MySweetCharity Opportunity: Meal For The Minds Luncheon

According to Metrocare Services CEO Dr. John W. Burruss,

John W. Burruss*

Emmitt Smith*

NFL and Cowboy Hall-of-Famer Emmitt Smith will speak to the 2017 Meal for the Minds audience this year.  Mr. Smith is renowned and respected not only for his Super Bowl championships and NFL achievements, but also for his substantial success in business and his goodwill and generosity.  His extraordinary life provides him a unique platform to influence others about mental health care issues.  Mr. Smith encourages everyone to speak openly about the need to seek help while advocating for increased access to mental health care.

Metrocare Services celebrates our 50th anniversary this year! In 1967, no one spoke publicly about mental illness.  In 2017, the stigma of mental illness is lessened because of those with the courage to speak out and those with the means to support them.  Last year, as a result of this community’s willingness to battle the challenge of stigma, Metrocare helped over 57,000 adults and children with mental health needs and/or developmental disabilities, more than ever before!

The goal for Dallas must be complete elimination of this stigma.  It’s an honor to have Mr. Smith further that goal by speaking at Metrocare’s Meal for the Minds on how we can each play a role in “breaking the silence, fighting the stigma and changing minds.”

To amplify his and all of our voices, NBC 5 will be our media sponsor to assist us in promoting this year’s Meal for the Minds. Additionally, NBC 5 will continue to build awareness of Metrocare’s wide range of programs for those who need mental health care, services for those with intellectual and developmental disabilities, primary care, housing, and supportive services.

The 2017 Meal for the Minds luncheon will be held Thursday, October 5, at the Hilton Anatole Hotel.  The silent auction begins at 11:00 a.m. and the lunch program begins at 11:45 a.m.  Individual tickets for the luncheon are $150 each and sponsorship opportunities begin at $1,500.  For tickets or sponsor information, please visit our website at www.metrocareservies.org/events.  For questions, contact Tameka Y. Cass at 214.743.1220 or email [email protected]

* Photo provided by Metrocare

Family Gateway’s Raffle Offers Courtside Seats, Movie Audience VIP Status And Fashionable Designs And Pampering

Talk about variety! That’s exactly what the Gateway to Opportunity raffle line up offers to benefit Family Gateway. There are just five items, but run the gamut from sports to self-indulgence. Here is the lineup:

Abraham Salum (File photo)

Michael Flores (File photo)

Michael Faircloth (File photo)

  • Start off the evening with Abraham Salum’s team preparing dinner for four of you at Salum’s. But make it early because you’ll want to get to the Mavericks game at American Airlines Center early to watch the teams warm up from your two courtside seats and two additional nearby seats. Thank heaven, you’ll have limousine transportation, so you can wear yourself out urging on Dirk and waving on the Mavs Fancam.
  • Who needs a media room when you have a Studio Movie Grill Black Card for two for a year? Just imagine, you’ll be able to skip the hassles of buying tickets and settle back to watch the latest movies. Let’s see. If you and a bud go every day for a year, that would run you between $4,380 and $7,665. Pass the popcorn, but don’t pass up this opportunity.
  • Your fav follicle engineer at Truvy’s Beauty Shop is gonna be heartbroken if you win this item — $1,000 gift certificate for services at the Michael Flores Salon at Neiman Marcus Downtown. Ah, the stories you’ll be able to tell your pals about being glamorized by Michael Flores and his team. Think of it a little like dining from soup to nuts. Instead it will be a feast from roots to pedicure.
  • What’s better than a nip and tuck? Jewelry. It lasts forever, don’t you know. And this 18k rose-gold amethyst pendant necklace with diamond accents designed by Lisa Nik for Bachendorf’s will simply dazzle your neckline. And to show off this dazzler valued at $3,360, what better place than Javier’s, where you’ll have a $200 gift certificate for top-shelf margaritas with Grand Marnier, Fajitas De Cabrito and Flan Al Kahlúa.
  • Is there anything more embarrassing that showing up at a black-tie gala only to see you gown on someone else? Ah, but this item can prevent that from happening thanks to Dallas’ one and only designer extraordinaire Michael Faircloth. The man with notches on his belt for dressing some of the best dressed and a former first lady will create a suit or dress valued at $4,000. And if you’ve ever experienced a Faircloth creation, then you just know Cinderella would have replaced her fairy godmother with Michael.

Going for $50 a ticket, Luncheon Co-Chairs Paula Miltenberger and Betty Schultz have arranged an extra incentive. If you buy five tickets, they’ll throw in an additional one gratis. And if you’re gonna be out of town and unable to attend the luncheon featuring Laura Bush at the Omni Dallas Hotel on Thursday, September 7, not to worry. Paula and Betty will let you know which package you won.

MySweetCharity Opportunity: Gateway To Opportunity Luncheon

According to Gateway To Opportunity Luncheon Co-Chairs Paula Miltenberger and Betty Schultz,

Paula Miltenberger (File photo)

Laura Bush (File photo)

Here is your opportunity to help Family Gateway provide stability and life-changing supportive services to children and families affected by homelessness.  The Gateway To Opportunity Luncheon, presented by MetroPCS, will feature keynote speaker Laura W. Bush on Thursday, September 7, at the Omni Dallas Hotel.  We are thrilled to have civic leaders Nancy Halbreich and Janie McGarr, daughters of Family Gateway founder Annette Strauss, serving as honorary co-chairs of the event.

Laura Bush, First Lady of the United States (2001-2009) is a leading voice for spreading freedom and promoting human rights across the globe.  She advocated the importance of literacy and education to advance opportunity for America’s young people and to foster healthy families and communities.  Today, Mrs. Bush pursues her work on global healthcare innovations and empowering women in emerging democracies through the George W. Bush Institute.  We are honored to have her join us at this important fund-raising event for Family Gateway.

By supporting the Gateway To Opportunity Luncheon you will enable Family Gateway to address the devastating effects of homelessness in our community. Visit www.familygateway.org for sponsorship opportunities and ticket information.

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

Houston Texans Rookie Quarterback Deshaun Watson Brings His Life-Changing Story To Dallas Habitat For Humanity’s Dream Builder’s Dinner

While there appears to be no doubt who will be the starting quarterbacks for the Dallas Cowboys this year, down in Houston it’s a different story. The decision is making headlines whether it will be first-round pick rookie Deshaun Watson or veteran Tom Savage. Houston Texans coach Bill O’Brien suggested that Savage has the edge after working with the team for the past three years. But perhaps O’Brien was too busy last year to notice what happened up I-45 when the Cinderella story took place in North Texas.

And while a showdown between Deshaun and Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott would be a ticket well worth the purchase, only time will tell if that ever happens.

Deshaun Watson*

Dale Hansen (File photo)

However, Deshaun will be in North Texas and he’ll be facing someone who intimidates even the hardiest athlete — WFAA’s Dale Hansen. The newbie NFL-er and the seasoned pro interviewer will get together at Belo Mansion on Thursday, October 19, for Dallas Area Habitat for Humanity’s first annual Dream Builder’s Dinner. But chances are they may talk about more than passes, touchdowns and predictions.

It’s because of something that happened just before Thanksgiving in 2006, when Deshaun was just 11 years old. For the first ten years of his life, he and his mother and siblings had lived in public housing. But his mother Deann Watson was bound and determined to get her family into their own home with a backyard. While holding two jobs, she put in hundreds of hours of volunteer work, made an application and received a brand new Habitat for Humanity house.

As Deshaun and his family approached the door of their new home, there was former NFL star running back Warrick Dunn with keys to hand over to the Watsons. Immediately, Deshaun headed straight to his new bedroom. That first night all was in place including furniture and food provided by Warrick.

According to Deshaun, “The home gave him a chance to get out of difficult surroundings and start moving toward the goal of being in the NFL.”

For Warrick, it was a pay-it-forward moment. He “knew from experience how important it was to give a helping hand, but not a handout, to single mothers and their children.” His own mother, who had been a police officer, had been murdered when she escorted a businesswoman to a bank to make a nighttime deposit. At the age of 18, Warrick became the head of the family. He would also be a leading force in NFL players supporting charities. When Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans, he “challenged all NFL players, except those who play for the New Orleans Saints, to donate at least $5,000 to the effort.” It resulted in more than $5M in contributions.

Over the years, Deshaun embraced the pay it forward. During his years at Clemson, he and his teammates were part of the Habitat for Humanity program.

Just this past October he was presented with the Lowe’s AFCA Good Works Team Award for his Habitat for Humanity efforts in college.

Now, as a professional football player, Deshaun’s using his “celebrity” to help families achieve their homes by supporting Habitat for Humanity.   

And that’s why Deshaun is making time during the football season to be at Belo Mansion to support Habitat for Humanity. It should be quite a night and quite a chat.

Diane and Mike Gruber (File photo)

Jennifer and Tom Karol (File photo)

Lynn and Allan McBee (File photo)

In addition to DeShaun and Dale, the evening will honor Phil Wise and the Carpenters for Christ of Highland Park United Methodist Church. Co-Chairing the event will be Diane and Mike Gruber, Jennifer and Tom Karol and Lynn and Allan McBee.

* Photo provided by Dallas Habitat for Humanity

 

MySweetCharity Opportunity: Dallas Women’s Foundation 32nd Annual Luncheon

According Dallas Women’s Foundation Luncheon Co-Chairs A. Shonn Brown and Lisa Singleton,

Lisa Singleton and Shonn Brown (File photo)

If you’ve always wanted to hear from one of Time Magazine’s Top 100 Influential People and a New York Times best-selling author, while also supporting the Dallas Women’s Foundation, then we invite you to join us on Friday, October 20, for the 32nd Annual Luncheon at the Hilton Anatole.

Our speaker this year is Dr. Hope Jahren, a brilliant scientist whose achievements as a paleobiologist are rivaled by her achievements as an author and advocate for gender equity in science.

