Leukemia Texas’ Concert For A Cure At The Rustic Features Reckless Kelly—And Great Results For Fighting Leukemia

As more than 400 people streamed into The Rustic’s outdoor patio Thursday, September 28, for Leukemia Texas‘ fifth annual Concert for a Cure, the group’s CEO, Mandy O’Neill, sat in a “cabana” at the back of the property reviewing notes with the chairs before taking off to supervise the festivities.

Below her, guests like JB Hayes, Natalie Solis, Angela Nash with Billy Martin Jr., Roger Hendren, and Amanda and Lloyd Ward were catching up with friends and eagerly awaiting the appearance of the evening’s headliner, Reckless Kelly. Mandy, meantime, was expressing her hope that the evening’s take would at least match last year’s total of $125,000.

Jenny Anchondo, Marco Rivera, Stephanie Hollman and Mandy O’Neill*

The aim seemed do-able, if the crowd’s enthusiasm was any indication. Up on the raised stage, Sybil Summers and Nathan Fast from AMP 103.7-FM—followed by event Co-Chairs Jenny Anchondo and Stephanie Hollman—spent time revving up the partygoers. Jenny sits on the Leukemia Texas board, the audience was told, while Stephanie successfully underwent a bone-marrow donation in May in Oklahoma City.

Sybil Summers and Nathan Fast**

After introducing “Natalie,” a young woman who was having various medical problems, the chairs brought out  former NFL guard Marco Rivera, who played two years (in 2005 and ’06) with the Dallas Cowboys. Marco asked the crowd to bid on tickets to the ‘Boys’ upcoming game with the Green Bay Packers, saying, “I promise you, the Dallas Cowboys will not kneel!” After Marco started the bidding at $500, the ducats went for $1,100.

Natatlie’s mother Vivian, Natalie and Marco Rivera**

Then it was time for Reckless Kelly, the much-lauded, Austin-based Americana band. The group played generously for more than an hour, sprinkling their hits with a few cover songs by Merle Haggard (“Mama Tried”) and Bob Dylan (“Subterranean Homesick Blues”). As they did, a few “swing” dancers showed off their fancy steps down in front of the stage.

Reckless Kelly’s Willy Braun**

They weren’t the only ones strutting their stuff. When all was said and done, Mandy reported that “it looks like we will be exceeding our event goal.” After accounting for expenses—they were roughly 8 percent of the total take—Concert for a Cure was on track to net $110,000.       

* Photo provided by Mandy O'Neill 
** Photo credit: Brian Maschino

Dirk Receives Some Ribbing—And The H. Neil Mallon Award—At World Affairs Council Dinner

The H. Neil Mallon Award, the signature annual honor bestowed by the World Affairs Council of Dallas/Fort Worth, has had some pretty impressive recipients over the years, from Vice President Richard Cheney and President George H.W. Bush to Ray Hunt, Randall Stephenson and Rex Tillerson. But it’s safe to say it’s never had a taller—or a more gracious—recipient than it did Friday, September 22, when Dirk Nowitzki was presented with the WAC’s 34th annual award during a dinner event at the Hilton Anatole.

Dirk Nowitzki*

Guests including Nancy Nasher and David Haemisegger, Brent Christopher, Allie Beth and Pierce Allman, Keven Ann Willey and Georges Badoux, Christopher Durovich, Tanya Roberts, Carolina Beltran, Consul General Francisco De La Torre, Jan Miller and Jeff Rich, James Waters, Maurizio La Noce, Regina Montoya and Paul Coggins, Kay and Rob Harrell and Mary and Bob Potter turned out to honor Dirk, the legendary, 7-feet-tall power forward for the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks. Besides holding many league and team records, the German-born hoopster is a much-honored philanthropist, serving as a guidepost with his wife, Jessica, for The Dirk Nowitzki Foundation.

Marjorie Adams*

After being welcomed by Dinner Chair Marjorie A. Adams, who also chairs the WAC board, as well as WAC President and CEO Jim Falk, the guests enjoyed a dinner of baby spinach and frisee salad, peppercorn crusted beef filet and jumbo shrimp, and an apple streudel dessert. Then they  heard from His Excellency Yousef Al Otaiba, ambassador of the United Arab Emirates to the United States.

Bret Baier and Yousef Al Otaiba*

Otaiba had flown in from Abu Dhabi and New York to introduce the evening’s guest speaker, FOX News Channel anchor Bret Baier, but he couldn’t resist some gentle ribbing of Dirk. “Please keep working on that jump shot,” he advised the Mallon honoree, “because you only shot 38 percent last year. It’s not like anyone’s going to block your shot …”

Baier picked up the joke from there, branding Otaiba’s 38 percent statistic “fake news.” Corrected Bret, deadpan: “I think it’s at least 42 percent.” Baier recounted a little about his show, “Special Report with Bret Baier,” and said that in the D.C. news business this year, “every day is like drinking from a firehose.” The FOX star, who’s an accomplished golfer, recalled playing golf with President Trump—”he is all about winning, and he doesn’t really care how he does it”—before lauding Dirk for his under-the-radar visits to young patients at Children’s Health in Dallas.

Following a video tribute to Nowitzki featuring the likes of Mavs owner Mark Cuban, Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings took the stage, clad in a tuxedo, and said of Dirk, “He represents Dallas like no other, because he represents excellence.” The man of the hour then accepted the Mallon Award from Rawlings and Adams and, with characteristic good humor, leaned down into the mic to rebut Otaiba’s allegation about his poor jump shot: “Mr. Ambassador, I’m not sure where you’re lookin’ at your stats … but I’ll try to do better next year!”

With that, the 39-year-old star sat down for a casual, on-stage chat with Mark Followill, the Mavs’ TV play-by-play announcer. Here are a couple of Dirk’s observations from the talk on:

  • Coming from Germany to Dallas: “My parents watched the TV show ‘Dallas’ once in a while, but it was not my thing. I was into MTV and sports. [Once I got to] Dallas, it was almost like they wanted me to succeed here from Day One.”
  • What he’s been doing recently: “I’ve just been traveling for about six-and-a-half weeks with [the Nowitzkis’] three little kids. It was … what’s the word? … great! [Lots of laughter.] Challenging!”
  • His future plans: “When I retire from basketball, I’m sure Cubes will give me a job, hopefully. But hopefully I’ll do it another year or two, then let the young guys take over.”
* Photo credit: Steve Foxall

 

Sold-Out Luxury And Supercar Showcase Drives Home A Whopping $30K For Salesmanship Club Of Dallas’ Momentous Institute

Out at the Four Seasons Resort And Club Dallas at Las Colinas, a whopping 2,500 people gathered on Saturday, September 9, to enjoy some of the world’s most exotic, luxury, and high-performance vehicles. The inaugural Park Place Luxury And Supercar Showcase, a sort of mini-Concours d’Elegance, was held in part to celebrate the 30th anniversary of Ken Schnitzer‘s Park Place Dealerships. But it also was intended to benefit the Momentous Institute, owned and operated by the Salesmanship Club of Dallas since 1920.

Bugatti and future drivers

Surrounded by car lovers checking out nearly 200 autos—from new Bentleys, Bugattis, and Rolls-Royces sold by Park Place to vintage cars, like Robert Ostrowski‘s 1948 Plymouth Convertible and a ’65 Shelby 427 Cobra—Schnitzer recalled the event’s origins. “We’re celebrating our 30th anniversary, so we thought, what can we do that would be special and memorable?” he said. “So we came up with this sort of mini-Concours event, which has never been done in Dallas before. We completely sold out of tickets, and we even had to turn people away. We want to make it an annual event.”

Vintage vehicle

In addition to the cars, there were fashions from NorthPark Center on display, as well as specialty boutiques with offerings by the likes of Bachendorf’s, Mulberry, Montblanc, and Niven Morgan.

Lee Bailey and Niven Morgan

At one point Niven greeted Lee Bailey, one of the guests and a major aficionado of high-end cars (she currently owns a Rolls convertible, plus two Aston-Martins). Niven told Lee that he drives a Range Rover himself and is “doing all the candles” for the opening of Schnitzer’s new North Texas Land Rover dealership.

Also lending a hand was Brad Oldham, who partnered with wife  Christy Coltrin to create the “Spirit of Park Place,” an original sculpture that was presented to three big winners of the day’s car show. “Bachendorf Crystal” awards were also given to winners in the Vintage, Classic, Contemporary, and Exotic/Supercar categories. Before the trophies were given out, though, Ken presented the Momentous Institute with a giant check representing a $30,000 contribution from Park Place.

Later, just before a private dinner at the Four Season’s LAW Restaurant hosted by Rolls-Royce, the company’s communications head, Gerry Spahn, gave Lee and a few others an up-close look at the 2018 Rolls-Royce Phantom, which had just arrived straight from Pebble Beach for its Texas debut. Park Place’s Heath Strayhan said the Dallas-based dealership expected to sell four or five of the top-of-the-line Phantoms in 2018, “give or take two or three.” 

‘Draft Day’ Celebrates Cristo Rey-North Texas Business Work Study Partnership

Bishop Edward J. Burns of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Dallas gave the invocation. Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings served as emcee for a while. Mike’s son, Gunnar Rawlings, executive director of the Cristo Rey Corporate Work Study Program, also helped out. Sports personality Michael “Grubes” Gruber and Erin Hartigan, Fox Sports Southwest host, provided commentary. Even Rachel Lindsay, star of TV’s “The Bachelorette” series, put in an appearance.

Kelby Woodard, Rachel Lindsay, Edward Burns and Mike Rawlings*

The occasion: Cristo Rey Dallas College Prep‘s third annual, NFL-style “Draft Day,” presented by Frost Bank. The event, attended by more than 500 guests, was held at the school on July 28 to match the school’s 148 incoming freshmen and sophomores with their corporate work assignments for the 2017-2018 school year. The students earn more than 60% of their tuition by working one day each week at such iconic North Texas companies as Mary Kay, AT&T, Hunt Oil, Deloitte and Jackson Walker.

