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.

Grovel Alert: Genesis Annual Luncheon

Bianca Jackson (File photo)

As the May countdown for fundraising gets underway before the area is evacuated for the summer, the Genesis Annual Luncheon is leading the pack with its Monday, May 15th fundraiser at the Hilton Anatole.

According to Genesis Women’s Shelter And Support Senior Director of Fun and Community Development Bianca Jackson, the event with keynoter Arianna Huffington and the Junior League of Dallas and David Brown being honored with the Jane Doe and HeROs awards, respectively, tickets are getting as scarce as eight-track tapes.

But don’t hesitate and don’t let your stingy factor rule. Patron level not earns a nifty seat at the luncheon and an invite to the pre-luncheon meet-and-greet, but it also includes a super patron party at a very cool mansion.

Check here for ticket availability, but make it quick!

Sold-Out Alert: No More Room For Dec My Room’s Room To Grow Luncheon And Fashion Show

Dec My Room’s “Room To Grow”*

And the announcements keep pouring in. The first ever Dec My Room’s Room To Grow luncheon and fashion show at NorthPark’s Neiman Marcus on Tuesday is sold out. Co-chaired by Sue Fair, Diana Hamilton and Andrea Nayfa along with NorthPark’s Kristen Gibbins, the event will featured a presentation by NorthPark Ambassadors Kimberly Schlegel Whitman and Moll Anderson on Neiman Marcus’ Level Two.      

Dec My Room was established ten years ago and “helps to create a healing place” for children who are being admitted into a hospital for a prolonged amount of time. 

* Graphic provided by Dec My Room

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

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

Joyce Rosenfield and Mark Berg*

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Casey Gerald*

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

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

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

* Photo credit: Kristina Bowman

“Good Morning America’s” Robin Roberts Shared Her 3Ds At The Sold-Out 2nd Annual Interfaith Auxiliary Luncheon

There were those who swore on their iPads that the Interfaith Family Services could not possibly top last year’s inaugural Interfaith Auxiliary Luncheon with “Today Show’s” Hoda Kotb at the Dallas Country Club. But on Friday, March 31, the 2nd Annual Interfaith Auxiliary Luncheon returned to the DCC with “Good Morning America’s” Robin Roberts for another sold-out event and home run. Here’s a report from the field:

Anna Moss, Molly Thomas and Megan Filgo*

Interfaith Family Services held a successful and sold-out luncheon to fight family homelessness in Dallas. The 2nd Annual Interfaith Auxiliary Luncheon took place on Friday, March 31, at the Dallas Country Club with Megan Filgo, Anna Moss and Molly Thomas as the event co-chairs and Francie Moody-Dahlberg serving as the honorary chair. The luncheon was able to net $109,183.34 to help families and children escape the cycle of poverty.

Missy Leon, Francie Moody Dahlberg and Ashley Rupp*

Kimberly Williams and Whitney Tolliver*

The keynote speaker for the afternoon was Robin Roberts of ABC’s “Good Morning America.” Roberts took the podium after Whitney Tolliver, an Interfaith graduate who shared her testimonial. The entire room was teary-eyed as Tolliver told her story of becoming homeless with her 1-year-old son after she lost her home in the 2016 tornadoes, then lost her job the following month. On the day of the luncheon, Whitney was moving in to her own apartment, having graduated from Interfaith that week and ready to continue her journey towards self-sufficiency.

Robin Roberts*

As Roberts approached the stage, she thanked Whitney for her strength and courage to tell her story. She then began to lighten up the mood with words of encouragement. Roberts showed her humorous side when she opened her speech by sharing the 3 D’s she lives by: Discipline, Determination and “Da Lord.”

Roberts emphasized trusting God to lead you to the right path. She also spoke about how her initial dream of becoming a sports broadcaster took a detour and how she learned the importance of trusting her journey.

Roberts gave both a heartfelt and thought-provoking speech of the life lessons she continues to learn through her struggles with illness and adversity. When Roberts was diagnosed with breast cancer, she remembered what her mother told her: “Make your mess your message.” Roberts carried that motto throughout her recovery and decided to publicly share her story in order to save others.

By calling attention to dreaming big but focusing small, Roberts was able to leave the audience with the key message “Everybody’s Got Something.”

Proceeds from the luncheon supported Interfaith’s Hope and Horizons Children’s Program as well as Interfaith’s Home and Hope Transitional Housing Program that provides housing and support services for nearly 100 families in crisis each year.

