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 director of the Baylor Health Care System Foundation 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.  

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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

Internationalism On The Menu At H. Neil Mallon Award Dinner

2016 H. Neil Mallon Award*

2016 H. Neil Mallon Award*

In a presidential-election year that essentially has globalism on the ballot, there was no doubting the commitment of more than 800 people to the concept when the World Affairs Council of Dallas-Fort Worth held its annual H. Neil Mallon Award fundraising dinner at the Hilton Anatole on Saturday, September 24.

The purpose of the event was to present the 33rd annual Mallon award to Doug Parker, chairman and CEO of Fort Worth-based American Airlines Group. But the evening was also a celebration of internationalism, with Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, where American dominates, at its dynamic heart.

DFW Airport CEO Sean Donohue was one of the dinner co-chairs, along with Robert L. Crandall, CEO of American from 1985 to 1998. The dinner chairs were CEO David T. Seaton of Fluor Corp., which depends heavily on international construction work, and Texas Capital Bancshares leader C. Keith Cargill, who’s also chairman of the World Affairs Council of DFW board. The honorary dinner chairs were Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price, who couldn’t attend, and Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings.

Kay Bailey Hutchison*

Kay Bailey Hutchison*

Mike Rawlings*

Mike Rawlings*

During the pre-dinner receptions, old friends like Talmage Boston, Laura and Tom Leppert, Marvin Singleton and Richard Holt caught up with the latest news. Marvin, a bigwig with the local office of Hill & Knowlton Strategies, said that he’d just traveled 12,000 miles in the previous three weeks. Richard, the local Bank of America leader, said he’d been traveling a lot in the last month as well. Terrell Falk, wife of WAC/DFW President and CEO Jim Falk, revealed that she’d recently come out of retirement to be CEO/COO of a new arts incubator called The Cedars Union. (Seed money came from the Bowdon family foundation.)

Jim Falk*

Jim Falk*

A little later, as the dinner guests worked on their shrimp salads, braised short ribs, and caramel-and-chocolate truffle torts, Rawlings took the podium to congratulate Parker on “pulling our world together, and making DFW Airport your home.” The mayor then acknowledged that questions about globalism have arisen in the presidential campaign, adding, “Do you pull away, or do you lean in? Thank you for leaning in and supporting the World Affairs Council.”

After a video tribute to Parker—in it, Donohue called Parker the “dean” of airline CEOs, just as Crandall had been—Crandall himself helped Cargill present the Mallon Award to Parker. The 80-year-old retired executive, who now divides his time between Florida and his native New England, praised Parker for launching 18 new routes and adding 5,000 employees since American’s merger with US Airways in 2013.

Robert Crandall, Doug Parker and Keith Cargill*

Robert Crandall, Doug Parker and Keith Cargill*

During his remarks accepting the WAC award, Parker surprised the crowd by announcing that American would name its new Fort Worth headquarters campus—which should be ready for move-in by 2018—after Crandall. “I just told Bob about it an hour and a half ago,” Doug disclosed. Later, Crandall called the announcement “a great compliment, and a huge pleasure.”

The evening concluded with a keynote talk by David Ignatius, foreign affairs columnist for The Washington Post. Ignatius told the crowd that people everywhere are worried that America is becoming less willing to take a leadership role in the world. He then outlined three challenges that he sees: the threat posed by ISIS, the threat posed to the U.S. by Russia under Vladimir Putin, and the problem of China if America withdraws from its involvement in Asia.

David Ignatius*

David Ignatius*

“It really matters whether America remains persistent in the world and has the backs of our friends,” Ignatius said, adding: “Internationalism is strong in our country when it comes from the heartland—from Texas and Minnesota, from businesses and workers, not from the elites. Visiting with people here in Dallas makes me more hopeful that we’ll stay engaged in the world.”

You can bet that most everyone in the house agreed with the sentiment.

* Photo credit: Steve Foxall

The Focus Is On Health At Baylor Foundation’s Quarterly Board Meeting

The theme for the first Baylor Health Care System Foundation board of directors meeting of the new (2017) fiscal year may have been “Integrative Medicine: Leveraging New Perspectives for a Healthy Body, Mind and Spirit.” But it was apparent at the Tuesday, September 20th quarterly board meeting that the Foundation itself is in pretty good health, too.

Sporting a new white beard he called “an August project,” Foundation President Robin Robinson told the luncheon meeting that the organization now had raised more than $581 million for the healthcare system since its founding. The foundation has a new tagline—“Let’s Move Mountains”—Robin disclosed, and the last fiscal year was its best ever in fundraising terms. Thirty-seven million dollars came through the doors, he said, or 128 percent of the goal. The foundation also distributed $43 million to the system during the 2016 fiscal year, Robin said, bringing total disbursements over five years to $175 million.

Board Chair Margo Goodwin had good news for the board members as well. The foundation’s most recent annual Grand Rounds golf tournament was a record-breaker, Margo announced, with 229 golfers helping raise $290,000. Board giving during the last fiscal year enjoyed 100 percent participation, she went on, with 20 percent of the board members ponying up more than $25,000.

Amy Turner, Julie Turner and Margo Goodwin*

Amy Turner, Julie Turner and Margo Goodwin*

Jim Lozier and Jill Smith*

Jim Lozier and Jill Smith*

Margo also talked briefly about the responsibilities of new foundation board members. The “Class of 2017” members are: Kenneth Aboussie Jr., Barry Andrews, Norm Bagwell, Mike Barnett, Hal Brierley, Darlene Cass, Robert Dozier, Graciela Garton M.D., Jim Lozier, Holt Lunsford, Gloria Martindale, Amy Mueller (ex-officio), Michal Powell, Bruce Robson, Ken Schnitzer, Jill Smith, Bob Thomas, Amy Turner and John Yeaman.