Mike “Grubes” Gruber, Erin Hartigan, Mike Rawlings and Gunnar Rawlings*

CEOs or senior leaders from these and more than 100 other companies turned up for the event at Cristo Rey, which is one of 32 Catholic prep schools in the Cristo Rey network. Under the work study program, the school’s economically challenged students receive work experience as well as leadership training.

David Leach and Melanie Duarte*

Noah Barron, Scott Moore and Daisy Garcia*

With top business luminaries in the audience including Greyhound CEO David Leach, PWC Managing Partners Scott Moore and CBRE Vice Chair Jack Fraker, the students were called to the stage one by one to meet their new employers. As they did so they exchanged high-fives and hugs and checked out a variety of “swag” items from their new companies, including logo t-shirts and ball caps.

“This year we are welcoming more than 35 new partners to the Corporate Work Study Program, with job teams now working in Downtown, Uptown, Richardson, North Dallas and beyond,” said Kelby Woodard, Cristo Rey Dallas’s president. “In addition to contributing more than $3 million toward the cost of tuition, the Corporate Work Study Program provides students with hands-on work experience in a real-world setting and a chance to develop leadership skills that will last a lifetime.”

BlueCross Blue Shield of Texas at Cristo Rey Draft Day*

Other companies participating in the school’s Draft Day program included HKS, BlueCross BlueShield of Texas and Tenet Healthcare.

* Photo credit: Tamytha Cameron Smith

Guests Brave A Downpour To Meet The New Dallas Symphony Orchestra League Debs At Stanley Korshak

The rainstorm had come quickly, drowning the roadways with swift-flowing water and snarling rush-hour traffic. But a little wet stuff couldn’t deter the hardy souls who braved the downpour to attend the Dallas Symphony Orchestra League‘s Announcement Party for its 2017-2018 debutantes at Stanley Korshak. One attending the Friday, June 2, event on the store’s top floor was Mark Averitt, who said, “There was lots of water in our neighborhood. So we just took the back roads.”

While upbeat music like “Under My Thumb” by the Rolling Stones played over the Korshak sound system, guests like Bridey and Gerald Meinecke, Julie and Jeff Kupp, Jennifer and Mark Gunnin, Stephanie and Bennie Bray, Melissa Lewis and Carla and Jonathan Leffert chatted with friends both old and new. Sarah Jo and Mark Hardin were on hand for son Spencer Hardin, who is an honor guard officer. Second generation/former DSOL deb Denise Beutel, who had co-chaired the 1996 ball with her mother Nancy Duncan, was taking on a new role as a mother of a 2018 deb — Caroline Beutel.

Not far away, the event’s grand dame, Tincy Miller, was introduced to someone who called her a “legend.” Tincy just laughed. Someone else said that more than two-thirds of the 30-plus ’17-’18 debs had shown up. And everyone was about to find out. 

Prior to the formal walk down the runway, Heather Moore coached the debutantes and the honor guard.

Lori Routh, Crawford Brock and Mari Epperson*

First, though, Korshak’s Crawford Brock welcomed everyone before turning things over to Mari Epperson, this year’s DSOL president. This year will be the league’s 71st anniversary, Mari said—and the 32nd annual deb presentation.  Then it was time for some shout-outs from Lori Routh, chair of the Presentation Ball, which is always the league’s major fundraiser. And, what would the announcement party be without a history of the Dallas deb ball from Tincy? “We are creating memories and a Camelot experience for each of you,” she promised.

From the left: Caroline Downing, Ashton Gillespie, Ellie Allums, Olivia Lewis, Marielle Le Masters, Hayley Waring, Kay Hitzelberger and Madison Hassell*

From the left: (front row) Shy Anderson, Houstoun Waring and Diego Garcia; (back row) Lendon Hall, Duncan McFarlane, Austin Clinkscales and Spencer Hardin*

At that, golden-throated Stan Gardner presented the Assembly (Caroline Downing, Ashton Gillespie, Ellie Allums, Olivia Lewis, Marielle Le Masters, Hayley Waring, Kay Hitzelberger and Madison Hassell) and the Honor Guard (Shy Anderson, Houstoun Waring, Diego Garcia, Lendon Hall, Duncan McFarlane, Austin Clinkscales and Spencer Hardin).

He then plunged into the main attraction: this year’s deb roster itself. Escorted halfway down the aisle by members of the Honor Guard, the debs included Caroline Allday, Meika Bass, Caroline Beutel, Alexis Bray, Helena Burns, Megan Casey, Bronwyn Cordiak, Grace Gunnin, Hope Hyde, Emma Jenevein, Anna Marie Jourdanou, Katie Kupp, Catherine Leffert, Lane McCormick, Annabel McGill, Megan Meinecke, Kay Merritt, Caroline Morway, Madison Stuart.

Anna Marie Jordanou and Houstoun Waring*

Caroline Beutel and Spencer Hardin*

Caroline Allday*

Meika Bass*

Alexis Bray*

Helena Burns*

Megan Casey*

Catherine Leffert*

Megan Meinecke*

Caroline Morway*

Kendra Averitt*

From the left: (front row) Catherine Leffert, Madison Stuart, Jacqueline Reagor, Caroline Morway, Kay Merritt, Megan Meinecke and Annabel McGill; (middle row) Juliana Szuwalski, Katie Kupp, Anna Marie Jordanou, Emma Jenevein, Hope Hyde, Grace Gunnin, Bronwyn Cordiak and Lane McCormick; (back row) Alexis Bray, Helena Burns, Megan Casey, Caroline Beutel, Meika Bass and Caroline Allday*

As a gentle reminder, Kendra Averitt held a sign behind the seated guests reading, “Smile.”

The Korshak party marked the official start of the whirlwind DSOL deb season. It will culminate with the 32nd Dallas Symphony Orchestra League Presentation Ball, on Saturday, February 17, at the Meyerson.

* Photo credit: James French

Preservation Dallas Gives Out Its Preservation Achievement Awards At The Statler

Robert Decherd was wiping the perspiration off his forehead with a hankie, and who could blame him? It was, after all, very warm and crowded inside The Statler, where more than 300 people had gathered for the 18th Annual Preservation Achievement Awards. The Tuesday, May 30th event capped off Preservation Dallas‘ month-long celebration of National Preservation Month, which aims to promote cities’ histories as a key part of their prospects for future growth.

Veronica Gonzalez, Amanda and Jim Lake Jr., Barbara Lake and Craig Melde*

During a reception before the awards dinner, guests including Joan and Alan Walne, Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings, Award Honorary Chair Ken Downing, Veletta Forsythe Lill, Deborah Brown, John Crawford, Joel Williams, Amanda and Jim Lake Jr., Barbara Lake, John Allender, Katy Slade, Robyn Jacobson, Craige Melde, Nick Emery, Carolyn Perna, Veronica Gonzalez, Veletta Forsythe Lill, Brad Nischke, Buddy Apple, Shane Deville, Rachel Roberts, Tancy Rampy, Danelle Baldwin Smith, Stephen Smith and Ivy Sweeney chatted in a big open area of The Statler, the historic, not-yet-open Dallas hotel that’s being renovated into apartments, hotel rooms, and retail space by the Centurion American Group. (Brown, by the way, said she was wearing a dress with a vintage Statler-Hilton label. She’d bought the “Town & Travelwear” frock a few years ago at The Chic Cherie vintage fashion shop.)

Ken Downing*

The star attraction at the reception, though, was a live “celebrity llama” from the ShangriLlama Adventure Farm in Parker. The presence of the 4-year-old selfie magnet named Bahama Llama was a nod to the Statler’s early years, when a llama called Llinda Llee Llama was a fixture there. After the reception the guests were ushered into a long, narrow—and, again, very warm—room for the dinner and program. There, the tables had been arranged with little space between them, flies buzzed about the food that was served up family-style and, for anyone unfortunate to be seated in the “back,” it was hard to see or hear the program’s speakers.

Shane Deville, Rachel Roberts, Mehrdad Moayedi and Mike Rawlings*

Rawlings kicked things off, saying that it’s “remarkable that Dallas is getting the national attention it is getting across the country” for the revitalization of its downtown. Downing, who was honorary chair of the awards committee, admitted that he’d been “brought kicking and screaming to Dallas from Los Angeles 20 years ago.” Of The Statler, he recalled, people said, “‘What an eyesore! What a behemoth!’ Well, if this is what a behemoth looks like, bring me more behemoths, because they need to be saved!”

Downing gave way to Stephanie Meeks, president and CEO of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, who delivered the evening’s keynote. Meeks talked about the value of older buildings and older neighborhoods in reviving cities, pointing to the thriving LoDo district in Denver (in her native Colorado) as a good example. She also noted that Dallas currently leads all of Texas in taking advantage of historic tax credits for building redevelopment.

Stephanie Meeks*

Then it was time for the awards, which honored 16 of the most significant preservation contributors and projects of the previous year. The winning projects were: Cupaioli House, Gables Residential State-Thomas Brownstones, Geotronics Building, Hamilton Park Pavilion, Highland Park Town Hall, Jefferson Tower, Lee Park WPA Roque Courts, Mayflower Building, Sidell House, Typo Campus-600 North Tyler Street, and Wheatland United Methodist Church.

John Allender, Katy Slade, Robyn Jacobson, Craige Melde, Nick Emery and Carolyn Perna*

Receiving special recognition awards were: Downtown Dallas Inc., AIA Dallas, Dallas County Medical Society Alliance, Conley Group, and the National Trust for Historic Preservation. When at last the final trophy had been handed out—and the last thank-you had been thanked—one woman seated in the back of the airless room laughed, “I’m afraid when I stand up, my dress will be stuck to me!”  

* Photo credit: Kim Leeson

Arty Event At The Joule Raises Cattle Baron’s Funds

Anne Stodghill

Sunie and Steve Solomon

2017 Cattle Baron’s Ball Co-Chairs Anne Stodghill and Sunie Solomon decided this year to have a special party to auction off art that had been donated to the cause. That’s why, on Wednesday, May 17, a big room at The Joule Hotel was given over to an amazing display of art for sale, the proceeds from which would be deployed in the fight against cancer.

