Chau Ly after being presented the Houston 2021 Woman of the Year. (Debi Smith photo/Houston Today)

Chau Ly after being presented the Houston 2021 Woman of the Year. (Debi Smith photo/Houston Today)

Lee’s Garden’s Chau Ly declared Woman of the Year 2021 in Houston

Presented with roses and a lunch instead of the usual event

Houston’s Woman of the Year has been awarded to Chau Lee of Lee’s Garden for the year 2021.

The award, presented to Ly last week came to her as a complete surprise.

“I am very honoured that I won the award. I wasn’t expecting to be nominated as there are many deserving women in our community,” she said.

Houston’s Woman of the Year is part of Houston’s annual International Woman’s Day event.

“If you work hard, be generous when you can and always be kind, you can accomplish anything!” said Ly.

According to organizer and lead coordinator for the event, Debi Smith, Lee was one of the four women nominated. Cindy Verbeek and Sue Jones were among the others nominated for the award.

“Chau has been a community minded supporter of almost every event that has happened over her 30 plus years in business at Lee’s Garden,” said Smith.

This year’s Women’s Day theme was “choose to challenge.”

”Choose to Challenge is an understatement for Chau whose fiesty nature constantly pushes boundaries of her existence. If Chau wants something done, she makes it happen. Raising money for charities has become second nature to her. Together with her husband Khon they have supported many families, clubs and organizations in need, sometimes even when not asked,” added Smith.

In a Facebook post on Mar. 8, Smith said, “Chau Ly of Lee’s Garden, has become Houston’s 2021 Woman of the Year. Chau was surprised and congratulated with a stunning bouquet of red roses, sponsored and supplied by local Buy-Low Foods and treated to lunch in lieu of the usual International buffet normally held at Houston’s annual International Women’s Day Event. This honour for her 30 plus years of generous community support and spirit is bestowed by a committee of peers through nominations and careful consideration. Congratulations to all other deserving nominees.”

The event which usually features two guest speakers, an international buffet, silent auction, food bank drive and door prizes only had the Woman of the Year part this year due to COVID.

“There is general disappointment in not gathering to celebrate women all over the world and learning what we can about how to better things for them and ourselves, but there is also an acceptance of these COVID times and the need to keep separated. We encourage women to keep searching for more ways to improve. There are many ways online to give support- you just have to search and find what’s right for you,” said Smith.

She also said that the event organizers are hoping to get the event back to some sort of a new normal next year.

Priyanka Ketkar
Multimedia journalist

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