Following lunch and a brief report from Joel Allison, the health system’s outgoing CEO—Joel said Baylor had acquired another medical center in Austin, and finalists to succeed him should be disclosed by late October—Dr. Carolyn Matthews delivered a keynote talk about how “chronic illness is burdening” the American health system in general, and what can be done about it.

Robin Robinson, Carolyn Matthews and Joel Allison*

Robin Robinson, Carolyn Matthews and Joel Allison*

Chronic illnesses such as depression, obesity (67 percent of us are overweight or obese), cancer, diabetes (10 percent of us have it), and asthma require repeated treatment, Dr. Matthews explained, and 50 percent of adults will suffer from at least one of them. But the good news, she stressed, is that all of these chronic illnesses are “very modifiable” with exercise, sleep, and a proper diet.

Several habits will help reduce your risk for chronic illness, continued Dr. Matthews, who is Director of Integrative and Functional Medicine at the Baylor Charles A. Sammons Cancer Center. Those habits include: refraining from smoking; eating five servings of fruits and vegetables per day; doing some sort of physical activity (150 minutes per week is recommended, even if it’s just walking); and aiming for seven to eight hours of restful sleep per night.

During a Q&A session near the end of the meeting, someone asked Dr. Matthews why eating right seems to be so difficult for so many. “Because the vast majority of food in the grocery store is not real food,” she replied. “The quality of our food is not as good as it was 50 years ago,” she continued, citing “genetically modified food” among other trends. Ideally everyone would eat organic food if they could afford it, Dr. Matthews concluded, but, at a minimum, the meat you eat should be grass-fed and any fish should be of the small variety, like salmon.

* Photos provided by Baylor Health Care System Foundation

Gritty, Tenacious Dr. Bobby Lyle Is Honored By Entrepreneurs For North Texas At The Spirit Of Entrepreneurship

Talk about a “who’s who” gathering of Dallas business and civic leaders! That was the scene for sure at Communities Foundation of Texas on Thursday, May 12, when Dr. Bobby B. Lyle was inducted into the EFNT Ring of Entrepreneurs. The EFNT (Entrepreneurs for North Texas) group is a CFT program focusing on small- and mid-sized companies, and its annual Ring induction honors “world-class entrepreneurs” who’ve excelled at giving back.

Bobby Lyle and Margo and Jim Keyes*

Bobby Lyle and Margo and Jim Keyes*

The who’s who assembly included the likes of Margo and Jim Keyes, Gerald Turner, Ruth Altshuler, Phil Romano, John Wiley Price, Tom Leppert and Garrett Boone. (Garrett and Jim were previous Ring inductees—Garrett in 2015, and Jim in 2009.) Bobby, of course, is the legendary Dallas philanthropist, corporate board member, founder of Lyco Energy Corp., and Dallas investor in fields ranging from real estate and manufacturing to cattle ranching, and green energy.

Garrett Boone*

Garrett Boone*

Ruth Altshuler*

Ruth Altshuler*

Gerald Turner*

Gerald Turner*

Tom Leppert*

Tom Leppert*

As the guests streamed into CFT’s meeting room for EFNT’s 15th Annual Spirit of Entrepreneur event, called “Engineering Philanthropy,” a Salvation Army band struck up “When the Saints Go Marching In.” Outgoing CFT CEO Brent Christopher welcomed everyone with a quip: “I’m not sure we’re all saints, but we all came marching in!”

Patrick Brandt*

Patrick Brandt*

With that Patrick Brandt, chairman of the EFNT board, took the stage to present the group’s annual Spirit of Entrepreneurship North Star awards to Oliver Wyman and Sendero. Next came a video about Bobby, with tributes to the much-admired engineer, executive, entrepreneur, professor, and civic leader from Garrett, Jim, and Ray Hunt. The man of the hour was then introduced by his daughter, Sharon Lyle, who said she “learned grit and tenacity from dad,” adding, “There’s no one I trust more with my life and my business.” At that Bobby took the mic and was presented with the blazer and cuff links traditionally given to Ring inductees, as well as a colorful scale model of SMU’s Lyle School of Engineering complex.

Sharon Lyle*

Sharon Lyle*

“Out in the lobby,” Bobby told the crowd, “I saw people I’d seen yesterday, some I hadn’t seen in a couple of months, and some I hadn’t seen in a couple of years.” Then he embarked on a conversational, “360-degree tour of our city,” applauding the people behind such progressive developments as the AT&T Performing Arts Center (among them, Bill Lively); the Trinity River project (Dr. Gail Thomas and Lyda Hill, for example); “SMU’s transformation” (Turner as well as Carl Sewell and others); the Perot Museum (Forrest Hoglund and Nicole Small among them); and the Bush presidential library (Laura and George W. Bush and others).

Brent Christopher and Bobby Lyle*

Brent Christopher and Bobby Lyle*

The evening concluded with a casual talk between Bobby and Brent about Lyle’s long and distinguished career. In it, Bobby admitted that he was “probably scared to death both times” when he took on developing the Dallas Galleria shopping center and, later, when he pioneered fracking and horizontal drilling in the Bakken Field oil-shale play in Richland County, Montana. A key player in getting the latter project off the ground, Bobby said, was Dick Cheney, who was then with Halliburton.

Summed up Brent: “But you saw how to connect the dots.”