Cattle Baron’s Ball Art Auction

The 2017 Cattle Baron’s Ball Art Auction was sponsored by The Joule and its owner, Tim Headington, who not only bankrolled the shindig, but ponied up a $50,000 donation to boot. The live and silent auction, the first of its kind ever for Cattle Baron’s, showcased something for everyone’s taste. Like Marilyn Monroe? There was a portrait of her on display, with a $13,500 price tag  on it. John Wayne more your style? A painting of The Duke was marked for sale at $10,000.

Steve Stodghill and Erin and Larry Waks

Francois Bellemare and Lauren Chapman

Kelly Perkins and Cindy Stager

While the 200 guests including CBB stalwarts Joanna Clarke, Dawn Spalding, Ashley Lyon, Laura Moon, Greg Nieberding, Cindy Stager, Kelly Perkins, Jacque Wynne, Mary Black, Vicki and Bob Chapman, Lauren Chapman, Francois Bellemare, Isabell Novakov, Nikki Webb, Erin and Larry Waks and Katy and Lawrence Bock munched hors d’oeuvres and checked out the pieces that were up for bid, Debra Nelson was remembering her dad, who passed away last year, and her Norwegian roots in Stoughton, Wisconsin, where she grew up. Her nostalgia was especially strong, Debra added, because today (May 17) was also “Syttende Mai”—or Norwegian National Day.

Olivia Kearney

Jeff Kearney

Olivia and Jeff Kearney, meantime, were also marking an important day: their 18th wedding anniversary. (Quipped Olivia: “That’s the longest I’ve ever been married to anyone!”) To celebrate the occasion they’d just returned from New York, where they had rave reviews for a new play they saw called “Come From Away.” It tells the true story of what happened in 2001 after 38 planes (carrying 7,000 people) were ordered  to land in the small town of Gander, Newfoundland, in the week following 9/11.

When the evening was over and all the receipts were added up, organizers said the pioneering Art Auction brought in a total of $128,000.

Five Outstanding Women Are Honored At The Dallas Women’s Foundation’s Leadership Forum And Awards Dinner

The Dallas Women’s Foundation really knows how to throw a VIP reception. Consider the one held before the group’s May 9 Leadership Forum and Awards Dinner, which was intended to honor the recipients of the foundation’s 2017 Maura Women Helping Women and Young Leader Awards.

Inside the packed VIP reception room at the Omni Dallas Hotel were not just one or two, but all five of the women who were the very first recipients of the Women Helping Women awards back in 1978 and 1979. Mixing with the guests were Maura McNeil, for whom the Maura Awards are named; Vivian Castleberry; Ginny Whitehill; the Hon. Eddie Bernice Johnson; and the Hon. Adlene Harrison.

Maura McNiel*

Adlene Harrison and Susie Marshall*

Francis Griffin Brown and Ginny Whitehill*

Vivian Castleberry and Hind El Saadi El Jarrah*

Outside the VIP tete-a-tete, meantime, many of the evening’s 850 guests were preparing to sweep into the Dallas Ballroom for the program and a wonderful dinner (saffron poached pear salad, grilled petite filet and breast of chicken, assorted vegetables, and two types of tarts). The event’s co-chairs, Cheryl Alston and Laura V. Estrada, got things under way by thanking the presenting sponsor, AT&T, before giving way to Roslyn Dawson Thompson, the Dallas Women’s Foundation’s president and chief executive officer.

Laura V. Estrada, Brenda L. Jackson, Roslyn Dawson Thompson and Cheryl Alston*

Ros thanked everyone and pointed out that, since 1985, the foundation has invested more than $32 million in “advancing positive social and economic change for women and girls in our community.” Then Brenda Jackson, the foundation’s selection committee co-chair, presented the honorees for the 2017 Maura Awards, which recognize exceptional leaders who have pioneered the way in improving lives for women and children.

Elba Garcia, Lupe Valdez and Madeline McClure*

Amy Ooi, Tonya Parker and Wei Wei Jeang*

Ellenore Knight Baker and Cynthia Nwuabani*

This year’s Maura winners were: Dr. Hind Jarrah, Ph.D., executive director of the Texas Muslim Women’s Foundation; Madeline McClure, founding CEO of TexProtects, the Texas Association for the Protection of Children; the Hon. Tonya Parker, judge of the 116th Civil District Court in Dallas County ; and Sheriff Lupe Valdez, the highest-ranking law enforcement officer in Dallas County. The 2017 Young Leader Award also was presented by Ellenore Knight Baker and Zeenat Sidi to Cynthia Nwaubani, CPA. 

In a series of videos about the honorees, Jarrah urged women to “look at leadership as an ability to serve.” Parker said that while there are “lots of women lawyers,” they need to take more prominent roles in the legal system: “We’re not getting speaking roles at the courthouse. Come argue the brief—don’t just write them!” Added Valdez: “Do what you need to do to step up and grow a little bit.”

Following a plea for donations—”Text Maura to 41444 to donate. Don’t hesitate; do it now!”—AT&T’s Jennifer Biry introduced the evening’s keynote speaker: Carla Harris, who is vice chairman, global wealth management, managing director, and senior client advisor at Morgan Stanley.

Harris, who was appointed by President Barack Obama to chair the National Women’s Business Council in 2013, told the attendees that “you take your life from success to significance when you do things for other people.” And doing for others through leadership, she said, is “all about the letters in the word ‘leader.’ ” Then she proceeded to tick off the word’s six letters, attaching a nugget of wisdom to each one.

Carla Harris*

“L is for ‘leverage,’ ” Harris began. “You need to encourage out-of-the-box thinking, and leverage other people’s ideas. E is for ’empower.’ A leader must define what success looks like for [her people], even when you’re operating in an obscure environment. A is for ‘authentic.’ Authenticity is at the heart of your power, and at the heart of powerful leadership. If you’re authentic, people will trust you, and it will motivate and inspire others to be authentic, too.

“D is for ‘decisive’ and ‘diversity,’” Harris continued, first explaining the decisive part. “Meg Whitman, when she was at eBay, said, ‘The price of inaction is greater than the price of making a mistake.’ Make people know that you are decisive!” As for diversity, Harris said, “We are all competing around innovation. To be innovative, you need a lot of different ideas in the room. You need a lot of perspectives. You need a lot of experience. So, you need a lot of different people. There’s the business argument for diversity!

“E is for ‘engage,’” Harris went on. “You must engage your people. You can’t motivate by fear. This is especially true for women and millennials. What motivates them? You need to ask them, ‘What’s your experience? What’s the stretch experience you’re looking for?’”

Finally, Harris said, “R is for ‘risk.’ You must be comfortable taking risks. The way to differentiate yourself is to show that you’re comfortable taking risks. Why don’t we take more risks? Because we’re scared. Fear. And fear has no place in your success equation. If you’re not sure about trying something, always default to the try.”

Harris’ message was especially apropos because, when it comes to women and girls in North Texas, no group “defaults to the try” like the Dallas Women’s Foundation. As it proved, once again, with this dinner.

* Photo credit: Kristina Bowman

Awardee Kern Wildenthal Highlights A ‘Perfect’ Callier Cares Luncheon At The Dallas Country Club

Even before the doors opened to the Dallas Country Club ballroom, the Callier Cares Luncheon VIP reception filled the Founders Room on Thursday, April 20. Luncheon Chair Emilynn Wilson was with husband Claude Wilson and Ruth and Ken Altshuler Callier Care Awardee Dr. Kern Wildenthal and all smiles over the sold-out Callier Care Fund fundraiser.

Kern Wildenthall, Emilynn and Claude Wilson

In another part of the room, Beth Layton was sporting a new haircut and talking with Chick Lit Co-Chair Tricia George.

Beth Layton and Tricia George

Barbara and John Stuart

Dee Wyly and Jill Rowlett

Marnie Wildenthal and Cyndi Bassel

Others in the crowd were Callier Center Foundation Chair John Stuart and his wife Barbara Stuart, Callier Center for Communications Disorders Executive Director Dr. Tom Campbell, Dan Branch, Angie Kadesky, Brent Christopher, Heidi Cannella, Lindalyn Adams, Dee Wyly, Jill Rowlett, Dee Collins and Kern’s wife Marnie Wildenthal and longtime assistant Cyndi Bassel.

Callier Cares Luncheon table

When the doors did open to the ballroom, it was pretty obvious that Emilynn had definitely filled the room to capacity. It was surprising that she didn’t try to put a table on the stage.

As guests like Keith Cerny, Caren Prothro,  Dr. Hobson Wildenthal, Lynn McBee, and Dr. Lynn Markle made their way into the room for lunch—Southwest Roasted Chicken Chop Salad and Chocolate Caramel Cake were on the menu—Tom welcomed everyone and kicked off the program. The annual Callier Prize in Communication Disorders Award, it was announced right off the bat, would go to Dr. Sharon G. Kujawa, an associate professor of otology and laryngology at Harvard Medical School.

Dr. Kujawa graciously accepted the award, which came for her groundbreaking work that has instigated a paradigm shift in the way researchers and health workers think about noise-induced and age-related hearing loss and inner ear injury. She gave way to luncheon Chair Emilynn and then to Stuart Bumpas and Dr. Ken Altshuler, who presented the annual Ruth and Ken Altshuler Callier Care Award to Kern.

During his many years as president of UT Southwestern Medical Center, Kern had helped nourish a relationship between UT Southwestern and the Callier Center that resulted in the Callier Child Development Program, the Cochlear Implant Program, and a joint program to evaluate and treat children with autism.

“I couldn’t have been more pleased, knowing that Emilynn Wilson would chair this event, because I knew it would be perfect in all regards,” Kern told the guests. “Callier is an organization I heard about many years ago. It epitomizes the best of what all academic institutions try to do … and it does so in an impeccable manner, and in collaboration with other institutions.

“For four decades I’ve wanted to add Ken and Ruth Altshuler’s name to my name,” Kern concluded with a smile. “And, now I can!”

Then, following an informative video and just before keynote speaker Richard Neely was to deliver his remarks, the podium microphone went dead for some reason. That gave Richard—an emeritus trustee of the Callier foundation and a profoundly deaf person who has cochlear implants—the perfect opening to begin his talk. “When the mic went out, I thought, to the people who could hear: welcome to my world!” Richard joked.

