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: 2016 Wings Luncheon Individual Ticket Sales Nearing An End With Good Reason(s)

Amal Clooney*

Amal Clooney*

Procrastination is definitely going to cause problems for those who wait much longer for tickets to the New Friends New Life2016 Wings Luncheon” on Thursday, April 14, at the Hilton Anatole.
Seems tickets and sponsorships are flying so fast that NFNL Executive Director Katie Pedigo has let it be known that individual tickets will a done deal this Friday.

The reasons for the speedway ticket sales:

  1. Support of NFNL
  2. Chair Jeanne Johnson Phillips
  3. Honorary Co-Chairs Ruth AltshulerLaura Bush, Caren Prothro and Annette Simmons
  4. Speaker Amal Clooney

Pretty darn good reasons, huh? So wait no longer to get your ticket.

* Photo courtesy of New Friends 
New Life

New Friends New Life’s 2016 ProtectHer Awardees Were Revealed At Wings Luncheon Kick-Off Reception

Dadgummit! The wind picked up as the temperatures and rain fell on Tuesday, February 23. Still Mother’s Nature’s pooh-poohs didn’t dissuade New Friends New Life backers like newlyweds Annette Simmons and Jerry Fronterhouse, Carol Seay, Jan Osborn, Ashlee and Chris Kleinert, Caren Prothro, Dallas Police Chief David Brown, Carolyn Miller, Ray Hunt, Wendy Messmann, Joyce and Linus Wright and Sue Bailey.

Annette Simmons and Jerry Fronterhouse

Annette Simmons and Jerry Fronterhouse

Jeanne Johnson Phillips and Carolyn Miller

Jeanne Johnson Phillips and Carolyn Miller

They all gathered at the Bush Center for the official kick off of the Wings Luncheon that’s being chaired by Jeanne Johnson Phillips and benefiting New Friends New Life (NFNL).

It wasn’t your usual kick off. Everyone already knew that the 13th Annual Wings Luncheon keynote speaker would be Amal Clooney on Thursday, April 14, at Hilton Anatole.

No, instead it was the announcement of the ProtectHer Awards that would be presented at the luncheon by the New Friends New Life’s Men’s Advocacy Group Board. Receiving the awards will be

  • Ted Poe and Chris Kleinert

    Ted Poe and Chris Kleinert

    ProtectHer Award (National) — U.S. Sen. (TX.) John Cornyn and U.S. Rep. (TX. 2nd Congressional Dist.) Ted Poe, who sponsored “’The Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act,’ that was signed into law on May 29, 2015, to improve law enforcement’s ability to target traffickers and buyers and protect and expand the rights of trafficking victims. The act, which increases criminal fines on convicted traffickers and child predators, will create about $60 million in federal grants that state and local governments can use for more shelter space, specialized court programs and law enforcement programs targeting human trafficking.”

  • Tan Parker, Jeanne John Phillips and Morgan Meyer

    Tan Parker, Jeanne John Phillips and Morgan Meyer

    ProtectHer Award (State) — “The 2015 Texas Legislative Session” accepted by State Rep. (District 108) Morgan Meyer and State Rep. (District 63) Tan Parker, who both have daughters and took active roles in the passing of 20 bills that would move Texas closer to a “no tolerance zone” for those exploiting women and children.

  • Katie Pedigo and Libby Spears

    Katie Pedigo and Libby Spears

    ProtectHer Award (Local) — Playground Curriculum’s Libby Spears, who wrote and directed “Playground” (2009) dealing with the child sex trade and produced by George Clooney, Steven Soderbergh and Abigail Disney (granddaughter of the late The Walt Disney Company Co-Founder Roy Disney).

As NFNL CEO Katie Pedigo told the group, “Human trafficking is not in a vacuum.” And it’s not going to be in this city, this state, the country, if NFNL has its way.

Following the announcement and acceptance speeches by all including John Cornyn via video, Nancy Ann Hunt thanked all for joining the movement to end human trafficking. Afterward, Nancy Ann admitted frustration that the effort had taken so long. But realizing that the issue was an age-old problem, she acknowledged that NFNL’s work was indeed paying off.