Sponsors included:

  • Give Families Hope ($15,000) — Katy and Kyle Miller, Robyn and Don Conlon and The Hegi Family
  • Give Families Hope For A Home ($10,000) — Anna and Ryan Moss, Benchmark Bank and Benchmark Title, Nancy Carter and The David B. Miller Family Foundation
  • Give Families Hope For A Hand Up ($7,500) — Kamela and Kenneth Aboussie and Mrs. Wilson Johnson
  • Give Families Hope For Stability ($5,000) — Lincoln Property Company, Melinda and Jim Johnson, Nancy and Neil West, Prairie Creek Partners, Southwest Kia, Susie and John Adams and The Moody Foundation

For almost 30 years, Interfaith Family Services (Interfaith) has been a leading resource for working poor families and a haven for homeless children who long for stability and hope. Today, we are even more committed to our mission to empower families in crisis and break the cycle of poverty.  At the core of our work is a simple yet effective program formula: Stability + Self-Worth + Skills = Self-Sufficiency. First, we stabilize about 100 homeless families (nearly 90% of them female-led) each year by providing them with fully-furnished housing for up to a year in one of the 26 units that we own debt-free, and we offer daily children’s programs tailored to the unique needs of homeless children. Next, we increase their self- worth through on-site counseling for parents and play therapy for children. Finally, we develop their skills via career coaching, financial coaching, and life-skills classes for parents and daily homework assistance and individualized tutoring for children. These comprehensive holistic services lay the foundation for the families’ long-term self-sufficiency. Our outcomes prove that our model works.

Interfaith families earn more ($13.51/hour), save more ($1,631 on average), reduce more debt ($1,167 on average), and remain self-sufficient longer than the members of any other transitional housing providers that report their outcomes publicly.

For more information on Interfaith Family Services or to discover other ways you can support Interfaith’s work, please contact Marketing and Media Coordinator Destiny DeJesus or visit www.interfaithdallas.org.

* Photo credit: Michelle Oesterricher

JUST IN: Former Dallas Police Chief David Brown To Keynote The Salvation Army’s “Annual Doing The Most Good Luncheon”

David Brown (File photo)

That David Brown has been a very busy retiree. Well, actually the former Dallas Police Chief isn’t retired. He’s just changed careers. In addition to working for ABC News, he’s been collecting awards and swamped with speaking engagements. The latest one was just announced. He will be the keynoter for The Salvation Army’s “Annual Doing The Most Good Luncheon” at the Anatole on Thursday, November 16, the week before Thanksgiving.

Bobby Lyle (File photo)

Michal Powell (File photo)

Luncheon Honorary Chair Bobby Lyle will be joined by Luncheon Chair Michal Powell, who is an old hand at planning, promoting and producing a mega fundraiser. She nearly busted the bank when she chaired the 2015 Crystal Charity Ball.

Thanks to the funds raised at the luncheon, The Salvation Army will be able to continue its “compassionate services within Dallas, Tarrant, Collin, Denton and Ellis counties. Last year, the organization provided shelter for 7,932 individuals, served 1,076,280 meals, distributed 36,175 bags of groceries, and provided Christmas gifts for 49,258 children and special care adults.”

Dallas Film Society’s 2017 Art Of Film Was A Double Header With Honoree Robert Benton And Dallas Star Awardee Faye Dunaway

Hayley Hamilton Cogill, Paul Coggins and Regina Montoya

Gary Cogill declared that Robert Benton was one of the nicest people in the film business. This claim took place on Wednesday, March 29, as guests like Co-Chairs Regina Montoya and Paul Coggins, Stacy Girard, and Haley Hamilton Cogill gathered at Sixty Five Hundred for the Dallas Film Society’s Art of Film honoring Benton for his multiple accomplishments in the film industry. Interestingly, the occasion coincided with the 50th anniversary of “Bonnie And Clyde,” which Robert co-wrote.

James Faust

As DFS Artistic Director James Faust talked film with others, DFS President/CEO Lee Papert said that “she and Robert are due at 7, but they may be running late.”

There was a way that Lee said “she” that made one realize the female in question was not your typical Kmart shopper.

Moments later, the red carpet was abuzz of activities with high-caliber photographers and cell photographers snapping away, for Faye Dunaway had arrived. That was the “she” in question.

