Brené Brown Brings The Courage Of Vulnerability To Dallas Children’s Advocacy Center’s Appetite For Advocacy Luncheon

With way more than 1,000…okay, it was nearly 2,000…in attendance, there was no doubt that at the Dallas Children’s Advocacy Center’s Appetite for Advocacy Luncheon at the Sheraton Dallas on Tuesday, April 26, something was up. Perhaps it was the speaker/best-selling author Brené Brown? Perhaps it was the occasion of DCAC’s 25th anniversary? Perhaps it was the recent and dramatic incidents of child abuse? It didn’t matter why the place was filled; it was just the fact that people were coming in droves to support DCAC’s efforts to help abused children and “provide them with an opportunity to heal.”

Long before the clock ticked down, the Sheraton parking lot was already filled as a fire truck and an ambulance took care of needs across the street at the main hotel.

Ruth Altshuler and Susan Sharp

Ruth Altshuler and Susan Sharp

Andy Stern and Irving Groves

Andy Stern and Irving Groves

IMG_4391 Isabell Novakov

Katy Blakey, Randall and Kara Goss

Katy Blakey, Randall and Kara Goss

Unlike years past, when the event took place on the Sheraton’s ground level, this year’s sell-out fundraiser was on the hotel’s second floor with folks like Janie McGarr, Isabell Novakov, Susan Sharp, Mary Blake, Randall and Kara Goss, Andy Stern, Irving Groves and Jen and Brad Adams.

As guests spent their time in the lobby, keynote speaker/TED wunderkind Brené Brown tested her mic in the ballroom. No problem. Everything was running right on schedule.

Another “instead of” situation was the meet-and-greet.” In years past, the speaker du jour would pose for photos and get to know the VIP types in a reception prior to the main event. But this year it was a reversal. Brené was gonna meet with them after the luncheon and then hit the airport to head home. Why the need to change things around? Well, Brené had made a promise to her family that she would only stay one night a month away from home. Since Dallas is just a quickie flight away from Brené’s hometown of Houston, she had to make it home in time for dinner. And then there were those weather threats that had been pounding the kiss-cuzzin cities of Dallas and Houston.

 

Susan Nichol, Ruth Altshuler, Bill Walsh and Irish Burch

Susan Nichol, Ruth Altshuler, Bill Walsh and Irish Burch

The only frowny situation was that, when DCAC grand dame Ruth Altshuler and grand papa Bill Walsh presented the Ruth Sharp Altshuler Award and Lt. Bill Walsh Award to Capitals for Kids and Irish Burch, respectively, Brené was still nowhere in sight. As organizers smiled and said that she was being fitted for her mic, there was a chair at the numero uno table going empty.

DCAC President/CEO Lynn Davis got things rolling by telling the crowd that despite the recent deaths of Leiliana Wright and Gabe Flores and criticism of the Children’s Protection Services department, it was important to remember, “We are all in this together.”

Lynn Davis, Paula Richmond and Megan Steinbach

Lynn Davis, Paula Richmond and Megan Steinbach

Joining Lynn on stage were Luncheon Co-Chairs Paula Richmond and Megan Steinbach, who said that if everyone at the event donated $100, then each table would provide therapy for a child. They asked that people fill the envelopes at their tables and hold them up to be collected. As the music played, hands raised with envelopes.

Then NBC5 anchor/reporter/emcee Katy Blakey introduced Brené, whose 2010 Tedx Houston Talk went crazy viral. In preparing for the Talk, she’d told her husband, Steve, that she was going to try an experiment at the Talk. She decided to be vulnerable and talk about “The Power of Vulnerability.” She revealed how one variable that both men and women share is to be vulnerable. Brené didn’t realize her Talk was being taped. But when TED curator Chris Anderson called to say they wanted to post it online, she thought perhaps a handful of friends and associates would see it. However, the Talk was so successful that it scored more than 24M views. It was then that Steve and her therapist recommended that she not read the comments online. She read all of them.

As a result, she decided “the only people who don’t experience shame are those who have no capacity for empathy and compassion.” Brené went on to say that she had “engineered her life to be small.” In other words, she had always wanted to stay under the radar, and now she was out there being vulnerable to commenters writing “Less research, more Botox;” “She should shed ten pounds before she talks about worthiness;” “So sorry for her husband and kids;” “It’s people like that that are ruining America;” etc.