Hope Jahren*

Dr. Jahren is recognized as a change maker. According to Time: “It is a rare breed of scientist who is both a leader in her field and a great writer, but Hope Jahren is both. (She) has built a career and a reputation in science by unearthing secrets hidden in fossilized plant life. Her work has resulted in at least 70 studies in dozens of journals, but it’s also given her a platform—a megaphone, really—to talk about something else: widespread sexual harassment and discrimination in science. On her blog, in op-eds and in her memoir, Lab Girl, which debuted on the New York Times best-seller list, Jahren wields her influence to call out a culture that has caused women to flee the field she so loves…And whether she’s writing about lab funding, discrimination or deciduous trees, she has a way of making you love it [science] too.”

Special thanks to our current sponsors:

  • Platinum Sponsor: U.S. Trust Company and Bank of America Private Wealth Management
  • Speaker Sponsors: Nancy Ann and Ray Hunt and The Suzanne Ahn, M.D. Speaker Endowment Fund at Dallas Women’s Foundation
  • Diamond Sponsor: Kimberly-Clark Corporation and Freeman
  • Emerald Sponsors: AT&T, Inc., Ellenore and Kirk Baker/Carter Financial Mgmt., Lucy and Henry Billingsley, Chatham Hill Investment Partnership, Toni Muñoz-Hunt and Dan Hunt, Ashlee and Chris Kleinert, Service King Collision Repair, Betty and Steve Suellentrop and Toyota
  • Gold Sponsor: Bank of Texas, Phyllis F. Bernstein, Nancy P. Carlson, Serena Simmons Connelly, Sheila Gallagher and Kay M. Winzenried, Haynes and Boone LLP, The Hart Group, Inc., Al G. Hill Jr., Alice and Erle Nye and Trinity Industries, Inc.
  • Silver Sponsors: Bank of America Plaza, Julia Bleicher and Gail Griswold, Veree Brown, Melissa Fetter, Marion T. Flores and Margaret Keliher, JP Morgan Chase, Jackson Walker, L.L.P., Junior League of Dallas Inc., Neiman Marcus, Cecilia and Tim Norwood, Julia A. Simon, The University of Texas at Arlington, TIAA and Katrina Watland
  • Media Sponsors: Dallas Business Journal, D CEO, MySweetCharity.

Luncheon sponsorships are still available, ranging from $3,500 to $50,000; individual tickets are available at $500 to $1,000. Sponsorships are available at www.DallasWomensFdn.org/luncheon or by calling 214.525.5318

The Foundation is in the midst of a campaign raising $50 million, with $35 million of that already achieved. Monies raised at the October 20 luncheon will further the cause of investing in women and girls to have positive ripple effects in families, communities and the globe.

Plans Announced For Luncheon Celebrating Susan G. Komen’s 35th Anniversary With Giuliana Rancic As Keynote Speaker

Breast cancer all too often was a death sentence or at least an excruciating journey, both physically and emotionally. In the early 1950’s The New York Times “refused to publish an ad for a breast cancer support group, stating that it would not print the words ‘breast’ or ‘cancer.’”

Despite the mammogram being developed in 1969, it still hid behind a cloak of limited knowledge and a patient’s embarrassment. The routine was for a patient to be anesthetized for a biopsy. If the results were positive, a radical mastectomy was immediately performed while the patient was still under anesthesia.

The situation changed slightly in the early 1970’s when such well-knowns as Shirley Temple Black, Betty Ford and Happy Rockefeller revealed that they had indeed undergone breast cancer surgery.

Even so, treatments, developments, funding and awareness were limited. Breast cancer continued its charge. But in 1977 the disease picked the wrong person — a 33-year-old woman from Peoria, Illinois. After a three-year battle, the young woman died. But before Susan Goodman Komen succumbed to the disease, her feisty 30-year-old kid sister made a promise — she would “do everything possible to end the shame, pain, fear and hopelessness caused by this disease.”

That sister was Nancy Goodman Brinker, who would establish a world-changing program to bring breast cancer out of the closet with the goal of putting an end to it. In 1982, with the help of Nancy’s husband, the late Norman Brinker, the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation was established.

Since its inception, Komen has “funded more than $920 million in research, more than $2 billion in medical care, community and provider education, and psychosocial support, serving millions in over 60 countries worldwide.”

In addition, millions of people and countless fundraising efforts including Baylor Health Care System Foundation’s Celebrating Women Luncheon program  and the American Cancer Society’s Making Strides of North Texas have risen to fuel the battle to rid the world of the disease.

Gigi Hill Lancaster*

Ruth Altshuler (File photo)

Linda Custard (File photo)

Gene Jones (File photo)

To commemorate the 35th anniversary of the founding of Susan G. Komen, Gigi Hill Lancaster, who lost her mother to breast cancer, is chairing the Susan G. Komen Anniversary Luncheon at Belo Mansion on Wednesday, September 27. Serving as honorary co-chairs are Ruth Altshuler, Linda Custard and Gene Jones.

Giuliana Rancic*

Unlike those days when they used to hold the annual Komen luncheon, where boxes of Kleenex abounded, this one will be an anniversary celebration “honoring those who – for decades – have helped Dallas-based Komen fund breast cancer research and programs that have saved millions on lives.” Emmy-winning TV personality/ entrepreneur/ breast cancer survivor Giuliana Rancic, who was just seven years old when “the promise” was made, will be the featured speaker.  

Since the luncheon is being held at Belo Mansion, seating will be limited, so book your place pronto.

Thank-you notes should be sent to Co-Presenters Bank of America, Highland Park Village/Al G. Hill Jr. and family, Lyda Hill and Alinda H. Wikert. 

* Photo provided by Susan G. Komen

 

MySweetCharity Opportunity: Each Moment Matters

David and Laurie Peacock*

According to 2017 Each Moment Matters Luncheon Co-Chairs Laurie and David Peacock,

When Laurie and I were asked to chair the 2017 Each Moment Matters Luncheon we had no idea how impacted we would be by the work that Faith Presbyterian Hospice does in the Dallas community. We have heard so many stories from people who wish they had done things differently when their parent or spouse passed away on hospice.  Faith Presbyterian Hospice is the hospice that changes the end-of-life experience for both patients and families. We are honored to be a part of this signature event which supports customized services and excellent hospice care, both at home and at the recently opened inpatient hospice center, the T. Boone Pickens Hospice and Palliative Care Center.

Marlee Matlin*

We invite you to join us at the Hilton Anatole on Friday, September 29, with Academy Award winning actress and activist, Marlee Matlin as our guest speaker. With an extensive list of Hollywood career achievements including the movie “Children of a Lesser God,” for which she received the Academy Award for Best Actress, Marlee is an advocate for children and those struggling against domestic abuse and addiction, as well as other humanitarian causes. Having lost her hearing at 18 months of age, Marlee never let her challenges dictate her future or deter her dreams.

In its eighth year, the Each Moment Matters Luncheon will once again honor 25 community leaders through the Each Moment Matters Award. The event raises awareness of hospice care and how to navigate tough end-of-life decisions. Funds raised at the luncheon ensure that Faith Presbyterian Hospice can continue to provide services to those needing care regardless of their ability to pay.

Each Moment Matters*

Thanks to the following underwriters, the cost of this year’s event is fully covered allowing sponsorships and donations to go 100% to the Faith Presbyterian Hospice Caring Fund and the patients it serves: Cathy and William Davis, The Don W. Hodges Family, The Billie and Gillis Thomas Foundation, Business Jet Center, Messick Peacock and Associates, Knightvest Management LLC, Marcia and Noe Hinojosa and Margie and Ray Francis.

Table sponsorships start at $1,750 and individual tickets are available for $200.  To purchase a sponsorship or to find out more, please visit www.eachmomentmatters.org.

The 2017 Each Moment Matters Honorees: Arcilia C. Acosta, Stefanie and Steven Ailey, Yasmin Zarolia Bhatia, Thomas CampbellLisa Harper Clark MD, Joy Cruse, Mrs. David Curtis, Alison Doherty, Jane Benedict  Echols, Lisa Englander, Terry N. Ford, Tricia M. George, John Killian, Sandy Massie, Trish Matthews, D.Min., Carlin McDonald Morris, Scott Murray, “Smokey” John Reaves, George R. Schrader, Susan E. Stephens, Andy Kaye Walsh, Stephanie Ward, Pierre Michaela “Mickie” Watson and Janita Hemphill Wells.

* Graphic and photo provided by the Dallas Arboretum

 

Dallas Cowboys Dak Prescott And Joanna Hernandez Demonstrated The Importance Of After-School All-Stars For Middle Schoolers

Settle back: This post is a long one, but it’s worth it.

If Dante Alighieri was updating his “Purgatorio,” he surely would have added Middle School to his Divine Comedy. Even the most blemish-free runway model recoils when recalling those days between elementary and high school. Teachers serving time in classrooms during this tenure should receive combat pay. Kids on their way to adulthood via the way station of puberty are being hit by their physical changes as well as peer pressure. Parents who years ago changed their babies’ diapers and made their peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwiches are transformed into Golfimbul on steroids.

Needless to say, this period of life is trying to say the least. But more about this later.

Brad Sham and Charles Haley

Rising Stars Luncheon organizers were looking a tad bit nervous around noontime on Wednesday, May 17, in the entry of the Dallas Country Club as they gathered for the After-School All-Stars North Texas fundraiser. Keynote speaker/Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott was 20 minutes late. Dallas Cowboys voice/the day’s emcee Brad Sham assured them not to worry. Dak was probably stuck in the traffic lineup of vehicles on Mockingbird waiting to turn into the club.

In another area of the DCC, Dallas Cowboys vet Charles Haley was having a great time with the Brad.