* Photo credit: Can Turkyilmaz

Baylor Health Care System Foundation Board Is Served Up Future Plans And Causes For Growing Concern About Skin Cancers

Financial progress, personnel transitions, and skin care—specifically, “Dermatology Innovations and Skin-Care Secrets”—were on the agenda Tuesday, May 10, when the Baylor Health Care System Foundation board held its quarterly luncheon meeting at Dallas’ Baylor Charles A. Sammons Cancer Center.

Rowland Robins, Tavia Hunt, Margo Goodwin and Joel Allison*

Rowland Robins, Tavia Hunt, Margo Goodwin and Joel Allison*

After attendees like Ken Schnitzer, Shannon Skokos, Tom Dunning, Jill Smith, Barry Andrews, Aileen Pratt and Richard Holt took their seats in the center’s big meeting room, Foundation Chair Margo Goodwin got right down to business by noting that the FY 2016 Board Giving Campaign, which wraps up Thursday, June 30, had reached 85 percent of its goal. “It’s not the size of the gift,” Margo pointedly reminded the board members, “it’s the fact that 100 percent of our board will give.”

Jim Turner*

Jim Turner*

She then turned over the podium to Baylor Scott & White Holdings Board Chair Jim Turner, who gave a detailed update on the process to find a successor to Joel Allison. Joel, who’s CEO of Baylor Scott & White Health, announced previously that he would step down officially on February 1, 2017. Turner told the board about the hiring of Witt/Kieffer, an executive-recruiting firm whose Atlanta-based practice specializes in CEO searches for healthcare firms. A search committee has also been named, Turner said, and its members would be interviewing a number of hospital “stakeholders” to create the “ideal CEO profile.”

Once that profile is completed, Turner explained, Phase Two of the search would kick in. First, Witt/Kieffer will review both “internal and external” candidates through July. A select group of those candidates should be selected by the end of August, Turner said, and, ideally, finalists would be ready for official consideration by the middle of September. Turner is aiming to have a candidate to take to the board for their consideration by Saturday, October 1, with the finalist hired and “on board by October 30.”

That timetable would give the new CEO time during the transition period to learn the ropes from Allison, who will “step into his role as adviser to me by February,” Turner concluded.

Then it was time for Foundation President Rowland “Robin” Robinson to talk about another sort of transition: new members replacing “old” ones on the foundation board. “Rolling off” the board on Thursday, June 30, would be Glenn Callison, Dunning, James N. Miller, William F. Miller III, Beverly Nichols, Wade Reed, John Tolleson and Terry Worrell.

Then a third sort of transition was addressed: the replacement of Dr. Alan Menter as chairman of the Division of Dermatology at Baylor University Medical Center at Dallas with incoming chairman Dr. Clay J. Cockerell, who will assume his new duties on Friday, July 1. Cockerell and the legendary Dr. Menter were joined in a panel discussion titled “More Than Skin Deep” by Dr. Catriona Ryan, vice chair of Dermatology, Dermatology Residency Program at the Baylor University med center.

Catriona Ryan, Clay Cockerell and Alan Menter*

Catriona Ryan, Clay Cockerell and Alan Menter*

Cockerell said his goal is to “double the size” of the dermatology program over the next five years. Menter, who’s had a longtime focus on improving psoriasis treatment, said that despite stepping down as dermatology chairman, he would continue practicing after July 1. Ryan explained that Baylor has “upped what we do” for melanoma patients at the hospital. Asked by an audience member “what to do for crow’s feet,” Ryan stressed the importance of a skin-care regimen, using sunblock every morning, and applying Retin-A at night. Finally, all three doctors warned against the use of tanning beds, citing studies showing that 95% of women who developed skin cancer in their 20s and 30s had used tanning beds at some point.

The foundation’s next board meeting will be on Tuesday, September 20.

* Photos provided by Baylor Health Care System Foundation

Auctions, Dancing, Dale Hansen And Mini-Ambassadors At Texas Horse Park Helped Equest Celebrate Its 35th Anniversary

One day before it took place on Saturday, May 7, Equest’s 35th Anniversary Gala at the Texas Horse Park was sold out. Walking around the gala off Pemberton Hill Road in South Dallas, it was easy to see why.

That situation was even more impressive since guests weren’t able to just drive up to the front door and turn their wheels over to car parkers. The vast majority had to be shuttled to the Park via chartered buses from locales in Dallas. After all, Texas Horse Park was built to be equine horsepower as opposed to an automotive parking lot. But despite the perceived inconvenience, the bus loads arrived for a night of fun and fundraising.

Stacey Hodge, Disco, Lisa Blackford, Sherry Wood, Dare, Christine Volkmer and Christa Collum

Stacey Hodge, Disco, Lisa Blackford, Sherry Wood, Dare, Christine Volkmer and Christa Collum

And, of course, there were the horses befitting the group that, since 1981, has used the four-hoofed critters to bring hope and healing to children and adults with diverse needs. (In fact, Equest was the first therapeutic riding program in Texas.) At the front door, there were the miniature equine stars Teddy Roosevelt and Tex; later, gals and guys could have their photo taken with Disco and Dare.

Susan Schwartz, Lili Kellogg and Helena Wall

Susan Schwartz, Lili Kellogg and Helena Wall

As the guests made their way into the grounds—among them, Stacey Hodge, Amy and Michael Meadows, Sherry Wood, Alan Curtis, David Whyman, Lezlie and Bill Noble, Jeff Byron, Kevin Hurst and Equest co-founder Susan Schwartz—they saw “client and rider demonstrations” happening in the outdoor pens. Moving down beneath the Equest covered arena, they encountered the reception and silent auction and, later, the table settings for the gala dinner and live auction. Among the auction highlights: a Costa Rica getaway (value, $12,000) and a Montana Sporting Club Retreat ($10,000).