The former CFO for a local real estate investment company and a former SMU football star, Richard recounted his struggles with hearing loss and, ultimately, how he overcame them—with no small thanks to the cochlear implants. After he got his “first one in 2008,” he laughed, he complained to his wife that “she was crinkling the newspaper!” 

According to Emilynn, the 2017 luncheon will provide a whopping $278,450 for the Callier Center for Communication Disorder’s Callier Care Fund at the University of Texas at Dallas. 2018 Luncheon Chair Beth Thoele was already making plans for her effort to help “ensure that resources are available for patients and families” in need of financial assistance for speech, language and hearing disorders..

Former Dallas Police Chief David Brown Wows The Crowd At Just Say Yes’ “Building Bridges” Fundraising Dinner

Building Bridges

Tony Romo autographed football

Honorary Chairs Candice and Tony Romo weren’t going to be able to make it. But that didn’t dampen the enthusiasm Wednesday, April 19, when around 350 people showed up for Just Say YesBuilding Bridges celebration dinner at Belo Mansion. The keynote speaker, after all, would be another high-wattage local celeb: former Dallas Police Chief David Brown. And the evening would be raising money for the Just Say Yes (short for Youth Equipped to Succeed) nonprofit, a good cause that aims to equip teens to succeed by educating them through classroom curriculum and inspirational student-assembly speakers.

While guests checked out the silent-auction items—including offerings from Al Biernat’s and Papa John’s Pizza, plus a Dallas Cowboys jersey and football signed by Tony—musician Emilio Mesa blasted out some cool sounds on his saxophone. Then everyone filed into the ballroom, where emcee Anna de Haro welcomed all and gave the podium over to Just Say Yes Development Director Marissa Leach. Marissa explained that “Building Bridges” would be the nonprofit’s theme this year, before presenting Just Say Yes Founder/President Dan Bailey with the “15-year award.”

Marissa Leach and Dan Bailey*

While attendees like Bill Noble and King Crow looked on, Dan reviewed the organization’s progress, citing its influence on students in 39 states, for example. It’s also reached more than 600,000 students in Dallas-Fort Worth since the early 2000s, he recalled, and is poised for still more growth in the coming months. Dan was followed by presentation of the annual Coach Avery Johnson Impact Award, which went this year to Paula and Darrell McCutcheon (though Darrell was absent due to “a root canal that didn’t go so well”).

Next came Veronica Lee, the nonprofit’s senior mentoring coordinator, who introduced a student “mentee” named Jasmine and Jasmine’s mother, Veronica. They agreed that Jasmine’s life, once troubled and unhappy, had been turned around thanks to the positive influence of Just Say Yes. “I first joined the program to get out of class,” Jasmine confessed to the crowd with a laugh. “But now we’re one big happy family!” 

Then came what everyone had been keenly anticipating: the keynote talk by Brown, who’s been working as a contributor lately to ABC News. Bespectacled as usual and dressed this evening in a dark business suit, the former Dallas police chief, who’s 56, said he wanted to focus his talk on the aftermath of the Dallas police shootings last July 7. Among the countless letters containing good wishes—and cash—that poured into the department then, Brown recalled, one letter in particular attracted his attention. It was from a fellow named Lance, whom Brown had befriended back during his days attending The University of Texas at Austin.

David Brown*

Receiving the letter set him to remembering how they’d met, when Brown—a poor African-American kid from Oak Cliff—climbed one day aboard a bus bound for Austin and UT and sat down next to the “white kid” from Missouri named Lance. Lance, Brown soon discovered, was also traveling to school at UT, and had also grown up poor. After learning as they approached Waco that Lance was hungry, Brown pulled out a bag of his great-grandmother’s fried chicken and offered some to his new pal.

In his letter to Brown last year, Lance remembered that bus trip and wrote, “My views of blacks changed because of how you treated me.” (Reading those words, Brown said, “I didn’t start crying, but my allergies started acting up.”) Then Lance wrote, “I always wondered why you sat down next to me.” That question was an interesting one, Brown said to the Just Say Yes crowd, so he would let them know why he’d done it.

David Brown*

It seems that a few years before the Austin trip, when he was just 11, the ex-chief was among the first group of local kids bused to a distant school as part of a court-ordered effort to desegregate Dallas’ schools. “No one wanted me there” at his new school, Brown said. “I didn’t want to be there. No one spoke to me for three months.”

Then, one day, Brown said, “a little white kid [named Mike] invited me home to dinner—at 3 p.m.!” Brown accepted Mike’s offer and walked with him to his home, where Mike’s mother quickly summoned her son into the kitchen and began whispering to him. “I felt like Sidney Poitier in the movie ‘Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner,’ ” Brown said. But then, after a long while, Mike’s mother came out of the kitchen carrying a couple of pot pies. “Mike and I wound up talking until 7 p.m.,” Brown said. “And, eventually, our friendship led Mike to befriend other black kids.”

A little while ago, Brown said, he reconnected with Mike and asked him, “What were you whispering with your mom about in the kitchen that afternoon?” Mike, who’s Jewish, said he’d reminded his mother that day about their family members who’d survived the Holocaust, and how their advice had always been to be kind to strangers—especially those who were “different” from them.

All three pals—Brown, Lance, and Mike—wound up attending UT Austin at the same time. “So you wonder, is the moral of this story that all we need is fried chicken and pot pies to change the world?” Brown said to the Just Say Yes group. “No! But, you can transform lives with the way you interact with young people. The moral of this story is: we all have a responsibility to one another—one life at a time.

“People ask me, what’s the ‘secret’ reason you quit” the Dallas police department? Brown went on. “There wasn’t any secret reason. I was called to the job for a purpose, and I left for a purpose. I grew up poor, in a tough, high-crime neighborhood, and adults invested in me. That’s why I said yes to Just Say Yes. The Lord can call you to do things that you don’t want to do.

“The things you do for these kids’ lives means something,” Brown said, wrapping up his talk. “I’m proud to be in the same room as you all. Now my allergies are acting up again, so I’m going to stop.”

Of course, Dallas’s former top cop got a standing ovation.

* Photos provided by Just Say Yes

 

2017 Crystal Charity Ball Committee Honored Its Advisory Board And Beneficiaries With A Reception At Jennifer And Richard Dix’s Digs

Jennifer Dix, Christie Carter and Mary-Elizabeth Carrell

The wine and the conversation flowed freely on Wednesday, April 5, when Crystal Charity Ball‘s friends and supporters gathered at the magnificent, Preston Hollow home of Jennifer and Richard Dix. And, why not? The event, after all, was being held to honor to group’s advisory board and the 2017 CCB beneficiaries.

Anna Hundley, Brent Christopher and Mary Pat Higgins

Guests such as Jan and Fred Hegi, Vinnie Reuben, SuSu Meyer, Michael Teeter, Tucker Enthoven, Leslie and Bryan Diers, Beth Thoele, Anna Hundley, Mary Pat Higgins, Mary-Elizabeth Carrell, Pam Busbee and Patti Flowers and Tom Swiley swarmed happily into the home’s kitchen area, where they found the likes of Christie Carter and Lisa and Clay Cooley. Christie, who’s a big supporter of Dallas CASA, was still talking about that group’s Cherish the Children luncheon held earlier in the day, where entrepreneur Casey Gerald had given an inspiring talk. Commented Christie: “It was a powerful luncheon.”

Nickey and Debbie Oates

Tom Swiley

Sandra Helton

Michael Teeter

On the business front, luxury home builder Nickey Oates and car dealer Clay Cooley both reported that their businesses were in overdrive… For Brent Christopher, it was a switch of roles. In the past as president/CEO of Communities Foundation of Texas, he had served on the advisory board. Having just taken over Children’s Medical Center Foundation this past year and its being selected as a 2017 CCB beneficiary, he was on the other side of the CCB spectrum.

Pam Perella

Finally, it was time for 2017 CCB Chair Pam Perella to address the group, and what better place was there to do it than in the crowded kitchen, where Cassandra Tomassetti‘s crew had been creating mini-feasts much to the delight of folks like Santa Clara of Assisi Catholic Academy Stephanie Matous and Sister Sandra Helton.

Standing on the stairway, Pam said, “I might be a little biased, but I’m really thrilled with our beneficiaries this year,” referring to the Autism Treatment Center, Big Brothers Big Sisters Lone Star, the Children’s Medical Center Foundation, the Dallas Holocaust Museum, Hunger Busters, the Presbyterian Communities and Services Foundation, Rainbow Days, and the Santa Clara of Assisi Catholic Academy.

Vin Perella, Beth Thoele, Tucker Enthoven, Leslie and Bryan Diers

“Our goal this year is to raise $5.83 million,” Pam went on. “We’re almost there, so no big deal!” With that, the crowd laughed heartily as Pam gave way to longtime CCB supporter/patron Chuck Thoele of RGT Wealth Advisors. “Crystal Charity Ball is really good at three things,” Chuck said, beginning to chuckle. “Picking their beneficiaries. Raising a lot of money. And throwing a good party!”

No one at the Dix home that night would argue with that.

For more photos from the party, check out MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.

Inspirational Talk by Oak Cliff Native, Award to Jewish Women’s Group Highlight Dallas CASA’s 10th Annual Cherish the Children Luncheon

The big event benefiting Dallas CASA, held August 5 at The Fairmont Dallas, was billed as the group’s 10th annual Cherish the Children Luncheon. But one of the groups honored at the event reinforced the message that Dallas CASA (short for Court Appointed Special Advocates) has been helping abused and neglected children a lot longer than that.

Joyce Rosenfield and Mark Berg*

The group, the Greater Dallas Section of the National Council of Jewish Women, received Dallas CASA’s newly named Caroline Rose Hunt Cherish the Children Award. That the award was presented to the group by Mark S. Berg, a past chair of the Dallas CASA board of directors, had a special significance. Mark’s late mother, Rose Marion Berg, was a member of the NCJW and one of the founders of Dallas CASA nearly 40 years ago.

Said Berg: “CASA is about a group of mothers who could not stand to see children mistreated. Dallas CASA is now within reach of achieving what was unthinkable a few years ago—serving every child in need. We’ve all stood on the shoulders of those dedicated mothers.”

