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

JUST IN: Dallas Women’s Foundation’s “Unlocking Leadership Campaign” Adds A New Recognition Level — Leadership Key Club

The Dallas Women’s Foundation team announced “a new recognition level” — Leadership Key Club — in its Unlocking Leadership Campaign to reach its $50M goal. The Club is made up of people “who have contributed $100,000 or more.”

At the 2016 luncheon it was reported that the Campaign had hit the $32M mark.

According to Campaign Co-Chair Ashlee Kleinert, “Since the luncheon, we’ve raised an additional $3 million, which is absolutely wonderful. More than 4,000 generous donors have stepped up during what we consider to be the initial ‘quiet phase’ of the campaign, which is both humbling and exciting. Now that we’re past the campaign’s halfway mark, we want to motivate and inspire other community members to follow their example and help us cross the finish line in the near future.”

Ashlee and Chris Kleinert, Roslyn Dawson Thompson and Paula Parker

Unlocking Leadership Campaign funds will go to the “Foundation’s primary focus areas — women’s economic security and women’s leadership.”

DWF President/CEO Roslyn Dawson Thompson explained, “An investment in this campaign is an investment to ensure that girls and women are on equal footing, which is especially important since Texas women live in poverty at a higher rate than men: only 30 percent of North Texas households are led by women, but 53 percent of all poor households are women-led. Our mission is as important today as it has ever been: Dallas Women’s Foundation invests in women and girls and empowers women’s philanthropy to build a better world. When their lives are transformed, our region and economy are transformed, and that is the ripple effect we seek to achieve.”

So far, Leadership Key Club members include Ellenore and Kirk Baker, Lucy and Henry Billingsley, Cecilia and Garrett Boone, Kalita and Ed Blessing, Erin and Bob Botsford, Jill and Jim Cochran, Serena and Tom Connelly, Ka and L.L. Cotter, Peggy Simmons Dear, Kaleta A. Doolin and Alan Govenar, Lauren Embrey, Julie and Bob England, Beverly Goulet, Trish Houck and Lyssa Jenkens, Heather L. Hunt, Nancy Ann and Ray Hunt, Ashlee and Chris Kleinert, Anne Knight, Sarah and Alan Losinger, Ann E. and Fred Margolin, Janie and Cappy McGarr, Maribess and Jerry Miller, Retta Miller,Toni Muñoz-Hunt and Dan Hunt, Diane S. Paddison, Paula and Ron Parker, Betty S. Regard, Lisa and Matt Rose, Janice and Michael Sharry, Lisa K. Simmons, Sue and Paul Spellman, Betty and Stephen Suellentrop, Roslyn Dawson Thompson and Rex W. Thompson, Patricia A. Vaughan and Barbara S. Turner, Martha and Max Wells, Donna M. Wilhelm, Shawna D. Wilson and Trea and Richard Yip.

If you want to join the Club and help in the development female leadership and well-being, contact DWF Senior VP Shawn Wills at 214.525.5318.

JUST IN: Award-Winning Paleobiologist Dr. Hope Jahren Announced As Keynoter For Dallas Women’s Foundation’s 32nd Annual Luncheon

Dallas Women’s Foundation President/CEO Ros Dawson Thompson has hardly had time to wave bye-bye to the hundreds attending last night’s Leadership Forum and Awards Dinner at the Omni, and she’s already busy announcing the speaker for the DWF’s 32nd Annual Luncheon.

Hope Jahren*

Can you say “paleobiologist”? Shoot! Spellcheck can’t even handle that one. But it’s a word that impresses those in the know. A paleobiologist is one who specializes in “a growing and comparatively new discipline which combines the methods and findings of the natural science biology with the methods and finding of the earth science paleontology.” And the leader of the pack is Dr. Hope Jahren, the “award-winning scientist, one of Time Magazine’s Top 100 Influential People, best-selling author and advocate for female equality in STEM.”

Time described Hope as

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

Lisa Singleton and Shonn Brown (File photo)

Somehow Ros and Luncheon Co-Chairs Shonn Brown and Lisa Singleton have managed to get Hope to make time in her busy schedule to be the keynoter at the Foundation’s principal fundraiser on Friday, October 20, at the Hilton Anatole.

According to Ros, ““We have a proud history of presenting great thought leaders and doers of our time as the keynote speakers for our annual luncheon. Dr. Jahren is no exception. She is a brilliant scientist whose achievements as a paleobiologist are rivaled by her achievements as an author and advocate for gender equity in science. Having experienced firsthand the challenges of gender bias, she is dedicated to using her voice and her story to encourage more women to pursue and achieve success in the sciences.  Dr. Jahren is widely acknowledged as a strong woman using her exceptional talents to make a better world for all women and girls.”

Even before the news got out, the following sponsors were on board:

  • Platinum sponsor — U.S. Trust
  • Speaker sponsor — Nancy Ann and Ray Hunt
  • Emerald sponsors — AT&T, Ashlee and Chris Kleinert and Toyota
  • Gold sponsor — Phyllis Bernstein
  • Silver sponsors — Veree Brown, Melissa Fetter, Freeman, Cecilia and Tim Norwood and Julia Simon

Get your place reserved now, so you can impress your friends with the fact that you’re lunching with one of Time’s most influential people. Individual tickets and sponsorships are available here!

* Photo credit: Ressler Photography

Dallas Women’s Foundation’s Ros Dawson Thompson Hosts A Dinner For Maura And Young Leader Awardees To Get To Know Each Other

While the Dallas Historical Society was “celebrating Texas” at Julie and George Tobolowsky’s home staring at walls of vintage map on Wednesday, March 1, NorthPark was buzzing with activity. At Vineyard Vines, Lee Park Junior Conservancy’s 9th Annual Day At The Race’s Co-Chairs Camille Cain Barnes and Tyler Stevens were kicking off plans for the Saturday, May 6, fundraiser for Lee Park and Dallas Women’s Foundation President/CEO Ros Dawson Thompson was hosting a dinner at Seasons 52 as a get together for the 2017 Maura Women Helping Women and Young Leader Award recipients. Here’s a report from the field about the gals at Seasons 52:

On Wednesday, March 1, at Seasons 52 at NorthPark Center, Dallas Women’s Foundation held a dinner for the recipients of its 2017 Maura Women Helping Women and Young Leader Award to meet each other, the co-chairs and DWF leadership.

DWF will honor this illustrious group of leaders, who have positively impacted the lives of women and girls in the North Texas area, at the Leadership Forum And Awards Dinner, presented by AT&T, on Tuesday, May 9, at the Dallas Omni Hotel. Co-chaired by Cheryl Alston and Laura V. Estrada, the fundraising dinner will include a presentation of the Maura Awards and Young Leader Award, presented by Capital One.