Jody Dean, Maddie Dean and Jocelyn White

Jody Dean, Maddie Dean and Jocelyn White

Over at the “Equest Country Store,” meantime, mother and daughter Maggie and Annabelle Buckner (Annabelle’s 12) were checking out the goods. As Emilynn Wilson and her husband Claude strode through the stables, Emilynn said, “I just had a horse that fell in love with me.” Guests Phyllis Glazer and Susan Iannaccone were chit-chatting. While Maddie Dean patiently waited, her dad/emcee Jody Dean and co-emcee Jocelyn White huddled over last-minute details with the likes of Equest CEO Lili Kellogg and Helena Wall, who with her husband Doug Wall was serving as the Gala Chair. Despite all the hifalutin types, four-year-old mini-ambassador donkey Taco was quite content to stay in his stall and occasionally saunter over for a howdy do with a guest or two.

Susan Iannaccone and Phyllis Glazer

Susan Iannaccone and Phyllis Glazer

Taco

Taco

Honorary Chairs Chris and Dale Hansen soon pulled up in their big black SUV with Dale at the wheel and, much later, the Gala guests would be dancing up a storm to the music of Cary Pierce with Crystal Yates and John Christopher Davis. Really, now; with horses, good friends, great food and fun music, could there have been a better way to celebrate Equest’s landmark anniversary?

Four Hundred Watch Nyquist Win The Run For The Roses As They Raise Money At TAG Derby Event For BrainHealth Center

Harold Scherrell, Alison Percy, Scott Caldwell and Dan Hunt

Harold Scherrell, Alison Percy, Scott Caldwell and Dan Hunt

Dreamy and Jessi Gould

Dreamy and Jessi Gould

Cigars, seersucker, sunglasses and big hats were the order of the day when as many as 400 young professionals gathered on Saturday, May 7, for the Think Ahead Group’s Sixth Annual Kentucky Derby Party. The focal point of the derby-watching party was a big-screen TV set up in the green, tree-lined courtyard at Dallas’ beautiful Marie Gabrielle Restaurant and Gardens.

Greeting the lovely and handsome young things at the front door was Dreamy the 19-year-old Morgan with her handler Barbara Lewis.

Bethany Voss and Mike Rials

Bethany Voss and Mike Rials

Okay, besides the well-watched television, there was also delicious food—think chicken and biscuit sliders, mini-crab cakes and mint juleps—as well as a silent auction. All the attractions were to help TAG, a group of young professionals who raise funds for the Center for BrainHealth, bring in at least $50,000 for the center’s Alzheimer’s program.

At one point, the guests—among them Jessi Gould, Dr. Alison Percy, Dan Hunt, Harold Scherrell, Scott Caldwell, Mike Rials and Bethany Voss—crowded around the huge TV to watch the 142nd running of the Kentucky Derby. As cries of “Go, Nyquist!” were heard from the excited crowd, the race concluded with Nyquist holding off a late surge by Exaggeration to win the derby.

Watching the Run for the Roses

Watching the Run for the Roses

Then it was back to the mini-crab cakes … and many more mint juleps.

Dallas’ Homeless Problem Was On The Menu And Had Guests On A Tractor At Mudhen’s Bridge Fundraiser

About 200 people turned out on Sunday, May 1, at Shannon Wynne’s Mudhen Meat & Greens to enjoy some music and some great food. But the “grand opening” party at the new restaurant at the entrance to the Dallas Farmers Market had a more serious purpose, too: raising $35,000 for the restaurant’s nearby neighbor, The Bridge homeless recovery center.

Wynne, who’s on The Bridge board of directors, said he opened Mudhen on South Harwood in part for its location. Even though the surrounding neighborhood is improving, he said, some are still afraid to venture there, in part because of the homeless people who are drawn to the recovery center. “I want people to see that we’re not afraid of The Bridge,” Wynne said. “This is not a scary place!”

While guests like Tom Dunning, Margaret Keliher, Lucian LaBarba, Nancy Nichols and Shannon and Skip Hollandsworth milled about and chatted, Erin Mathews and Russ Davis walked up to greet the veteran restaurateur. “When I got the invitation, I said, ‘Oh my God, I’ve been dying to go” to Mudhen, Erin told Shannon.

Mike Rawlings, Suki Otsuki, Shannon Wynne and Jay Dunn*

Mike Rawlings, Suki Otsuki, Shannon Wynne and Jay Dunn*

One guest, Bridge CEO Jay Dunn, was asked whether the recent closing of Dallas’ Tent City homeless camp had affected his facility. Many of the Tent City residents are coming to The Bridge for daily services, Dunn replied, and the need is outstripping the supply. “We are working with them on a case-by-case basis,” he explained. “Some just need a hot and a cot. It is straining us, though. We get better every year, but as Dallas grows, poverty is growing, too.”

Outside the restaurant, the band Shotgun Friday was playing country tunes on the patio, and guests were posing for photos atop a vintage tractor. Soon enough Shannon headed for the bandstand, where the band stopped playing and Wynne thanked everyone for coming. He said he employed one of The Bridge residents in the Mudhen kitchen, and that it’s the responsibility of every Dallas council district to help provide housing for the city’s homeless.

Mudhen tractor and friends

Mudhen tractor and friends

Then Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings, clad in a green Dallas Stars jersey, took the mic. The mayor thanked Shannon for opening Mudhen, which Rawlings said “really celebrates what we’re doing in Farmers Market.” He then echoed Wynne’s call for citywide help with the homeless problem, adding, “The city can only do so much. We need the private sector to step up, too.”

