Women's Innovation Center

How Do You Create a Soulful Event?

Blu Neffu (Photos: NCWI)

By Jane Plitt, Founder and Board Chair, The National Center of Women’s Innovations

Alexandria, VA – Some moments are noteworthy; few are memorable. Get ready for the NCWI’s Inaugural Black Tie Gala on October 27, from 7-9 PM at the Ritz Carlton Pentagon City to be a soulful historic happening.

In every way, from music, speakers, and purpose, it will be a powerful statement about the importance of women innovators as we bring to life the extraordinary tale of Dr. Gladys B. West. She was a poor daughter of Black sharecroppers who didn’t want to pick crops for the rest of her life. Instead, she used her brain and ultimately became the key to mapping the world at the Dahlgren Proving Ground. Those technical calculations enabled GPS, something we all love. We are about to Put Her on the Map of Recognition.

While words help articulate details, music touches our souls. From the moment you enter the Ritz-Carlton, you will be transformed as a rhythmic participant celebrating women innovators’ recognition, particularly Dr. West on her 93rd birthday. We will sing Happy Birthday to her, become enraptured with the sounds, and possibly even dance. We will be united behind the message and the music!

Vaughn Ambrose and the SJE

Vaughn Ambrose

Immerse yourself in contemporary R&B and smooth jazz fusion with Vaughn Ambrose and the SJE. This quartet covers contemporary sounds from Grover Washington Jr. to the R&B stylings of Anthony Hamilton. Alexandria’s own Vaughn Ambrose fronts this group and is joined by Charles Wright, guitar/vocals; Michael Pryor, bass/vocals; and Greg Holloway, drums and cymbals.

They will provide the music during the gala and awards ceremony before the dancing begins, followed by the Blu Neffu ensemble.

Blu Neffu

Blu Neffu combines jazz, pop, funk, rock, and fusion with a slight Latin flavor to create a unique style that cuts across all musical categories and genres. You won’t soon forget their sound and energy with the true Neffu’s of R&B, neo-soul, and smooth jazz.

Before the start of the Gala, two groups will perform: the Ashlei Peoples Trio and the Aura Duo. Attendees will enjoy music from Jazzy Gospel and Jazz to more contemporary R&B.

Ashlei Peoples

Ashlei Peoples

Ashlei Peoples will perform with a trio for the VIP Reception. Ashlei and her bandmates will share their passion and love for music with us.

Be part of this soulful event. Become a sponsor or snag your ticket at womensinnovations.org/dr-gladys-b-west-gala/.

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