Gail Cook, Bunny Williams, Caroline Rose Hunt, Pat McCall and Lynn Sheldon*

The 10th annual luncheon, a sold-out affair attended by about 430, was chaired by Shonn Brown. Guests included Ruth Altshuler, Cheryl Lee Shannon, Evelyn Henry Miller, Lisa Cooley, Harriet Miers, Lynn McBee, Paul Coggins, Tanya Foster, Tiffany Divis, Elba Garcia, Gail Cook, Bunny Williams, Caroline Rose Hunt, Pat McCall, Lynn Sheldon  and Sarah Losinger.

Cheryl Lee Shannon, Shonn Evans Brown, Elba Garcia, Kathleen LaValle and Evelyn Henry Miller*

Following an excellent lunch of tortilla soup and chicken salad and brief remarks by Kathleen LaValle, Dallas CASA’s executive director and president, attendees heard from guest speaker Casey Gerald. He’s a 30-year-old Oak Cliff native who’s achieved national prominence as a writer, business leader and motivational speaker.

A co-founder and CEO of a group called MBAs Across America, which aims to bring community support to entrepreneurs, Casey recalled being abandoned by his mother at age 12, while his father struggled with drug addiction. After the community intervened to help him, he said, he was able to make his way from South Oak Cliff to Yale University and later to Harvard Business School.

Casey Gerald*

Even so, Casey told the crowd, he should not be held up as a particular example of “triumph over adversity,” because it’s more important to address the root causes of child abuse and neglect. “No degree makes up for being unwanted,” he said. “No amount of money can make you fight hunger pangs. Meeting no president makes up for not having your mother. Not a single kid leaves behind those wounds of childhood.”

Casey wrapped up his talk by saying, about CASA, “This is an organization that’s dedicated to keeping kids alive. So I thank you! … [But,] how do we put ourselves out of business? What if we didn’t make the best CASA—but made a country where we don’t need CASA?”

With a target of raising $15,000 during the luncheon, which included a silent auction of children’s furniture, it was announced at 12:40 p.m. that $7,261 had been raised toward the goal so far. When all was said and done, Dallas CASA says, the 10th annual luncheon raised a total net amount of $170,000.

* Photo credit: Kristina Bowman

High-Powered Crowd Celebrates New DMA Director Agustin Arteaga And Exclusive U.S. Exhibition of Mexican Modernists

The crowd gathered at the Dallas Museum of Art on Wednesday, March 8, was a distinguished one, befitting the auspicious occasion. Including such luminaries as 2017 Art Ball Co-Chairs Ann and Lee Hobson, Kelli and Allen Questrom, Roger Horchow, Monica Alonzo, Chris Heinbaugh, Janie and Cappy McGarr, Jonathan Martin, Jeremy Strick, Max Wells and Terrell and Jim Falk, the group had assembled to celebrate the curatorial debut of the museum’s new Eugene McDermott Director, Dr. Agustin Arteaga.

Ann and Lee Hobson

Cappy and Janie McGarr

Allen Questrom

Laura Wilson

Agustin Arteaga

And, what a debut Arteaga was curating: the exclusive U.S. presentation of an art exhibition called Mexico 1900-1950, Diego Rivera, Frida Kahlo, Jose Clemente Orozco And the Avant-Garde, featuring 189 works by 66 artists. The exhibit, which debuted last October at the Grand Palais in Paris, will be on display at the DMA through Sunday, July 16. It’s supported by Patron Tequila and presented in partnership with Dallas’ Latino Center for Leadership Development, which was founded by Jorge Baldor.

Mexico 1900-1950 guests

The opening celebration was a first opportunity for many to see and greet Arteaga, who came to Dallas last year after serving as director of the Museo Nacional de Arte in Mexico City, one of Mexico’s largest and most prominent cultural institutions. He was flanked on a raised stage at the DMA by fellow hosts Catherine Marcus Rose, president of the DMA’s board of trustees, and DMA Board Chair Melissa Foster Fetter, as well as by Consul General of Mexico in Dallas Francisco de la Torre Galindo, Director General of International Affairs Jimena Lara Estrada, Patrón’s Director of Brand Innovation Carlos Boughton and Baldor (who told the crowd, “It’s nice to see so many brown faces at the DMA”).

Jorge Baldor, Melissa Foster Fetter, Austin Arteaga, Catherine Marcus Rose, Jimena Lara Estrada, Francisco de la Torre Galindo and Carlos Boughton

The exhibition of modernist paintings, sculpture, photography, drawings, and film, the DMA’s new director explained, was put together in just three months to showcase an “artistic movement that took the world by surprise. … We made it on time,” he added, “and hopefully within the budget!” Arteaga also said the exhibition was only able to come to the U.S. with the Mexican government’s special permission, which had been secured by Maria Christina Garcia Cepeda, the Secretaria de Cultura de Mexico. The cultural secretary had planned to attend the March 8 Dallas event, the director added, but her trip had to be postponed after President Enrique Pena Nieto asked her to appear at a special women’s day event in Mexico City. So, Arteaga promised, “She’ll be here tomorrow.”

Dr. Stephen Mansfield Accepts 2017 Virginia Chandler Dykes Leadership Award For “The People of Methodist”

There could scarcely have been a more appropriate choice for the 15th annual Virginia Chandler Dykes Leadership Award than Dr. Stephen Mansfield, president and CEO of the Dallas-based Methodist Health System. As Mansfield explained to some 400 people gathered for the luncheon at the Belo Mansion and Pavilion Wednesday, March 8, he is, after all, a respiratory therapist by training—and luncheon namesake Virginia Chandler Dykes is an occupational therapist.

Dykes completed the graduate occupational therapy program at Texas Woman’s University in 1954, and, after a career directing the occupational and recreational therapy department at Baylor University Medical Center, launched the annual awards program for TWU 15 years ago. To date, Virginia told the luncheon attendees, the event has raised $650,000 for students in each of TWU’s four colleges.

Bob White, Ralph Hawkins, Virginia Chandler Dykes, Carine Feyton and Stephen Mansfield*

Elizabeth Dodd and Mary Brinegar*

Harry Crumpacker and Mike McCullough*

Addressing an audience that included the likes of Col. Allen West, Marnie and Kern Wildenthal, Michael Meadows, Gretchen Minyard Williams, Elizabeth Dodd, Mary Brinegar, Harry Crumpacker, Mike McCullough, Mickey Price, Steve Fick, Travis Youngblood, Matt Mitzner, Michael Schaefer and Clint McDonnough, Virginia soon gave way to Bob White of sponsor Bank of Texas—the bank has sponsored the luncheon for 11 years—who said of Mansfield: “Steve’s been quiet and under-the-radar, but he’s made tremendous strides” for Methodist. Bob’s plaudits were echoed by Luncheon Co-Chair Ralph Hawkins, the event chair. During Steve’s roughly 10 years at the helm, Ralph pointed out, Methodist has tripled in size and was recognized as one of the fastest-growing health systems in the country.

Stephen and Marilyn Mansfield*

During his brief remarks, Mansfield said his selection as the 2017 Virginia Chandler Dykes Leadership Award recipient was “a great honor for me, and the for the people of Methodist.” He thanked his wife Marilyn Mansfield—”she’s my better 3/4, at least”—as well as Methodist’s 8,000 employees and 1,800 volunteers. “They pay me to be good,” Steve recalled that he jokingly teases the volunteers, “but you people are good for nothing!” He also said he’s “fallen in love” with TWU, where more than half the students are the first in their families to go to college. 

Julie Southward, Kamica King, Virginia Chandler Dykes and Laurie Stelter*

With that, TWU Chancellor and President Carine Feyten launched into the second half of the annual luncheon: presentation of the Virginia Chandler Dykes Scholarship Awards to TWU students. The 2017 scholarships went to: Laurie Stelter, from TWU’s College of Health Sciences; Katheryn Courville, from the College of Nursing, who was unable to attend; Julie Southward, of the College of Professional Education; and Kamica King, of the College of Arts and Sciences. Kamica concluded the luncheon by singing an inspirational song titled, “Live, Love, Dream,” which was featured in a documentary film about homelessness called “Signs of Humanity.”

* Photo credit: Kristina Bowman

YPO Gold Members Get A Class In Genetics At Baylor’s Sammons Center

John D. Harkey Jr. is a true Renaissance man. Besides heading up the Dallas company called Consolidated Restaurant Operations, he’s a longtime private-equity investor and co-founder of a gene therapy company called AveXis Inc., which Goldman Sachs recently took public. He’s also a Baylor Health Care System Foundation board member and, together with Peni Barfield, the current education chair for the Dallas YPO Gold group—a group of successful CEOs who are at least age 49. 

John Harkey, Peni Barfield and Camila Iribe Orive and Adolfo Orive

So, it made perfect sense when John went last June to Robin Robinson, president of the Baylor Foundation, and asked whether Baylor would consider hosting the YPO group for a dinner and educational session on the increasingly important field of genetics. Robin not only said yes, he said, “It’s on us.” Which led to the event for about 100 YPO Gold members and their spouses Thursday, March 2, at Baylor’s Charles A. Sammons Cancer Center. 

Stephen Lerer, Libby Allred and Barbara Crow

Myrna Schlegel

Patty and Mark Langdale

As attendees including Craig Hall, Myrna and Bob Schlegel, Brent Christopher, Barbara and Steve Durham, Libby Allred, Barbara Crow, Camila Iribe Orive and Adolfo Orive, Caroline and Rick O’BrienJane Saginaw Lerer and Stephen Lerer, Ashley Arnold, Leslie and Nick Merrick, Patty and Mark Langdale, and Todd Furniss gathered to enjoy the delicious dinner, there was an extra sense of anticipation in the air. About 70 of the 100, it seems, had agreed in advance a while ago to undergo genetic testing. And tonight, the results of their collective—and anonymous—gene profiles were going to be revealed. Talk about a dessert surprise!

Rick OBrien

Leslie Merrick

Nick Merrick

Jane Saginaw Lerer

Before introducing several top experts in the field to the YPOers, Robin told the group that genetics is “one of the fastest-moving areas in medicine,” and that he himself had “spit in a cup” once for the company called 23andMe. The result: Robin was told that 95 percent of his ancestors were from Northwest Europe … and he had a 70 percent chance of hair loss!