With that, Shannon introduced Jennifer “Suki” Otsuki, Mudhen’s executive chef. “We use no hormones in our meat, and the vegetables are organic,” Suki said, as guests made a beeline for the buffet tables. “So, you can eat like a pig—or you can eat well!” When she was finished talking, some people proceeded to do a little of both.

* Photo provided by Mudhen

‘Victory Dance’ Marks Over-The-Top Successful Fundraising Campaign For Baylor Health Foundation

If the mood was enthusiastic at the Baylor Health Care System Foundation’s A Night of Gratitude at the Dallas Country Club on Tuesday, April 26, there was a very good reason. The foundation, after all, had just announced the successful completion of its first-ever comprehensive funding campaign, Campaign 2015: Baylor Makes Us All Better.

The campaign, which had an original goal of $250 million, had busted past that mark to hit $270 million. And it was bound to be counting even more cash, with the official closing not scheduled until the end of June.

Joel and Diane Allison and Margo and Bill Goodwin*

Joel and Diane Allison and Margo and Bill Goodwin*

Julie and Jim Turner*

Julie and Jim Turner*

Jeremy Lock and D'Andra Simmons Lock*

Jeremy Lock and D’Andra Simmons Lock*

As the 300 Night of Gratitude guests like Margo and Bill Goodwin, Ellen and Alan Miller, D’Andra Simmons Lock and Jeremy Lock, Christie Carter, and Debbie Oates, poured into the DCC, one of them exclaimed: “This is our little victory dance.”

Dallas Country Club ballroom*

Dallas Country Club ballroom*

And the place was decked out to match the celebration. In the reception area was a huge backdrop of multi-squares, some were filled with dazzling small squares, some with the Baylor Health Care System logo and others spelling out “A Night of Gratitude.” That only hinted at what lay within the ballroom that had been transformed with back-lit white curtains covering the walls and lounging areas and tables set up throughout. At one end of the room was a stage with a backdrop and the word “Gratitude” in script.

Shepherd and Hillary Robinson, Kate Robinson Swail and Robin Robinson*

Shepherd and Hillary Robinson, Kate Robinson Swail and Robin Robinson*

What made the campaign so successful? “I’ve got a great team, and a great board to sell for,” said Foundation President Rowland “Robin” Robinson, as he greeted guests not far from Baylor Scott & White Health President/CEO Joel Allison and Foundations Board Chair Jim Turner.

Glenn Callison*

Glenn Callison*

Pam Busbee*

Pam Busbee*

Richard Eiseman*

Richard Eiseman*

But according to Baylor’s Plano medical center Board Chair Glenn Callison, Robinson was being too modest. “I saw what it was like before Robin joined and since he’s been here, and it’s been absolutely phenomenal,” Glenn said. “He’s the best-kept secret in philanthropy.”

Jill Smith and Trisha Wilson*

Jill Smith and Trisha Wilson*

Vin and Pam Perella*

Vin and Pam Perella*

Hunter Sullivan and his band*

Hunter Sullivan and his band*

As guests including newlyweds Hillary and Shepherd Robinson, Kate Robinson Swail, Jill Smith, Trisha Wilson, Pam Busbee, Randi and Ed Halsell, Richard Eiseman Virginia Chandler Dykes, Lydia and Dan Novakov, Marilyn Augur, Pam and VIn Perella, Richard Eiseman, Shelle and Michael Sills and Carolyn and David Miller enjoyed dinner and music by Hunter Sullivan and his band, more than a few decided to turn the Night of Gratitude into a literal “victory dance.” After all, they knew, more than 30,000 donors had ponied up more than 90,000 gifts for the foundation campaign—including a whopping 40 gifts of $1 million or more. The funds will be invested in patient-focused programs, research, medical education, capital and advanced technology for Baylor Scott & White Health-North Texas.

* Photo credit: Kristina Bowman

Despite Threatening Weather, Sherwood Wagner Tented Up With A Lavish Dinner To Kick Off The Dallas Symphony Orchestra Gala

Bird floating over the dinner table*

Bird floating over the dinner table*

Violinist*

Violinist*

Outside the Preston Hollow home of Sherwood Wagner early on Tuesday, April 26, the weather was still warm but dry ahead of the drenching that had been predicted for later. But, once inside Sherwood’s manse, some 150 guests were confronted with a sight that had them forgetting about the forecast: Just beyond the doors leading to Wagner’s yard, a huge, sky-high white tent had been erected that looked like someone’s idea of heaven. Beneath its Hollywood-style spotlights, colorful dinner tables had been neatly arranged, each one sporting generous arrangements of peonies, tulips, lilies or purple orchids. Hanging above each table was a fanciful oversized scultped “bird,” in hues ranging from white, aqua and yellow to pink and gold. Ah, now they recalled the extraordinary invitation that Sherwood had been hand-delivered — a box containing a dazzling feathered faux bird and a printed invite.

Jonathan Martin, Sherwood Wagner and Marena and Roger Gault*

Jonathan Martin, Sherwood Wagner and Marena and Roger Gault*

Million Dollar Quartet*

Million Dollar Quartet*

The stunning environment was the handiwork of Shari Kelley Events of Palm Springs, California, which Sherwood had retained to make this kick-off dinner for the Friday, September 16th Dallas Symphony Gala one the guests won’t soon forget. Affirmed one of them as she took it all in: “This is the prettiest party I’ve been to in the last five years.” The party was also full of surprises, from the real live bird that was chirping somewhere high in the tent, to the virtuoso violinist who played while guests enjoyed drinks and canapés, to the curtain that was suddenly yanked back to reveal a stage with six rockabilly band members beneath lettering that read, Million Dollar Quartet. When the expert musicians tore into tunes like “Don’t Be Cruel,” “Great Balls of Fire” and “Folsom Prison Blues,” guests including Doris and Jack Jacobs and Donna and Herb Weitzman packed the little dance floor.