Cliff Fischer, Dak Prescott and Charles Haley

Ken Schnitzer and Dak Prescott

Lee Bailey, Gina Betts and Tracy Lange

Bailey Lange, Livia Lange and Dak Prescott

As the lineup of 100 guests including Luncheon Chair Gina Betts with husband Ken Betts and son Jack Betts, Lee Bailey, Lisa Cooley and daughter Ciara Cooley, Tori Roark, Tiffany Divis, Tanya Foster, Lange kids (Bailey, Livia and Luke), Gregory Dunbar, Nancy Gopez, Shannon and Ted Skokos, Roz Colombo and Cliff Fischer surged to more than 200 for the meet-and-greet in the Founders Room, Dak’s handlers seamlessly moved him from the porte-cochere entrance to the grip-and-grin via the kitchen.

Shannon Skokos, Dak Prescott and Ted Skokos

Nancy Gopez and Dak Prescott

Dak Prescott and Stuart Macatee

Tori Roark, Dak Prescott and Ciara Cooley

Tanya Foster, Dak Prescott and Tiffany Divis

Emerging from the hallway, Dak registered a momentary look of surprise at the number of smiling faces. Taking his place in front of the ASAS sponsor board, he met his adoring fans of all ages. It should be noted that as the line continued to grow, Dak only took a two-second break for a gulp of water.

With each new BFF, he flashed that trademark Dak smile.

Arriving with his mom, Jonika Nix, Cash Nix was a standout wearing a Cowboys #4 jersey.

Cash Nix, Dak Prescott and Jonika Nix

Just as Dak was about to make his getaway for the ballroom, Cliff Fischer and Charles Haley arrived for a photo. And, of course, Charles just couldn’t contain himself trying to give Dak a smooch. Doing a great dodge, Dak moved just out of lip shot.

It was interesting to note that one of the last to appear was Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban with son Jake Cuban. While Mark waved off a photo with Dak, he smiled on the side as the football player had a photo taken with Jake.

Fredye Factor, Dak Prescott and Haden Wolf

Inside the ballroom, it was a battle royale for guests taking selfies with Dak and Cubes. Poor guys hardly had a chance to eat. Speaking of which, it should be noted that the room had a larger showing than usual of young males. It seems that ASASNT Advisory Board Chair Ben Lange‘s blonde wife Tracy Lange had picked up on the abundance of little girls attending the “A Place to Soar” luncheon featuring Simone Biles. So, realizing that parents and grandparents like Fredye Factor might want to have a similar turnout of little boys for Dak, they prepared a menu just perfect for that age group: chicken fingers and French fries. And to be perfectly honest, there were many an adult who eyed the fingers and fries enviously.

Chicken fingers and fries

To keep the program rolling, Gina announced at the podium, “Please keep eating while we’re talking.” With that, silverware hit the plates. Gina explained that presenting sponsors Nancy and Richard Rogers were unable to attend because they were house moving.

She described the raffle prizes: First prize was a signed jersey by Dak, while the second prize was a trip to L.A. to player poker with Arnold Schwarzenegger and his friends. Upon hearing the latter, Dak piped up that he wanted a raffle ticket. 

Gina then got to the meat of the fundraiser: helping middle schoolers who get out of school in the afternoon and go to empty homes because their parent or parents are probably at work. Said Gina: “There is no one to greet them; no one to make them a sandwich; sometimes there’s no TV; and there’s certainly no one there to encourage them to do their school work.”

That’s where ASASNT comes in, Gina added. Between 3 and 6 p.m., “when those children would be on the streets hanging out with their friends or people they shouldn’t be hanging out with, instead they stay after school, where a volunteer comes and helps them with their homework, gives them education and then they get to do something fun.”

ASASNT Executive Director Marissa Castro Mikoy recalled how the year before, this luncheon event had taken place at Arlington Hall with about 100 guests. Today, the room was filled with more than 300 people. Speaking of numbers, she reported that, within Dallas County, more than “125,000 kids go home after school unsupervised. Only nine out of 42 DISD middle schools had any type of onsite after-school programs.” In addition, Marissa reported that “Dallas County has the fourth-highest juvenile crime rate in Texas.”

Joanna Hernandez

Following a video, ASASNT Program Manager Tori Schwarzlose introduced ASASNT 9th grade student Joanna Hernandez, who smartly did a shout-out to ASASNT JCPenney Signature Sponsor for her outfit. She then launched into a talk about her mom, who was from Waco, and her dad, who hailed from Mexico. They instilled in her the fact that they wanted better things for her. She admitted that “school wasn’t really hard for me and I like to read and really worked hard for my classes,” but what was challenging for her was “fitting in. In middle school, people are so quick to judge and I hated that. I felt like the loner in the corner, but when I started seventh grade, it sucked … really.” Joanna hit a chord that the majority in the room shared laughing with her.

But then her laughter and smile turned to the reality of the situation: “I wasn’t the only one dealing with the pressures. But it truly affected me, making me want to stay in my room and believes the lies. I used to come home every day after school, stay in my room, lock the door and wouldn’t let anyone talk to me or tell them how I feel. Mostly I was in a place where I wanted to hurt myself because of the words and actions of other people.” But eighth grade changed things, thanks to her learning about an after-school program. She asked her friends if they would come with her and they said, “Sure.” The first day they showed up for tryouts, “it was all the popular kids, and I felt so out of place. So I sat in the  back of the corner alone as always.” That changed when Tori came in, sat down and began talking with Joanna. 

That was the turning point. Joanna started making friends and having new experiences, like learning how to cook, DJ music production, and coding. Thanks to her teacher, to Tori and to others in the ASASNT program, Joanna admitted that she feels like they are family.

In conclusion, Joanna said that ASASNT can “help other students like me look at themselves differently and gain confidence. I am so grateful for this opportunity [from the] All Stars.”

Joanna knocked it out of the park. She had something that even the most polished professional speakers often lack: she spoke from the heart and from experience. The audience of all ages including Ben and Dak showed their appreciation.

Ben Lange

Dak Prescott

She was followed by JCPenney Executive VP and chief merchant/ASASNT Board Member John Tighe, who made a brief shout-out for financial support and introduced Brad Sham.

John had no soon taken his seat than Brad unleashed an announcement that he was deviating from the script. That statement from the podium naturally sends event planners into a brain frenzy. They realize that they have lost control and are now at the mercy of the man with the mic power.

Luckily, the man was Brad. He started off saying, “First of all, that was a very understated ask.” Then he asked Joanna to stand. Whoa! Things were really going off script. Sham was supposed to introduce Dak and settle down in a couple of chairs for a chat. Instead he was scrambling things up and had everyone’s attention.

“I want everyone to look at her. [Laughter, as Joanna shyly rose from her chair as bewildered as the guests]. I’m sorry, but I’m not sorry. She’s not a statistic; she’s not a number; she’s a real human person, whose life has been enriched and therefore is going to have the opportunity to enrich her community because of After-School All-Stars. Now, there’s no one over 18 in a sports coat or a tie, who ought to walk out of here today without giving some money to this organization. You care about these kids. Look around the room at these young people. These are people. These are the people who are going to be in charge in before long. We’d better help them. It’s our responsibility. It’s your responsibility.”

He then told Joanna that she could sit down, but he would ask her back on stage soon. He then asked the board members to raise their hands because he wanted to make sure to make eye contact with them about what he was going to say. “I’m really grateful for the opportunity to be here today. I’m here for two reasons, maybe three. The first one is that my very good friend and your fellow board member Barry Greenberg asked me to be here. Barry Greenberg has a birthday today and his butt is not here. He’s in Hawaii. I would like you to have him hear about that at the next board meeting. He didn’t mention that when he set me up to do this. The second thing is all he had to do was tell me a little bit about After-School All-Stars and I’m in. I talked to Marrissa and you hear the passion.”

Editor’s note: The following are excerpts from the conversation by Sham and Dak, but if you have the time, you might want to check the video below. Like the old saying goes, “A picture (or in this case a video) is worth a thousand words.)

Sham then explained how Dak’s presence had been the clincher for his being part of the program. With Dak sitting directly in front of the stage staring at Sham, Brad said, “He is who you want him to be. I think he’s going to be a pretty good quarterback. He’s already pretty good. He’s had a pretty good year and I think he’s going to have a tremendous career. Preferably what you want him to be is a really good quarterback for the Cowboys. But when you’re a quarterback for the Cowboys and pretty good, you then have to be more than that … and he is. Like two other guys before him under whose shadow he played because of their accomplishments … more than two but two in specific … you want those guys to be who you want them to be. Watch Dirk run up and down the floor and you say, ‘Please let him be that good as a human being’ and then you find out that he is. Dak Prescott is who you want him to be and he’s only getting started. He’s a remarkable young man.

“Here’s another example. Joanna, may I ask you to come back up here? [As the youngster made her way through the crowd, there was a rumbling of people wondering what Sham had planned.] While you were watching Joanna, I had my back to the podium, not intentionally … just how it worked out. I was watching Dak watch Joanna. And here’s why Dak Prescott is who you want him to be. He listens. When you talk to him, he listens. He cares about what you say. He was listening to Joanna. He was nodding at points of affirmation that resonated with him that you’re going to hear about in a minute.”

Then the veteran sportscaster turned to Joanna, saying, “The reason I asked you to come back up here is that though I’ve only known him a year, I think I know him well enough now to know that he wants is his picture with you. So, ladies and gentlemen, Dak Prescott.”

Needless to say, that impromptu intro nailed it, and Joanna and Dak were photographed.

The first question from Brad to Dak was, who were Dak’s role models? “My brothers and my mother were most important,” Dak replied. “To me the thing that resonates to me about such a school program is time. A lot of us don’t come home to parents. My mom was always at work. But I had two brothers who were five or six years older than me and that was who I had to look up to, to watch after me. But there was still time. You may think 10 or 15 are good ages, but we need something to do with our time. Something to better ourselves more than just the sports, the video games until mom gets home to cook for us because you get tired of Ramen noodles all the time. There are so many bad things and wrong decisions that you can make from 10 to 15. A program like this that is putting the kids in the position to get extra hours of studying and taking up new tasks, making new friends and coming out of their shells, doing something that makes you a better person and more interesting within yourself.”

While his brothers weren’t able to finish school, Dak learned from this and committed to getting an education. He admitted that he was one of the few fortunate enough to have people in front of him to tell him the right thing to do and to lead him in the right direction. He emphasized the need for ASAS because others aren’t as fortunate—or have brothers who might lead them in the wrong direction.