The evening will also feature keynote speaker Carla Harris, Vice Chairman, Global Wealth Management, Managing Director and Senior Client Advisor at Morgan Stanley. Harris is the author of “Strategies to Win” and “Expect to Win,” and a presidential-appointed chair of the National Women’s Business Council.

Dallas Women’s Foundation President and CEO Roslyn Dawson Thompson said, “We are truly inspired by these women and their stories of success in their professional lives. We look forward to celebrating their accomplishments on May 9.”

From the left: (standing) Ellenore Baker, Roslyn Dawson Thompson, Hind El Saadi El Jarrah, Laura V. Estrada and Cheryl Alston; (seated) Tonya Parker, Lupe Valdez and Cynthia Nwaubani*

The Maura Women Helping Women Award recipients are Texas Muslim Women’s Foundation Executive Director Hind El Saadi El Jarrah, Ph.D.; TexProtects (The Texas Association for the Protection of Children) Founding CEO Madeline McClure, LCSW; Judge of the 116th Civil District Court in Dallas County The Honorable Tonya Parker; and Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez. The Young Leader Award will be presented to Wells Fargo and Company Relationship Manager Cynthia Nwaubani, CPA .

For those interested in purchasing tickets to the dinner, which start at $150, or a sponsorship, visit

* Photo provided by the Dallas Women's Foundation

JUST IN: Dallas Women’s Foundation’s Leadership Forum And Awards Dinner Plans Announced Including Keynote Speaker Carla Harris

Carla Harris*

And the good news just keeps rolling in! Dallas Women’s Foundation is popping with news on all fronts regarding the Leadership Forum and Awards Dinner on Tuesday, May 9, at the Dallas Omni Hotel. Dinner  Co-Chairs Cheryl Alston and Laura V. Estrada have arranged for Vice Chairman, Wealth Management, Managing Director and Senior Client Advisor at Morgan Stanley Carla Harris to be the keynote speaker. In addition to being a presidential-appointed chair of the National Women’s Business Council, the Port Arthur native has written “Strategies to Win” and “Expect to Win” and gospel singer.

As for the recipients of the 2017 Maura Women Helping Women and Young Leader Awards, DWF President/CEO Ros Dawson Thompson revealed quite a lineup. The 2017 Mauras will be presented to the following gals at the dinner:

  • Hind El Saadi El Jarrah*

    Hind El Saadi El Jarrah, Ph.D. – Born in Beirut to Palestinian parents, Jarrah has promoted the understanding and respect for multicultural diversity, especially for her three daughters. To preserve her culture and to instill it in her daughters, in 1982 she co-founded the Arabic Heritage Society, a nonprofit whose mission was educational, cultural, social and charitable to preserve and promote understanding of the culture. From 1983 to 1991, she served as principal of the Arabic school. After 9/11, widespread misconceptions about Islam and Muslims resulted in her giving speeches about these topics to promote understanding. In 2005, she co-founded and continues to serve as the executive director of the Texas Muslim Women’s Foundation (TMWF), a nonprofit that empowers Muslim women and their families and addresses critical needs of this population including counseling, legal services and play therapy. In 2012, TMWF opened Peaceful Oasis, a shelter for victims and children of domestic violence, which has served more than 1,500 clients from all faiths and races.

  • Madeline McClure*

    Madeline McClure, LCSW – As the founding CEO of TexProtects, The Texas Association for the Protection of Children, McClure is on a mission to prevent child abuse. After a successful nine-year career in finance on Wall Street, she started a second career to help abused and neglected children by creating large-scale systemic change through legislative advocacy. Under her leadership, TexProtects has led or assisted in the passage of 41 bills that have improved the Child Protective Services system, and advocated for and secured $100 million for family support home visiting programs, which currently serve more than 21,000 families across Texas. Recently, McClure led successful efforts to make positive changes to Texas’ Child Protective Services, including a recent approval of pay raises for 5,000+ frontline CPS caseworkers, of which 75 percent are female.

  • Tonya Parker*

    The Honorable Tonya Parker – Judge Tonya Parker has been Judge of the 116th Civil District Court in Dallas County since she was elected in 2010 and re-elected in 2014. During her tenure, she has served with the highest remarks and approval ratings. She currently serves as the Presiding Judge of the Dallas County Civil District Courts and is the immediate past president of the Texas Association of District Judges. By serving honorably in her position, she has elevated the status of and opened doors for women. In addition, she is involved with IGNITE, a non-partisan organization aimed at developing political ambition and training for young women (ages 14-22) to run for public office. Parker serves as a mentor to these young women, helping them learn how to be impactful contributors to society, especially if they are elected. Parker also finds time to serve on many legal associations, civic boards and commissions. A passionate speaker, she’s often asked to give speeches to legal groups and schools, including an impactful commencement speech she gave to Richardson ISD graduates in 2015.

  • Lupe Valdez*

    Sheriff Lupe Valdez – The youngest child and only daughter born to migrant farm workers, Sheriff Lupe Valdez became the highest-ranking law enforcement officer in Dallas County in 2005. Re-elected for her fourth term in 2016, she is the only Hispanic female sheriff in the nation and one of four female sheriffs in Texas. Because her mother was determined that she would receive an education, Valdez worked two jobs to put herself through college. After college, she enlisted in the Army Reserves where she rose to the rank of captain, and also earned a master’s degree in criminology and criminal justice. As Sheriff, she has partnered with the Dallas County Commissioner’s Court, Parkland Hospital, Dallas County Constables, the District Attorney’s Office and several judges to improve county law enforcement. Some of her successes include hiring 400 new detention service officers, expanding the highway patrol system, and improving healthcare for mentally ill inmates.

Dallas Women’s Foundation’s Young Leader Award recognizes breakthrough leadership exhibited by a woman under the age of 40 who is achieving success in a field, initiative or sector, and creating a path of opportunity for other women to follow.

Cynthia Nwaubani*

Presented by Capital One, this year’s Young Leader Awardee will be Cynthia Nwaubani, CPA. “Because of the important role education played in Nwaubani’s life, she has devoted her time on efforts to promote education, empowerment and financial independence for women and girls. She earned her MBA and CPR certification while working full-time and raising a family, and now works as a relationship manager for Wells Fargo & Company. She was recently recognized with Wells Fargo’s “Living with Vision and Values” award just two years into her career. She’s passionate about connecting women executives and clients, as well as global diversity that focuses on diversity of thoughts, ideas and experiences. Through her involvement with 4word women’s group, she is able to grow with other women leaders who work, love and pray. Nwaubani also mentors women business owners from countries that have been affected by war or genocide through the Institute for Economic Empowerment of Women.”

According to Ros, “We are proud to honor and celebrate exceptional leaders who are blazing trails for women in their professions and communities. These women have dedicated themselves to creating opportunities for women and girls to accomplish their goals, and their stories are an inspiration to us all.  We also look forward to hearing from the dynamic Carla Harris, who will encourage us to do even more to advance women’s leadership at work and in the community.” 