Carole Ann Brown*

Carole Ann Brown*

Lynn McBee, Barbara Daseke and Yon Jorden*

Lynn McBee, Barbara Daseke and Yon Jorden*

Others, like Kara and Randall Goss, Kathy and Richard Holt, Lynn McBee, Carole and Scott Murray, Holly and Doug Deason and Katherine and Key Coker, were content to chat with friends until dinner (Panzanella artichoke salad and braised short ribs with mashed potatoes and sweet peas) was served. That’s when Sherwood (she’s the 2016 Gala honorary chair) and her buddies 2016 Gala Chairs Marena and Roger Gault took the stage, along with DSO CEO Jonathan Martin. After thanking Gala Underwriting Chairs Margaret and Barry Hancock and Kristi and Ron Hoyl, Roger announced, “We are well on our way to meeting our goal for the Gala.” Jonathan reiterated that the “most famous classical musician on the planet,” pianist Lang Lang, would perform at the Gala. Then, as rain began spattering on the tent’s roof, Marena added, “Come hell or high water, we’re going to have a good time tonight!”

Randall and Kara Goss and Carole and Scott Murray*

Randall and Kara Goss and Carole and Scott Murray*

And that’s just what they did—at least until just before 9:30 and the scheduled desserts (lemon bar with raspberries, or double chocolate chip brownie with strawberries). It was announced then that “Mother Nature’s coming home to roost, so we feel that it’s better to get you on your way and to turn the party off.” With that everyone made happily for the valet line, where they could hear thunder and see lightning flashing off in the distance.

Can’t wait to see what Sherwood and the Gaults have in store for the 2016 fall season’s first black-tie gala. Tickets and sponsorships are available now.

* Photo credit: Sylvia Elzafron

 

Honoring Women—And Achieving Workplace Equality—Were On The Menu At Dallas Women’s Foundation’s Annual Leadership Forum And Award Dinner

Maura McNeil

Maura McNeil

During the VIP reception at the Omni Dallas Hotel for the Dallas Women’s Foundation’s 2016 Leadership Forum and Awards Dinner on Thursday, April 21, the woman for whom the Maura Awards were named sat in a chair against one wall, quietly greeting old friends like Susie Marshall, Vivian Castleberry and Martha Tiller.

The remarkable Maura McNeil, a one-time Dallas resident who’d turned 95 two days earlier, said she lives now in Los Altos, California, but wouldn’t have missed this occasion for anything. “Every year, it gets a little bigger and bigger,” she said. “It’s such a bringing-together event. No one else is doing anything like it.”

Originally called the Women Helping Women Awards when they were established in 1978, the awards were renamed the Maura Awards in 1985 after McNeil, the founding president of the Women’s Center of Dallas and one of 19 founders of the Dallas Women’s Foundation. The awards honor those who’ve helped improve the lives of women and girls in Dallas-Fort Worth.

Nancy Ann Hunt and Vivian Castleberry

Nancy Ann Hunt and Vivian Castleberry

Fran Phillips and Adlene Harrison

Fran Phillips and Adlene Harrison

Following the VIP reception, where the mingling guests included Adlene Harrison, Nancy Ann Hunt, and Ashlee Kleinert, a capacity, sold-out crowd of 930 poured into the Omni’s Trinity Ballroom for the evening’s dinner and program. There, Roslyn Dawson Thompson, president and CEO of the women’s foundation, welcomed everyone before giving way to Event Chairs Margaret Jordan and Debbie Taylor.

Nancy Kasten, David Stern and Lili Stern

Nancy Kasten, David Stern and Lili Stern

Soon, with the help of some expertly produced videos, it was time to present the 2016 Mauras. They went to pioneering attorney Diana C. Dutton (who said, “The glass ceiling remains in place”); entrepreneur Billie Bryant Schultz; Rabbi Nancy Kasten (“We’re all responsible for each other”); New Friends New Life CEO Katie Pedigo; and artist and community leader Vicki Meek (“Someone helped you get a leg up. Your challenge is to help that next person get a leg up”).

Vicki Meeks

Vicki Meek

Young Leader Awards were then presented by women’s foundation Board Chair Ellenore Knight Baker to corporate attorney Brittany K. Byrd, who founded a resource for girls whose mothers are in prison called Girls Embracing Mothers (GEM); and business advisor Lacy L. Durham, who advocates for women on issues ranging from mentorship to human trafficking.

After the guests enjoyed an excellent meal including seasonal bundled greens, pepper-grilled filet of beef, balsamic lacquered breast of chicken and turtle cheesecake, Jennifer Biry of presenting sponsor AT&T introduced the evening’s keynote speaker, Dr. Anne-Marie Slaughter. Slaughter, who’s the president and CEO of the New America Foundation, a former Princeton professor and a former top State Department official under Hillary Clinton, outlined a unique “vision for work-life balance” drawn from her new book, “Unfinished Business: Women, Man, Work, Family.”

Anne-Marie Slaugher

Anne-Marie Slaugher

Working women still lag behind men especially in the executive suite, Slaughter told the crowd, in part because of the extra load professional women often have carried as both mothers and breadwinners. For many years the feminist movement has devalued the “work our mothers did” as caretakers, Slaughter said. And the best way to reestablish the value of the role of caretaker—of children (and now) of aging parents—is to expect the caretaker role to be filled by men as well as women, she said. “It’s discriminatory to expect [working] women to do two jobs, and men to do one,” she said.