Dunaway, who would be receiving the Dallas Star award the next day at the opening of the Dallas International Film Festival, was on the scene because of her fondness and admiration for Benton. The two had worked together 50 years ago on the making of “Bonnie And Clyde.”

As mics were thrust in front of Dunaway, the night’s interviewer Gary looked downright gleeful about his chat on stage with Benton.

Faye Dunaway

As Faye shaded her eyes from the bright lights and accommodated the reporters with mics in hand, Benton was nowhere in sight.

After the last interview was a done deal, Faye found herself in a one-on-one conversation with film Critic Joe Layden.  

The two found themselves sipping soft drinks on a nearby couch. Cogill noted, “That’s a Thomas Crown scene on the couch.” If you squinched your eyes, you could sorta think that despite the lack of a chess board.

Robert Benton

As photographers tried for shots of the two, Faye had had enough. Her initial wave-off didn’t dissuade the flashing photographers. A stronger wave and an unhappy face got the message across.

In the meantime, a car pulled up and a group stepped out with the last one being a man with a cane. It was the man-of-the-hour — Robert Benton.

When someone teased him that he was going to have to behave, a friend laughed, “Oh, don’t tell him that.”

Benton smiled and chuckled with a twinkle in his eye.

As he headed to the ramp leading to the festivities, Cogill’s description of Benton seemed more true than ever.

JUST IN: 2017 Tablescapes Co-Chairs Beth Dike And Mary Hubbard Announce Plans For Kappa Kappa Gamma Fundraiser

2017 Kappa Kappa Gamma Tablescapes Co-Chairs Mary Hubbard and Beth Dike just made it official. The annual fundraiser will return to the Dallas Country Club with Tablescapes by Candlelight on Monday, October 16, and Tablescapes Luncheon on Tuesday, October 17, with Central Market as the presenting sponsor. This year’s theme will be “Forever Blue and Beautiful.”

Mary Hubbard, Lori Martin and Beth Dike

This year’s keynote speaker will be Brownwood, Texas, native Mark D. Sikes, known locally for his Draper James fame. On the more worldly front, his friends/fans/followers include actress Reese Witherspoon and director Nancy “Something’s Gotta Give” Meyer. In fact Nancy wrote the intro for his most recent book “Beautiful, All American Decorating and Timeless Style.” And, of course, wouldn’t you know he’s known for his love of blue.

As for the table designers, Mary and Beth suggested that they were in the final stages of signing up talent. Interested? Go ahead! You just know your grandmother’s Lenox Blue Tree china would be picture perfect decked out on that heirloom tablecloth alongside your best friend’s Baccarat stemware. Or, if you’re a professional, why not spiff up your brand by showcasing it in front of a pretty nifty crowd?

It’s time to put those creative juices to work and to raise funds for this year’s beneficiaries including Akola Project, Camp Summit, Cristo Rey Dallas College Prep, Dallas Children’s Advocacy Center, Genesis Women’s Shelter And Support. Seniors’ Pet Assistance Network, Town North YMCA, Visiting Nurse Association (Meals on Wheels) and Kappa Kappa Gamma Foundation.

Sunshine Returns To The Area With Southern Charmer James Farmer For The Park Cities Historic And Preservation Society Luncheon

Despite North Texas taking a thunderous beating the night before, sunshine and friendly temperatures were on hand Wednesday, March 29, for the Park Cities Historic and Preservation Society Luncheon at the Dallas Country Club.

And what else would one expect with author/gardener/floral and interior designer/cook/garden-to-table lifestyle expert James Farmer as the keynote speaker. Sunshine just seems to be his calling card.

James Farmer and Kendall Jennings

Since his appearance in 2013 for the Kappa Kappa Gamma’s Tablescapes, James flashed the same All-American smile, but there was less of him. He told Honorary Co-Chair Libby Hunt it was due to his giving one of his kidneys to his sister, Meredith. Libby asked if the transplant had caused him to be ill and lose the weight. No, he had been put on steroids the year before and the year after the surgery, resulting in his looking heavier when he spoke at Tablescapes. Now, he was back to his normal weight.

To get things going, PCHPS President Kendall Jennings welcomed the group and asked Pierce Allman to provide the invocation. With his arm in a sling as a result of rotator cuff surgery, Pierce’s presentation was poetic. So much so, that as emcee Scott Murray took his place on stage, he admitted that it was remarkable. When asked if he had been working on the invocation for some time or if it was something that had been handed down from generation to generation, Pierce smiled and said he had just put it together that morning.