The subject then turned to Cowboys and football.

  • What does he do after his work day? “I’m a big video gamer. If I’m not doing something for the community, I play video games and hang out with a couple of buddies. I may try to find a pond to go fishing. I fish for anything. If there are fish in the sink, I’ll try to catch them. I’ve been trying golf lately, but I’m not into golf. I’ve taken it up, but it’s very frustrating.”
  • What was it about football that hooked you? He would go to his brothers’ little league games. “I guess I knew I was good at my first practice. I was in third grade, so I was eight years old and skipped the whole flag football.” It helped that he had played with his older brothers who had never taken it easy on him. “When I played people my age, it was a little bit different.”
  • When did the idea of being a quarterback come into play? In sixth grade, he was a linebacker. Then his brother taught him how to throw the ball.
  • Where did the leadership come from? “That came from my older brothers allowing me to always be around their friends, not really thinking about age at any point. They let me feel that I could play football and hang with them.”
  • How is his life different today compared to a year ago? “Completely.” While the way he thinks of himself and the way he goes about his work haven’t changed, “My platform has. A year ago no one would dared to have had me come up here and talk.” He said the greatest thing is that it has allowed him to tell his story and inspire others.
  • Was he disappointed to go in the fourth round of the NFL draft? “Yes. To sit there and wait two day, three days and wait … Yeah, it puts a chip on your shoulder, thinking there are 134 people that are better than me. I just have to go out and prove myself every day.”
  • Is he at the place where he can go into Jason Garrett‘s office and say what type of draft picks he wants? “No, I’m not there yet.”
  • During one of the games he was caught on camera finishing a cup of water and missed throwing it in the trash. He immediately got up and put it in. What were you thinking? “I wasn’t thinking. I was thinking, ‘How did I miss that shot?’ He was amazed that that video had garnered such attention, when it seemed like the natural thing to do.
  • Have you picked the brains of Roger Staubach and Troy Aikman? He’s spoken with both and shared text messages with Troy.
  • He’s creating a foundation called Fight, Finish and Faith. Where did that come from? When his mother passed away, the preacher told how she had said that Fight was for his elder brother Tad, who had fought for his family and the things he believed in; Finish was his brother Jace, who was there until the end; and Faith was Dak, because he believed in making a difference in the world.
  • “What was your favorite play this season?” a youngster wearing a Jason Witten jersey asked Dak. Dak said it was the one where Jason made the touchdown.
  • What was the lesson that Jason taught him at the first practice camp? Dak threw the ball to Witten, who didn’t extend to catch it and let the ball fall right in front of him. “He showed me what it takes to be in this league,” Dak said. Yes, Jason could have caught that ball, but to make it in this league Dak has to be precise and not expect the receiver to save him.
  • Why are you going to be better this year? “Hard work. Study as much as I can, get better with my teammates and just be ready to go. Get better as a team.”

As checkbooks were pulled out, Sham finished with, “Dak is what you want him to be.” And thanks to ASASNT, Joanna will be what you want her to be, too.

MySweetCharity Photo Gallery Alert: After-School All-Stars North Texas’ Rising Stars Luncheon

Jack Betts and Gina and Ken Betts

It was only After-School All-Stars North Texas’ second Rising Stars Luncheon. And like some newbies on the fundraising scene, it can be tough to draw a crowd or get the organization’s message across. But ASAS Advisory Board Chair Ben Lange drafted Gina Betts, whose reputation in local nonprofit circles is daunting. And she proved that her rep is well deserved on Wednesday, May 17.

Dak Prescott and Brad Sham

Joanna Hernandez

Ben Lange

Thanks to “connections,” Ben and Gina arranged to have Dallas Cowboys quarterback wunderkind Dak Prescott on stage for a chat with Dallas Cowboys voice Brad Sham before an SRO crowd including Mark Cuban and Charles Haley at the Dallas Country Club.

But it was ASAS teenager Joanna Hernandez who stole the show and Dak’s heart with her story.

While the post is being prepped, check out the photos  on MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.

Double Centennial Celebration Of DCMSAF And Aldredge House Included Memories Of A Disrobing Sue Ellen And “The Country Club Girls”

Susan McSherry was on the verge of moving from a home that her family had carefully restored. She was amazed that despite the meticulous restoration, potential buyers were wondering where the playroom and/or media room was.

Joel and Susan Williams

Caroline Rose Hunt and Dedie Leahy

Max Wells

Anne Hobson

Nancy Carter

Stuart Bumpas

How ironic on a day when 340 guests like  Susan Williams and husband Highland Park Mayor Joel Williams, former Dallas City Manager Mary Suhm, Veletta Lill, Marj Waters, Robin Robinson, Caroline Rose Hunt, Max Wells, Anne Hobson, Nancy Carter, Debbie Francis, Sara Martineau, Carlton Adams, Margo Goodwin, Marilyn Augur, Aileen Pratt, Jill Smith, Ann Dyer, Barbara Sypult, Stuart Bumpas, Christie Carter, Angie Kadesky, Dedie Leahy and noted local historian Virginia McAlester were celebrating a double centennial of the Dallas County Medical Society Alliance Foundation (DCMSAF) and the historic Aldredge House at the Dallas Country Club.

Mary McDermott Cook, Debbie Francis and Barbara Sypult

To add to the occasion, Co-Chairs Sharon and Mike McCullough arranged to have 105-year-old Margaret McDermott and Ruth Collins Sharp Altshuler on hand as honorary co-chairs.

Barenda Hino

Pierce Allman and Marj Waters

With history-loving Pierce Allman serving as emcee introduced 100th DCMSAF President Barenda Hino.

Highlights of the luncheon included Lunch Co-Chair Lindalyn Adams without notes telling the 100-year founding of DCMSAF with DCMSAF historian Elizabeth Gunby looking on. Lindalyn had both honorary co-chairs speak.

Having grown up on Swiss Avenue, Ruth told of her childhood growing up with her two big brothers, Jim Collins and Carr Collins. It was Carr, who raced up stairs telling mother Collins, “Mother, come get Ruthie. She’s showing off again.”

Ruth Collins Sharp Altshuler

Margaret Milam McDermott

Next to speak was “the heroine of cultural arts” —Margaret Milam McDermott. Staying in her wheelchair, she thanked the crowd and had her daughter Mary McDermott Cook speak for her.  Mary turned the mic over to Joel, who said he had a special honor being seated between the two honorary co-chairs. He then said that if the group wanted to raise some money, he would be willing to auction off his seat. Joel then told how Margaret moved into the city of Highland Park in 1919 and has lived in the town longer “than anyone else that we know.” He went on to recall that each year Margaret has been invited to light the Highland Park Christmas tree on Armstrong, which is the oldest Christmas tradition in Dallas County. For the past five years, “Margaret has shown up and lighted that 152-year-old tree.”

After lunch Lindalyn and Pierce were joined on stage by American historian/author Dr. William Seale, who is a rock star in the world of historic renovation and preservation. When asked if the younger generation was appreciating and supporting past works, he said, “Most definitely. In fact, there are magazines devoted to it. The mistake that sometimes made is to try to convert a house into what you already understand is how the house should be rather than knowing it and basing your renovations on the building, letting the building be itself. That is one of the big things in architectural design and remodeling houses today is to understand the past of the house and honor that.”

Lindalyn Adams

Lindalyn recalled when a TV crew that had worked with “The Waltons” program negotiated to film a new show at Aldredge House. The only caveat was that they ‘wouldn’t say anything derogatory about our city.” They agreed saying it was a family show. The pilot aired with Sue Ellen Ewing forced to disrobe in Mrs. Aldredge’s parlor. The phone lines lit up. The show turned out to be “Dallas.” 

When Aldredge family member Betty Aldredge Slater was later in Europe, word got out that it was her family’s parlor that Sue Ellen shed her clothes, the BBC interviewed her. Betty’s doctor also noted that he “particularly liked your stables.”

William told how visitors to historic homes want “authenticity. They’re very honest. If you’re honest to them, they’re honest to you. You don’t have to recreate the battle on the front yard. You just have to be accurate. In this world the historic building or house is a very worthwhile thing. In a world that we live in that doesn’t have a lot of accuracy. Most of what we look at or see on television is inaccurate. If you know anything about it, you know it’s inaccurate. It( the historic building) is the real thing. That’s what people appreciated in these places.”

William Seale

When asked if The Aldredge House belonged on a national register of historical places in addition to its being recently receiving  a Texas Historical Marker, William said, “Absolutely. Absolutely.” 

Admitting that it would never be a mass tourist attraction due to logistics and the Alliance not want it to be, William went on to say that for people who seek it out, it will always provide for them what they’re after. 

Going a bit off subject, he told how President Woodrow Wilson “hadn’t liked women, but he was controlled by women. As the war approached, suffrage, you know had organized the ladies everywhere. They demanded that a women’s commission for the government on the war and finally Wilson grudgingly did it. They laughed about it and called them ‘country club girls’ in Washington and they were kind of poo-pooed and made fun of. It is true that the first thing they did was to sponsor a law that removed brothels and saloons from being near the Army camps. There is an old story in New Orleans about Lulu White, the famous madame in Storeyville, being in a bread line. When asked why she was there, she said, ‘The country club girls have put us out of business.'”

Alas, just as the celebration was scheduled to conclude with a champagne toast, it had to be done with ice tea. Seems behind the scenes the bottles of bubbly hadn’t been uncorked in time.

For more pictures from the event, check out MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.

MySweetCharity Photo Gallery Alert: A Double Centennial Celebration

More than 300 folks gathered at the Dallas Country Club to celebrate a double centennial and that doesn’t happen every day. But on Tuesday, May 16, the celebrants were the Dallas County Medical Society Alliance Foundation and the historic Aldredge House, both dated back to starts in 1917.

