Thirty years ago, Cyla Weiner was a substitute French teacher. She loved the language and enjoyed the children, but the job wasn't her calling. She was bored. Her calling, she decided, was selling lingerie.

So she opened Sy-Lene, a little store in Bethesda, not really expecting that the venture would survive very long. But now she's celebrating the store's 30th anniversary.

The store has evolved. Not long after it opened, Weiner started catering to women who had undergone mastectomies.

"At that time, women really were behind closed doors about what they were going through," said Weiner, whose parents owned a lingerie store in New Jersey. "The store became a place for them to come and congregate. We dealt with them very privately. We fit a need for a lot of people."

Among those people was Nancy Reagan, who had a mastectomy in 1987, while her husband was still president.

With less-invasive breast cancer surgeries now more common and the need for prosthetics reduced, the store has evolved again. The Chevy Chase store is now something of an exclusive, high-fashion destination, focusing on bathing suits (year-round), extensive lingerie collections and a trousseau registry.

"People hate to shop for bathing suits," Weiner said. "We have been doing this for so long that even if you think your figure has a problem we know how to accentuate the positive."

She offered up this shocker: "Eight out of 10 women wear the wrong bra size."

Weiner still has some questions about how long her business will last.

"I have a very long lease here," she said. "I also have a daughter, but she doesn't seem to be interested at the moment."

Hotel's Tech Advances Honored

Marriott International of Bethesda has made IDG's CIO Magazine list of top 100 companies for the sixth time in seven years, with the publication recognizing the hotel chain's performance in information technology.

"This award demonstrates Marriott's position as an innovator and leader within the hospitality and travel industry in creating integrated business practices and technology solutions that enhance our guests' experiences, deliver value to our owners and franchisees and enable our associates to provide Marriott's hallmark service every day," said Carl Wilson, Marriott International's executive vice president and chief information officer.

Mental Health Grants Available

Otsuka America Pharmaceutical of Rockville, the maker of a popular drug to treat schizophrenia, is awarding grants of $5,000 to encourage medical students to work in community mental health programs, particularly those that target underserved minority communities.

Otsuka is working with the Helping Hands Grant Program to provide the money to medical schools whose students initiate projects within the community.

Insight on Drug Approval Offered

The Parenteral Drug Association and the Food and Drug Administration are hosting a joint regulatory conference Monday through Sept. 16 for biotech and pharmaceutical companies interested in learning about strategies to move their potential products through the regulatory process.

The theme of the conference at the Renaissance Hotel in the District is "The Product Life Cycle: Quality by Design, Implementation and Continuous Improvement." Conference organizers are encouraging a broad group of drug company executives to attend -- those interested in regulatory affairs, the science of manufacturing, business development and technology transfer.

For information about the conference, log on to

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