Brush Prairie resident Angela Maitland had everything she thought she wanted out of life: a husband, five children and the ability to stay at home with her five children. So, she was perplexed about why she felt a void in her life.
"Although I was very happy, staying at home can get lonely and isolating," Maitland said. "I would reach out to some really wonderful moms groups and wonderful community organizations, but I felt I was supposed to create something to encourage women to live the lives they were supposed to live and complement their life as a mother."
If you go
• Who: Women.
• What: Fourth annual Diamond Tea.
• When: 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Oct. 13.
• Where: The Nines Portland Hotel, 525 S.W. Morrison St., Portland.
• Cost: $100 by Oct. 5 at http://thediamondtea.com.
That desire has evolved into the fourth-annual Diamond Tea. The event allows Maitland to raise money for a couple of nonprofits each year, bring in a speaker to inspire women to develop their potential, support women-owned businesses and present the Quintessential Woman Award.
The Diamond Tea started out as a buy-in activity Maitland donated to Camas' Pacific Crest Academy for the private Catholic school's annual auction.
"I thought, 'Wouldn't it be nice to have a really elegant tea for the mothers of children at the school?'" Maitland recounted. She said "bringing women together for a purpose" and the creativity in event planning for them gave her the kind of fulfillment she was missing. She said that she was responsible for her own happiness, and she wanted to share that message with other women, who juggle multiple responsibilities and often think of their family before themselves.
"I'm responsible for my happiness; I'm not blaming my husband or babies," Maitland said. "Women need to remember who they are, what their strengths are and what they wanted out of life. I wanted to share that vision of reclaiming my life."
The next year, she went to Chris Foyte, owner of The Fairgate Inn in Camas, and told Foyte that the high tea fundraiser had outgrown the family's dining room table. Foyte offered the inn to host the tea at no charge.
"It was 2009, and we had 98 women attend the benefit tea at The Fairgate Inn," Maitland said. "We brought in speakers and raised money for children's education and women in need."
Her success prompted Maitland to start a business, Quintessential Production, to organize the tea and possibly do more event planning.
Each year, the event graduated to a larger venue, the Heathman Lodge in Vancouver in 2010 and The Nines Portland Hotel in 2011. Maitland started highlighting women's businesses at the event with vendor booths and started the Quintessential Woman Award as ways to support women in their ventures.
"Women have inspired me, and I want to inspire them," she said. "I have to give back to the community (to feel fulfilled)."
The Diamond Tea has given her the vehicle to do that.
Last year, the Diamond Tea raised $6,000 for Portland's Habitat for Humanity women's build project and the Pacific Crest Academy.
This year, Maitland's goal is to raise $5,000 for Empowering Grace, a Vancouver nonprofit that provides support and retreats for mothers of children with cancer. That money will be raised in the form of a special appeal at the event. About 5 percent of ticket sales also will go to Deceptions sex-trafficking prevention program. The remainder of proceeds are used for covering the cost of organizing the event.
The 2012 Diamond Tea offers an English high tea, shopping at booths of 25 women-owned businesses from the Portland metro area, including Clark County; a keynote speech on personal development tools by Los Angeles motivational speaker Keri Murphy, and performance of "I'm a Woman" by country singer Shannon Bex, who appeared on the MTV reality show "Making The Band" and toured in the band Danity Kane with Christina Aguilera.
The winner of the Quintessential Woman Award also will be announced. The award, named for Maitland's business, Quintessential Productions, honors women who have inspired other women by realizing, remembering and reclaiming their strengths. The winner was selected out of 10 nominees.
Paris Achen: 360-735-4551; twitter.com/Col_Trends; facebook.com/ColTrends; firstname.lastname@example.org.