Richard Gibbs

The foundation president then gave way to Richard Gibbs, Ph.D., the founder and director of the Human Genome Sequencing Center at the Baylor College of Medicine. Gibbs explained that there are several good reasons for a person to pursue genetic testing, including if you have a genetic disease or if you’re considering having children.

Next on the program were Peter Dysert II, M.D., who’s chief of the pathology department at Baylor University Medical Center, and George Jackson “Jack” Snipes, M.D., Ph.D., the co-medical director, molecular pathology, at BUMC. Snipes explained some genome basics, and shared the amazing fact that humans share 99.5 percent to 99.9 percent of their DNA with each other. The more “SNPs” (or “snips”) that you share with a group—SNPs are the most common type of genetic variation among people—the more you are like that group, Jack went on.

With that, it was time to reveal the YPO Gold group’s collective genetic profile. In terms of average ethnicity, the experts explained, the bulk of the group broke down like this: 36 percent were of British/Irish ancestry; 26 percent were German/French; 14 percent were Ashkenazi Jew; and 7 percent were Scandinavian. Then the experts turned to the business of recessive genes among the group, and revealed the following: 22 of the 70 (or 31 percent) were carriers of 29 different inherited genetic disorders. Three were carriers for cystic fibrosis; three were carriers for Smith-Lemli-Opitz syndrome (that’s an error in cholesterol synthesis); and three were carriers for “apnea following anesthesia.” 

Robin Robinson, Peter Dysert II, Jack Snipes, Michelle Shiller, Connie Bormans and James Denison

But, that’s not all as scary as it might sound, the group was told. While everyone is very likely a carrier for something, it’s important to know, especially for your children’s sake, whether both of your parents may have carried recessive genes, the attendees learned. With that, James C. Denison, Ph.D.—he’s the resident scholar for ethics with Baylor Scott & White Health—told how his son had suffered from a very rare form of cancer caused by a genetic mutation, and how he prays every day that the mutation will be reversed.

The evening wrapped up with a presentation by a Houston company called Gene By Gene Ltd., which started off specializing in DNA-based ancestry and geneology before expanding into the medical and research fields. The company’s mission is to “unleash the power of genetic testing for everyone, giving unparalleled insight into ourselves and the future.” Filing out of the Sammons Center around 9 p.m., members of the YPO Gold group had a much better understanding of that power—thanks to Robin, John, and Peni.  

For more photos, check out MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.

New Baylor Scott And White Health President/CEO Jim Hinton Met Baylor Health Care System Foundation Board Members At St. V-Day Luncheon

Just outside the dining room at the Charles Sammons Cancer Center, there was a long line of people waiting to meet a Very Important Person when the Baylor Health Care System Foundation board met on Tuesday, February 14. And, why not? The quarterly meeting, after all, marked one of the first public appearances ever by James (“Jim”) Hinton, who’d been tapped to succeed Joel Allison as the president and CEO of Baylor Scott and White Health.

Jim Hinton, Lindalyn Adams and Margo Goodwin*

And, like savvy showmen saving the big act for last, the foundation scheduled Hinton as the final speaker on the 90-minute luncheon program, whose theme was, “Radiologists: Master Interpreters in Diagnosing and Monitoring Disease.” With board members including Barry Andrews, Lisa Troutt, Ray Washburne, Pryor Blackwell, Ron Steinhart, Jill Smith, Richard Holt, Aileen Pratt, Michal Powell and Steve Leiberman in attendance, Board Chair Margo Goodwin kicked off the meeting by urging the members to “up” their giving, in order to reach 100% by the next quarterly get-together.

Michal Powell, Robin Robinson and Aileen Pratt*

Pryor Blackwell*

Jill Smith*

“We’re at 67% participation now,” she said. “We’ve been at 100 percent for each of the last four years, and I hope we won’t break that spell.” Margo also encouraged gifts to the American Cancer Society’s Hope Lodge, which selected Baylor University Medical Center as the site of its newest facility. Hope Lodge Dallas will offer free accommodations for cancer patients who have to travel long distances for their care.

Margo gave way at that point to Foundation President Rowland Robinson, who noted the recent deaths of three strong foundation supporters: former Zale Corp. Vice Chairman Leo Fields, former Baylor liver-transplant recipient Ginny Sellers, and Tommy Valenta, a former top executive with Chaparral Steel Co. and Texas Industries.

Greg dePrisco*

With that, Robin talked a little about the meeting’s focus on radiology—“the last link in the diagnostic chain,” he called it—before introducing featured speaker Gregory dePrisco, M.D., a diagnostic radiologist and director of the MRI Fellowship Program at Baylor University Medical Center. During his fascinating and sometimes-humorous presentation, Greg explained that a radiologist is a “doctor’s doctor,” and that 1.2% of all doctors are radiologists.

He recalled the specialty’s history, from the discovery of X-rays through the widespread use of CT scans and MRIs. He told about his membership on an “anal/rectal task force” and showed and explained a number of MRIs, including an MRI comparison between a 40-year-old woman who presented normally (the subject was actually his wife, Dr. Michelle Nichols, who was in the audience) and another woman with rectal pathology and a prolapsed uterus. 

Greg also recalled how he had personally suffered a stroke; was misdiagnosed at another local medical center, where the paramedics took him; and then recovered after receiving the correct diagnosis. (Greg had “something in my lung” that caused the stroke, he explained.) The radiologist ended his presentation by showing CT images of a colonoscopy, a mammogram, and a cancerous lung, before concluding with this observation: “Radiology is a strong link in the healthcare chain. I did go over my time a little bit, but the [story about my] stroke slowed me down!”

Jim Hinton*

Then it was time for Jim to end the program with some brief closing remarks. He took the reins at Baylor Scott And White Health in January, after serving for years as president and CEO of Presbyterian Healthcare Services in New Mexico, that state’s largest healthcare provider.

“It’s good to be in Texas,” Jim told the board members. “Typically in February I’m around a lot of Texans—but in the [ski] lift line at Taos. I wasn’t looking for a job when this one came around. But [Baylor’s] reputation and the opportunity to live in a community like Dallas were too much to pass up.”

The foundation’s fundraising efforts are crucial, Jim said finally, because “there’s not enough money in patient-care revenue” to support the Baylor healthcare system’s world-class work.

* Photo credit: Lara Bierner

JUST IN: Dr. Linda Abraham-Silver Named New Chief Executive Officer For Perot Museum

Perot dinosaurs (File photo)

Nearly a year after its previous permanent CEO resigned, the Perot Museum of Nature and Science in Dallas has named a new chief executive officer. According to a letter sent to museum donors by Perot Board Chair Hernan J.F. Saenz III, “Dr. Linda Abraham-Silver will be joining the Perot Museum as our next Eugene McDermott Chief Executive Officer, effective July 1.”

According to the letter, Abraham-Silver will arrive at the museum this summer “from the Government of Abu Dhabi, where she has led science and technology promotion initiatives for the Technology Development Committee as associate director since 2011.” Earlier, Saenz went on, she spent eight years as president and CEO of the Great Lakes Science Center in Cleveland, Ohio.

The board chair said the new CEO is “perfectly aligned” with the Perot’s strategic initiatives.

“Dr. Silver’s background is impressive in its own right, but it is particularly relevant at this stage in the Museum’s evolution,” Saenz told the donors. “We are all engaged in the challenging … effort to translate the Perot Museum’s initial momentum into an engine of sustainable innovation and community impact. This requires fresh, innovate programming and exhibits, renewed and deepened community engagement across North Texas, and enhancements to the overall guest experience.”

The Perot had been led by Interim CEO Dan Kohl, since the abrupt resignation last year of chief executive Colleen Walker after less than two years on the job. According to news accounts, Walker and the museum’s board had “differences.”

Golf Analyst David Feherty Was A Keynote Hit At 32nd Annual CARE Breakfast Blending Addiction Struggles With Irish Humor

One behind-the-scenes story speaks volumes about the irreverent, freewheeling nature of the sold-out 32nd annual CARE Breakfast, which was held Wednesday, November 9, at the Belo Mansion and “starred” keynote speaker David Feherty, the hilarious NBC Sports pro golf reporter—and recovering addict.

It seems, we were told, that David learned about the kidney replacement surgery undergone a while back by Norm Bagwell, husband of CARE Dallas mainstay Robin Bagwell. Once Norm received his new kidney from Robin, David was told, his golf handicap plummeted from 14 to 5. Whereupon the morning’s keynoter cracked that if Norm “had only had his spleen taken out, he could have been a scratch golfer!”

Robin Bagwell, David Feherty and Norm Bagwell*

The golf theme—Irish-born Feherty, after all, is a former pro on both the European and PGA tours—was prominent during the breakfast, a big fundraiser for CARE Dallas and its work to educate the community about the consequences of drug and alcohol abuse. The table centerpieces, for example, were clever decorations consisting of green felt, two golf balls, and a spray of red tees.

Following the “serenity” prayer delivered by the Rev. Paul Rasmussen, CARE’s new executive director, Susan Morgan, explained that CARE Dallas is a “safe and confidential place for families to learn about resources that are available to fight addiction.” In 2017, she added, the nonprofit plans to start up several new support groups.

Scott and Jan Osborn*

Then Robin, who’s been involved with CARE for 16 years, presented the group’s Margaret Sharpe Community Service Award to her pal Jan Osborn, an eight-year veteran of the group and the board chair for three years. Said Robin: “My greatest accomplishment was bringing Jan Osborn on to the board.” When Jan proceeded to deliver the world’s shortest acceptance speech—basically just saying thanks—Terry Bentley Hill took the stage and quipped, “If this was the Academy Awards, the orchestra hadn’t even pulled up the violins yet.” With that she introduced the keynoter, Feherty, calling him a “combination of Oprah and Johnny Carson.”

Terry Bentley Hill*

It was an apt description, if a little too G-rated.

