Annual Red Shoe Event to Benefit SAFE in Hunterdon

Erin Pedrini
Web Production Assistant

BW NICE Board Members at the 2013 Red Shoe event. BW NICE Board Members, from left: Lisa Fielding, Diane Simovich, Judy Gold, Dana Lane. Photo courtesy of Diane Simovich.

“I founded the concept of bringing women together, coming together for networking and tying it to a charity that has the same vision as the women attending,” said Business Women Networking Involving Charity and Education (BW NICE) founder and President Diane Simovich. BW NICE is holding its annual Red Shoe luncheon and fashion show fundraiser Friday, June 6 to raise money for SAFE in Hunterdon.

Simovich founded BW NICE in Hunterdon County in April of 2009.

“In the companies I had previously worked for there was a shift and they were very much involved in women’s initiative and I kind of enjoyed that because you were seeing more women in the workforce in corporate America and more businesses by women were opening up. We found that women were the key decision makers in all facets of life — at home and in business. This was something that sparked an interest in me,” said Simovich. “I was very much involved in local charities and local events within my community. There was nothing on the local level that was bringing women together. I wanted to celebrate all of these wonderful things about women and I thought why don’t we do something special and celebrate women?”

The company has now expanded and there are chapters of BW NICE in Somerset County and Leigh Valley, Pa. A chapter is also being launched in Morris County. The chapters meet monthly, do collection items every month and are tied to the local SAFE Houses in each county. Simovich said that the goal is for every chapter to hold its own signature Red Shoe event to raise money for the SAFE Houses that they support, honor a businesswoman and invite women out for a celebration.

“Part of our vision and mission is to be a national organization that will support local safe houses throughout the country and will have Red Shoe events and raising awareness against domestic violence and sexual assault. What better way to do it than women? Women are a great conduit especially because so many women can relate to this,” said Simovich.

As for the Red Shoe luncheon and fashion show, the Hunterdon County chapter is on its third annual event. Simovich said that the event includes a luncheon, a fashion show in which local boutiques donate the clothing and are modeled by volunteers, merchant vendors and a shopping boutique where woman can shop and raffle prizes. There is time for women to network and a businesswoman is honored.

BW NICE Board members presenting SAFE in Hunterdon a donation check. From the left: Dana Lane (BW NICE Board Member), Judy Gold (BW NICE Board Member), Lisa Fielding (BW NICE Board Secretary), Diane Simovich (BW NICE Founder & President), Leanne McGowan (SAFE in Hunterdon), Julie Kaminski (Board Member, SAFE in Hunterdon), Cyndie Wiggins (Former Employee, SAFE in Hunterdon), Carol Dvoor (Former Employee, SAFE in Hunterdon), and Susan Martinez (Bilingual Counselor, SAFE in Hunterdon) Photo courtesy of Diane Simovich.

“SAFE in Hunterdon will be there and somebody will give an impact statement which is really critical and really speaks to the heart of the day and what we are doing. This year it is a woman that has been through the SAFE House and who is now an entrepreneur and starting her business and basically can speak to how SAFE helped her through her ordeal and how she has been able to come out on the other end. It is important for the audience to see how the resources and services are critical to help,” said Simovich.

Last year, Simovich said that 229 women attended the event and $7,000 was raised. This year, Simovich said that she hopes to raise $10,000 to $15,000 for SAFE in Hunterdon.

Simovich said that the theme of Red Shoe is based off the BW NICE red high-heel logo. She said that red represents empowerment and heels represent raising awareness. She said that red shoes are recognizable and fun and women love attending the event and wearing their red shoes.

“The most rewarding part to me is the fact that when you do bring women together for a common cause it is amazing to see what they can do and the fact that we are giving back to others and helping and getting together for the greater good and giving back. I do believe that when you do give back, you get so much from that. When I walk through the doors the morning of the show and I see that vision, you have no idea how heartwarming it is,” said Simovich.

The Red Shoe luncheon and fashion show will be held Friday, June 6 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Hunterdon Hills Playhouse in Hampton. Ticket prices vary and can be purchased here. Sponsors for the event include Provident Bank, Wells Fargo Advisors, Investor Savings, MSI Plumbing & Remodeling, Coldwell Banker of Flemington, Lyons & Associates and Mountain View Chalet.