Sips at the Station benefitting Chatham Savannah Citizen Advocacy


Carlee Griffin and Hunter Beals
Carlee Griffin and Hunter Beals

Kicking off the new year with their monthly Sips at the Station event series, Simply Savannah Marketing and Ardsley Station are back at it! The business networking fundraiser benefited Chatham Savannah Citizen Advocacy and was held on Tuesday, January 17, pulling in an elite crowd to taste menu appetizers and specialty Tito’s Vodka cocktails.

Setting up the welcome table is SSM’s Dru Usry and CSCA board member, Tawana Garrett. Watching them is Marianne Ganem Poppell and Ardsley Station’s uber extrovert Tyler Kopkas. Teasing the good friends for their overseeing talents, I wave CSCA director George Seaborough over for my first pic of the night.

I’m always giving George slack about his slight smile/smirk but have the utmost respect for his work in the community. 

Asking him to capture the essence of his non-profit, George explains, “Our goal is to help build a one-on-one, freely given, personal relationship between a person with a developmental disability who has often been excluded from typical community life to a person who is living a good, ordinary life.”

It’s a perfect day for socializing and no one does it better than Richard Sanders! The affable attorney is exactly who I need to help introduce Boston MA native Catherine Howe around the gathering crowd that includes my favorite news team, WSAV General Manager David Hart, News Director Kathy Wideman and first-day-on-the-job anchor/reporter Kaley Fedco.

Arriving next are newlyweds Frank and Kim Liebgott. Giggling when the two lovebirds get their drinks confused — (it’s the same cocktail), I congratulate Kim on her Visit Savannah promotion to Marketing Manager before heading over to greet the coolest couple in town, Nancy Turcotte and Sandi Prosnitz.

Always a fan of the curly haired, “head woman in charge of LoGo Goods”, I take a seat to see what I can do to support a lady that continues to give to the community that she loves. 

“I volunteered to make a run for the newly-branded Visionaries of the Year National All-Star Campaign. I will be competing with 19 other previous candidates that stepped up to the plate again,” shares the 2021 Leukemia and Lymphoma Society Woman of the Year Runner-up.

Glancing around, I see a purple sparkly jacket and know that Cale Hall is making an entrance! All about his Dancing Stars of Coastal Georgia dancing debut in May, Cale is talking to the Royce Learning Centers team about their annual oyster roast in February. Cale and Guieneverre Cutlip  are plotting to see how to get their nonprofits on the Sips roll call.

Next up, the Drayton Hotel Director of Sales and Catering Hunter Beals is taste testing the signature Sips drink while chatting about their upcoming drag brunch and the new menu at St.Neo’s that is taking the brasserie back to its roots. I turn and spot Mickey Hickey from Ordinary Pub and Common and get worn out just listening to her schedule. Then I spot Tourism Leadership Council’s Stephen Plunk taking a seat at the check-in desk to help Tawana.

Arriving from their first Leadership Savannah meeting, Maja Ciric and Zelonia Williams make a beeline over to State Farm Insurance’s Vernon Donovan. Looking spectacular in a vivid red fitted dress, Maja invites us all to Step One Auto’s 2023 Local Heroes Campaign Launch while Zelonia tells Vernon that her custom patches may not be the look he is going for in his daily professional attire. Although she can design a few cool custom patches for him, he should stick to his fitted classy suits on the daily.

 Pausing Marianne to talk about her highly successful event series and the upcoming year full of events, which includes the Town of Thunderbolt’s Blessing of the Fleet in April and helping with the launch of the Savannah Downtown Business Association To-Go Cup Campaign, Marianne gets a little amped when telling me about her three-year passion project, I Love Savannah.

“Created to showcase the best of Savannah’s culture, food and philanthropy and especially the people who make it happen, this new business platform will highlight the champions of our local community while giving a VIP experience for locals to eat, shop, play and save throughout our beautiful city,” shares the I Love Savannah founder.

I’m not sure how the incoming chair for the Savannah Downtown Business Association, Savannah Master Calendar owner and new Savannah Chamber of Commerce board member has time to do all this and even though I coached her on learning to say NO, this dedicated mom of three boys will do what she does best, serve the community that she loves! 

See y’all next month back here at Sips at the Station!

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