Dinner tickets starting at $150 and sponsorships are available right here!

* Photo provided by Dallas Women's Foundation

MySweet2017Goals: Roslyn Dawson Thompson

Ros Dawson Thompson (File photo)

According to Dallas Women’s Foundation President/CEO Roslyn Dawson Thompson,

“Professional Goal: My goal in 2017 is to inspire the incredibly generous heart of this community to increase its investment in our women and girls. Women are the face of poverty here, just as they are everywhere else in the world – and we need everyone’s commitment and support to help us expand resources that improve education and quality of life, give voice to the issues, and cultivate strong women leaders for the future.

“Personal Goal: My goal in 2017 is to make more time for learning instead of doing, to spend more time with my family and friends, and to stop ‘changing this occurrence’ on the calendar when it comes to my intended gym schedule!”

JUST IN: Deadline For Dallas Women’s Foundation’s 2017 Maura Women Helping Women and Young Leader Awards Extended

While the Dallas Women’s Foundation’s Leadership Awards Dinner presented by AT&T isn’t until Tuesday, May 9, the process is underway to select the recipients of the 2017 Maura Women Helping Women Award and the Young Leader Award.

Originally, the deadline for nominations was Friday, January 6.

Yipes! Folks who have been away for the holidays just realized that January 6 is less than a handful of days away. To accommodate those procrastinators, DWF President/CEO Roslyn Dawson extended the deadline to Monday, January 9. Whew!  

BTW, the dinner is being co-chaired by Cheryl Alston and Laura V. Estrada, with the presidential-appointed National Women’s Business Council Chair Carla Harris as the keynote speaker.

Carla Harris*

While you’re thinking about whom to nominate, remember the Maura honors “courageous individuals who have catalyzed change for women and girls in North Texas.” Established in 2013, the Young Leader Award “recognizes breakthrough leadership exhibited by a woman under the age of 40 who is achieving success in a field, initiative or sector, and creating a path of opportunity for other women to follow.”

So, scratch that adorable head, think of an outstanding gal, download the form and who knows? You may be the source for the 2017 Maura and/or Young Leader.

* Photo courtesy of Dallas Women's Foundation

Dallas Women’s Foundation’s 32nd Annual Luncheon Co-Chairs Shonn Brown And Lisa Singleton Reveal Deets For Fundraiser

Lisa Singleton and Shonn Brown*

Evidently Shonn Brown and Lisa Singleton were doing more than having a ladies’ lunch last week at The Capital Grille. The two were putting their heads together to “plot” the 32nd Dallas Women’s Foundation‘s Annual Luncheon that they’re chairing.

So far plans call for the mega-fundraiser to take place on Friday, October 20, at the Hilton Anatole. The gals have set their sights on a goal of $1.3M, which is “slightly up from last year’s monies.”

And as for the keynote speaker? Stay tuned. Shonn, Lisa and DWF President/CEO Ros Dawson promise that as soon as the contract is signed, they’ll share the info.

* Photo provided by Dallas Women's Foundation

Interactive Artist/Activist Candy Chang Blended Art And Healing For Dallas Women’s Foundation’s 31st Luncheon

To compare last year’s Dallas Women’s Foundation’s 30th Annual Luncheon to this year’s was like comparing a trophy wife to a first wife.

Sure, the 2016 version had Desperate Housewife Eva Longoria at the podium, an A+ meet-and-greet structure, life was good and the economy was marching along. But this year’s Annual Luncheon on Friday, October 21, at the Hilton Anatole had a different set of challenges. The economy was antsy; nerves were on edge perhaps due to the political bickering; and frills of the past were toned down to satisfy the need to meet the bottom line.

Dallas Women’s Foundation President/CEO Ros Dawson admitted that they had considered a six-figure type when petite urban artist/activist Candy Chang appeared at a conference that Ros attended. With the July 7th shooting in Dallas and the luncheon Co-Chairs/art champions Joyce Goss and Selwyn Rayzor at the helm, Ros just knew they had a perfect match — their keynote speaker blending art and advocacy together … and an on-target budget.

Joyce Goss, Candy Change, Selwyn Rayzor, Ellenore Baker and Ros Dawson

Joyce Goss, Candy Change, Selwyn Rayzor, Ellenore Baker and Ros Dawson

That tightening of the budget was paramount since establishing the Unlocking Leadership Campaign goal of $50M. It was a daunting challenge to raise that type of money.  Still, thanks to sponsors like U.S. Trust, the DWF mission of investing in women and girls and empowering women’s philanthropy to build a better world forged ahead.

But the day started off with the meet-and-greet in the Anatole’s Wedgwood Room. It had all the signs of being a repeat of last year’s flawless grip-and-grin. There was a cordoned-off area for guests to have their photos taken with Candy. There were cards to be provided to guests as they arrived to hand over when their photo opp took place. There was even the metal ring on which the cards were to be placed to help identify who was in each photo. The only thing missing was the (wo)manpower to make things happen.

Candy Chang and Regina Montoya

Candy Chang and Regina Montoya

Unlike last year’s photo opp, with one person to receive the card at the line up and another to take a handbag to the exit area, there was just one person who stayed at the exit. Some guests made it to the cordoned-off area with cards filled out, but most showed up at the exit with no card. Evidently, the cards were only sporadically being handed out and some folks didn’t realize there was a meet-and-greet taking place. There were times when Candy just stood like the last gal picked at a boy-ask-girl dance. But Candy was a good sport and stayed with a smile on her lips and an artistic tattoo on her right arm.

Just outside the Chantilly Ballroom, the lobby was highlighted by large panels headlined with “A better world is …”  The panels would be put to full use after the luncheon.

In the Chantilly Ballroom, organizers admitted that the luncheon headcount was down from 2015’s 1,800—if you call 1,300 down. But the money count was ahead of plan.

Kaleta Doolin

Kaleta Doolin

Joyce and Selwyn welcomed the group including Dallas Women’s Foundation Board Chair Ellenore Baker, Kay Bailey Hutchison, Paige Flink, Nancy Ann Hunt, Rex Thompson, Robin Bagwell, Wendy Messmann, Regina Montoya and 2017 Dallas Women’s Foundation Luncheon Chair Lisa Singleton, telling them the presentation by Candy would offer hope and healing. They told of the cards at the tables that could be filled out and placed on the lobby’s panels following Candy’s talk. They added that even before the doors of the ballroom were opened, more than a million dollars had been brought in.

After they recognized Honorary Chair/artist Kaleta Doolin, a powerful video was shown about the challenges facing a single mother in need of help.

p1210391Ashlee and Chris Kleinert, Paula and Ron Parker and Trea Yip were on stage to stir up the Foundation’s fundraising campaign. Over $30,793,000 had been raised, but they wanted to match the 31st anniversary by hitting the $31M mark. If folks texted to #betterworld, they could make a donation to meet the goal. Immediately cellphones were pulled out on stage and in the audience to provide the funds.

