By Gary Nager

So, there I was…the only man sitting amongst a group of about a dozen beautiful, intelligent women of varied ages and backgrounds….and no, it surely wasn’t an unpleasant experience.

“Men are always invited to our events,” said Kim Cass, a soon-to-be-published self-help author, local daily newspaper writer and co-founder of “The Sophisticates” Social Networking Group, which has been bringing together members from New Tampa, Wesley Chapel, Carrollwood, Brandon and as far away as Sarasota and Palm Harbor for ongoing networking and other events since July.

“We’ve been putting this together since last December,” said Kim’s Sophisticates co-founder and co-author Angelina Clarke of Kares Kommunications. “But we’re just now trying to build the group and a more regular calendar of events.”

The Sophisticates, who currently have “about 80 members,” according to Angie, held their most recent “Little Black Dress” networking party at PrimeBar in the Shops at Wiregrass mall on October 9, where the ladies enjoyed calamari, flatbread pizzas, a glass or two of Diseno Malbec or some kind of fruit flavored martinis, more than a few laughs (some at my expense, which I, of course, really enjoyed) and an opportunity to network and showcase their respective businesses.

For example, Cheryl, a representative of Park Lane Jewelry, and Vicki, who brought out a selection of Premier Jewelry, were among those in attendance who got to show off their respective lines and share good times with the group.

“We’ve got a lot of stuff planned,” said Angie, who will compete in the local “Dancing with Our Stars” event at the Center for the Arts at Wesley Chapel High this weekend. “Our big upcoming event is our Masquerade Ball,” which will be held Saturday, October 27, at the beautiful Feather Sound Country Club, just off the Howard Frankland Bridge in St. Pete. A portion of the proceeds will benefit Making Strides Against Breast Cancer.

“Think ‘Sex in the City’ for the Tampa Bay area,” Angie said “This is a group of fun, interesting women. You really should join us!”

For more info, visit, call Angie at 420-8644, or email SophisticatesGirl@

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