Margaret Milam McDermott

Ruth Collins Sharp Altshuler

On hand were Honorary Co-Chairs 105-year-old Margaret Milam McDermott and young whippersnapper Ruth Collins Sharp Altshuler, who grew up down the block from Aldredge House.

Lindalyn Adams

William Seale

But don’t go thinking this was a dusty old celebration. Thanks to history preservationist Lindalyn Adams and noted historian/author William Seale, the crowd learned historic tidbits, from the filming of the “Dallas” pilots to how “the country club girls” put Lulu White on the breadline.

While the post is being prepared including Sue Ellen and Lulu, photos are available at MySweetCharity Photo Gallery for your perusal.

Annual Genesis Luncheon Keynoter Arianna Huffington Made A Wake-Up Call For Digital Intervention

Some of the digitally connected folks looked a bit squeamish at the Genesis Luncheon on Monday, May 15, in the Anatole’s Chantilly Ballroom. It wasn’t that keynoter Arianna Huffington created a great divide like Bethenny Frankel. Rather, the former grand dame of internet news outlet The Huffington Post was telling the crowd to cut the cord, or at least the wireless connection with their cellphones, tablets and laptops. It was like the head of Alcoholic Anonymous extolling the virtues of sobriety to the National Association of American Wineries. But more about that later.

Before the luncheon got underway, the meet-and-greet with 100 very special guests like Luncheon Co-Chairs Nikki and Crayton Webb, Gail and Gerald Turner, Pat Schenkel, Greg Nieberding, Melissa Cameron and Gail Davis got underway in the Wedgwood Room at 10:45.

Gerald Turner, Arianna Huffington, Pat Schenkel and Gail Turner

Melissa Cameron

Gail Davis

Right on schedule the doors opened to the gorgeous ballroom filled with huge arrangements of pink, white and red roses, hydrangeas and cherry blossoms, white tablecloths and pink napkins and a stage with a side backdrop of pink and red surrounding the main screen, with Genesis encircled by a heart. On the stage were two chairs in the center with a podium to the side, setting the scene for what was to come.

As guests like Ashlee Kleinert, Ken Altshuler, Nancy Best, Ros Dawson Thompson and Paige McDaniel took their seats, a man arrived who was immediately surrounded by folks wanting to have their photo taken with him. The gentleman was the man of the hour — HeRO Awardee/former Dallas Police Chief David Brown. When asked if rumors about his new book “Called To Rise” were true, that pre-release sales were skyrocketing, he smiled and said, “I hope so.”  

Crayton and Nikki Webb

Immediately signaling that the luncheon program was underway was a recitation by three Lakeview Centennial High School Young students enrolled in Young DFW Writers that was followed by Crayton telling how one in four women would face physical violence at some point in their lives. He stated that until that situation of abuse ends, “We have Genesis.” To carry on the support of Genesis, he reeled off the various raffle items available and then introduced Rev. Dr. Sheron Patterson to provide the invocation.

Following lunch, Nikki and Crayton arrived on stage to introduce various dignitaries, thank the luncheon committee members and recount stories of women who’d told them just that morning of being in abusive relationships. Adding a touch of humor and “Aw,” Crayton told how Nikki had said 18 months ago that, in addition to their three sons, she’d like to have a fourth child. To this Crayton responded, “I hope you and your next husband will be very happy.” As laughter filled the room, Crayton added, “But I’m still here.” The fourth child ended up being a little girl they name Lucy, who also brought a renewed concern and determination to the couple in helping women in danger.

At 12:20 p.m. Genesis Women’s Shelter CEO Jan Langbein, whose dress matched the day’s pink, white and red floral setting, told the audience that the Junior League of Dallas had received the Jane Doe Award the week before at a private reception.

Jan Langbein, Arianna Huffington and David Brown

Then she introduced David Brown, emphasizing his support of Genesis’ mission in fighting abuse against women. As he approached the stage to officially receive the HeRO Award, the room erupted in cheers and a standing ovation. David once again proved his skill at addressing the crowd and told how as a youngster he had witnessed the devastation of drugs and violence within his community. This experience resulted in his committing himself to public service. As he explained, if you do something for other people and expect something in return, then that is a business deal. But if you do something for other people who cannot return the favor, it a true reward.    

At 12:27, Jan then introduced Arianna, telling of her many accomplishments including being the author of 15 books, the most recent being “The Sleep Revolution.”

Arianna Huffington

With a Greek accent that at times made her sound like Zsa-Zsa Gabor, Arianna recognized Jan (“What a force of nature!”), Nikki and Crayton and Genesis Senior Director of Development Bianca Jackson, before revealing that she indeed did have a Texas connection — her former husband, millionaire Michael Huffington, had been born in Dallas. She recalled how, years before, she had served on the board of Points of Light, and Genesis was one of the organizations spotlighted.

While some guests may have expected her to talk politics, they were sorely disappointed. Nary was a Republican, Democrat or Whig mentioned.

Okay, so she did recall Madeleine Albright’s saying, “There’s a special place in hell for women who don’t support women. But I think there’s a special place in heaven for men who support women.” The first sentence caused some guests to think that it was going to be a political ride, but the follow-up sentence quickly put that idea to rest.

Instead of controversial issues dealing with politicians, she sounded like a tent preacher on the subject of improving one’s well being. Her epiphany took place in 2007 when she collapsed and passed out due to sleep deprivation.  When she regained consciousness, she found herself in a pool of blood, with a broken cheekbone and a cut over her eye. It was literally a wake-up call. She asked herself, “What is life about?” In the past it had meant 18-hour days striving for money and power. But now she was re-examining her definition of the “good life.” Her answer was to put the priority on taking care of one’s self. As an example, she recalled the age-old oxygen mask theory.

Feeling so strongly about her discovery, she left The Huffington Post this past August and launched Thrive Global to encourage people to “look up from our phones and take care of ourselves, our loved ones and our community. Otherwise we’re in serious trouble.”

Arianna Huffington

She wondered aloud how the assembled group would handle time away from their cellphones, laptops, etc. Ironically, just as Arianna was encouraging guests to take a “digital detox,” guests in the room were seen snapping shots of Arianna on their cellphones and checking their watches about appointments.

Touching on the importance of giving and connecting with the community, Arianna said that Genesis was doing just that for women and their families.

On the lighter side, Arianna recalled how God created the world in six days and “she” rested on the seventh. Her point was that rest is vital to well-being.

After her talk at the podium, she was joined on stage by WFAA’s medical reporter Sonia Azad at 12:46 p.m., where they chatted about how people could indeed take better care of themselves through meditation, yoga, fly fishing and brushing off the problems of the day in the shower. All of those activities required leaving distractions like cellphones elsewhere. “We need to disconnect from our phones.”

Arianna Huffington and Sonia Azad

To emphasize the point of ending the digital addiction, she asked how many in the audience slept with their cellphones on their nightstands. This statement resulted in a chatter at tables and hands raised throughout the room. One guest sheepishly ‘fessed up that he did, “But I use it as an alarm clock.” Without hearing the comment, Arianna had evidently heard that one before and was prepared: “You can buy an old-fashioned alarm clock.”

Arianna Huffington and Sonia Azad

Feeling so strongly about this situation, Arianna’s Thrive Global has created a “phone bed,” so the phone can recharge on top of a satin-clad mattress outside of the bedroom.

When asked by Sonia about her advice to her daughters, Arianna told how her daughters were well “aware of the dangers of becoming addicted to social media presence in our lives.” She went on to say that the main goal for countless engineers at the social media companies is to feed this addiction.

Admitting she has an Instagram account, she reported how just that morning she had received a note asking if she would like to know each time someone likes her post or follows her: “That sounds like hell.”

As the guests waited for their cars following the luncheon, one person was overheard laughing that AT&T was not a luncheon sponsor.

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

Kristen Sanger And Cindy Stager To Co-Chair The Family Place’s Texas Trailblazer Luncheon With Gretchen Carlson As Keynote Speaker

While all the recent headlines have been about The Family Place’s brick-and-mortar successes (the new Ann Moody Center and Texas’ first men’s shelter), behind the scenes work is continuing to raise funds for the organization’s various programs.

In addition to the Partners Card fall fundraiser celebrating its 25th anniversary from October 27-November 5, the annual Texas Trailblazer Luncheon has lined up a couple of tested fundraising co-chairs — Kristen Sanger and Cindy Stager.

Kristen Sanger (File photo)

Cindy Stager (File photo)

Between the two of ‘em, they’ve held various leadership roles for events benefiting Community Partners of Dallas, Housing Crisis Center, Heroes for Children, The Retina Foundation of the Southwest, Dallas Habitat for Humanity, American Heart Association, TACA and, of course, The Family Place, to name a few.

Interestingly, they both co-chaired the annual Cattle Baron’s Ball, but at different times. Kristen co-chaired the American Cancer Society fundraiser in 2012 and Cindy in 2014.

With all the expertise, it’s no surprise that the two ladies are co-chairing the 2017 Texas Trailblazer Luncheon on Friday, October 6, at the Hilton Anatole. For the keynote speaker, they’re having former FOX News Channel host Gretchen Carlson. In addition to being Miss America in 1989 and having recently made headlines about sexual harassment in the workplace, the 5’3” blonde used to work at KXAS-NBC from 1998-2000.

Also on the luncheon agenda will be the annual Trailblazer Awards that are presented to “those who create positive change and contribute to the quality of life in our community.” As for this year’s awardees, stay tuned.

PS — You might want to send Gretchen a birthday card on Wednesday.

Grovel Alert: 31st Attorneys Serving The Community Luncheon

It’s getting down to the bare nitty gritty. The 31st Attorneys Serving The Community Luncheon on Friday, June 23, at the Anatole is just a hair’s breadth from being filled to capacity. With “Hamilton’s” Christopher Jackson as the featured speaker for the event benefiting Junior Players, it’s no wonder.