In order to accomplish the goal of true equality and opportunity, men will have to be allowed the freedom to give up their rigid roles as alpha males, Slaughter said, and benefit from “the same range of choices [as women] with respect to mixing caregiving and breadwinning.” Government will need to play a key role in making this happen, she added, by requiring that companies provide paid family leave, for instance, or by ensuring the availability of high-quality childcare and eldercare.

In conclusion, Slaughter advocated a number of things the guests could do to advance the cause of true equality. Among them:

  • “Change the way you talk. Banish the word ‘mother’ from your vocabulary and replace it with the word ‘parent.’”
  • “Don’t use the term ‘working mother’ unless you also use the term ‘working father.’”
  • “Talk to young men the same way you would talk to young women.”
  • “Teach your children to be gender pioneers.”
  • “Start thinking about your own ‘Phase Three’: Hillary, for example, would peak as president at the age of 70.”
  • “You can donate to the Dallas Women’s Foundation!”

At Breakfast Presented By An ‘Evolving’ Executives In Action, Author Tommy Spaulding Talks About Leading From The Heart

The invitation said the 4th Annual Book And Breakfast event at the Dallas Country Club would feature a talk by Tommy Spaulding, whose latest book is titled “The Heart-Led Leader.” But those who showed up at the Executives In Action gathering on Friday, April 15, soon learned that the morning’s biggest news involved the “evolution” of EIA with the help of an online platform that could help it grow.

Founded in 2008 by Ashlee and Chris Kleinert (in partnership with Entrepreneurs for North Texas and the Center for Nonprofit Management) to match volunteer executives with local nonprofits, EIA, it seems, had reached the limits of its capabilities, having paired execs with more than 270 North Texas nonprofits over the years. Now, though, with a steady increase in grant applications and executive inquiries, EIA needed help taking its services to the next level. It found that help in Catchafire, a New York-based, skills-based online platform that utilizes a Match.com-like technology with a worldwide reach.

As explained at the breakfast by Chris and Rachael Chong, CEO and founder of Catchafire, the two groups discovered each other at a breakfast arranged by Greg McKeown, who spoke at last year’s Book & Breakfast event. “We shared the same vision,” Rachael said, as this year’s breakfast crowd tucked into their scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage, and pastries. “It was love at first web-site.”

With more than 15,000 nonprofits in Dallas-Fort Worth, a third of them operating on budgets of less than $500,000, Rachael said her goal—and that of the evolving EIA—would be to match 1,000 DFW charities with executives over the next 12 months at the web site called dallas.catchafire.org.

The rest of the morning’s program was handled by emcee Gary Cogill—he joked that he, Chris, and Tommy had been asked to star in a male version of “Real Housewives of Dallas”—and Spaulding, a world-renowned speaker on leadership issues. While guests including Rand Stagen and Catherine Cuellar listened raptly, Tommy recounted lessons from his new book, which talks about how authentic leaders effect transformational change by living and leading from the heart. The most important component of such leadership is humility, Tommy said, launching into a personal story that demonstrated the importance of that virtue.

After renting a house in upstate New Hampshire, he recounted, he and his wife went to a movie at the town’s small theater one day and, to their great surprise and delight, upon walking in received a standing ovation from the other patrons. “Calm down,” his wife whispered, as Tommy’s head began to swell from the recognition. Later, Spaulding said, he asked an older man who’d been in the audience whether he knew who Spaulding was. “No,” the older man replied. “Then why did you give us a standing ovation?” Tommy asked. The answer: “There were only eight people in the theater when you walked in, and they won’t start the movie until there are 10.”

Reception Warmed Up The Crowd With Auction Items—And Leigh Anne Tuohy—For Rainbow Days Fundraiser

It was a chatty, optimistic crowd that gathered Thursday, April 14, at the offices of Thompson and Knight for the Pot of Gold Patron Reception. And, why not: ticket sales for the 19th Annual Pot of Gold Luncheon scheduled for the next day were at 630, and counting. The luncheon, which benefits the Rainbow Days nonprofit, had a new venue, the Omni Dallas Hotel, after being at the Hilton Anatole for 18 years. Bids for the luncheon auction items were being taken online for the first time, and already more than $19K worth had rolled in.

Catherine Rowsey, Leigh Anne Tuohy, Nicole Williams and Jon Langbert*

Catherine Rowsey, Leigh Anne Tuohy, Nicole Williams and Jon Langbert*

Perhaps best of all, the luncheon’s special guest speaker, Leigh Anne Tuohy, had shown up for the Thompson and Knight do—much to the delight of the 75 guests. Tuohy, the inspirational matriarch for the book and movie about her family titled “The Blind Side,” posed cheerfully in one corner for photos, even though her life was in overdrive (it seems her daughter Collins Tuohy, who was here in January for Soup’s On, was getting married the following weekend).

Cathey Brown*

Cathey Brown*

After Rainbow Days founder and CEO Cathey Brown welcomed patron reception guests like Lynn McBee , Juliette Coulter, Chris Kay, Don Krasen, Auction Co-Chair Jon Langbert, Rainbow Days Board President Greg Pascuzzi and Fred Rowsey —Cathy called the gathering “the party before the party”—Luncheon Chair Catherine Rowsey and Auction Co-chair Nicole Williams took over and thanked the event sponsors, including Jim McDonald from top sponsor Pacific Union Financial.

Greg Pascuzzi*

Greg Pascuzzi*

When the short program was over some of the guests returned to their sipping and chatting, while others made a beeline for the back room, where several of the auction items were on display. The auction, sponsored by Thompson and Knight, would feature items worth more than $70,000, including a golf trip to Pebble Beach, a stay and dinner at the Rosewood Crescent, tickets to the Mesquite Rodeo, and a custom dinner and wine for four at Sevy’s Grill.

