On Friday, October 26, 2018, from 7 to 9 a.m., Easton’s 36th Annual Mayor’s Prayer Breakfast will be held at the Tidewater Inn in Easton. This year’s breakfast will feature Stephanie Saunders, First VP, Wealth Management, The Hill Group at Morgan Stanley, and Bruce Strazza, Manager, Gratitude House for Men and Christ Church Easton.
Stephanie Saunders is a passionate lover of Jesus, burning with compassion to share His love wherever she goes whether here locally or to the nations. Her heart is for releasing true identity as she wants people to live in freedom and gracefully step into all that Father God created them to be – Be Love. In her job as First VP, Wealth Management, The Hill Group at Morgan Stanley, Stephanie helps clients navigate through life transitions with personalized strategies and practical solutions. She combines careful listening, extensive knowledge and experience and rigorous analysis to create goal-based financial plans with straightforward action steps. She began her financial services career in 1997 and has been with the Hill Group since its founding. She is a thought leader among women advisors, and a passionate advocate for women clients and advisors. Stephanie was honored to be selected for the Women’s Leadership Summit, which strives to empower women in their everyday lives. In 2017, she was selected to Working Mother magazine’s inaugural list of “Top Wealth Advisor Moms.” Stephanie graduated cum laude with a B.S. in Finance from the University of Maryland’s Smith School of Business. She has also earned two prestigious designations – Senior Investment Management Specialist and Senior Portfolio Manager – which demonstrate her ability to integrate the vast resources of Morgan Stanley within her sophisticated wealth management strategies. As a cancer survivor, Stephanie feels blessed to serve on the board of directors for the Maryland Affiliate of Susan G. Komen where she finds joy in offering hope and courage to others. She believes strongly that financial literacy should start young and is a volunteer and advocate for Junior Achievement. Stephanie enjoys raising her family here on the Eastern Shore of Maryland where she spends time kayaking, reading and being outdoors. She is actively involved in her faith community and believes that “we are blessed so that we can be a blessing to others.”
Bruce Strazza was born the son of an alcoholic father and a hard-working mother, which some would say was the perfect storm to breed an addict. Although he became involved in sports as a form of escape, his introduction to drugs and alcohol came at the early age of 12. After his brother Mark had died of a heroin overdose, he turned to drugs to mask the pain. Abusing crack cocaine everyday, all day, eventually led to a near death experience. In February of 1997, Bruce found himself in a treatment center in New York City. He then became engaged with his recovery and helping others, built a career, went back to college and attended Microsoft school. After over a decade of clean time, Bruce relapsed, first turning to alcohol then back to prescription medicine, and eventually to heroin and crystal meth amphetamine. He went to live with his oldest sister in Long Beach, Long Island, NY, but was unable to get clean. In 2013, homeless and at the end of his road, he found himself walking out into the Atlantic Ocean, leaving his pocket full of cash and stash of drugs on the beach, with no intention of ever coming back. Something happened in the middle of the ocean that night which can only be explained as the voice of God, whom he had tried to ignore and pushed away so many times. God was not ready to let him go. Bruce’s brother-in-law drove him from Long Island to the Eastern Shore of Maryland to his other sister’s house. After his detox and recovery at a local treatment facility, he moved into the Mid-Shore Fresh Start Program in Easton and began his road to recovery. Over the next several years, Bruce found himself using his experience to help others. In 2015, he sat on a panel for the Mid-Shore Opioid Task Force, giving recommendations to Lt. Governor Boyd Rutherford on the opiate crisis. Bruce is an active member of the addiction ministry of Christ Church Easton, where he also sings with the Alive at Five band. Today, Bruce sits in with many advocacy groups, such as Recovery for Shore, and supports and manages the Gratitude House for Men in Easton. He can also be found sponsoring and mentoring men, speaking at local addiction rallies, and carrying 12 step meetings into local jails and rehabilitation centers. If you have ever met Bruce, you will often hear him say, “Yes is my answer, how can I help?”
Tickets to the 2018 Mayor’s Prayer Breakfast may be purchased at Sears in Easton, the Easton Town Office, and the Talbot County Chamber of Commerce beginning October 1. The cost is $12 a person and seating is limited. Tickets should be purchased ahead of time. For further information, contact Kathy Ruf at 410-822-2525.