Trea Yip and Ashlee Kleinert

Trea Yip and Ashlee Kleinert

On the screen, the names of donors like Clay Jenkins and Sandra Brown were shown. And while texting may still be like hieroglyphics to some, this one caused consternation even among the savvy types. There seemed to be problem that became a topic during the luncheon.

No problem. Soon Mother Ros was on stage explaining the hiccup. It seems that some folks had put a space between “better” and “world” and heaven knows where the money was going. But not to worry. The DWF braintrust had already taken care of the misdirected funds. With a sigh of relief, the cellphones were out again and successful donations were made. Whew!

Ros Dawson

Ros Dawson

Following a film, Ros invited people to keep talking as she spoke. And that is exactly what they did. Between the chatter and the clatter of the forks on plates, the folks especially in the back of the room missed her telling of the $31K anonymous donation that had just been made in honor of the 31st anniversary, helping the texting amount to $72K at that moment. They also could hardly hear Ros describing the great need to “harness the heart of this community to address the deep divide of race, class and gender.” It was for this need to bring people together that the decision had been made to bypass a big-name celeb and go for a peaceful and thoughtful activist like Candy Chang as the keynote speaker.

As Candy took the stage, the noise level in the room had decreased thanks to the winding down of the meal. With the help of the massive screens around the room, Candy told of her journey as a community activist and artist in New Orleans and the turning point that led her to create an international movement as well as become a TED Senior Speaker. It was the death of “Joan,” who had been so influential throughout Candy’s life. Her death had been sudden and unexpected. Candy went through a period of grief and depression.  She discovered an abandoned house in her neighborhood and decided to use it as a canvas. Painting one of its walls black like a chalkboard, she wrote on it, “Before I die, I want to…” Pretty soon the wall was filled with all types of comments reflecting on the authors’ lives. The wall allowed a coming together of feelings, dreams and concerns among the people. This one wall of words caught on like wildfire throughout the world. Today there are more than 2,000 “Before I die…” walls internationally. Each wall is unique to its own community.

Speaking of her own success, she admitted that she owed it “to the generosity of others who stepped in and caught me at that critical moment when I questioned whether I had the capacity or the confidence to try something new.”

She was especially moved by the day’s program, and hoped that the audience would pay it forward in providing support and empowerment for girls and women on their journeys.

Before concluding her talk, she added that all people have mental health issues like sorrow, anxiety, stress, etc.: “These feelings easily escalate to more intense conflicts like addiction or depression or self-destruction.”  As a result, she created an interactive exhibit in which writers anonymously confessed their feelings. One such confession read: “I’m afraid I’ll die alone.”

This sense of coming together to heal led her to her latest project — Atlas of Tomorrow in Philadelphia.

It is a huge interactive mural with a 6-foot dial which people are invited to spin to possibly resolve challenges or issues facing them. The number on which the spinner stops leads them to one of 64 stories taken from I Ching, one of the world’s oldest books of wisdom. The hope is to provide “a place to pause and try and make sense of our lives together,” according to Philadelphia Mural Arts Program Executive Director Jane Golden.  

But despite the huge project in Philadelphia and the worldly influence, Candy’s message was felt on a smaller plain. As guests left the ballroom, they let it be known that they had gotten Candy’s message by filling the panels in the lobby completing the line, “A better world is…” One read, “A better world is … because of the Dallas Women’s Foundation.”  Said others: ” … full of compassion,” ” … kind,” ” … possible.”  Those panels were not just for show. Their future lay at being positioned throughout the city including at NorthPark Center, Southwest Center Mall, The Stewpot Talent Show at Encore Park and The Stewpot.  

BTW, thanks to texting and generosity, the Foundation hit its $31M mark. Now, only $19M to go!

MySweetCharity Photo Gallery Alert: Dallas Women’s Foundation’s 31st Luncheon

The Dallas Women’s Foundation‘s 31st Luncheon took a different direction from last year’s fundraiser that starred Desperate Housewife Eva Longoria. This year they had interactive artist/activist Candy Chang, who shot to fame thanks to her “Before I die…” artwork that went international.

Joyce Goss, Candy Change, Selwyn Rayzor, Ellenore Baker and Ros Dawson

Joyce Goss, Candy Change, Selwyn Rayzor, Ellenore Baker and Ros Dawson

They also aimed to hit the $31M mark for their Unlocking Leadership Campaign at the luncheon. But there was a momentary snafu that almost slowed the raising down.

Trea Yip, Paula and Ron Paul, Ashlee and Chris Kleinert

Trea Yip, Paula and Ron Paul, Ashlee and Chris Kleinert

While the post is being completed, check out some of folks who were part of the 31st Luncheon at MySweetCharity Photo Gallery

JUST IN: Dallas Women’s Foundation’s 31st Annual Luncheon Helped Its Unlocking Leadership Campaign Hit The $31M Mark

Dallas Women’s Foundation bean counters have been putting in overtime since Friday’s 31st Annual Luncheon at the Hilton Anatole with keynote speaker/artist Candy Chang. The Foundation’s Unlocking Leadership Campaign leadership (Ashlee and Chris Kleinert, Paula and Ron Parker and Trea Yip) just revealed over-the-top news.

With a campaign goal of $50M, they announced at the luncheon that $30.8M had been achieved.

Trea Yip, Paula and Ron Parker and Ashlee and Chris Kleinert

Trea Yip, Paula and Ron Parker and Ashlee and Chris Kleinert

But to celebrate the 31st anniversary of the Foundation, they so wanted to the $31M mark. To do that, they asked that guests text “betterworld”, and donate. Only there was a slight hitch. It seems that some folks put a space between “better” and “world” preventing the funds from hitting its target.

Not to worry. Dallas Women’s Foundation CEO/President Ros Dawson smoothly explained the situation from the podium and the day was saved.

Want proof? Thanks to the corrected texting and an anonymous donation of $31,000, they hit $31M.

Grovel Alert: Dallas Women’s Foundation 31st Annual Luncheon

One has to hand it to North Texas women. When it comes to fundraising, they are tireless. Within the next six days, they’re ramping up efforts to fight cancer thanks to Komen Dallas Race for the Cure, Cattle Baron’s Ball and Celebrating Women.

Selwyn Rayzor and Joyce Goss*

Selwyn Rayzor and Joyce Goss*

Well, darn it. The Dallas Women’s Foundation 31st Annual Luncheon is just a week away and Co-Chairs Selwyn Rayzor and Joyce Goss report there are only four tables left as of this morning.

Candy Chang*

Candy Chang*

One of the reasons for the near-sellout is the speaker — Candy Chang. No, she’s not the spokesperson for Hershey. The Taiwanese-American artist has a background in urban planning and architecture that has had her working in Nairobi, New York, Helsinki, Vancouver, Johannesburg and New Orleans.