* Photo credit: Rob 
Wythe/Gittings

Dallas Cowboys Quarterback Tony Romo Is Star Attraction At Just Say Yes’s 6th Annual Celebration

The pool house at Lisa and Kenny Troutt’s sprawling Preston Hollow manse was buzzing with excitement Tuesday, April 12, for the Just Say Yes group’s 6th Annual Celebration, officially titled “Missing Puzzle Piece.” The reason: Candice and Tony Romo were down at one end posing graciously for photos, and all the VIP guests wanted to get close to the Dallas Cowboys quarterback and his wife.

Candice’s mother, it turns out, had been instrumental in introducing Just Say Yes founder and president Dan Bailey to potential donors at a coffee some 15 years ago. And tonight, the 350 attendees—including Annette Simmons and Jerry Fronterhouse, Ed Franklin, Lee Ann and Alan White, and Tiffany and Paul Divis—would listen to Romo being interviewed by Bailey at the dinner fundraiser. Just Say Yes (Youth Equipped to Succeed) empowers youth to attain their dreams and goals—and say no to destructive choices—by educating them through student-assembly speakers and classroom curriculum.

While honorary chairs Gena and Chuck Norris weren’t able to make it, Cassandra and Avery Johnson flew in from California for the evening. Avery, the former Dallas Mavs coach who now coaches men’s basketball at the University of Alabama, presented the Avery Johnson Youth Impact Award to Lisa and Kenny. During brief remarks, Avery joked that his son Avery Jr.—a basketball player who will be transferring from Texas A&M to Alabama—is “obsessed with Tony Romo.”

Avery’s son would have been in good company at this event. During a wide-ranging conversation with Dan, Tony:

  • Said that his broken clavicle is mending nicely, and that “I think I’m gonna make it through the season, so we should be fine.”
  • Disclosed that his parents were his most influential role models growing up. He was reared in modest circumstances as a “little bit of an outcast,” Tony said.
  • Advised today’s high school students to resist peer pressure from the “cool” kids: “It doesn’t matter. Don’t let them affect you day-to-day. Don’t let them control you. Just give it to God and live your life.”
  • Criticized the often-negative effects of social media. “This social media world is so not real life,” Tony said. “I would say, a.) don’t read it. But b.), if you do, be unemotionally attached. People don’t really care about you that much. Life will go on. Just do your job and everything will be fine.”

“Missing Puzzle Piece” also featured a dinner by Chamberlain’s and an auction and raffle, with Louis Murad calling the shots. The fundraising aspect was important, Bailey explained, because Just Say Yes is aiming to triple its annual budget in three years, from $900,000 currently to $2.7 million. With the larger amount, he said, Just Say Yes would be able to reach 250,000 students a year.

Parkland Advocate Debbie Dudley Branson Is Honored With Prestigious Linz Award

Few nonprofit events in Dallas can match the annual Linz Award luncheon for the star power of its guests, and this year’s Linz—held Wednesday, April 6, at the Omni Dallas Hotel—was no exception. Everywhere you turned, it seemed, the city’s legendary movers and shakers were moving and shaking, from Frank Branson, Joel Allison, Carol Reed, Walt Humann and Luncheon Chair Patti Flowers to Doug Hawthorne, Dolores Barzune, Dale Petroskey, Ros Dawson, Gay and Bill SolomonRon Steinhart, Mary Jalonick, Sarah Losinger, Margaret Jordan, Helen Holman, Winfred Parnell, Meredith Mosely, Tom Dunning, John Scovell and Andy Stern.

Patti Flowers and Ros Dawson

Patti Flowers and Ros Dawson

Larry and Dolores Barzune

Larry and Dolores Barzune

Frank Branson

Frank Branson

Winfred Parnell

Winfred Parnell

They’d all turned out to honor Debbie Dudley Branson, recipient of the 87th annual Linz Award. Presented by Zales, a Signet Brand, and The Dallas Morning News, the Linz is given each year to the individual whose civic and humanitarian efforts over the last decade created the greatest benefit to the city, without having received monetary compensation. The luncheon is organized by the Junior League of Dallas and benefits its Community Service Fund.

This year about 500 people showed up for the event honoring Branson, a trial lawyer who served as board chair of Parkland Health and Hospital System when it had multiple complex problems. Among other things, Parkland was facing the potential loss of its accreditation, its hospital license, and its Medicare certification and funding. Branson is credited with turning around and revitalizing the system, thanks to her “grace-under-fire leadership and genuine concern for the underserved people of Dallas County.”

Jim Moroney

Jim Moroney

Debbie Branson and Sheila Grant

Debbie Branson and Sheila Grant

While guests enjoyed lunch including a mixed-green salad and braised short-ribs, they heard from Sheila and Jody Grant, last year’s Linz recipients, as well as Jim Moroney, publisher and CEO of The News, and Bill Luth of Signet Jewelers. Luth called Branson a “focused, dedicated and committed leader” before giving way to Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins, who likened Branson’s 2012 challenges at Parkland to receiving a military “posting to Hawaii on December 7, 1941.”

Debbie Branson and Clay Jenkins

Debbie Branson and Clay Jenkins

During her remarks accepting the prestigious award, Branson said her efforts to revive the system were a “true labor of love” that would not have been possible without the help of its thousands of front-line employees, doctors, and volunteers. Among the improvements she oversaw were the implementation of a more effective governance structure; the building of a new, $1.3 billion campus; and the hiring of a permanent CEO, Dr. Fred Cerise.

However, Branson cautioned in concluding her remarks, “I know the quest is not over to make Parkland better.”

For more photos, check out MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.