6/9/2011 Author Kate Betts Featured at Joint Action Committee Power of Women Brunch

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Not so long ago, if women wanted to get ahead professionally they were expected to dress in drab menswear suits. If they were fashionistas they risked being taken for airheads; if they were brainy, they dared not be stylish.

“Not anymore,” said Kate Betts, author of the bestselling Everyday Icon: Michelle Obama and the Power of Style. “Michelle Obama is proof -- living proof -- that you can be stylish and substantive and you don't have to make excuses for one or the other.”  Betts was featured at the inaugural “JAC Power of Women" event, Thursday June 2, 2011, in the Chicago suburb of Highland Park to benefit Joint Action Committee (JAC).

JAC is a national nonpartisan advocacy group committed to the US-Israel relationship and a progressive social agenda that includes reproductive rights and separation of religion and state, JAC promotes these priorities through advocacy with US Senators and Representatives. JAC encourages Jewish community participation in the political process and serves as a resource for issues, legislation and strategies for effective advocacy.

The brunch was hosted by a group of stylish and accomplished women who met Betts on her turf: the crossroads of substance and style. Event chairs were Linda Fisher, of Chicago, and Lisa Rubinstein, of Northbrook.

“Linda and I have long been involved in Jewish philanthropy and we have also been interested in politics,” said Lisa Rubinstein. “Where the two intersect is that our charitable efforts bear greater fruit when coupled with advocacy with elected officials. Congress passes laws and appropriates funds that have a great impact on the institutions we support.”

Susan Berk, of Highland Park, made a powerful pitch for political involvement through JAC, calling upon the audience to be more politically engaged for the sake of the next generation.  A member of JAC for over a decade, she said she recently attended a JAC event at the home of a Congresswoman in Washington, DC where she met and spoke with Rep. Nancy Pelosi, the former Speaker of the House of Representatives. Making political advocacy personal, Berk said, "We are all the speakers of our own houses.  We all set a moral agenda for our own families by the actions we take in our own lives."

Speaking to a packed North Shore crowd of 250 women, fashion journalist, bestselling author, and contributing editor at Time magazine Kate Betts said the old rules do not apply anymore. She said women today can have a strong sense of personal style that contributes to success in their personal and professional lives. She discussed the importance of style on a serious political agenda, using Michelle Obama and other first ladies to make the point that women no longer have to choose between having a sense of style and being taken seriously.  She also talked about how first ladies use that style as part of the way they advance their causes.  “Michelle Obama has broken new ground by being less tied to formality --  dressing in a way that reflects the multiple roles she plays, whether it is entertaining foreign diplomats or working in the White House garden to promote healthier eating,” said Betts.

Complimenting her audience, she also said that Chicago women have a great sense of style.

Author Kate Betts is a contributing editor at TIME magazine where she has written about the worlds of style and design since 2003. She was the editor in chief of Harper's Bazaar from June 1999 to June 2001, where she completely redesigned the 134–year–old fashion publication. She moved to Bazaar from Vogue, where she was the fashion news director from 1991 to 1999. Betts is the author of the new book Everyday Icon: Michelle Obama and the Power of Style (Clarkson Potter/Publishers, 2011). A graduate of Princeton University, she resides in New York.

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Marcia Balonick, Executive Director or Dana Gordon, Membership and Outreac
Joint Action Committee (JAC), 847-433-5999