It was in New Orleans that a turning point in her life came. After “losing someone she loved” in 2009, she was at that turning point of either grieving and suffering from depression or applying her talents to help others. It was also a time when Fat City was still struggling to recover from the devastation of Hurricane Katrina. The citizens, as well as the city itself, was in shambles. Candy used an abandoned house in her neighborhood for her canvas. “She covered the crumbling house with chalkboard paint and stenciled it with the prompt, ‘Before I die I want to ______.’ The wall quickly filled up with responses, from the poetic to the profound: Before I die I want to… see my daughter graduate, abandon all insecurities, get my wife back, eat all the candy and sushi in the world, be a Youtube sensation, straddle the International Date Line, tell my mother I love her, be completely myself.”

Candy Chang**

Candy Chang**

Her effort went viral with more than 2,000 Before I Die walls being created in 70 countries.

And that’s just a smidge of Candy’s story. There are so many other ways that Candy has used public spaces to bring people together.

It’s this creative spirit of compassion that will be featured at Friday’s lunch. So, if you haven’t got your tickets, stop reading and lock down one of the very few remaining seats.

* Photo provided by Dallas Women's Foundation 
** Photo courtesy of Candy Chang

MySweetCharity Opportunity: Dallas Women’s Foundation’s 31st Annual Luncheon

According to Dallas Women’s Foundation’s 31st Annual Luncheon Co-Chairs Joyce Goss and Selwyn Rayzor,

Selwyn Rayzor and Joyce Goss*

Selwyn Rayzor and Joyce Goss*

“The past few weeks have been tragic and eye-opening for our community. In these challenging times, a positive has been the people throughout Dallas who have come together to work towards unification. And we have seen our shared spaces become memorials, from the Dallas Police Department to the skyline featuring the Omni Dallas and Reunion Tower.

“Art has a powerful way of illuminating what matters to us, as individuals and as a community.

“We believe that we should all share our hopes, fears and stories, so that the people around us can not only make our community better, but help us to lead better lives.

Candy Chang*

Candy Chang*

“The interweaving of art and community building, and the unique role of women in building community, will be celebrated at Dallas Women’s Foundation’s 31st Annual Luncheon, presented by U.S. Trust. We are proud to be Co-Chairs of this event, with the support of our Honorary Chair Kaleta Doolin. Together, we celebrate the opportunity to present our keynote speaker, Candy Chang, an artist and activist that uses the activation of public spaces around the world to connect, reflect and nurture the health of our communities.

“Dallas Women’s Foundation’s Annual Luncheon raises funds to support the Foundation’s work in research, grantmaking and advocacy on the issues facing women and girls. They have been doing this for over 30 years, granting more than $32 million dollars to date, with nearly half of that being granted just since 2012. When we look across North Texas, it is evident that its greatest problems – poverty, access to healthcare, affordable housing and childcare – disproportionately affect women and their children.

“We hope you will join us on Friday, October 21, from 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at the Hilton Anatole, Chantilly Ballroom. Luncheon sponsorships are available, ranging from $3,500 to $25,000; individual tickets are available at $500 to $1,000.

“This annual event has a long history of being a sell-out, and it is our goal to do that once again, and at the same time inspire our community to come together to catalyze even greater change for women and girls in North Texas and beyond.

Thank you so much to our current sponsors:

  • Presenting Sponsor — U.S. Trust
  • Artivism Sponsor — Kaleta Doolin
  • Speaker Sponsors — Suzanne Ahn, M.D. Speaker Endowment Fund at Dallas Women’s Foundation, Nancy Ann and Ray Hunt and Jones Day
  • Crystal Sponsor ($25,000) — Texas Instruments
  • Diamond Sponsor ($15,000) — EY, Kimberly-Clark Corporation
  • Emerald Sponsors ($10,000) — FC Dallas (Dan Hunt)/Model Behaviors (Toni Munoz-Hunt), FedEX Office, Haynes and Boone LLP, Ashlee and Chris Kleinert, Texas Health Resources Foundation
  • Sapphire Sponsor ($7,500) — Patricia W. Fagadau
  • Gold Sponsors ($5,000) — Bank of Texas, BB&T Wealth, Nancy Carlson, Civitas Capital Group, Serena Connelly, Lisa Cooley, Sheila E. Gallagher/Kay M. Winzenried, Hart Group, Inc., Helen LaKelly Hunt and The Sister Fund, Highland Park Village, The Horchow Family, Trish Houck and Lyssa Jenkens, Janie S. McGarr, Service King, Tabani Family Foundation, Roslyn Dawson Thompson and Rex Thompson and Trinity Industries, Inc.
  • Media Sponsor — D CEO Magazine

Sponsorships are available at or by calling 214.525.5311.

* Photos provided by Dallas Women's Foundation

JUST IN: 2016 Dallas Women’s Foundation’s 31st Annual Luncheon Deets Including “Candy” Revealed

Selwyn Rayzor and Joyce Goss*

Selwyn Rayzor and Joyce Goss*

And news just keeps rolling in! This time it comes from Ros Dawson and the Dallas Women’s Foundation. They’ve set the date for DWF’s 31st Annual Luncheon. For starters the fundraiser will be co-chaired by Joyce Goss and Selwyn Rayzor, who are both avid supporters of issues facing women as well as art. With this in mind, they tapped artist/philanthropist/writer Kaleta Doolin to serve as honorary chair.


Candy Chang**

Candy Chang**

As Selwyn explained their support of DWF, “When we look across North Texas it is evident that its greatest problems – poverty, access to healthcare, affordable housing and childcare – disproportionately affect women and their children. Dallas Women’s Foundation has been researching, advocating and responding to the needs of women and girls for over 30 years.”

See a trend developing? On target! The keynote speaker will be artist Candy Chang, who “is best known for the ‘Before I Die project,’ which began when she stenciled the words ‘Before I die I want to ___________’ on a chalkboard wall on an abandoned house in New Orleans after losing someone she loved post-Katrina. From that first wall in 2011, over 1,000 ‘Before I Die’ walls have been created in over 35 languages and over 70 countries, including Kazakhstan, Iraq, Haiti, China, Ukraine, Portugal, Japan, Denmark, Argentina, and South Africa. Chang’s captivating and intimate talk aims to demystify the creative process, inspire personal reflection, and provoke new ideas for community and well-being.”

Ros Dawson (File photo)

Ros Dawson (File photo)

According to DWF President/CEO Ros, “The interweaving of art and community building, and the unique role of women in building community, will be celebrated at our 31st Annual Luncheon, which features internationally recognized artist and activist Candy Chang, along with exceptional women leaders and philanthropists in the arts serving as our chairs and honorary chair. As we work to ensure the strength and unity of our community, we know that can only be present when women and girls are economically secure and valued as leaders. We look forward to exploring with Candy Chang the transformative power of art and inclusion to strengthen women and girls, and our community overall.”