 

David and Libby Hunt, Leeanne Hunt, Herbert Hunt, Libby Hunt Allred and Barbara Hunt Crow

Mike and Marla Boone

As guests like James’ buddy Caren Kline, Debbie and Jim Francis, Heather Furniss, sisters Libby Hunt Allred and Barbara Hunt Crow, Herbert Hunt, Cynthia Beaird, Marla Boone, Lindalyn Adams, Kay Weeks and Lucy Wrubel with mother Jennie Reeves had lunch, they caught up with Melinda Obenchain receiving rave reviews for “B Magazine,” which she just produced for Briggs-Freeman…La Fiesta de Las Seis Banderas 2017 Co-Chair Rebecca Gregory reporting that La Fiesta de Las Seis Banderas would be returning to the Hilton Anatole in 2018.

Debbie Francis

Melinda Obenchain

Just past noon, emcee Scott told the guests how both Honorary Co-Chairs Libby’s and David Hunt’s childhood homes in the Park Cities were still standing. While that may not seem important to many, to this group of preservationist it was, with the recent demolishing of the Trammell Crow and Penson homes. He then had Pierce introduce James. Pierce, who had been tableside with James, described James as covering “everything from dirt to dessert.”

James Farmer

Some of the highlights of James’ talk included:

  • “Dallas still has a small-town feel. Had dinner last night at Café Pacific and knew people at the other tables.”
  • Having grown up in Perry, Georgia, “If you needed something made, you had it made there. If you wanted something from a foreign land, you went to Atlanta.”
  • As a five-year-old he was playing T-ball and was assigned left field. There he spied a colony of ziggy holes. In South Georgia, ziggy worms are grub  worms. “I knew instinctively that if I dug out a ziggy or two and put them in my pocket and took them home and threw them in our pond, I would catch catfish. And my Mimi, my grandmother, would fry that catfish and we would eat that catfish on my Aunt Irene’s Limoges plates. There’s a connection. Y’all can go to a nice restaurant and pay $30 for that fish now and it’s called ‘Pond To Plate.’ But I understood as a child that something from the ground could get to our table.” On this day in left field, he decided that he had found the “honey hole of ziggy worms.” He dug them up and put them in his pocket. “A kid from the opposing team had the nerve to hit a ball my way. I had to do what came natural to me, so I protected my ziggy colony.” The coach informed James’ father that his son was not an athlete. To this Dr. Farmer responded, “Yes, but he knows the Latin name for every blade of grass out in the field.” It would be 13 years later that James would receive a scholarship from a garden club for Auburn, and the kid who hit that ball received a scholarship to play baseball at Georgia. “So, you see we were both playing on the same field, but ended up where we were supposed to.”
  • Frank McCall influenced James with his “full service architect” firm that drew on a southern lifestyle and “helped my parents create their home.” McCall told James’ mother, “Every Southern lady needs a beautiful home. Every Southern lady needs fine silk. Every southerner needs a damn good chest.” She suddenly realized, “He wasn’t talking about Aunt Irene’s chest.” In the future, James would realize that McCall was talking about being confident and proud of what  you have.
  • It was while attending Auburn that James threw his first “dinner party.” It was in the dormitory kitchen. “I had a hankering for fried chicken and I knew how to fry chicken because you know every 18-year-old goes off to college with an iron skillet. Do you know how many friends you can make in college by making fried chicken? I never missed a sorority ball. Those girls were hungry, too. Those girls were off getting engagement rings and thinking, ‘Oh, my, I gotta learn how to cook.’ That was my ‘fried chicken moment.’”
  • “The pearly gates will smell like Lady Peas.”
  • “I love to teach the generations what the generations before had.”
  • “My grandfather was a Baptist minister and because of that I am a recovering Baptist. Thankfully, the Episcopal Church has a program for us. What the Episcopal Church does is they tell you to come to church and bring a bottle of wine.” On his first field trip with the Episcopalians, they went to the liquor store and he was told to “make eye contact with people, you address them by their first name, and bring that drink to the church and drink it.”
  • Each year his grandmother Mimi made her famous fruit cake. It called for rum. His grandfather wanted a piece with the rum: “It’s not drinking it if you’re eating it.” Being a good Baptist, his grandmother had a Methodist friend buy the alcohol at a liquor store. When the friend died, Mimi “put on some attire that the sheik of some Arab country would wear,” so no one would recognize her. When James confronted her, asking, “Did King Abdulla die?,” she proudly stated that no one had recognized her being incognito. But her grandson countered with, “But you drive the biggest Buick in town. If they saw it whipping around the liquor store…” She responded, “But I parked it at the Winn-Dixie.”