Christopher Jackson*

According to Junior Players’ Executive Director Rosaura Cruz-Webb, “Junior Players is celebrating its nearly sold out status with a Luncheon Ticket Lottery in the spirit of Hamilton: An American Musical and Junior Players’ mission to provide free arts education programs. Through the Luncheon Ticket Lottery, people who are passionate about the arts can be ‘in the room where it happens’ to hear a star of Hamilton. This, of course, was inspired by the fabled Hamilton Ticket Lottery on Broadway, in which theater fans can enter the lottery for a chance to get a pair of front row tickets to Hamilton for $10 a person. A Hamilton for Hamilton.”

The ASC Luncheon Ticket Lottery will take place on Thursday, June 15, at V-Eats Modern Vegan at Trinity Groves. Lottery entrees will start at 6 p.m. with the drawings taking place at 7:30. Here’s the trick — if your ticket is pulled, then you “will be able to receive the ticket for an optional donation of $10.” Adding to the pluses of winning, two of the ticket winners will have the opportunity to meet Christopher.

The lottery event is open to the public with V-Eats providing food and drink specials with 15% of orders benefiting Junior Players. For entertainment, there will be performances by the Junior Players, of course.

But if you’re not feeling all that lucky, then go ahead and get one of the few remaining seats here.

* Photo provided by Junior Players

Dr. Marilyn Albert Reported The Developments In The Treatment Of Alzheimer’s At The Jean And Bill Booziotis Distinguished Lecture

Alzheimer’s is a disease that impacts all ages. From the more susceptible older members of the community to the millennials, who see and care for family members in various stages of Alzheimer’s, it has been a multi-generational rallying point. For that reason it was no surprise to see all ages present for the 4th Annual Jean and Bill Booziotis Distinguished Lecture with Dr. Marilyn Albert discussing the issue. Among those present at the Center for Vital Longevity lecture at Communities Foundation of Texas were 2016 BvB President Rachel Anderson and her teammates. Here is a report from the field:

Rachel Anderson, Catelyn Fox and Holley Caldwell*

 

Determining who is at risk for developing Alzheimer’s Disease well before symptoms appear is a major challenge faced by researchers and clinicians seeking to treat this form of dementia, said Dr. Marilyn Albert, Director of the Division of Cognitive Neuroscience at Johns Hopkins University, who was speaking at the Center for Vital Longevity’s 4th annual Jean and Bill Booziotis Distinguished Lecture.

Currently, there is no effective way to halt the disease process in Alzheimer’s. And by the time symptoms of the disease appear, it’s too late. “We don’t currently have effective drugs that can either stop or slow down the disease’s progression,” she said during a public gathering at the Communities Foundation of Texas, which hosted the lecture on Thursday, April 27.

Dr. Albert emphasized what many in the field now strongly believe: for a treatment or prevention to be effective, early diagnosis is key. A challenge has been in accurately diagnosing the disease, and distinguishing it from other age-related brain diseases and conditions that can affect memory and behavior.

Thankfully, diagnostic tools for detecting Alzheimer’s have advanced a long way, she said, from the days of Dr. Alois Alzheimer, the German psychiatrist credited with identifying the first case in the early 1900s. With advances in imaging, such as PET scanning to identify potentially harmful plaque deposits, and improvements in cognitive and genetic testing, characteristic signs of disease can potentially be detected earlier.

Finding even more accurate or sensitive biological markers that determine risk perhaps decades before onset could have profound impacts on public health down the road, she said. In the meantime, adopting lifestyle changes that improve cardiovascular health (which is closely connected to brain health) might help, along with staying mentally and socially engaged.

Doug and Cassie Crosby*

Earlier in the evening, Dr. Albert met with members of the Director’s Research Circle, in a reception attended by UT Dallas Executive Vice President Hobson Wildenthal, and members of the CVL advisory council.

Guests included Rachel Anderson, Catelyn Fox and Holley Caldwell, with BvB (formerly Blondes vs. Brunettes), an organization raising funds for Alzheimer’s research and awareness, as well as CVL supporters Dr. Doug and Cassie Crosby, past AWARE president.

The next Jean and Bill Booziotis Lecture is slated for April 2018. For more information on how to join CVL’s Director’s Research Circle, please visit: http://vitallongevity.utdallas.edu/support/.

* Photo credit: John Michael Bruno

JUST IN: 2017 Rising Stars Luncheon Scored A Touchdown Netting $336,870 For After-School All-Stars North Texas

Ben Lange (File photo)

Nancy Rogers and Gina Betts (File photo)

If you see attorney Gina Betts and America’s Auto Auction CEO Ben Lange giggling and high-fiving each other, it’s not because they just won a lawsuit or sold a lot full of cars. Nope. The two just learned the results of their After-School All-Stars North Texas’s Rising Stars Luncheon fundraiser on Wednesday, May 17, at the Dallas Country Club.

Dak Prescott and Brad Sham

It was only the second luncheon fundraiser for the group, but ASAS Advisory Board Chair Ben managed to get fundraising queen Gina to chair the event that was such a sell-out that folks were nearly sitting in laps.

In addition to the need for the ASAS program being a big draw, Gina and Ben pulled in a couple of big guns — Nancy and Richard Rogers as presenting sponsors and Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott.on stage in a chat with Brad “Voice of the Dallas Cowboys” Sham.

The event was a grandstand touchdown scoring a whopping $336,870. No, that’s not the amount raised. It’s the net.

Needless to say, ASAS Executive Director Marissa Castro is thrilled because it means that middle schoolers will have “safe and structured opportunities between 3 and 6 p.m.”

George Washington Will Be Subbing In For “Hamilton’s” Sister-In-Law At Attorneys Serving The Community Luncheon

There was a chance of kicking off the three-day Memorial Day weekend with some disappointing news. However, it turned out to be good news.

Let’s get the bad stuff over with first: The Attorneys Serving the Community Luncheon at the Hilton Anatole on Friday, June 23, was to have Renée Elise Goldsberry, who played Alexander Hamilton’s sis-in-law from “Hamilton.” Yup, you read it — “was.”

According to Luncheon Co-Chair Kara Altenbaumer-Price, “We learned yesterday that an unavoidable scheduling conflict had arisen for Ms. Goldsberry and she is no longer able to serve as the 2017 ASC Luncheon Speaker.”

Well, double darn it. But, wait! Here comes the good news.

Christopher Jackson*

Kara reports, “While a change at this late date is not what we would have wished for, we are excited to announce that Christopher Jackson, who originated the role of George Washington in the Broadway production of ‘Hamilton,’ has graciously agreed to step into the role of luncheon speaker on short notice. Mr. Jackson was awarded a Grammy and nominated for a Tony for his role in ‘Hamilton.’  He won a Drama Desk Award for his role in ‘Hamilton’-creator Lin-Manuel Miranda’s last show, In ‘The Heights,’ as Benny.”

How did they manage to land Christopher? Luncheon Co-Chair Beth Bedell reported, “Rather than simply cancelling when it became clear that her current project would not wrap on time, Renée took responsibility and personally secured Christopher as her replacement.”

In addition to appearing in “The Lion King,” “Memphis,” “After Midnight” and “Holler If Ya Hear Me,” Christopher has also been seen on “The Good Wife,” “Bull” and “Oz,” as well as being “nominated for three Emmy Awards for composing music and lyrics for television and winning the ‘Outstanding Original Song’ Emmy Award in 2011 for his lyrics to ‘What I Am,’ which he co-wrote for ‘Sesame Street’ with Bill Sherman.”

So, keep Friday, June 23, inked in, because instead of a sister, a father of this country is going to be speaking to benefit the Junior Players.

* Photo provided by Attorneys Serving the Community

Joel Allison Addressed The Future Of Healthcare At The Senior Source’s 18th Annual Charles C. Sprague Sage Society Dinner

The Senior Source‘s Charles C. Sprague Sage Society was established in 1999 with the late Charles Sprague leading the charge to help raise funds and awareness about the growing needs of the elderly. To help achieve these goals, the annual Sprague dinner has been annually held for the past 17 years. This year’s dinner was highlighted by former Baylor Scott and White Health President/CEO Joel Allison as the keynote speaker. It was just back in 2015 that Joel was the recipient of The Senior Source’s Spirit of Generations Award. Here is a report from the field about the dinner:

On Tuesday, April 25, a crowd of 130 philanthropists committed to improving the quality of life for older adults in North Texas gathered at the Dallas Country Club for The Charles C. Sprague Sage Society’s 18th Annual Dinner and Program, hosted by Dallas non-profit organization The Senior Source. Headlining this year’s event was Joel Allison, immediate past president and CEO of Baylor Scott and White Health, speaking on a topic that’s been dominating headlines: “Health Care in America: Where Do We Go from Here.” Among Mr. Allison’s many astute observations were that much of the debate lately is focused on insurance and billing rather than health care itself, and that the doctor/patient relationship should be considered above all other relationships.

Scott and Susan Wilson, Joel Allison, Cortney Nicolato and John Taylor III*

“Joel was the perfect expert to speak about the future of health care in America,” said Scott Wilson, who co-chaired the event with his wife, Susan. “Our Sage Society members really enjoyed his perspective, his industry-wide knowledge of such a layered and complex subject, and his uncanny ability to make it understandable for those not in the health care field.”

In addition to co-chairing the event together, the Wilsons also celebrated their 36th wedding anniversary at the event. “The centerpieces on your table are for sale after the presentation, one will be in my home on the sofa table behind my couch where I will be sleeping tonight,” remarked Scott about the timing.

Leonard Riggs and Alayne Sprague*

Diane Allison*

Debbie Oates, Christie Carter, Dee Collins Torbert, Carol Huckin and Pam Busbee*

Cathy and Larry Helm*

Sara and Gary Ahr*

While the subject of health care was top of mind at the event, the crowd at the The Charles C. Sprague Sage Society’s 18th Annual Dinner and Program was also very committed to The Senior Source. Guests in attendance included The Senior Source President/CEO Cortney NicolatoSusie and Jim Riley, Cher and David Jacobs, Pam Busbee, Debbie Oates, Christie Carter, Carol Huckin, Dee Collins Torbert, Sara and Gary Ahr, Gail and Warren Randell, Sharon and Mike McCullough, Jane and Pat Jennevein, John Taylor III, Leonard Riggs and Alayne Sprague. Keynote speaker Joel Allison was joined by his wife, Diane Allison. Atmos Energy, the presenting underwriter, and KPMG LLP, as partner underwriter, made it possible for 100 percent of the members’ contributions to directly benefit the agency’s services.