In those comments were “everything I head feared all my life…As a trained social worker, I knew how to handle this — peanut butter and eight hours of ‘Downton Abbey’.” At the conclusion of her ‘Downton’ viewing, she got caught up with the era and Googled Theodore Roosevelt, who had been the U.S. president at the time. One of the first items to appear was Roosevelt’s “The Man in the Arena,” from his “Citizenship in a Republic” speech that he gave in 1910 at the Sorbonne.

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

That inspired her to

  • be in the arena. She was making a choice between courage and comfort “because you can’t choose both. There is nothing comfortable about courage.”
  • realize that “vulnerability is not weakness. Vulnerability is actually our most accurate measure of courage — to have the willingness to show up when you cannot control the outcome.”
  • not accept all feedback. “If you’re not in the arena getting your ass kicked on occasion, then I’m not open or interested in your feedback. The personal attacks, the name calling…There are a million cheap seats in the world today filled with people who will never enter the arena and take a chance with their thoughts. They will spend their entire lives hanging back and hurling judgment and criticism. And if you’re taking it and if you’re open to it, it will get in the way with your being brave and your life.”

She then gave an assignment to the audience — “Take a one-inch by one-inch piece of paper and write down the names of the people who really matter. There are the people whose opinions matter…I have seven. I had eight but one fell off…We need feedback. There is no mastery without it…But you’ve got to be careful whom we take it from.”

Brené Brown*

Brené Brown*

Brené then recalled the young man who told her how his parents had sent her TED talk to him and encouraged him to tell the girl he’d been dating that he loved her. When he did, the girl’s response was, “I think you’re awesome…and I think we should date other people.” On the way home, all the young man could think was, “Screw Brené Brown. Screw Brené Brown.” When he got back to his apartment and told his roommates what had happened, one roomie said, “Girls only like you when you’re running in the other direction. If you want them, you’ve got to run away.” The young man said he didn’t want to be that man. He wanted to be brave. His roommates burst out: “Right on!”

But that situation led to another question for Brené: How do you get up after a fall [in the arena of life]? She researched two years for the answers, with her results being “The Reckoning, The Rumble, The Revolution” that she described in her latest book, “Rising Strong.”

She told of how last year she had decided to write and launch a new book, start a company and train 1,000 people. That idea came to her in February with it all taking place by the fall. But by August everything was “falling apart.” She hadn’t slept soundly in weeks, her team was being pushed to the end and she was being overwhelmed. It all came to a head when Steve came home and opened the refrigerator. As she worked at her dining room table with papers and plans, she heard him say, “We don’t have lunch meat.” That comment was met with Brené suggesting he could go to the grocery. The conversation was not going well when she finally said that she knew everything was falling apart, that she was a terrible mother, etc., but she didn’t need him to “announce it so I know you know.”

This exchange resulted in her “story telling.” Brené was at that moment telling herself a story of failure. After calming down and talking it over, she sought his advice: Why had he said they had no lunch meat? Was he judging her? Steve’s answer: “I’m so hungry.”

The upshot was that our brains are wired for stories. If something difficult happens, our brains immediately search for a story to explain what’s happening. “If we give our brain a story, we are chemically rewarded for that story. The problem is that we have rewarded the story regardless of the accuracy of the story. The stories we make up and the one our brains love the most and give us the most reward for are stories of good guys, bad guys, safe people, unsafe people. The brain does not like uncertainty, ambiguity. My brain was saying, ‘Steve is a jerk. The last 30 years have been a lie’.”

Tying it back to DCAC’s work with children living in abusive and neglectful situations, Brené explained that the “greatest casualty of trauma is vulnerability. Because someone didn’t love us, we are unlovable.”

DCAC’s mission is to provide the services for traumatized children to heal and learn that they are loved and can embrace vulnerability.

* Photo credit: Kristina Bowman

JUST IN: Dallas Children’s Advocacy Center’s Ruth Sharp Altshuler And Bill Walsh Awardees Revealed

Wow! Friday is turning into the good-news release day. The folks over at Dallas Children’s Advocacy Center just sent word on who will be honored at the 9th Annual Appetite for Advocacy Luncheon on Tuesday, April 26, at the Sheraton Dallas Hotel.

Dallas Children's Advocacy Center's*

Dallas Children’s Advocacy Center’s*

In addition to Luncheon Co-Chairs Paula Richmond and Megan Steinbach arranging to have author Brené Brown be the keynote speaker, the 2016 Ruth Sharp Altshuler Award will be presented to Capital for Kids, which serves as “a network of individuals and organizations involved in serving the investment management business dedicated to making a difference in the lives of children in need.”