At the lectern, Feherty set the tone right off the bat: “The first thing I thought this morning when I woke up was, ‘Hey, shit. I need a drink!’” After some jokes about the weak urinary stream of a 58-year-old man—that’s him—he quickly turned serious. “There’s no such thing as ‘recovery,’” he said. “Any addict knows that. I don’t need to be sober the rest of my life. I just need to be sober today.”

But then, soon enough, he was back to cracking wise: “The doctor asked me, ‘Have you ever thought about getting help?’ And I said, ‘No, I can drink it all by myself!’ ”

With that Feherty took off on the “dark sense of humor” found in his native Northern Ireland: “I don’t know if my father was an alcoholic, but he made a solid attempt at being one.” He introduced his 86-year-old mother, Vi Feherty—she was sitting in the audience—and said she’s been married for 63 years to Feherty’s 91-year-old father, Bill Feherty, who’s suffering now** from Alzheimer’s. The disease has its upside, Feherty said, explaining that Billy “broke out of his assisted living home, but couldn’t remember why he broke out. So he broke back in.” When Billy would come home late years ago after drinking at the club, Feherty recalled, his dad would ask Vi, “Is my dinner still warm?” And she would reply, “Yes. It’s in the dog.”

David Feherty*

Then came a series of random—and hilarious—stories and quips:

  • “A cop says to a drunk, ‘Sir, can you step out of the car?’ ‘No, I’m too drunk. You get in.’ ”
  • “The only reason I’m here today is because [Jan] Osborn has pictures of me with a goat.”
  • “I love Texas. It’s like America—except better.”

Concluding his entertaining talk, Feherty waxed serious again about his struggles with addiction. After his “career and marriage ended on the same day,” he recalled, he began taking 20 to 30 pills, plus two bottles of whiskey, daily. … “I’ve had the opportunity to work with some great drunks and with some bad drunks,” Feherty said. “I was a spectacular drunk!

“I was sober the best part of 10 years, until 10 months ago,” he went on. “Like most alcoholics, I can’t believe it came back to bite me. I ended up in the Mayo Clinic rehab center in Rochester [Minnesota]. There are more friggin’ bars in that town! It was probably the worst 11 days of my life.” Turns out, Feherty had been suffering from a neurological disease in which “the frontal lobe of the brain doesn’t work properly,” he said. “It’s called the Comic’s Disease—Robin Williams and Jonathan Winters had it. … But, I’ve been sober for a few months now—again.” (At that, the crowd applauded enthusiastically.)

He ended on a poignant note: “I can drink it all by myself,” Feherty said. “But I can’t be sober without your help.”

Many in the crowd, it seemed, could relate.

* Photo credit: Rhi Lee 
** Editor's note: Billy Feherty died two weeks later on Thanksgiving morning

Music, Dinner And Art “Ramped Up” Dallas Children’s Advocacy Center’s “Art For Advocacy” Fundraiser To The Next Level

Amy Hofland Lewis and Tara Lewis*

Everyone agreed: Co-Chairs Amy Lewis Hofland and Tara Lewis really “ramped it up” for the 10th annual Art for Advocacy auction event Saturday, November 5, at the General Datatech Warehouse space on Ambassador Row. The event, as always, benefited the Dallas Children’s Advocacy Center, which was celebrating its 25th anniversary. Over the last decade the annual bash has raised about $3 million to provide therapy and other services to abused children in Dallas County.

This year, though, things were upped a notch. The handsome tech space was an expansive contrast to FIG, the venue in previous years. This time around, there was a delicious seated dinner that was catered by Bolsa. And, following a successful art auction by maestro Louis Murad, big-time entertainment by the popular indie singer/songwriter Sarah Jaffe capped the evening.

Sofia Sugasti and Nancy Carlson*

Tom and Kathi Lind*

First, though, the nearly 700 guests enjoyed a cocktail reception and a close-up gander at all the art on the walls. About 100 local and regional artists were participating in the display, under the direction of Art Selection honcho Joyce Goss. Among those strolling and checking everything out were Honorary Chair Nancy Carlson, Kara and Randall Goss, Brian Bolke and Faisal Halum, Keith Nix, James Anbouba (“We always bid on a few items,” he said—“in fact, we have no more wall space!), Sofia Sugasti, Thomas Hartland-Mackie, Barry Whistler, Rachel and Hampton Richards, Kathi and Tom Lind, Nick Even and Clark Knippers and Kersten Rettig (still wearing a black boot, months after that mishap in Arkansas).

Holly Johnson, Nancy Cohen Israel and Solomon Israel*

Following a talk by DCAC president and CEO Lynn Davis—he said the nonprofit group helped more than 4,000 children in 2015—auctioneer Murad took the stage, and the artwork began flying into the high bidders’ hands. A photo called “Moth” by Maxine Helfman, for example, was valued at $8,000 but went for $12,000; Megan Adams Brooks’ “Blindspot” painting,” valued at $7,800, sold for $9,000; and Shane Pennington’s copper-wire sculpture called “I Look Up In Wonder” was valued at $14,500, but wound up trading hands for a whopping $25,000.

Sarah Jaffe*

So much excitement had been created, in fact, that one man popped up on stage and announced, “I’m going to match whatever anybody gives tonight, up to $100,000!” A little later, Sarah Jaffe and her band strummed their first notes. Ramped up, indeed.

For a look at some of the sponsors, who made this possible, follow the jump:

* Photo credit: Dane Davis

[Read more…]

Champion Of Children Award Dinner Guest Speaker Antwone Fisher Strikes A Chord As Dallas CASA Honors NorthPark Center

On the evening of Thursday, October 27, the reception area outside the Fairmont Hotel’s International Ballroom was packed. The big ballroom, after all, was about to play host to the 2016 Champion of Children Award Dinner benefiting Dallas CASA, which advocates for abused and neglected children, and nearly 550 guests were expected—more than last year’s total.

Angela and Jim Thompson*

Angela and Jim Thompson*

Andrea Martin and Cheryl Lee Shannon*

Andrea Martin and Cheryl Lee Shannon*

Mike and Jana Brosin*

Mike and Jana Brosin*

Greeting friends in the crowded foyer were the likes of Caroline Rose Hunt, Lynn and Roy Shelton, Debra Nelson, Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins, Joyce and Larry Lacerte, Dallas CASA board member Christie Carter, Frank Risch, Judge Andrea Matin, Judge Cheryl Lee Shannon, Jana and Mike Brosin (their Crest Cadillac/Crest Infiniti was the dinner’s presenting sponsor), Angela and Jim Thompson, Betsy and Richard Eiseman and Jan Sanders.

Jan is the widow of Judge Barefoot Sanders, the well-known political figure and longtime U.S. district judge—and steadfast supporter of Dallas CASA, whose annual Judge Barefoot Sanders Champion of Children Award bears his name. “When they named an award after him, I thought I’d better put up or shut up,” Jan said with a smile, eying the scrumptious hors d’oeuvres. “So I’ve been a CASA court advocate for three years.”

Christine and Jonathan Bassham, Mark and Karen Carney, Joseph and Jeanne Manogue and Kristy Hoglund Robinson*

Christine and Jonathan Bassham, Mark and Karen Carney, Joseph and Jeanne Manogue and Kristy Hoglund Robinson*

Inside the ballroom, meantime, Mary Martha and Dr. John Pickens were peering out the tall glass windows, admiring the spectacular sunset. Soon enough, the hall behind them had filled, and event co-chairs Karen Carney, Kristy Hoglund Robinson, and Joe Manogue were onstage welcoming everyone. “Normally we would ask you to put away your phones, but tonight we ask you to take out your phones and text,” said Joe. “Let’s raise $100,000 tonight!”

With that, Kathleen LaValle, the Dallas CASA executive director and president, took the podium to pay tribute to the evening’s honoree and winner of the Judge Sanders award, NorthPark Center. As Kathleen explained, NorthPark for 21 years has hosted the annual Parade of Playhouses, which raises money for Dallas CASA and attracts volunteers to the nonprofit. In addition, she said, NorthPark secured five billboards across Dallas County touting Dallas CASA—and the group had only asked for one!

Kathleen LaValle and Nancy Nasher*

Kathleen LaValle and Nancy Nasher*

Accepting the award was NorthPark co-owner Nancy Nasher, who had invited to the dinner members of her NorthPark team, including G.M. Billy Hines, Special Event Managers Lona Crabb and the workmen who’d transported the playhouses into the center. Nancy said NorthPark has become “a place to learn about social causes” and, in 2015, celebrated its 50th anniversary by donating more than $1 million to 50 Dallas nonprofits, many of them benefiting children. (Dallas CASA, in fact, was the first of the groups to receive a donation.) Then she made a surprise announcement: “We will donate space once again on our prime billboard, at Walnut Hill and North Central Expressway, to Dallas CASA.”

After Nancy received a heartfelt standing ovation, Dallas CASA board chair John Gibson reiterated the group’s need for more advocates and more funds and said that, so far, more than $50,000 had been raised just during the dinner. Then he introduced the evening’s guest speaker, Antwone Fisher. Antwone is a director, screenwriter, film producer, and author who grew up in an abusive foster home—and then was homeless—before joining the United States Navy and turning his life around. His life was the subject of a 2002 movie, called “Antwone  Fisher,” that starred Denzel Washington and was based on Antwone’s memoir, “Finding Fish.”

Antwone Fisher*

Antwone Fisher*

During his talk, Antwone recalled that his mother was 17 and in prison when he was born in 1959. He was abused during 18 years in foster care, he remembered, and dealt with a total of 13 social workers during that time. Despite the years of abuse—and his experiences encountering pimps and drug dealers along the way, as well—Antwone said, “I learned to appreciate my fear. I wasn’t afraid of being afraid. If you’re not afraid, [bad] things can happen.”

During his years as a homeless person on the streets of Cleveland, he went on, he stole—but only for food and necessities like shoes, galoshes, and a warm coat. It was during this period that he saw a sign saying, “Join the Navy,” which he decided to do. He willed himself to pass the necessary tests, even though he couldn’t read, and, over the next 11 years in the service, turned his life around.

“If I had had a CASA [a court-appointed special advocate] as a boy, I would have grown close to that person and they would have been able to help me, like they do all over the country,” Antwone said. “Having an advocate who can speak for you is so important. When I was a kid, I couldn’t articulate my thoughts. … Sometimes all it takes is one person caring about you.”