Mike and Sharon McCullough and Gail and Warren Randell*

Jim and Susie Riley and Cher and David Jacobs*

The Sage Society is a special associates program that educates members on aging issues and supports the programs of The Senior Source. It was founded in 1999 under the leadership of the late Dr. Charles Sprague, then Chairman Emeritus of Southwest Medical Foundation. Membership to the Society entitles participants to attend entertaining and educational presentations at a dinner held each spring, while supporting the Society’s two major goals: building financial support for services that improve the quality of life for older adults and educating community leaders on the challenges of the aging population.

About The Senior Source
Since 1961, The Senior Source has served greater Dallas as the go-to nonprofit for aging services.  The agency offers personalized assistance, protection, and connection support to all older adults in greater Dallas for these individuals to THRIVE.  As a United Way service provider, The Senior Source offers 10 comprehensive programs for those 50 years of age and older. For more information, contact The Senior Source at (214) 823-5700 or visit www.theseniorsource.org. You can also find The Senior Source on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/theseniorsource or Twitter using the handle @theseniorsource. 

* Photo credit: Kristina Bowman

Itty-Bitty Gold Medalist Simone Biles Scored A Perfect Ten For Jonathan’s Place’s “A Chance To Soar” Luncheon Guests Of All Ages

Dirk and Jessica Nowitzki

If Episcopal School of Dallas or The Hockaday School staffers noticed that their lunchrooms were a bit scant of students on Tuesday, April 25, they were right. The lasses were at the Hilton Anatole’s Imperial Ballroom with their parents’ permission.

The occasion was Jonathan’s Place’s “A Chance To Soar Luncheon.” Now, normally it might be considered a grown-up event, but this one had two mega-athletes — Olympian God Medalist/former foster child Simone Biles on stage and Maverick main man Dirk Nowitzki as one of the day’s award recipients.

As mom Tracy Lange surmised, a couple of the moms hosted a table for their girls, and others quickly followed suit filling the ballroom with 700.

Tracy Lange, Livia Lange, Amelia Schoellkopf, Olivia Hohmann, Mary Ellen Schoellkopf, Kate Eastin and Monica Eastin

Sydney Hoyl and Kristi Hoyl

While some might question pulling the young ladies out of school, others reasoned that in addition to seeing world-class role models, the girls had the opportunity to be part of a grownup fundraising experience.

Some of the young luncheoners, like Livia Lange, Amelia Schoellkopf, Olivia Hohmann, Mary Ellen Schoellkopf, Kate Eastin and Caroline Bagley, were dressed to the nines. Too bad they’re too young for 10 best Dressed. Others like Sydney Hoyl opted to stay in their school uniforms.

Simone Biles and Ron Biles

The photo opp for guests and Simone was a bit of a ramble scramble due to Simone’s late arrival. She had been delayed due to an interview in another area of the hotel with KXAS/emcee Meredith Land.

Walking to the front of the room with her father, Ron Biles, Simone’s 4’9” size seemed even more so standing next to 7’0” Dirk. Still her smile was as big as ever despite having taken a flight from Los Angeles following her appearance on “Dancing With The Stars” the night before.

Even before folks like Jan and Trevor Rees-Jones, Jenny and Trevor Rees-Jones III, Stacey Walker, Jessica Nowitzki, Lydia Novakov, Tracy Rathbun, Monica Eastin and Pam Busbee took their seats, the raffle tickets were sold out.

Pam Busbee

Tracy Rathbun

Stacey Walker and Bryan Dunagan

Following the welcome by Luncheon Co-Chairs Julie Bagley and Rachel Stephens, the invocation by Highland Park Presbyterian Church Senior Pastor Bryan Dunagan and a luncheon of pecan crusted chicken breast salad, the following awards were presented:

  • Award of Compassion to Dirk Nowitzki
  • Award of Excellence to Jan and Trevor Rees-Jones
  • Award of Service to Gary Borofsky representing Dillard’s

Jonathon’s Place’s CEO Allicia Graham Frye told the group that last year, 277 children were handled by Jonathan’s Place. She finished her remarks saying, “My wish is that every child that comes across my path would feel loved.”

Allicia Graham Frye and Jan and Trevor Rees-Jones

It should be noted that unlike the Chick Lit Luncheon, the audience was silent during the award presentation and Allicia’s remarks.

It was then time for Simone to chat with Meredith Land on stage. The undercurrent in the room seemed to race, as if Santa had just popped down the chimney. For those close to the stage, they got a pretty good look at the twosome. However, the quality of the lighting and video created shadows, making the on-screen presentation challenging.

Simone Biles

Still, Simone did not disappoint with such revelations:

  • “I was just a crazy kid.”
  • She started gymnastics at the age of six and loved it immediately.
  • Her routine was an hour and half of conditioning, going to school and returning to the gym for her real workout. Such a regimen required more than dedication, it demanded sacrifice like, “I’ve never been to a prom. I cried a lot. Sasha (Farber, her ‘DWTS’ partner) was the first guy that she had really danced with and “he was 20 years old.”
  • Regrets — “I shouldn’t say that I do because of all of the accomplishments that I have from it. It’s all worked very well.”
  • Bullying — “Rise above it and use it as a motivation to do anything that you want to do and to always prove them wrong.”
  • Confidence — “I have very down-to-earth parents. I have amazing friends. My brothers, as well, are supporting me. It’s kind of easy to do that. But at times it gets hard because I want to be a normal kid and do other things. At the end of the day it’s my goal that I want.”
  • Olympics — “I actually didn’t really want to go to the Olympics when I was younger. I said I did because every little girl wanted to, so I would say, ‘I want to go to the Olympics.’ At a time in my career I knew I could be the best and it scared me so much that I would sometime sabotage my gymnastics. I knew I had the potential, but I didn’t want all that attention on me. It scared me so much. So I would do things on purpose. But I got out of it…. In February 2016 I had a really big breakdown. I had been at the top for three years and I thought this is my really big year, but what if I get hurt. And I started thinking of all these things, so I was too scared to even tumble. I thought if I land wrong, there goes my Olympic game. I would go to the bar and start bawling. It happened for two weeks. I cried a lot. I would go to practice and my coach would be like, ‘Just go home.’ My Dad told me to call my sports psychologist and I said, ‘No, I just want to cry.’ And my dad called him. He came into my room and handed the phone to me and I usually don’t cry in front of him or really anybody, and I just started bawling my eyes out — ‘I don’t know what I’m going to do. I’m not going to make the team. Blah, blah, blah.’ He (the sports psychologist) said, ‘Simone, what was the first thing I said to you when you came into my office?’ We chatted about it.”
  • Sports Psychologist — “For three years your parents, your coaches, your mentors, it’s good to have someone that knows your sport, but it helps that it’s not the same person over and over again.”
  • Whom did she not want to disappoint — “I didn’t want to let down America because they had such big goals for me. They expected me to get five gold medals and I only walked out with four, so I felt like I let them down a little bit.” Afterwards she was asked in an interview about how badly she felt getting a bronze instead of a gold, her response was, “I’m sorry if that was your goal. I’m sorry if you guys had to backspace on your typewriter. I’m pretty happy. This was my first Olympics and I’m 19 years old and I’m walking out of here with five medals. My goal was to make the finals. Whatever happens happens. I came out with four golds and one bronze and pretty proud of myself. I’m sorry if I disappointed you because they already crowned me with five gold medals. I think they (the interviewer) was trying to put it on me, so that’s what hurt a little bit.”
  • On the podium — “You feel like you’re a princess up there. It never feels real. I would always look at my parents. They would be bawling and I would then start tearing up. I’m an ugly crier.”
  • Post Olympics — “I haven’t worked out since the Olympics. It is my year off, so that is why I chose ‘Dancing With The Stars.’ I’m going on a vacations with my family this summer.  One is Hawaii and the other is Belize… I eat ice cream every chance I get.”
  • 2020 — “I’m going to train for the 2020 Olympics.”
  • What makes Texas special — “It’s the people. I’m in L.A. right now and it’s very different. I think it’s the southern-ness.”
  • What she misses — “I miss my bed and my dogs. I cook for my dogs. They’re spoiled little things. They have monogrammed beds. They’re not little. They’re German Shepherds. We have three.”
  • First Date — “It was like low key. I had never been on a date before or had a boyfriend. So, it’s all new. We just went to get frozen yogurt. It was a little scary. I’ve trained all my life to go to the Olympics, not to go on a date.”
  • The future — “I think I want to do something with sports management.”
  • Foster care — “[Being a foster parent] really does change a child’s life. It does give them a home, love. A lot of them age out at the age of 18 and that makes me sad. I was very fortunate for my situation. It really does make difference in the kids’ eyes.”
  • She recalled that before being rescued from her birth mother, there were days when she ate her cereal with white.
  • She felt that she would not win “Dancing With The Stars.”

At the end of the conversation, Simone looked out into the audience with each member holding a card reading “10.”   

She was then off to Jonathan’s Place to visit with children waiting for a foster parent.

Bethenny “Skinnygirl” Frankel Served Up One Of The Season’s Most Talked-About Presentations At The Annual Chick Lit Luncheon

On Friday, April 21, the annual Chick Lit Luncheon became the scene of two social earthquakes that split the Anatole’s Grand Ballroom. But more about that later. First, let’s set the scene.

Cristal Champagne

To kick off the Community Partners of Dallas fundraiser, the VIP reception was held in the Plum Blossom Room and, thanks to hosts Nancy and Richard Rogers, guests celebrated with Cristal Champagne. At the opening there were grand silver punch bowls filled with the elite champagne bottles chilling in ice. By the time the chimes called the guests to the luncheon, only a trio of partially filled bottles remained.