Capital for Kids Bank*

Capital for Kids*

According to Capital for Kids’ Dawn Blankenship, “Capital for Kids is passionate about our mission to support and protect at-risk children in the community. We are grateful for the diligent work of Dallas Children’s Advocacy Center and their commitment to protecting and healing the most vulnerable children in Dallas. The work of DCAC is the pivotal turning point in the lives of these children towards a hopeful path of healing. Capital for Kids has supported DCAC through annual grants totaling over $1.1 million dollars over the last 11 years.  On behalf of the Capital for Kids board of directors, we are honored to receive the Ruth Sharp Altshuler Award and deeply appreciative of the partnership with DCAC. DCAC is the perfect representative of our mission to support these children as they navigate life beyond abuse to healing and strength.”

Irish Burch*

Irish Burch*

Receiving the Bill Walsh Award will be DCAC Chief of Coordination and Training Irish Burch, whose “desire and passions for protecting and improving the lives of child abuse victims and their families” has been in place for mover than 23 years.

According to the Children Abuse Unit of the Dallas Police Department Detective Corey Foreman, “I believe Irish deserves this award because she embodies the spirit of DCAC. Each day she makes a constant effort to bring all DCAC employees and partner agencies together in order to better serve the children of North Texas.”

Sponsors that have already lined up include the following:

  • Presenting Sponsor: PlainsCapital Bank;
  • Award Sponsor: KPMG;
  • Healing Sponsors: Ruth and Ken Altshuler, Frost Bank, Kara and Randall Goss;
  • Survivor Sponsors: Ashford, Catherine Enrico, The Marilyn and Sonny Oates Foundation, Mary Blake and Chuck Meadows/Leah and Jim Pasant;
  • Resiliency Sponsors: Brenham Capital Management, Katherine and Ken Bullock, Michelle Chase and Elliot Zimmer, Cooper & Scully P.C., EMJ Construction, Shelly Emmanuel, Kristy and Raymond Faus, freshbenies, Gardere Wynne Sewell LLP, Dawn and Bill Hennessey, Kristen and Bill Howell, Donna Malouf, Melinda Cheney Mathes, Millet the Printer Inc., Minda and Gary Moor, Pollard Resource Holdings LP, PwC, Paula and Michael Richmond, Debbie and Ric Scripps, Sharon and Robert Van Cleave and Wilson Elser Moskowitz Edelman and Dicker LLP.
* Graphics and photo provided by Dallas Children's Advocacy Center

Round Robin Sept. 18: Too Many To List

Every now and then, there are “go-figure moments” in fundraising scheduling. Thursday, September 18, was such a day. Here it was the tsunami of nonprofits emailing, calling and tapping sources to donate to the North Texas Giving Day. Last year most groups went dark to allow the big day to take place uninterrupted. This year the pendulum swung in the opposite direction with receptions, parties and announcements taking place all over the place. The AT&T Chairman’s dinner was being held at the Winspear and Dallas Opera’s First Sight was filling Roberto Cavalli with beautiful people including First Sight/First Night Co-Chairs Nick Even and Lynn McBee.

Nick Even, Cristiano Mancini and Lynn McBee*

Nick Even, Cristiano Mancini and Lynn McBee*

Here are just a smattering of the multitude of things that were going on from field reports:

Art For Advocacy Kick-Off Party

Greg Lauren and Brian Bolke*

Greg Lauren and Brian Bolke**

“Art and fashion enthusiasts gathered at Forty Five Ten for a special event to kick off the Dallas Children’s Advocacy Center’s upcoming fundraiser, Art for Advocacy. Special guest and fashion designer, Greg Lauren, showcased his newest collection while guests sipped on Austin Cocktails. DJ Lucy Wrubel kept the party going with beats that pulsed throughout the store. In support of the event, Forty Five Ten’s Brian Bolke offered 10% of the evening’s proceeds to benefit DCAC and will extend 10% of sales from the Greg Lauren collection to the agency through Nov. 1.

“Art for Advocacy celebrates the transformative power of art therapy in helping children process trauma and heal emotional scars as a result of abuse. Proceeds support DCAC’s work in improving the lives of abused children in Dallas County and providing national leadership on child abuse issues. The event draws community and business leaders, young professionals, local arts organizations, artists and gallerists, art collectors, and art patrons.

