we gifted 117 families totaling 580 people.  In 2018 and 2019, we were able to almost double the number of families we gifted because of two generous grants from Macy’s.  In 2019 WWSC received an equally generous grant from the employees and management of QVine corporation in Fairfax VA.  Additionally, TigerLily Foundation partnered with WWSC in our “Making Spirits Bright,” program which allowed us to exponentially increase the number of families we could support. The Savvy Event Guru: The work that WWSC has done thus far is very admirable.  You've touched so many people's lives. ☺ The Savvy Event Guru: What other organizations are affiliated with WE WILL SURVIVE CANCER? Ms. Gayela Bynum: WWSC works with Life With Cancer, associated with INOVA of Fairfax VA, Howard University Cancer Center, VA Oncology in Newport News and Norfolk VA, Nueva Vida, National Breast Foundation, TigerLily, eFocus Media Group, The Umbrella Syndicate, CopaStyle Magazine, Keula Binelly Cuisine and Savvy Sexy Social, WDC50, International Gem and Jewelry Show, QVine Corporation, Hotels at Sea, Macy’s, D2DTV, Grandiosity Events, and so many wonderful individuals who have provided support and guidance through our now 11 years. The Savvy Event Guru: Wow! WWSC has been very productive over the last 11 years. The Savvy Event Guru: So tell me a little more about the Annual Gala that WWSC puts on. How long have you been putting on your Gala for WE WILL SURVIVE CANCER? Ms. Gayela Bynum: WWSC’s 1st Gala was in 2014 and at the first gala we honored Greg Babcock, who is on the board for WWSC and also a Cancer Surviver The Savvy Event Guru: Very nice. . The Savvy Event Guru: What does the WWSC gala include?  Ms. Gayela Bynum: The event consists of a cocktail hour, dinner, remarks from the Chair, Keynote speaker, recognition of persons who have supported WWSC during the year or ongoing years and the special presentation of WWSC’s Celebration of Life Honoree. The Savvy Event Guru: Who are some of the phenomenal people that WWSC has honored at past events? Ms. Gayela Bynum: WWSC has been celebrating the lives of cancer patients who embody the words of Michelle Tull Bynum – “Don’t Waste My Cancer,” and “Eat Life With a Big Spoon!” WWSC’s Honorees include: Greg Babcock – 2014 Touraine Lynch – 2015 Ginger Vuich, Founding Member We Will Survive Cancer – 2016 Sher Mathew – 2017 Steven Gaffney – 2018 Maimah Karmo - 2019 The Savvy Event Guru: Where are the galas generally held? Ms. Gayela Bynum: McCormick & Schmicks in Tyson's Corner hosted the first year event in 2014, follow by year 2, 3 and 4. WWSC’s 2018 event was held at the National Press Club.  Last year’s 10th Anniversary was held at The National Museum of Women in the Arts.  We may have to take a pass in 2020 which is totally up for grabs right now. The Savvy Event Guru: Okay very nice! So it sounds like the WWSC gala event has grown over the years along with the amount of support from different organizations. Ms. Gayela Bynum: Yes it has indeed! The Savvy Event Guru: What message do you want others to take away from the WWSC gala event? Ms. Gayela Bynum: Cancer is a devastating diagnosis that can lead to death, incapacitation and /or major health destruction, but rather than be destroyed, one can take the diagnosis and make something of it which is what my daughter-in-law did.  She was an inspiration.  In the early days after going through her own 5 hours of chemo treatment she would drive young women home from their treatment because they had no support from their own families.  Many of their husbands had left them because it was “Not what he signed up for!”  This left them without insurance, transportation, money and no HOPE!  Michelle, knew she was fortunate because she had major support from my son (her husband), her family and friends.  I was so shocked to learn this news from her and could never forget that she became an advocate for other young women! She made lemonade out of the worse lemons, I could imagine!  The message is - Cancer does not have to be the end to life – My goal is to highlight that person/Honoree and highlight their inspiration and how they have gone over and above their diagnosis to do good for others and the community in which they live! The Savvy Event Guru: OMGOSH, I am in tears now...The fact that Michelle thought so much of others, to help transport young women to their appointments because they had no support, after her own treatment is beyond amazing. An ANGEL in Disguise. Michelle is truly an inspiration. Thank you for sharing this information. This is a phenomenal message for others to take away. The Savvy Event Guru: So, what’s NEXT for WE Will SURVIVE CANCER? Ms. Gayela Bynum: A very interesting question for these beginning months of 2020.  The Sunday before everything closed down, because of COVID19, WWSC was in partnership with the Washington Wizards.  The idea was to host families living with cancer at the Wizards vs Miami Heat game, March 8, 2020.  Then everything changed; the following week we began working from home, games were postponed and eventually cancelled and suddenly life was turned upside down.  We Will Survive Cancer went into action; Josie Valdez and Kimberly Wilde-Warfield, both on WWSC’s Board, organized a gathering of supplies to deliver to families in late March.  Kimberly Wilde-Warfield then organized the collection of amazing Easter Bunny items for Easter Baskets and socially distanced delivered them to families on the Saturday before Easter.  The idea was to make children smile and to give them something to enjoy on Easter. Then Julie Bates, Manager at Macy’s Ballston store, contacted me offering to provide gifts for Mother’s Day since WWSC cannot provide its yearly Mother's Day brunch.  Macy’s along with We Will Survive Cancer is providing special gifts to the care providers at Howard University Cancer Center.  Additionally, we are exploring alternative ways to raise money to help support the families we serve.   The Savvy Event Guru: WWSC has been busy. WWSC is like the GIFT that keeps on GIVING.  Well my hope is that when everything settles with COVID19, WWSC will be able to get back to the business of planning and engaging in future events. The Savvy Event Guru: So what’s NEXT for Gayela Bynum? Ms. Gayela Bynum: – We Will Survive Cancer is not about me, has never been about me and will never be about me!  I don’t and have never had cancer but I have experienced the strength cancer patients and their families gather to fight this beast!  Michelle gave me a completely different perspective on how to live and die with grace – my hope is to live up to her charge (hopefully in the far distant future), but in the meantime, I will just keep on, keeping on, always hoping to increase our effort to provide for more cancer patients and their families! **** To let you know,  NO ONE on We Will Survive Cancer’s Board is paid.  All monies collected are targeted back to the families – there are no admin expenses outside of paying for our Internet Services, paper and ink – accounting is done in-house. Money raised is NOT spent on travel or vacations.  **** The Savvy Event Guru: Thank you so much Gayela for that disclaimer and information.  It's wonderful to know that there are organizations that truly focus on the needs of others. The Savvy Event Guru: Gayela Bynum, it has been an absolute pleasure.  Thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to do this interview. I've learned a lot more about WWSC and all that you do.  Ms. Gayela Bynum: Your very welcome, thank you for this opportunity to sit with you.  The Savvy Event Guru:  For more information on (WWSC) We Will Survive Cancer Organization please contact Gayela or  202-257-7930 Also please check out "We Will Survive Cancer" on Facebook.  Photo by Ms. Jackie Hicks, Make-up by Letitia Thornhill  For More from The Savvy Event Guru check out Our website at and also check us out on THE SAVVY EVENT GURU YouTube Channel at



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