Tricia George, Paige McDaniel, Gail Fischer and Mary Martha Pickens

Lara Tafel

Nancy Rogers and Bethenny Frankel

Alas, keynote speaker Bethenny Frankel didn’t enjoy the bubbly, thanks to a non-stop of step-and-repeat photo session with folks like Co-Chairs Tricia George and Mary Martha Pickens, Presenting Co-Sponsor Lara Tafel, Honorary Chair Gail Fischer and daughter Elizabeth Fischer, Lisa Cooley with daughter Ciara Cooley and soon-to-be daughter-in-law Bela Pjetrovic and her sister Sabina Pjetrovic, Dee Simmons and daughter D’Andra Simmons Lock, Elizabeth Gambrell, Margo Goodwin, Cheryl Joyner, Tiffany Divis, Claire Emanuelson, Christie Carter and Cindy Turner.

Tiffany Divis and Bela Pjetrovic

D’Andra Simmons Lock and Dee Simmons

Elizabeth Gambrell, Margo Goodwin and Cheryl Joyner

As the guests literally filled the grand ballroom, Bethenny was whisked off to a private spot for some quiet time. But little did anyone know that in the hour and a half to come, the grand ballroom would be the scene of two distinctly different attitudes.

Some claimed it was a generational separation. One guest snorted, “It’s those millennials!” Another declared the other side of the great divide to be behind the times. It was just that “the times they are a-changin‘” for the decade-old luncheon featuring authors.

The old days of the Chick Lit at Brook Hollow with pecan crusted chicken and G-rated speakers like Stacey Ballis, Julia Reed, Gigi Levangie, Allison Winn Scotch, Emily Giffin and Jen Lancaster were in the rear-view mirror.

Last year’s move to the Anatole with Tim Gunn charming one and all in an on-stage chat had shifted the program to a new level. It was like moving from grade school to high school, from Shirley Temples to Cosmopolitans or from Boy Scouts Camp to Quantico.

But when the announcement of Bethenny’s being the keynoter came, lovers of reality TV were ecstatic. For them, it was like having the Pope serve mass at the local parish. For those who only considered the word “Bravo” to be what was said after a stellar performance, Bethenny was a rather unknown commodity. Didn’t matter. The Chick Lit Luncheon had always been fun and a fundraiser for a good cause.

Still, there were warnings that Bethenny might raise some eyebrows and that the uneducated might need to be forewarned and study up on the Skinnygirl.

Despite warnings that Bethenny was not your same-old, same-old, CPD loyalists signed on. In the meantime, new world reality TV lovers bought in with hopes of a “tell-it-like-it-is” presentation.   

So, what happened? Well, the first “earthquake” took place before Bethenny ever arrived on stage.

Mary Martha Pickens, Mary Ella Bitzer and Tricia George

To kick things off, CPD President/CEO Paige McDaniel presented the 2017 Partners for Children Award to Mary Ella Bitzer representing The Bitzer and Needleman Families and Peacock Alley. Unfortunately, whether it was due to poor acoustics or to all the chatter in the room, the presentation seemed to take place without much fanfare.

Faith Johnson

When Dallas District Attorney Faith Johnson provided the invocation, she was heard throughout, thanks to the lack of talking. But the chitchat kicked back in once Paige returned to the podium, and the first of the divides created a Grand Canyon among the guests. Looking like unhappy emojis, some strained to hear Paige, while others held steroid conversation to such a point that even those frowny-faced guests close to the stage had to rely on lip reading to “hear” Paige talk about the importance of the organization’s annual Christmas toy drive and how Peacock Alley had supported it. Some tried to silence the chatterboxes by clanging their silverware on their glassware, but even that couldn’t be heard above the racket. Perhaps the talkative guests had never attended a fundraiser before?

What made it more obvious was how the room went into a vacuum state of silence after Community Partners of Dallas Board Member Greg Nieberding introduced Bethenny and she arrived on stage. How quiet? At one point in her talk, a cell phone in the room rang and Bethenny interrupted her talk saying, “Somebody need to take a call?”

The svelte brunette, who had risen to fame thanks to reality TV and her “Skinnygirl” business empire, was both charming and disarming. On one hand, she couldn’t have been more upbeat and complimentary about North Texas women and the CPD. She even did a shout-out to “my friend Fancy Nancy Rogers” at a front row table with pals Dallas Snadon, Leisa Street, Michael Flores, Cindy Rachofsky and Niven Morgan and Shelby Wagner.

Dallas Snadon

Lori Jones, Nancy Rogers and Cindy Rachofsky

Leisa Street and Michael Flores

Shelby Wagner and Niven Morgan

On the other, she raised even the most heavily Botoxed brows with comments about “guano” (she didn’t use that word) and describing rich Dallas women as having Texas tea flowing from a particular body part (she put it much more colorfully). If you don’t get it, ask one of the thousand-plus who were there. They’re bound to recall the exact words.  

Some of the highlights of Bethenny’s talk included:

Bethenny Frankel

  • After having a rough childhood, she focused on “breaking the chain” in raising her daughter. She was not going to be “chained” to what others thought or what she had experienced as a child.
  • Finding balance in her life being a mother and a businesswoman.
  • Everyone has a great idea, but it’s the execution that matters, she said. Too often they get bogged down with the business plan or other aspects. “I would have never gotten into the liquor business had I known.”
  • Stay focused on your goals and don’t “look at the other lanes… I do my own thing.”
  • “25 years ago I was a bartender and had no idea I’d end up being an alcoholic… just kidding… I would end up founding a liquor company.”
  • She has founded an organization called “B Strong” to help women in crisis. “As women, we make a lot of decisions out of fear.”
  • “You can’t be pretty, tan, have sex, rich and sleep…I’m not tan, I don’t have sex and I’m  rich, but not like Dallas rich…. What the hell was I talking about?”
  • The night before on “Real Housewives of New York,” Bethenny had been confronted by another housewife over how she was dealing with her 6-year-old daughter about the fact that Bethenny had done a nude scene 27 years ago. “I just sat there and just took it and just said, I have no shame in my game. This is who I am. This is my past and I was an actress and I needed the money and I’ve done so many things in my life that got me to where I am, so I think that’s part of my owning it.” She went on, saying how “crazy it was for women trying to tear each other down.”

    Bethenny Frankel

  • “The least favorite element [of being on a reality show] is you get mired in something that you don’t even care about…You can’t believe that people can be so nasty and malicious. I think it’s a comedy. I see it as a satire. You can’t believe how fake people are. It’s amazing. You look around and any five people. You believe they are totally normal. ‘She’s so down to earth; she’s  so normal.’ She’s ‘guano‘ crazy!”
  • “I want to give you one tip. It’s changed my life. At night before you go to bed, for like five to 15 minutes, put in as much hot water as you possibly can in your bathtub and just your feet—not your whole body—in Epsom salts. It’s like a drunk. I don’t know what happens. I used to take something to sleep, but this knocks you out. It’s like detoxing and it’s crazy and it’s the simplest and oldest thing and has changed my life.”
  • Being an entrepreneur “is really hard. You’ve got to be out there. But it’s good. It’s like the ocean. It keeps changing and moving all the time.”
  • “I’m really a homebody. I like being with my daughter.”
  • When asked what the one thing she keeps in her refrigerator to make a meal, Bethenny responded, “I’m a big fan of the freezer. I travel so much that when I get home there’s always a frozen organic broccoli.”
  • Kale — “You can’t walk on the street without being assaulted by kale. I want to meet the kale publicist. What’s so great?”
  • The future for Bethenny — “I’m focused on this charity [B Strong]. I’m able to help women. Now that I’m not struggling and white-knuckling it anymore, I want to inspire women.”

Bethenny lived up to her honest, no-holds barred comments about her life, both past and present. She was true to herself. Some loved her words; some were perturbed by her presentation. Hey, when you go to a Mexican food restaurant, you can’t expect meat loaf to be the featured item on the menu.

MySweetCharity Photo Gallery Alert: 2017 Chick Lit Luncheon

Nancy Rogers and Bethenny Frankel

After waiting for what seemed like eons, reality TV and Chick Lit fans gathered at the Hilton Anatole on Thursday, April 20, to hear from that lightning rod personality/author/business woman Bethenny Frankel.

Mary Martha Pickens, Mary Ella Bitzer and Tricia George

From the Cristal served at the VIP pre-luncheon meet-and-greet to the chatter during the presentation of the Community Partners of Dallas’ 2017 Partners for Children Award, the CPD fundraiser ran the gamut from class to crass. And then there were a couple of Bethenny comments that earned giggles and grumbles.

While this post is being finalized, check out the MySweetCharity Photo Gallery for the peeps who were part of one of the most talked-about luncheons this season.

Grovel Alert: 2nd Annual Rising Stars Luncheon

Dak Prescott (AP Photo)

Ben Lange (File photo)

Unlike former Dallas Police Chief David Brown, Dallas Cowboys Quarterback Dak Prescott hasn’t exactly been making the speaking rounds.  Perhaps that’s why Wednesday’s “2nd Annual Rising Stars Luncheon” benefiting After-School All-Stars North Texas is nearing SRO status at the Dallas Country Club.

According to ASAS North Texas Board Chair Ben Lange, the fundraiser that will have Brad “Voice of the Dallas Cowboys” Sham interviewing the football wunderkind is within one or two tables of selling out.

Nancy Rogers and Gina Betts (File photo)

Chaired by Gina Betts, the fund raiser is being presented by Nancy C. and Richard Rogers.

One of the surprises for organizers has been the number of papa and mama bears who are bringing their kids to the luncheon. Seems that the recent show of munchkins attending The Jonathan’s Place’s “A Chance to Soar” with featured speaker Simone Biles has caught on. Makes sense. Such events provide an excellent opportunity to expose youngsters to role models.

Consider this news to be a “last call” shout-out, so get one of those last spots now by emailing  Liz Arrington or calling her at 469.330.4970.