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Nancy Reagan to Speak at Conference on Women in Anaheim

August 18, 1989|ANN CONWAY

Time to get out those Louis Vuitton wallets and flip open those checkbooks.

Nancy Reagan will headline the first Southern California Conference on Women, scheduled for Sept. 5 through 7 at the Anaheim Marriott hotel.

The fee? An ultra-reasonable $65 per day, considering dynamo Marlo Thomas and career-wise Linda Evans will also be keynote speakers. Not to mention appearances by psychologist Dr. Toni Grant, comedian Phyllis Diller and Yue Saikan, reportedly China's first media celebrity (with a television audience of 400 million per week). And breakfast, lunch and dinner are included on the daily agendas.

According to conference coordinator Karen L. Smith, on Sept. 5 the former First Lady will discuss her "activities in the White House and her current activities."

Smith, a resident of Laguna Niguel, has coordinated women's conferences for state Sen. William Campbell (R-Hacienda Heights) and state Sen. Ken Maddy (R-Fresno).

But she no longer wants to organize conferences for politicos.

"Helping women has become so politicized," she says. "I always wanted to just put together a format that would bring together the resources available to them.

"The political vehicle seemed a natural way because they (Campbell and Maddy) have access to those resources. But it became so politicized that it diminished the real intent." (Campbell has been criticized in various circles for allegedly using the conferences for his own financial gain.)

Smith, 42, has chosen to continue staging conferences, she says, because she is committed to helping women.

"I've been through enough in life to understand their needs. I've had the rich life and driven Rolls-Royces; I've had the broke life and lived at the YWCA. So I understand the importance of knowing about choice and hope, the strength that comes from being in contact with women who share their expertise."

Smith cites television actress Evans, who will speak on Sept. 6, as being a woman whose success "did not come early."

"She is a wonderful role model for women because she persevered. She was the first woman who really made it OK to be beautiful and viable at 40." Evans will conduct a discussion with her audience and answer questions. "I'm excited about Linda speaking at the conference because she rarely speaks formally," Smith says.

Thomas, scheduled to speak on Sept. 7, will discuss going "From That Girl to This Woman."

Yue Saikan will take her audience on a "Journey Through a Changing China." And Phyllis Diller will preside over a girl-talky evening of "Pizza! Pizzazz! And Phyllis!" on Sept. 6.

Saks Fifth Avenue will stage a fashion extravaganza--"Moving in Style"--on the conference's opening night.

Hats off to Kirov!: The board of directors of the Orange County Performing Arts Center will host members of the Kirov Ballet and its artistic director, Oleg Vinogradov, on Sunday with a twilight barbecue at the Ritz-Carlton hotel in Dana Point.

The purpose? Glasnost with glitz. Tame glitz. There'll be no gold lame tablecloths at this bash. Just handsome beige tablecloths that have an earthy, Southwestern look about them. No caviar (sigh). On the menu, with the hope of giving the Soviets a taste of California: crab tacos with big-leaf cactus; Santa Barbara shrimp and scallop en brochette; corn and jalapeno sweet pepper tartlets; tomatoes and grilled eggplant topped with mozzarella; grilled spring lamb chops; tortellini with seafood pesto sauce and a dessert to crash the party for: all-American apple tarts, chocolate chip cookies and make-your-own sundaes. Center board members Henry Segerstrom, Thomas Kendrick and Kathryn Thompson are hosts.

Speaking of Kathryn Thompson: Forget about trying to climb aboard those glorious, A-party gala lists that are being drawn up this time of year. The party list at the moment is any of those held to honor newlywed developers Kathryn Thompson and Gus Owen, president of the Lincoln Club. Coalson Morris, board chairman of the Lincoln Club, will be host of the dinner for the popular couple at the Center Club in Costa Mesa next week. And Willa Dean and William Lyon plan a posh reception for the pair in September. Performing Arts Center board members Timothy Strader and Roger Johnson also plan to fete the new bride and groom, who married in Oklahoma on July 21.

The couple will reside in Emerald Ridge at Dana Point. Their wedding gifts to each other? Besides a four-carat, square-cut emerald wedding ring, Owen gave his bride a handsome gold band. "My fishing ring," said Thompson, laughing. (Owen adores the outdoors!) Her gift to him? Exquisite jade cuff links.

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