  • James’ first job was redecorating on his grandmother’s Baptist Sunday classroom. He soon learned that everything in the Baptist Church is done by committee, “which I believe is a version of eternal damnation. I would rather work for a dictator than a Baptist committee.”
  • Regarding his first book, he heard a dozen “Nos” from New York publishing houses. “They were No York.” But a Salt Lake publishing house agreed to take a meeting with him, where they wore football jerseys and jeans and James was “dressed like Astor’s pony.” The Salt Lake group agreed to publish 500 copies of “A Time To Plant.” His response was, “That’s sweet, but y’all know I’ll sell 500 copies in the Winn-Dixie parking lot from the back of my Suburban.” He ended up ordering all 500 copies himself and told them that he had some book signings coming up and friends like Caren and Peter Kline in Dallas who were going to support him with book signing events. Some friends in New York City arranged for him to prepare a dinner party for them and have a book signing afterwards. “I ran out of books. I had a conference call the next day with my publisher and I told them, ‘Y’all, I’m out of books.'” They said, “That’s what we want to talk to you about. Barnes and Noble just ordered 2,500 copies.” And it wasn’t just Barnes and Noble. Other stores were placing huge orders. The publisher asked, “What are you doing?” James responded, “Well, last night I cooked a dinner party for some friends of mine. Do you know Al Roker and Deborah Roberts?” They said, “No, but we know you’re not talking about the ‘Today’ host and the ABC reporter.” James trumped them by saying, “Yes, I am. Al and Deborah are very good friends of mine.” The publisher asked how James knew Al. “I know Al through Deborah, who’s from Perry.” They asked if he had other similar events planned. James said that he was headed down to Washington where a friend was going to host another event. “Is the President coming?” James said, “He was invited, because he’s, you know, busy. But they’re gonna take some books to the White House.” The publisher was curious, “Who do you know in Washington?” James asked, “Do you know Senator Sam Nunn? He’s from Perry.”
  • His latest book, “A Time To Celebrate,” started out focusing on big parties and deb balls. During the year that he was creating it, both his mother and grandmother died. “The word ‘celebrate’ took on a new meaning.’ It was Sunday night at home having scrambled eggs and watching ‘Downton Abbey’ with Mama.”
  • In writing “A Time To Celebrate,” he took Jenna Bush Hager up on the offer to “do anything for him.” He wanted her to write the forward. She admitted that she just didn’t know how to do it. James then told her, “You saw your mama and grandma entertain in the White House. I saw my mama and grandma entertain in a white house.” The common denominator was the fact that whether it was the president of a foreign country or the local minister, the way people come together is over food.
  • One of his favorite stories is about his mother, when they hired an Atlanta decorator. Previously, they had used a local decorator, who wore denim on denim — an “I only shop at Kmart look. She would use red latex magnolias dipped in gold glitter for Christmas.” The Atlanta decorator arrived in a black Mercedes and wearing Chanel. At one point, his mother said, “I love ‘Carl.’ I just have to tell you that ‘Carl’ makes me happy. . .  And ‘Carl’ makes me smile a lot.” When the decorator finally said she didn’t understand, because “Your husband is Ted,” Mother Farmer said, “I’m talking about the color.” Translation: coral.
  • In summary, James said, “Keep it real. That’s what the South is about.”

James talked about Al Roker, Deborah Roberts, Jenna Bush and Sam Nunn in such a way that it didn’t feel like name dropping, but rather they were just James’ friends and real.

If you weren’t able to make the luncheon, get one of James’ books and you’ll find a brand-new BFF.

Carolyn P. Horchow Women’s Health Symposium Drew Women From Around The Country To Learn About Healthcare Lifesaving Lessons

Despite her death in 2009, Carolyn Horchow‘s legacy has not only continued, it has provided inspiration for family, friends and even strangers to learn about the incredible developments in healthcare thru the Carolyn P. Horchow Women’s Health Symposium. With Horchow daughters Regen Horchow Fearon and Lizzie Horchow Routman on board, mother/daughter-in-law Sydney Huffines and Patty Huffines hosted the symposium with five leading medical experts providing the information. While Sidney was unable to be present, the symposium provided video coverage of the five-minute presentations.