After the evening’s second standing ovation—this one for Antwone—event co-chairs Christine and Jonathan Bassham took the stage to wrap things up. A total of $53,440 had been raised during the event, they announced, which, thanks to a $50,000 match, meant that Dallas CASA was $103,000 richer just since the first course was served. That amount, the guests realized happily as they made for the exits, would pay for a lot of advocates for a lot of Antwones.  

* Photo credit: Kristina Bowman

Holly And Jim Trester Opened Their Estate For Boys And Girls Club Of Greater Dallas’ 2016 Billiard Ball Patron Party

Holly Trester and Charles English

Holly Trester and Charles English

It was a small, interconnected world indeed when about 50 guests gathered at Holly and Jim Trester’s stunning estate for a charity kickoff party on Tuesday, October 26. The fete with food everywhere was to ramp up interest in the 2016 Billiard Ball, an annual fundraiser for the Boys And Girls Clubs of Greater Dallas that was scheduled for Saturday, November 12, at the Hilton Anatole.

Dennis and Laura Moon and Wendy and Boyd Messmann

Dennis and Laura Moon and Wendy and Boyd Messmann

The ball, which was set to honor Helen and Clint Murchison, would be co-chaired by Laura and Dennis Moon, who were chatting amiably with guests at the Tresters’ place. Jim, who serves on the BGCD board, explained that, as a principal at the Ryan tax firm, he’d worked for two decades with Kimberly-Clark CEO Tom Falk. It was Tom, Jim went on, who’d asked him to sponsor a table at the 2016 Billiard Ball.

Jim Trester

Jim Trester

The ball has raised more than $2.4 million since its inception for the clubs, which boast 7,500 members at 31 sites in North Texas.

Not far away, Wendy and Boyd Messman were admiring Jim’s extensive collection of Dallas Mavericks and other sports memorabilia. Wendy, it turns out, works at U.S. Trust with Dennis. Holly, meantime, was greeting guests and chatting with Charles R. English, president and CEO of BGCD.

Nearby, Laura Brown was also introducing herself to attendees. Laura had just joined the Boys & Girls Clubs as vice president of advancement, focusing on major gifts and planned giving. “My passion is in youth development,” Laura was saying to a guest. This was her first day on the job—and, given all the excitement around the upcoming Billiard Ball, she couldn’t have picked a better day to start. 

2016 Excellence Awardees Are Toasted At Dallas Historical Society Patron Party

Libby and Doug Hunt

Libby and Doug Hunt

Drink glasses were raised, and there was much applause Tuesday, October 26, when about 65 guests gathered at Libby and Doug Hunt’s beautiful, classic home to recognize recipients of the Dallas Historical Society’s 2016 Awards for Excellence in Community Service. The awards, scheduled to be presented at a luncheon at the Fairmont Hotel on Thursday, November 17, are given annually to honor “generosity of spirit, civic leadership, and [the] ability to encourage community-wide participation” in the growth of Dallas.

Gail and Bob Thomas and Louise Caldwell

Gail and Bob Thomas and Louise Caldwell

Veletta Forsythe Lill and Mary Suhm

Veletta Forsythe Lill and Mary Suhm

After attendees at the patron party including new DHS Executive Director Amy Aldredge, Betsy and Richard Eiseman, Margot and Ross Perot and Gail and Bob Thomas—Gail and Bob are the luncheon’s honorary co-chairs—greeted old friends and caught up on all the latest, event co-chairs Mary Suhm and Veletta Forsythe Lill called the packed house to order and graciously introduced the 2016 awardees in attendance.   

Molly Bogen and Amy Aldredge

Molly Bogen and Amy Aldredge

Veletta went first, recognizing Keith Cerny (he would be getting the award for Arts Leadership), Eliseo Garcia (Creative Arts), Molly Bogen (Humanities), Philip C. Henderson (Volunteer Community Leadership) and Margot Perot (Jubilee History Maker).

Then it was Mary’s turn to take the living-room stage. She proceeded to give shout-outs to Pat Mattingly (Education), Shad Roe (Volunteer Community Leadership), Dr. Leonard Riggs (Business) and Hugh Aynesworth (History).

Ross and Margot Perot and Hugh and Paula Aynesworth

Ross and Margot Perot and Hugh and Paula Aynesworth

Others scheduled to receive awards in November were Dr. Eric Olson (Medical Research), Linda Perryman-Evans (Philanthropy) and Michael Jordan (Sports Leadership).

The introductions made, all present raised their glasses high and toasted the honorees. Then everyone went back to catching up.

At Mary McDermott Cook’s House, Readers 2 Leaders Celebrates Five Years

Philanthropist and community activist Fran Tynan is on the board of Readers 2 Leaders, a nonprofit whose mission is to develop and grow the reading skills of children in West Dallas. She’s also a neighbor of Mary McDermott Cook. So, thanks to Fran’s persuasive skills, Mary’s stunning, glass-and-wood home high above the Belmont Hotel in West Dallas was the setting for Readers 2 Leaders’ fifth anniversary party on Thursday, October 13.

“We’re about improving literacy in West Dallas,” explained Norma Nelson, the group’s executive director, as about 65 guests sipped drinks and munched hors d’oeuvres and admired the stunning views from Mary’s living room. “In 2015 we served 420 kids and 575 families,” Norma added, with initiatives including a core tutoring program called Team Read. It targets elementary-age students in West Dallas during regular school hours, after school, and during the summer months.

Not far away from Norma, attorney Ted Schweinfurth was chatting with friends. Schweinfurth, a partner at Baker & McKenzie LLP, founded Readers 2 Leaders and chairs its board of directors. (Ted also had a big hand in founding the VMLC nonprofit.) He proudly noted the progress Readers 2 Leaders has made, including gaining some funding from the Dallas Independent School District and just being selected as a three-year Community Impact grant recipient of funds from the United Way of Metropolitan Dallas.

Later, as guests including Janet Horton, Giles Davidson, Christina Hanger, and Daniel Waldmann looked on, Norma and Ted told the crowd how far Readers 2 Leaders had come in five years. It’s all thanks to the group’s “meticulous approach that moves the kids forward,” said Norma. Added Ted: “We have made an impact, even if we’ve only scratched the surface.”

There was also praise for Fran, who after all had made the party happen at Mary Cook’s house. “Fran Tynan’s gotten me into more ******* things than I can mention,” Mary jokingly told the crowd. Then came a shout: “Yay, Fran!”   

‘Larger Than Life’ Stodghills Are Feted At 10th Anniversary Dallas Film Society Luncheon

Anita La Cava Swift, the eldest of John Wayne’s 27 grandchildren, stood at the podium at Sixty Five Hundred on Tuesday, September 27, and spoke wryly to a luncheon crowd of more than 300 about her friends Anne and Steve Stodghill. “It was just a matter of time before the Wayne family and the Stodghill family would cross paths,” Anita said. “And not just because of that big portrait” of The Duke in the Stodghills’ house!

Wayne’s granddaughter was talking about Steve and Anne’s leading role in the annual John Wayne Film Festival, which was moved at their behest to Dallas a few years ago from Snyder in West Texas. Anita’s recollections were apropos, because they came at the 10th Anniversary Luncheon of the Dallas Film Society (DFS) honoring Anne and Steve—huge DFS supporters and big-time movie buffs. The couple co-chaired the DFS’ 2009 Dallas International Film Festival, and Steve owns a sizeable collection of movie memorabilia, including many Batman and John Wayne items.

Tom West, Steve and Anne Stodghill and Todd Wagner*

Tom West, Steve and Anne Stodghill and Todd Wagner*

In her luncheon talk, Anita told how the Stodghills had determined to bring the Wayne film festival to North Texas and to LOOK Cinemas. (LOOK’s Tom Stephenson and wife Blake were in the crowd.) “Everything we license, a portion goes to find a cure for cancer,” Anita went on. “The two festivals that Anne and Steve did raised over $450,000 for the John Wayne Cancer Foundation. So, there will always be a place at the Wayne family table for Steve and Anne. We love you!”

Lee Papert*

Lee Papert*

Everybody seemed to have some love for the Stodghills at the DFS event, which was attended by the likes of Jennifer and Coley Clark, Harry Hunsicker, Michael Cain, Veletta Forsythe Lill, Holly and Stubbs Davis, Janis Burklund, Lynn McBee, Joanna Clarke and Paige McDaniel. As the guests chowed down on their grilled petit filet, oven-cured tomato, mixed greens, and salted caramel tart (it was adorned, appropriately enough, with a little Batman logo), they heard welcoming remarks by DFS officials Suzanne Bock Grishman (the event co-chair), Mark Denesuk (the board chair), and Lee Papert, the group’s president and CEO.

They were followed by Tom West, chief advancement officer for the American Film Institute, where Steve has served as vice chair of the AFI’s national council. Cracked Tom: “Hollywood is known for larger-than-life personalities, but Steve and Anne put La La Land to shame.”

James Faust*

James Faust*

Then West gave way to Dallas entrepreneur and philanthropist Todd Wagner, who was interviewed onstage by columnist Robert Wilonsky of The Dallas Morning News. After Wilonsky confessed that he enjoys “going to Steve’s house and raiding the liquor cabinet on occasion,” Wagner talked about his Todd Wagner Foundation, which focuses on at-risk youth, and his latest venture, called the Charity Network. The latter “harnesses the power of celebrity, technology and media” to raise money and awareness for nonprofits via three digital fundraising platforms: Charitybuzz, Prizeo, and Chideo. Asked how the venture had come about, Wagner replied, “What we’re doing now is the culmination of everything I’ve ever done. It’s entertainment and philanthropy … all rolled into one. My frustration had been that many of these organizations had been happy for me to write them a check. But I thought I could do much more.”

After Wagner delivered a humorous “Top 10 List” about Steve—it was payback for Steve having previously delivered a Top 10 List about Wagner—actress Peri Gilpin, a longtime friend of the Stodghills, was scheduled to speak. DFW Artistic Director James Faust closed out the bill in the same spirit of good humor, at one point even donning a Batman mask.

* Photos provided by the Dallas Film Society