The luncheon is scheduled for Friday, October 21, from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Hilton Anatole’s Chantilly Ballroom with individual tickets ranging from $500 to $1,000.

According to Joyce, “It is our goal to once again sell out this luncheon and inspire our community to come together to catalyze even greater change for women and girls in North Texas and beyond.”

As for sponsorships, they start at $3,500 and already include

  • Presenting Sponsor — U.S. Trust
  • Speaker Sponsor — The Suzanne Ahn, M.D. Speaker Endowment Fund at Dallas Women’s Foundation
  • Crystal Sponsor ($25,000) — Texas Instruments
  • Diamond Sponsor ($15,000) — Kimberly-Clark Corporation
  • Emerald Sponsors ($10,000) — FedEx Office, Haynes and Boone LLP and Ashlee and Chris Kleinert
  • Sapphire Sponsor ($7,500) — Patricia W. Fagadau
  • Gold Sponsors ($5,000) Bank of Texas, Nancy Carlson, Serena Connelly and Hart Group, Inc. and
  • Media Sponsor — D CEO Magazine.

The luncheon is the largest fundraiser for DWF, whose goal is “to once again sell out this luncheon and inspire our community to come together to catalyze even greater change for women and girls in North Texas and beyond.”

* Photo credit: Kristina Bowman 
** Photo credit: Randal Ford

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

Maura McNeil

Maura McNeil

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

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

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

Nancy Ann Hunt and Vivian Castleberry

Nancy Ann Hunt and Vivian Castleberry

Fran Phillips and Adlene Harrison

Fran Phillips and Adlene Harrison

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

Nancy Kasten, David Stern and Lili Stern

Nancy Kasten, David Stern and Lili Stern

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

Vicki Meeks

Vicki Meek

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

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

Anne-Marie Slaugher

Anne-Marie Slaugher

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

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

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

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

Sold-Out Alert!: Dallas Women’s Foundation’s Leadership Forum And Award Dinner

The only thing that can compete with the smiley faces at a check presentation is news that an event has sold out! And that’s exactly what happened this morning when word arrived that the Dallas Women’s Foundation’s Leadership Forum and Awards Dinner presented by AT&T on Thursday, April 21, is sold out. Goodness, that’s more than two weeks away!

Anne-Marie Slaughter*

Anne-Marie Slaughter*

That means 900 will be on hand in the Omni’s Trinity Ballroom when the Maura Women Helping Women Awards are bestowed on Diana C. Dutton, Rabbi Nancy Kasten, Vicki Meek, Katie Pedigo and Billie Bryant Schultz. Another highlight of the evening will be Brittany K. Byrd and Lacy L. Durham Esq. receiving the Young Leader Award presented by Capital One.

In addition to celebrating the deserved accolades, guests will hear President/CEO of New America Dr. Anne-Marie Slaughter, who wrote the provocative “Why Women Still Can’t Have it All.”

But in this case you just might have it all even if you didn’t get your ticket. Event Co-Chairs Margaret Jordan and Debbie Taylor have created a wait list, so why not sign up and keep your flawless fingers crossed.

* Photo courtesy of the Dallas Women's Foundation

JUST IN: Dallas Women’s Foundation Maura Women Helping Women And Young Leader Awardees Announced

Word has just been received that the Dallas Women’s Foundation has finalized its plans for its annual Leadership Forum and Awards Dinner, where the 2016 Maura Women Helping Women Award and Young Leader Award are presented.

Presented by AT&T, the dinner will be held on Thursday, April 21, in the Trinity Ballroom at the Omni Dallas Hotel.

Event Co-Chairs Margaret Jordan and Debbie Taylor have arranged for New America President/CEO Anne-Marie Slaughter to be the keynote speaker. Anne-Marie has just had her “Unfinished Business: Women, Men, Work, Family” published “outlining a new vision of work-life balance, and an action plan for achieving true equality between men and women.”

According to Foundation President/CEO Roslyn Dawson Thompson, “The Leadership Forum recognizes outstanding leaders who blazed the trail for women in their industries and communities. These leaders have faced great challenges in their lives and careers, and yet dedicated themselves to creating more opportunities for women and girls to achieve and succeed. It takes courage and a commitment to advance change for women to get in and stay in the leadership pipeline. We are proud to elevate the striking examples our award winners represent, along with the critical insights Anne-Marie’s Slaughter offers, to illuminate ways to broaden pathways to opportunity and build new work cultures that strengthen women, families and communities.”

And now for the news about the awardees. Receiving the 37th annual Maura Women Helping Women Award will be

  • Diana C. Dutton
  • Rabbi Nancy Kasten
  • Vicki Meek
  • Katie Pedigo
  • Billie Bryant Schultz

Presented by Capital One, The Young Leader Awards are presented to women under the age of 40 who have “achieved success in a field, initiative or sector, and are creating a path of opportunity for other women to follow.” This year’s recipients are:

  • Brittany K. Byrd
  • Lacy L. Durham, Esq.

If you’re wondering what makes these ladies so outstanding, grab a cup of coffee, settle back and follow the jump. [Read more…]

WAIT LIST ALERT!: Media Panel For Nonprofits

Oh, dear! The Dallas Women’s Foundation reports that the media panel conversation is filled to capacity. Luckily that’s why “wait lists” were created. And because the Foundation is so tip-top, they’ll be sending out RSVP confirmations on Monday. If there are cancellations, then the wait list will be waiting no more come Wednesday. On Thursday they’ll provide parking instructions. How organized they are!

Dallas Women's Foundation*

Dallas Women’s Foundation*

In the meantime, photographer Kristina Bowman is doing jumping jacks, WFAA Daybreak co-anchor Ron Corning got a new haircut, PaperCity‘s Jane Rozelle is increasing her sparkle factor and MySweetCharity’s Jeanne Prejean is watching reruns of “Designing Women.”

So, if you haven’t signed up, don’t be discouraged. The waiting list waits for you!

* Graphic provided by the Dallas Women's Foundation

GROVEL ALERT!: Dallas Women’s Foundation Reports Media Panel For Nonprofits Is Nearing “Done Deal” Status

Uh, oh! Talk about a plan going so very wrong. Due to the short notice, the original thought for the media panel for nonprofits was that perhaps a couple dozen would sign up. So, the free Friday, January 22nd conversation hosted by the Dallas Women’s Foundation was announced last Wednesday.

Dallas Women's Foundation*

Dallas Women’s Foundation*

But, oh, no! The Foundation just sent word that registrations went way beyond the original guesstimate. Now, the event is within a hair’s breadth of being filled to capacity at Campbell Center II!

Thank heaven, the Foundation is as flexible as a Cirque du Soleil acrobat and is making room to accommodate more folks who do the juggling work between  charities and the media.

