Let’s admit it. The Distinguished Women Class of 2012 was pretty well represented by Dallas. Why, heck, the three Dallas gals (Charlene Lake, Lynn McBee and Kimberly Whitman) may have dominated the eight DWs, but geography didn’t come into play for the October 19-20 weekend of activities. Instead they all came together for seminars, meals and getting to know each other.
While the DWs came from different walks of life and interests, they shared the common denominator of success in their own fields. From high tech to philanthropy, from self-made to growing family empires, from barely entering mid-life to one celebrating her 90th birthday, they were diverse, thoughtful and inspirational.
The Saturday night gala at the Hilton Anatole benefiting Northwood University started off with a cocktail reception with Northwood execs (President/CEO Keith Pretty, Dallas Campus President Kevin Fegan, Mary Frazier) and DW grads like Yvonne Crum, Pat Kerr Tigrett, Nina Vaca-Humrichouse, Leslie Ann Crozier and Susanne Forbes Dicker, mingling with the frosh class and their families (Myrna and Bob Schlegel, Krystal Schlegel, Justin Whitman) and friends (Arthur Benjamin, Tanya Roberts, Marti Carlin, Melina McKinnon and Michael Cain).
To break from the weekend of education, the largely black-tie crowd talked about clothes. Gown catching most looks was Pat’s self-designed gown. While she may call Tennessee home, she got her start as the go-to bridal designer thanks to Dallas’ Neiman Marcus. . . David Tiller, who is looking to hip surgery again, was comfy in Ralph Lauren slippers that looked like opera slippers that were “basically tennis shoes and very comfortable, but [wife] Martha doesn’t let” him wear them that often. . . Lynn McBee’s “Trash” Louboutin stilettos that debuted at Stiletto Strut in the spring were still the #1 eye catcher on the floor. Unfortunately, she was having to solo the event due to husband Allan‘s being in Roswell at his alma mater New Mexico Military Institute, where they were having a Silver Taps ceremony in honor of his late father. . . 2004 DW recipient Nina and her husband Jim Humrichousearrived too late for the cocktail reception. Seems their daughter’s dance class ran late.
Following dinner (Field greens salad with wine poached pear, candied pecans and blue cheese crumbles, herb bread stick, pomegranate vinaigrette and sliced tenderloin medallions of beef with wild mushroom demi-glace, roasted fingerling potatoes, golden beets with red pepper confetti and haricot verts followed by Chef Henri’s chocolate mousse tower), the presentation and induction of the eight took place with Northwood University students introducing the DWs.
Highlights from the acceptance speeches included:
- Lawrence, Kansas’s Dr. Gail Ayers‘ recognizing Crew Network President/Dallasite Diane Butler.
Houston’s Gray Hawn‘s “I believe the impossible is possible.”
- Laguna, California’s Donalyn Kling, who turned 90 that day, whose father developed a valve for hydraulic control systems and held 25 patents, died leaving the family to tackle $24M in taxes ["He didn't believe in estate planning"]. The family brought in a top CEO who said, “Okay, but I’m not going to deal with any family.”
- AT&T’s Charlene being introduced by Lancelot Darville as “a brave, intelligent and strong individual. . . She is dedicated to protecting the public.” Addressing the group, Charlene responded, “I’m gonna sit right down. How can I top that? I just met Lance yesterday, and I already want to hire him!” In conclusion, she pleaded, “Don’t text and drive.”
- Lynn dedicated her honor to “my sweet precious father, my mentor.”
- Detroit’s Cynthia Pasky, who was described as liking to drink Scotch, smoke cigars and enjoy WWII movies, described U.S. businesses: “We’re still as good as it gets, and we’re going to get better.”
San Antonio’s Jocelyn Straus kept her talk short and to the point saying, “It’s been a real wonderful weekend. It’s time to get back to work now, don’t you think? . . . Vote early, vote often. . . I shouldn’t have said that!”
- Kimberly attributed her success in business to coming from a family of entrepreneurs — “They did build it!” She also acknowledged her grandmother, who was in from Canada attending the dinner, for her fostering 36 children and being called by Kim’s son JR as “really really grandma.