The reviews were across the board stellar — “Love the UT Southwestern team approach to care and proactive trends,” “It’s nice to have access to faculty during lunch,” and Congratulations to the team on the great research! Presentations were great, easy to follow and the graphics really helped!” Here’s a report from the field:

Bright and early on the morning of Tuesday, March 28, guests arrived from across the Dallas-Ft. Worth area, up from Austin, and as far away as New York City for UT Southwestern Medical Center’s signature educational event for women, the Carolyn P. Horchow Women’s Health Symposium.

Mother- and daughter-in-law, Sydney Huffines and Patty Huffines, served as event co-chairs.

Carol Podolsky, Patty Huffines and Carol Croft**

Patty opened the half-day program with a warm welcome. She took the opportunity to recognize several special guests in attendance: Georgeann McRaven, wife of University of Texas System’s Chancellor William H. McRaven; Patricia Patterson, co-founder of the Symposium; Margot Perot, 2016 co-chair; and several other past co-chairs, including Regen Horchow Fearon and Elizabeth (Lizzie) Horchow Routman, daughters of Carolyn P. Horchow for whom the event is named.

Margot Keyes, Pat Patterson and Cynthia Gary**

Regen Horchow Fearon and Margot Perot**

“I’ve been coming to the Horchow Women’s Health Symposium for years, and each time I learn something new that has prepared me for health issues I’ve faced personally or with my loved ones. It is a true honor to co-chair this important event alongside my mother-in-law, Sydney,” said Patty. “If we take care of ourselves, we can take better care of our families. This rings true for women in Dallas, the surrounding communities, and beyond.”

Presented by five UT Southwestern experts, this year’s program, “Trials And Jubilations: New Discoveries to Restore Your Health,” featured topics ranging from scientific research to preventive and restorative health care measures:

Stephanie Savory, Carlos Bagley, Deborah Friedman, Steve Kliewer and Salahuddin Kazi*

  • “Crushing the Cravings: Drawing Science Into the Battle Against Addictive Behaviors” —Steven Kliewer*, Ph.D., Professor, Department of Molecular Biology
  • “Migraine: Arresting the Time Thief” — Deborah Friedman, D., M.P.H., FAAN, Professor, Department of Neurology & Neurotherapeutics
  • “Skin Care Confidential: Truths and Myths Revealed” — Stephanie Savory, M.D., Assistant Professor, Department of Dermatology
  • “My Aching Back: Solving the Back Pain Puzzle” — Carlos Bagley, M.D., M.B.A., FAANS, Associate Professor, Department of Neurological Surgery
  • “Arthritis: Understanding What Your Joints Are Saying” — Salahuddin Kazi, M.D., Internal Medicine Vice Chair of Education, Professor of Internal Medicine

Demonstrating keen interest, audience members of diverse ages and backgrounds gave the presenters ample questions to field during each Q&A session. The lively conversation carried over into the dining room of UT Southwestern’s T. Boone Pickens Biomedical Building, where more than 25 distinguished faculty members hosted luncheon roundtables.

If you were unable to attend the seminar, the Carolyn P. Horchow Women’s Health Symposium has provided video of the day’s share of information.

It’s truly amazing the North Texas area is flourishing with information and developments in health care. And like other healthcare providers, UT Southwestern is making that information available.

About Carolyn P. Horchow Women’s Health Symposium — The Women’s Health Symposium was established in 1999 by longtime friends Carolyn Horchow and Patricia Patterson. These two civic leaders felt strongly that Dallas-Fort Worth should have a health event to provide current medical information tailored to women and afford access to leading researchers and clinicians at UT Southwestern Medical Center. In the year following her passing in June of 2009, the event was renamed the Carolyn P. Horchow Women’s Health Symposium to honor her and the contributions she made to UT Southwestern and the greater Dallas community.

About UT Southwestern Medical CenterUT Southwestern, one of the premier academic medical centers in the nation, integrates pioneering biomedical research with exceptional clinical care and education. The institution’s faculty includes many distinguished members, including six who have been awarded Nobel Prizes since 1985. The faculty of almost 2,800 is responsible for groundbreaking medical advances and is committed to translating science-driven research quickly to new clinical treatments. UT Southwestern physicians provide medical care in about 80 specialties to more than 100,000 hospitalized patients and oversee approximately 2.2 million outpatient visits a year.

