October 13, 2017 – Hornets Sports & Entertainment President & Chief Operating Officer Fred Whitfield, along with Novant Health Executive Vice President & Chief Consumer Officer Jesse Cureton, will host more than 600 guests at Spectrum Center on Saturday, October 14, 2017, for the 10th annual My Hero Gala. The black tie fundraiser, which supports the Novant Health Community Care Cruiser and the Charlotte Hornets Foundation, will feature the entire Hornets team in their finest attire and basketball shoes and ESPN’s Michael Wilbon acting as the evening’s host. In addition to the main program, the red-carpet event will also feature a cocktail reception, dinner, a variety of entertainment, and opportunities for guests to participate in a silent auction, raffle and sneaker contest.
Along with raising funds for the Novant Health Community Care Cruiser and the Charlotte Hornets Foundation, the My Hero Gala also serves as an awards celebration, recognizing individuals for their contributions to the Charlotte community. This year’s honorees are: Joan F. Lorden, Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, University of North Carolina at Charlotte (Education Hero); Kay Carter, CEO, Second Harvest Food Bank of Metrolina (Hunger Hero); John Falkenbury, President & CEO, USO of NC, and William Manning, Charlotte Advisory Committee Chair, USO of NC, and Senior Vice President, Senior Relationship Manager, Bank of America (Military Heroes); and Bert Scott, Senior Vice President, Population Health and Value Based Care, Novant Health (Wellness Hero).
Master of ceremonies Michael Wilbon is a co-host of ESPN’s Sports Emmy Award-winning show “Pardon the Interruption” and a contributor to ESPN/ABC coverage of the NBA. Previously, Wilbon worked 30 years as a reporter, then columnist, for the Washington Post. During his career, which began at the Post in 1980, Wilbon edited two New York Times best-selling books with Basketball Hall of Famer Charles Barkley. A trustee of his alma mater, Northwestern, and a member of the faculty at its prestigious Medill School of Journalism, Wilbon and his longtime friend and “PTI” co-host Tony Kornheiser earlier this month received the National Press Club’s highest honor, the Fourth Estate Award.
Education Hero Joan F. Lorden was appointed Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs at UNC Charlotte in 2003 and has overseen dramatic expansion in the University’s student body, instructional programs and research funding. Lorden has promoted university-community collaboration through research and service learning. She was instrumental in establishing the Charlotte Engineering Early College with Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools and the Charlotte Teacher’s Institute, a collaborative provider of teacher professional development. A long-time advocate for access to higher education, Lorden has served as the program director for a series of projects funded by the National Institutes of Health, the U.S. Department of Education and the National Science Foundation designed to bring women and underrepresented minority students into programs and careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.
Hunger Hero Kay Carter joined Second Harvest Food Bank as CEO in January 2004. Second Harvest, which serves a 19-county region of North and South Carolina, is the largest nonprofit in health and human services in the greater Charlotte region with annual revenues including food donations of $91 million. Second Harvest distributes approximately 54 million pounds of food and household items annually, up from 7 million pounds when Carter started. Nutrition pounds including fresh produce, meat and dairy products – categories that people living in poverty can least afford but need to stay healthy – have grown an average of 27% per year since her arrival, while programs aimed at child hunger – including the backpack program, Kids Café programs and school-based mobile pantry program – have grown an average of 68% per year.
Military Hero John Falkenbury was appointed President & CEO for the USO of NC in March 2009. He is responsible for planning, organizing and directing the operations of the state headquarters, six USO fixed centers, three satellite centers and a mobile center in the areas in and surrounding Jacksonville, Charlotte, Fayetteville, and Raleigh-Durham. In 2016, these base and airport centers provided nearly 600,000 critical resiliency, transition assistance, financial literacy and children’s educational programs; travel assistance, as well as deployment and homecoming operations; Fallen and Wounded Warrior escort services; holiday feasts; and extensive morale-boosting activities to active duty, National Guard, reserve, military retirees and their families. Falkenbury served over 20 years in the U.S. Army, with command and staff assignments throughout the United States and in Germany.
Military Hero William Manning is the Chair of the USO of NC’s Charlotte Advisory Committee, in addition to his role as Senior Vice President and Senior Relationship Manager at Bank of America. Manning, who joined Bank of America in 2006, is also the Charlotte lead for Bank of America’s Military Affairs Advisory Council, a select team of employees advising the bank’s executive leadership team on military veteran support, volunteerism and recruiting. Manning served with distinction as a Combat Engineer officer in the U.S. Army for five years. He served as an Airborne Ranger and Master Parachutist in the famed 82nd Airborne Division. Manning was selected as a 2012 recipient of Bank of America’s Global Diversity & Inclusion award, among numerous global nominees.
Wellness Hero Bert Scott is Senior Vice President, Population Health and Value Based Care for Novant Health. Under his leadership, the population health team aims to integrate population health capabilities and techniques across the Novant Health system, creating alignment across the system and value for patients, families and consumers. Scott’s career includes tenures as President & CEO of Affinity Health Plan, President of U.S. Commercial Markets for CIGNA, Executive Vice President and Chief Development Officer at TIAA-CREF, President & CEO of Horizon-Mercy and Regional Vice President of Managed Care for Prudential Insurance Company. Scott, who has been active on numerous professional and community boards and committees, was recently elected as chairman-elect of the American Heart Association.