Lynn M. Davis, Chad and Judee Barrett, Randall and Kara Goss, Stephanie and John Roberts*

Lynn M. Davis, Chad and Judee Barrett, Randall and Kara Goss, Stephanie and John Roberts**

“Guests included DCAC CEO Lynn Davis, Underwriting Co-Chairs Judee and Chad Barrett, Honorary Co-Chairs Kara and Randall Goss, Event Co-Chairs Stephanie and John Roberts, Helena and Doug Wall, Lee McGuire, Allyson Cooke, Leisa Street, Cile McCorlek, Joyce Goss, Kenny Goss, Muffin Lemak, Shelby Wagner, Jamie and Jeremy Saylor, Christine and Mark Danuser, Susan and David Brown, Camille McMakin and Kelly Moser.

Mark and Christine Danuser and Susan and David Brown*

Mark and Christine Danuser and Susan and David Brown**

“This year’s Art for Advocacy event will feature 100 local and regional artists in a silent and live art auction. The 8th annual event makes a departure to a Saturday night featuring tequila, Texas tapas, and desert vacation packages guaranteed to inspire wanderlust. The Art for Advocacy auction party will take place at 7 p.m. on November 1, at F.I.G. to raise funds to aid the Dallas Children’s Advocacy Center (DCAC) in its mission to improve the lives of abused children in Dallas County. An Art Preview will be held at 6 p.m. for $2500+ sponsors offering the first opportunity to buy-it-now. DCAC coordinates the investigation and prosecution of the most severe cases of child abuse in the community and provides national leadership on child abuse issues. For more information email [email protected].”

Capital for Kids Anniversary Party

Ann and Lee Hobson***

Ann and Lee Hobson***

Capital for Kids kicked off its 10th anniversary celebration last night in the Highland Park home of Ann and Lee Hobson. Celebrating 10 years of changing lives in North Texas, the invitation-only sponsor party featured a special presentation by children from the Trinity River Mission of West Dallas – a Capital for Kids grant recipient.

Scott and Amy Houdek***

Scott and Amy Houdek***

“Among the guests were Rob Hayes, Reid Walker, Amy and Capital for Kids 2014 Co-Chair Scott Houdek, Katy and Lawrence Bock (who donated an emerald-cut 10-carat aquamarine surrounded by 66 dimaonds to celebrate CFK’s 10th anniversary), Carroll Watson, Reed Carroll, Rachel and Brad Stephens, Allison Carlisle, Susan Nichol, Dawn Blankenship Hennessey, Michael Watson, Michael Massad, Jason Hill, Lucas Legera, David Smith and Gentry Beach.

Lawrence and Katy Bock***

Lawrence and Katy Bock***

“Capital for Kids is a network of individuals in the asset management community dedicated to making a difference in the lives of children in need. Through the partnership of our sponsors and grant recipients over the last 10 years, Capital for Kids has supported organizations that educate, protect and encourage at-risk children. They provide financial support to organizations that help break the cycle of child abuse, poverty and neglect through education, advocacy and emergency resources.

“Since inception, Capital for Kids has donated $8.7 million to more than 50 different charitable organizations in North Texas. They have a goal to give $10 million in 10 years to North Texas children’s charities. 100% of sponsorship and donation dollars go directly to the charities they support. Capital for Kids will be hosting its main event on Thursday, November 20, at the FIG. Tickets can be purchased at www.capitalforkids.org.

KidneyTexas Patron Party

Linda Dodd, Ola Fojtasek and Lissie Donosky****

Linda Dodd, Ola Fojtasek and Lissie Donosky****

KidneyTexas, Inc. patrons of The Runway Report Luncheon and Style Show gathered at the Highland Park home of Ola and Randall Fojtasek and had much to celebrate!

“As the evening began, the verandah was bathed in soft lighting opening into the expansive courtyard. Guests enjoyed wines donated by Barbara and David Farmer as M3Trio serenaded them into the evening, under the stars. Sumptuous hors d’oeuvres donated and catered by Angela Gordon of Angela’s Catering filled the formal dining table and were passed inside and out. Valet parking was generously donated by Gold Crown Parking.

Anna Bland Aston and Scott Aston****

Anna Bland Aston and Scott Aston****

“Guests included patron party chair Anna Bland Aston, her husband Scott and daughter, Annalee; Jolie Humphrey, president of KidneyTexas, Inc. and her husband, Bart, and Lezlie and Bill Noble, who donated a strand of South Sea pearls valued at $32,000 to the live auction.