* Dr. Kliewer is holder of the Nancy B. and Jake L. Hamon Distinguished 
Chair in Basic Cancer Research 
** Photos provided by UT Southwestern Medical Center

Art In Bloom’s Seasons Of Love Was Busting With Beauty Thanks To René Van Rems Creating Floral Artworks And St. John Fashions

When Art in Bloom Luncheon Chair Sarah Jo Hardin decided on the event’s theme “Seasons of Love,” she must have had international floral mastermind René van Rems in mind. For his presentation at the Dallas Museum of Art on Monday, March 27, he did a fabulous job at interpreting eight pieces of art into floral arrangements. He even shared a hint on how to give any creation an extra boost. Think hydrangea. Here’s a report from the field:

Sarah Jo Hardin and Jill Goldberg*

Luncheon Chairman Sarah Jo Hardin, with Honorary Chairman Jill Goldberg and the Dallas Museum of Art League President Sheila Durante were joined by over 350 guests at “Art in Bloom: Seasons of Love” on Monday, March 27. Proceeds from the 18th annual fundraiser hosted by the Dallas Museum of Art League supports the DMA’s exhibition and education programs and the DMA League’s Floral Endowment Fund.

It began at 9:30 a.m. with a reception in the Hamon Atrium. Highland Park High School’s Highlander Strings quartet played as guests bid on items in the silent auction and purchased raffle tickets for the chance to win one of four prizes including: a $1,000 gift certificate from Eiseman Jewels NorthPark Center, a pair of Roberto Coin earrings, a luxury overnight stay for two at the Hotel Crescent Court, and a $500 gift certificate from Jacksons Home And Garden.  

Cynthia Mitchell, Becky Bright, Mary Lois Leonard and Beverly Freeman*

Attendees like Cynthia Miller, Becky Bright, Mary Lois Leonard, Beverly Freeman, Delilah Boyd, Megan Meyercord, Deborah Patterson, Marena Gault and Sherwood Wagner were then directed to the Horchow Auditorium for featured speaker René van Rems’ floral demonstration.

Megan Meyercord, Deborah Patterson, Ola Fojtasek and Heather Furniss*

Sheila opened the symposium by welcoming all and thanking the League’s loyal supporters and its corporate sponsors whose support of “Art in Bloom” helps underwrite the DMA’s education programs and the League’s Floral Fund. She introduced Jill thanking her for graciously lending her considerable expertise and leadership to the event. Sheila then invited Sarah Jo to the podium, and paid tribute to her creativity as well as her leadership talents.

Sarah Jo thanked all the attendees before introducing the Park Version choral group from Highland Park High School, who performed a capella “God Only Knows What I’d Do Without You” from the Beach Boys as a tribute to the many “Art in Bloom” volunteers, followed by “Seasons of Love” from the Broadway musical “Rent,” in honor of this year’s theme.

René van Rems*

A world-renowned ambassador of the floral industry, René took the stage to begin his demonstration of eight designs inspired by works in the Dallas Museum of Art’s permanent collection.  As he began work on the first design, inspired by Gustave Courbet’s painting “A Fox in the Snow,” van Rems warmed up the crowd immediately by sharing a tip: “For those new to floral design; when in doubt add a hydrangea,” he said, as he added white hydrangeas to the arrangement. He then went on to create seven diverse designs, from traditional to contemporary, as he thoroughly entertained the crowd with his wit and wisdom on all things floral.

Attendees returned to the Museum’s concourse to continue perusing the silent auction, which included the designs just created by René, while sipping specialty spring-inspired cocktails by Duckworth Vodka.  René also took time to sign copies of his book, “Rene’s Bouquets: A Guide to Euro-Style Hand-Tied Bouquets.”

Patrons progressed to the Atrium for a seated lunch with tables dressed in cornflower blue and watermelon, with floral centerpieces from Judy Blackman of Blumengarten. At each place setting was a white porcelain birdhouse vase with pink roses from Forestwood Fine Flowers and a $250 gift card from St. John.

Fashions by St. John*

Guests enjoyed a delicious lunch, with each course inspired by a season and featuring locally or Texas-sourced ingredients, including a summer-inspired first course of watermelon, prosciutto, and sliced brie salad with Texas balsamic and micro basil; followed by a fall entrée of jalapeno and corn stuffed semi-boneless Lockhart quail with wilted Uvalde curly spinach, glazed root vegetables and flower thyme jus. As winter’s assiette of chocolate desserts was served, Sarah Jo came to the podium to introduce St. John’s Highland Park Village Store Director Randi Schwartz, who quickly got the day’s style show going with models walking the runway dressed in selections from St. John’s gorgeous spring collection. 