The conversation will be honest in the hopes that it will better help those working with nonprofits communicate with the media. And, who knows? Perhaps the panelists will learn a thing or two, too.

Warning: While the conversation will be informative and fun, there will be no “bleeping” talk. After all, Ricky Gervais ain’t gonna be part of the panel. Instead it will be Kristina Bowman wearing her latest leg wear, WFAA’s Ron Corning possibly doing his “Phil Donahue” Q&A with guests, PaperCity’s too-adorable-for-words Jane Rozelle and MySweetCharity’s Jeanne Prejean channeling Murphy Brown.

The message here: Sign up now.

* Graphic provided by the Dallas Women's Foundation

JUST IN: Dallas Women’s Foundation To Host A Free Media Panel For Nonprofit PR Folks With “The Four Hoarsemen”

Remember last August when four media folks provided insider tips on how to work with the press? Okay, so it wasn’t one of those prim-and-proper events. It was sorta a cross between Jimmy Kimmel and TMZ. Well, evidently it was such a hit or nobody could believe what was said, an encore performance has been demanded.

Coming to the rescue was the Dallas Women’s Foundation that will be hosting the second “chat” by the four “hoarsemen” (photographer Kristina Bowman, WFAA anchor Ron Corning, MySweetCharity’s Jeanne Prejean and PaperCity’s Dallas Social Editor Jane Rozelle). And this time there will more time for Q&A.

Dallas Women's Foundation*

Dallas Women’s Foundation*

Thanks to the generosity of the Foundation, the entire event will be held at Campbell Centre II and is absolutely free. Yup, you read that right — no charge! But it’s limited to only those who handle media relations for nonprofits.

Now, the downside. You just didn’t think you weren’t gonna get off scot-free? The conversation is going to take place from 9:30 to 11 a.m. on Friday, January 22. Whoa! That’s just days away. Translation: Do not dawdle. It’s a first-come, first-serve. And space is limited, so get your rezzies in pronto. Just sign up here!

Actually, the timing is sorta perfect. After the last question is answered, attendees can head across the pond to NorthPark for lunch or to shop. And it’s taking place just before the insanity of the spring season, leaving little time to laugh at the media.

BTW, if you attended the last one, you should sign up for this one. New tidbits will be revealed and perhaps some behind-the-scenes tales will be leaked. You just never know what’s going to happen when these four get together.

* Graphic provided by Dallas Women's Foundation

Dallas Women’s Foundation’s Sold-Out Luncheon With Eva Longoria Proved Inspiring, Successful And Almost Too Popular

Once again North Texas was warned that a slug-athon of rain was on its way on Friday, October 30. Sounded a bit like the locusts and plague were the follow-up acts.

Both the Dallas Women’s Foundation and The Dallas Opera First Night heeded the warning. But perhaps they should have compared notes with the Cattle Baron’s Ball chairs, who are old hands at end-of-the-world weather conditions.

The DWF rearranged arrival for its 30th Annual Luncheon by moving the valet check-in to the more protected area. However, the expected 200 attendees for the 10:30 a.m. meet-and-greet with speaker Eva Longoria in the Grand Ballroom seemed to have double that number. Someone muttered that it appeared that some guests decided to bring their own guests to the by-invite-only reception. With the lineup spilling into the lobby, organizers cut off things off because after all there was a sold-out luncheon to get underway.

Luckily, the grip-and-grin organization was one of the best seen in these parts. Before guests got their time with Eva, their names were written down on a card and placed on a ring, so names and photos would fall in order. Then a staffer would take the guest’s purse to a table on the other side of the sponsor backdrop, while the photo was being taken. As the guest exited, the purse was on a table ready to be picked up and the guest was on their way to join the masses.

Itty-bitty Eva was a real trooper. All in white, she greeted the non-stop parade of guests with a picture-perfect smile. She barely had time to take a sip of coffee in between handshakes and smiles.

At 11:20 the last photo was taken and Eva was whisked away via the hotel’s back hallways.

DWF President/CEO Roslyn Dawson Thompson gave a great welcome address announcing that it was the largest luncheon crowd in the DWF’s history. Ever gracious, Ros paid tribute to her predecessors Becky Sykes and Pat Sabin. Too bad one table of gals decided to chatter through her talk. Some of the folks at nearby tables looked a bit peeved that the girl-talk was clashing with Ros’ talk about DWF’s having given back more than $30M to Dallas women and girls in the past 30 years. They would have learned about the DWF’s Bridge Project that is helping women with childcare, so that a good chunk of their salaries isn’t eaten away.

Keith Banks, Eva Longoria and Ros Dawson

Keith Banks, Eva Longoria and Ros Dawson

She finished up saying that the luncheon at that point was at the $1.1M mark and the hope was they would break the previous $1.2M record.

Just a couple of minutes before noon, luncheon was served including salad (chopped romaine, black bean and corn relish, tortilla strips, cotija cheese and tomatillo vinaigrette), entrée (achiote grilled chicken breast with peach chutney, cilantro rice, broccolini and carrots with jalapeno corn muffins and baguette) and dessert (special anniversary Stout Chocolate, Red Velvet and Maple-Caramel Cream cupcakes).

Just 20 minutes later a video was shown with the message “Stronger Women, Better World.”

Ron and Paula Parker, Michael and Jane Hurst and Stacey and John Relton

Ron and Paula Parker, Michael and Jane Hurst and Stacey and John Relton

As the lights came up, the eight co-chairs — Jane and Michael Hurst, Paula and Ron Parker and Stacey and John Relton appeared on stage wearing capes. Each took a part in telling the audience that for a $90-donation, guests could get a cape, too. As women gathered donations, the co-chair kept a stream of talk going to encourage the crowd. Michael warned: “The collectors are not leaving empty-handed.” Stacey suggested they can use the cape to shield the rain. Another added the cape would be a perfect Halloween outfit.

At 12:36 p.m. U.S. Trust, Bank of American Private Wealth Management President Keith Banks admitted that while the teleprompters were pretty cool, he was going to rely on his notes. He told how U.S. Trust has recognized the importance of women as decision makers in today’s financial world. To assist them the institution has held seminars for women in Haiti, Japan and other nations. Another program has set up online mentoring for women.

Keith then introduced Eva, admitting a guy thing: “I still don’t get the Carlos thing.” This comment was greeted with laughter. He concluded, “I’m feeling quite inadequate, so I’m going to get off the stage.”

At 12:45 p.m. the actress/activist/business woman walked on stage and said, “I’ve been and will always be a Dallas Cowboy fan.”

Eva Longoria

Eva Longoria

She told how being one of four girls in her family, she was surrounded by amazing role models. “I saw it all around me.” Her oldest sister Liza’s developmentally disability led to her mother’s becoming a special education teacher.

Recently Eva introduced Liza to Eva’s new boyfriend. Liza’s response: “Another one?”