“The buzz was about the upcoming The Runway Report luncheon and fashion show at the Brook Hollow Golf Club, which presents Faye C. Briggs as honorary chair and honors Janelle Friedman with the Goodnight Service Award. The Goodnight award is named in honor of Sue Goodnight, a founding KidneyTexas, Inc. member and longtime volunteer and supporter of the organization, who attended with her sister, Faye Wheeler.

Janelle Friedman and Sue Goodnight****

Janelle Friedman and Sue Goodnight****

“Tooties fashions will rule the runway in a fashion show produced by Jan Strimple and also feature fashions from KidBiz and Pockets.

“The live auction also features a Santa Fe, New Mexico vacation package valued at $10,000 which includes a 5-bedroom house and other delights! It is all topped off with a delicious luncheon.

“The luncheon, chaired by Karen Settle, benefits KidneyTexas, Inc. beneficiaries: Baylor Health Care System Foundation, Children’s Medical Center, National Kidney Foundation – Camp Reynal, UT Southwestern Medical Center.

VNA Kick-Off Party

“The VNA Celebrity Chef Luncheon Committee held a kick-off celebration Thursday that brought together sponsors, board members and VNA executives. Some 30 guests joined the event at Molto Formaggio in Highland Park Village to sample fine wines and cheeses. Michael Perlmeter and Christy Martinez, the owners of Molto Formaggio, hosted the event and are donating a portion of all proceeds to VNA.

Katherine Krause, Lori Whitlow and Ryan Stegall*****

Katherine Krause, Lori Whitlow and Ryan Stegall*****

“The 5th Annual VNA Celebrity Chef Luncheon will be held on October 15 at VNA’s Haggerty Center in Dallas, benefiting VNA’s Meals on Wheels program. This year’s Celebrity Chef is Uchi Chef and Owner Tyson Cole.

Francie Mancillas and Katie Johnson*****

Francie Mancillas and Katie Johnson*****

“Among those attending the kick-off celebration were: 2014 Celebrity Chef Luncheon Co-Chairs Katie Johnson and Francie Mancillas, VNA Board Development Chair Lori Whitlow, VNA President and CEO Katherine Krause, VNA Board Chair Sara Fraser Crismon, VNA Board Vice-Chair Janet Ryan Stegall, VNA Board Members Jay Oppenheimer, Catherine Sweet, John Sears and Cathy Vanden Eykel. Many of those attending are sponsors for the Celebrity Chef Luncheon, including Sara Fraser Crismon, Ike Vanden Eykel, Lynn Sears, Mike Sweet and Janet Ryan Stegall.

Ike and Cathy Vanden Eykel*****

Ike and Cathy Vanden Eykel*****

For more information about VNA’s 5th Annual Celebrity Chef Luncheon and how it will benefit VNA Meals on Wheels, please contact VNA’s Annual Giving and Special Events Manager Laura Muñiz at [email protected] or 214.689.3484.

Slipper Club Announcement

Over at Trinity Groves, the Slipper Club gals gathered for the announcement of the 2015 gala plans. According to Slipper Club President Susan Deasy and Gala Chair Erika Burton, the annual party will benefit Camp John Marc. It will take place at Belo Mansion on Friday, February 27.

Junior League Announcement

The Junior Leaguers and their fans assembled at the Galleria’s Belk to hear deets about the 53rd annual fundraising ball. Ball Chair Beverly Cahill revealed the theme will be “The Magnolia Ball.” Why, oh, why does one suspect that magnolias will be abundant that night?

Beverly explained the thinking behind the theme, “This year’s theme will embrace the elegant heritage of our great city of Dallas with a classic, yet stylish twist,” said Cahill. “The Magnolia Ball will be the Southern Chic dinner and dancing event of the season!”

Then she added another twist to the annual gala. Instead of an entertainer, she’s arranged to have two — jazz singer/songwriter Gabbie McGee to set the mood for the evening and Emerald City for post-dinner dancing and gyrating. Okay, so maybe one doesn’t necessarily gyrate in formal wear, but a whole lot shaking and dancing usually takes place when Emerald City is on stage.

The black-tie fundraiser will take place in the Chantilly Ballroom of the Hilton Anatole on Saturday, February 21.

Lynn McBee will serve as honorary chair. At the rate Lynn is going, she’ll probably end up chairing the AT&T Byron Nelson Championship.

* Photo provided by First Sight/First Night 
** Photos provided by Dallas Children's Advocacy Center
*** Photos provided by Capital for Kids
**** Photo credit: Daniel Driensky
***** Photos provided by VNA