Live Blooming Art Exhibition*

The floral extravaganza continued after the symposium with the first-ever “Live Blooming Art Exhibition” featuring a unique display of floral arrangements created by local floral designers and inspired by works of art from the Museum’s permanent collection. Participating designers were Judy Blackman of Blumengarten, Metka Terselich of Metka Floral Designs, Caroline Hansen of Forestwood Florals, Dan Pierce of Wild about Flowers, Doan Do of Cebolla Fine Flowers, Sarah Hobbs of Park Cities Petals, Juan Gomar of Apples to Zinnias, Lucy Diaz-Flores of Bella Flora and David Kimmel of David Kimmel Design. The exhibition remained on view to all DMA visitors the following two days in the Museum’s Level 2 European galleries. 

Sheila Durante, Marena Gault and Sherwood Wagner*

“Art in Bloom International” attendees included  The Eugene McDermott Director of the Dallas Museum of Art Agustin Arteaga, Margaret McDermott, Mary McDermott Cook, Peggy Sewell, Beverly Freeman, Holly Huffines, Susan Fisk, Nancy Cates, Barbara Bigham, Sherwood Wagner, Stacey McCord, Diane Byrd, Ola Fojtasek, Heather Furniss, Rusty Duvall, Beverly Nichols, Faye Briggs, Cyrena Nolan, Linda Burk, Angela Paulos, Emily Maduro and Julia Fuqua.

* Photo credit: Tamytha Cameron Smith

SOLD-OUT ALERT: A Chance To Soar

Simone Biles*

Yup, those ten seats that were still unfilled yesterday for Jonathan’s Place‘s A Chance To Soar Luncheon Tuesday are gone. Translation: Simone Biles will be facing a sold-out crowd at the Anatole.

* Photo provided by Jonathan's Place

Grovel Alert: A Chance To Soar Luncheon

Just heard from Jonathan’s Place CEO Allicia Graham Frye that as of noon today, there were just 10 tickets left for Tuesday’s “A Chance To Soar Luncheon” at the Hilton Anatole.

Trevor and Jan Rees-Jones (File photo)

No wonder! Just some of the VIP types in attendance will be enough to have cell-photos being taken nonstop. Co-Chairs Julie Bagley and Rachel Stephens have arranged to have Tiffany Cuban, Jessica and Dirk Nowitzki, Jan and Trevor Rees-Jones, Meredith Land and Dillard’s Corporate Beauty VP Gary Borofsky tableside.

Simone Biles*

Of course, it doesn’t hurt that the darling of the 2016 Olympics Simone Biles will be the keynote speaker. Her life story reflects Jonathan’s Place’s mission to provide a safe, loving home and specialized services to children who have been abused, abandoned or neglected.” Let’s hope that she doesn’t get eliminated on Monday night’s “Dancing With The Stars.” That would mean her taking the red-eye to NYC for Tuesday morning’s “Good Morning America.” But the money’s on Simone remaining as part of the cast and overnight flying to North Texas. And who knows? Maybe her dancing partner Sasha Farber will be with her at the lunch.

Remember, just 10 seats are left, so get that reservation in now.

* Photo provided by Jonathan's Place

Grovel Alert: 2017 Chick Lit Luncheon

Let’s hope the Anatole Grand Ballroom has its Spanx on for Friday’s Chick Lit Luncheon. The annual Community Partners of Dallas fundraiser is busting with folks to hear Bethenny Frankel at the podium.

Bethenny Frankel*

According to insiders, there are just a couple seats left. Hurry and get one or two of those last places because ya just know that Bethenny is gonna be quotable and memorable.

And don’t worry about setting Bethenny up on a dating apps blind date. According to her chat with People Magazine, “I wouldn’t have enough time to date online. I thought about it, but I haven’t actually done it because I wouldn’t have the time.”

“If it gets there and it’s a dry country, maybe I’ll think about it — but it hasn’t gotten to that point,” Frankel adds. “At my age I got game, who knew?”

But that was a couple of weeks ago. Who knows? Perhaps Bethenny has changed her mind about online dating.

BTW, ticket sales close Thursday at 5 p.m. Hustle, hustle, hustle!