Eva recalled years ago when their mother bought Lisa a letter jacket that someone stole. Eva was furious. When her mother asked Liza if she knew who had stolen the jacket, Liza said, “No, but they must have been cold.” That reaction replaced Eva’s anger with admiration for Liza’s compassionate outlook.

Eva then admitted that many women don’t have the support that she experienced in her family. The result of this lack of support results in women still suffering from lower wages than their male counterparts. She admonished the men and women in the room that the success of the U.S. is tied to the success of women.

In achieving success in the film and TV industries, she came to the realization that she wanted to help others, but “I knew I could do anything, but I couldn’t do everything.” Her decision was to focus on Latinas.

In discussing the importance of mentoring, she admitted that it depended on the conditions. Recalling how she had wanted to be an engineer, she shadowed a male engineer. That convinced her that she didn’t want to be an engineer. With a smile, she added, “I should have shadowed a woman engineer.”

Her Eva Longoria Foundation has helped women entrepreneurs and schools in San Antonio and Corpus Christi, her hometown. She attributed her ability to achieve her goals to research providing the focus and to the selection of the right projects.

Giving a tip of the hat to the DWF, she said that’s why she likes DWF and its theme of “the ripple effect.” Then she apologized to the teleprompter crew for going off script.

At 1:03 p.m. she was off to a waiting black SUV in the Tower’s porte-cochere. Others, however, weren’t so lucky in getting their rides. Those who had decided to self-park, hit the road painlessly. For those who used the valet, it was another story. Hunkering in the Tower’s porte-cochere with the wind blowing, women who had been energized at the luncheon about leadership  found themselves having their names hollered by valets like naughty children. But with a full crowd of guests waiting, the wind howling and cars running, a raised voice was necessary. Perhaps the hotel that is so popular for fundraising should consider having a PA system installed to share the information that a car is ready to be picked up. If that’s too costly, how about a megaphone?

True, some of the gals slowed up the driveway doing girl talk. But many couldn’t see their cars arriving due to the crowd teetering on the curb.

According to sources, the hotel was prepared for 600 cars to be in need of valet for the 1,800 attendees. They even drafted some extra help from Gold Crown. Still, guests took on a bunker mentality, congratulating each other when they finally saw their car on the drive.

Friday’s Predicted Rains Change Arrival Plans For Dallas Women’s Foundation Luncheon And Dallas Opera’s First Night

Mother Nature's tears

Mother Nature’s tears

The rains are coming and Friday is looking pretty darn soggy. At least that’s what the weather experts are saying. While some of Friday night’s high school football games are being rescheduled for tonight, the fundraisers are also arranging for the umbrella-friendly stuff.

The Dallas Women’s Foundation’s Lunch organizers decided the VIP valet would be vastly better at the Chantilly and Tower entrances instead of the Jade entrance. After all the Chantilly and Tower entrances are more accommodating to guests making their way from vehicle to door in the rain. And, yes, there will also be complimentary self-parking. But if you do that, don’t forget your umbrella and remember to puddle hop.

Dallas Women's Foundation 30th Annual Luncheon*

Dallas Women’s Foundation 30th Annual Luncheon*

Model and Elizabeth Anyaa

Model and Elizabeth Anyaa

The Dallas Opera’s First Night red carpet parade that usually goes from the Flora curb to the Winspear front door has been rethought. After all, you can’t have all those ultra-fabulous gowns being dragged through the mini-ponds. According to the Dallas Opera braintrust, First Night guests will discover the valets in the Winspear’s underground garage. Then they (the guests, not the valets) will take the elevators up to the ground level, where the red carpet will be held in the tent. The models wearing the creations by Geoffrey Henning (Great Scot), Khanh Nguyen (Tosca), Ed Popken (Becoming Santa Claus), Elizabeth Anyaa (Manon) and Michael Faircloth (Show Boat) will be on stages in the Winspear lobby for the reception.

Is there anything better than a rain backup plan? Yup, no need for a rain backup plan.

* Graphic provided by Dallas Women's Foundation

Sold-Out Alert!: Dallas Women’s Foundation’s 30th Annual Luncheon

Dallas Women's Foundation 30th Annual Luncheon*

Dallas Women’s Foundation 30th Annual Luncheon*

Remember how the Dallas Women’s Foundation’s 30th Annual Luncheon with actress/advocate Eva Longoria was in “Grovel Alert” status last Monday. Evidently, the warning was heeded. The event is now sold out! According to Co-Chairs Jane and Michael Hurst, Paula and Ron Parker and Stacey and John Relton, the Hilton Anatole’s Chantilly ballroom is going to be packed to the max this Friday for the fundraising luncheon.

Okay, so perhaps a sizable check might open up a table.

* Graphic courtesy of Dallas Women's Foundation

GROVEL ALERT: Dallas Women’s Foundation’s 30th Annual Luncheon

Breaking out of the gate with good news this week is the Dallas Women’s Foundation. Their 30th Annual Luncheon on Friday, October 30, is on the verge of being totally sold out. According to Luncheon Co-Chairs Jane and Michael Hurst, Paula and Ron Parker and Stacey and John Relton, the Hilton Anatole’s Chantilly Ballroom can squeeze in just a few more seats before it’s a done deal.

Michael and Jane Hurst, Roslyn Dawson Thompson, Paula Parker and Stacey and John Relton*

Michael and Jane Hurst, Roslyn Dawson Thompson, Paula Parker and Stacey and John Relton*

The reason? Well, of course, to support the Dallas Women’s Foundation. But it sure doesn’t hurt to have Eva Longoria as the keynote speaker. And don’t go thinking that the former “Desperate Housewife” is just a pretty face. Okay, so she is rather gorgeous, but she’s also a smart cookie with a Bachelor of Science degree from Texas A&M at Kingsville in kinesiology and a master’s degree in Chicano Studies from California State University in 2013. Her thesis was “Success STEMS from Diversity: The Value of Latinas in STEM Careers.”

BTW, the 5’2” Texas native is not shy about stating her feelings about things. One of the topics that hit the mark with her is “helping Latinas build better futures for themselves through education and entrepreneurship.”

Ashlee and Chris Kleinert, Marian Flores and Margaret and Lester Keliher*

Ashlee and Chris Kleinert, Marian Flores and Margaret and Lester Keliher*

But back to tickets. Just think how lucky those were who splurged early for a nice sponsorship like presenting sponsor U.S. Trust and were able to attend the patron party at The Warehouse on Thursday, September 24. They got to hang out with Crystal Sponsors EY and PepsiCo Frito-Lay, Hunt Consolidated, TI and Nancy Ann and Ray Hunt plus The Suzanne Ahn Speaker Endowment Fund, Heather L. Hunt and Ashlee and Chris Kleinert that provided the underwriting for Eva’s appearance.

* Photo credit: Jennifer Beck