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.

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!

JUST IN: Junior League To Receive Genesis Women’s Shelter’s Jane Doe Award And Former Police Chief David Brown Tapped For HeROs Award

As part of the 24th Annual Genesis Women’s Luncheon celebration, the announcement has just been made of the 2017 Jane Doe Award and the 2017 HeROs Award recipients.

According to Genesis Women’s Shelter And Support CEO Jan Langbein, the Jane Doe Award that “recognizes individuals, groups or organizations that display an extraordinary commitment to standing alongside women seeking freedom from domestic abuse” will be presented to the Junior League of Dallas’ President Bonner Allen, who will represent the JLD.

Junior Leaguers of Dallas*

Receiving the 2017 HeRO Award, which was established in 2013 to “honor men who use their voice and influence to take a public stand against domestic violence,” will be former Dallas Police Chief David Brown. Past recipients include Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings in 2013, Dale Hansen in 2014, Joshua Ragsdale in 2015 and Roger Staubach in 2016.

David has been a busy fella since trading in his uniform for civilian garb. In addition to having a new job with ABC News, he’s been collecting accolades like being the grand marshal for the Dallas St. Patrick’s Day Parade on Saturday, March 11, and receiving the J. Erik Jonsson Ethics Award at Belo Mansion tomorrow.

David Brown (File photo)

Jan explained, ““The Junior League of Dallas has walked hand in hand with Genesis since the very beginning.  Our Junior League volunteers bring passion and professionalism to their placements that in many ways serve as an extension of the Genesis staff.

“Long before Chief Brown was thrust into the national spotlight for his heroic efforts during the tragedy that struck our city last July, he was a hero in Dallas and a hero to Genesis. The Dallas Police Department walks in lockstep with Genesis to help create a safe community, and Chief Brown understood all along that we cannot have a safe community if we do not have safe homes.”

Nikki and Crayton Webb (File photo)

Arianna Huffington**

Luncheon Co-Chairs Nikki and Crayton Webb have arranged for the awards to be presented at the luncheon’s patron party on Thursday, May 11.

A limited number of individual tickets for the Monday, May 15th luncheon at the Hilton Anatole featuring Arianna Huffington are available. For a few dollars more, patron level is also available plus the perks of attending the patron party.

* Photo provided by the Junior League of Dallas 
** Photo provided by Genesis Women's Shelter And Support

MySweet2017Goals: Nikki Webb

Crayton and Nikki Webb (File photo)

According to Genesis Women’s Shelter Luncheon Co-Chair Nikki Webb,

“My goal for 2017 is for the community to join my husband Crayton Webb and myself at the 24th annual Genesis Women’s Shelter Luncheon on Monday, May 15. We are delighted to be co-chairs of one of the most anticipated luncheons of the spring, and would love to see our friends, colleagues and community partners in attendance.

“This year’s luncheon will feature founder of The Huffington Post, founder and CEO of Thrive Global and international best-selling author, Arianna Huffington, as keynote speaker. Celebrated as one of the world’s most influential women, she is sure to inspire and engage as she discusses domestic abuse in our society, and the broader topic of women and media.

Arianna Huffington*

“Funds raised through the luncheon help Genesis provide safety, shelter and expert counseling services to women and children who have experienced domestic violence. In 2016, Genesis served 1,300 women and children due to the generosity of the Dallas community.

“The 2017 Genesis Women’s Shelter Luncheon will be held on Monday, May 15, from 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at the Hilton Anatole Dallas located at 2201 Stemmons Freeway, Dallas, Texas 75207. Sponsorships begin at $1750.00. If available, individual tickets will go on sale in April 2017. For table and sponsorship information contact Genesis Senior Director of Development Bianca Jackson at 214.389.7703 or visit http://www.genesisshelter.org/events/luncheon/ to reserve your table.”

* Photo provided by Genesis Women's Shelter

JUST IN: The Huffington Post’s Arianna Huffington To Be 24th Annual Genesis Luncheon Keynote Speaker

It’s not even 2017 and already the lineup of stellar keynote speakers for the spring is making news. Genesis Women’s Shelter and Support’s CEO Jan Langbein just revealed the plans for its annual 24th annual fundraising luncheon.

Co-chairing the event at the Hilton Anatole will be one of the leading Genesis couples —Nikki and Crayton Webb.

According to Jan, “Crayton is both a professional and personal hero of Genesis, serving as board president of Genesis’s men’s auxiliary group HeROS (He Respects Others), and vice president of corporate communications and corporate social responsibility with Mary Kay Inc., one of our most committed corporate partners. Working with Crayton and Nikki as co-chairs this year is like working with family.”

Crayton and Nikki Webb and little Webbies*

And speaking of family, Nikki is an active nonprofit volunteer and a non-stop supportive wife. She and Crayton are the parents of four pretty adorable kiddos (three boys and a new baby girl, who was born this past March).

Arianna Huffington**

As for the day’s keynote speaker, it’s going to be a lady who definitely has an opinion providing food for thought — Arianna Huffington!

It was back in May 2005 that Greek-born Arianna launched a news/blog site, The Huffington Post, that became part of the internet information revolution. Why, it even won the Pulitzer Price for national reporting in 2012. This past August she started Thrive Global, “a corporate and consumer well-being and productivity platform with the mission of changing the way we work and live by ending the collective delusion that burnout is the price we must pay for success.”

She is a regular guests on national news programs, and her accomplishments include being named to Time Magazine’s list of the world’s 100 most influential people, and Forbes’ “Most Powerful Women.”

Traditionally scheduled around Mother’s Day, this year’s event will take place the day after Mama’s Day (aka Monday, May 15). So, why not treat your favorite mom with gifting her on Sunday with tickets to the Monday lunch? And since individual tickets don’t go on sale until April, how about getting together with some other daughters/sons and becoming a sponsor, so you can lock down that ticket for your mum? You do know sponsorship are available now! Just contact Bianca Jackson at 214.389.7703.

* Photo courtesy of the Nikki and Crayton Webb family 
** Photo provided by Genesis Women's Shelter and Support

Super Bowl XLV Wrap Up: Private Party At Victory Center, Hilary Swank in Preston Hollow, Maxim Party At Fair Park And Passby At Grey Goose

It’s the final day of the media search for VIP encounters before the Super Bowl. After the Prince concert debacle, the media is a bit on edge on who is in town and who isn’t. Rumors are flying that Brad and Angelina are holed up in a Beverly Drive mansion. The thought of trick or treating along Beverly passes quickly. Am hearing that the big blowout events with mega stars are proving to be busts. Stars are showing up late and only staying for a scant few minutes, if they show at all. Makes Friday night’s Audi Forum all the more precious. But tonight’s roster is stellar. The first one is a private party given by PlainsCapital first couple Lee Ann and Alan White where no cameras are allowed. Second one is at Lillie and Phil Romanos’ estate in Preston Hollow hosted by Hilary Swank for The Giving Fund. It was ranked as #1 last Super Bowl by ESPN. The last official event of the evening is Maxim‘s Party Powered by Motorola which is considered the hot party that some media outlet claimed last year as THE party. If there are two seconds to rub together, will hit the Grey Goose Lounge where Jeremy “Entourage” Pivens is holding court. Celebrity hunting season is closing tonight with guaranteed WOW opportunities.

Follow the jump to find out how swell searching ended with frost-bitten fingers. [Read more…]