Amid A Ballroom Of Orange, 2017 Linz Awardee Lyda Hill Graciously Accepted The Accolades And Inspired All Present To Get Involved

With the predictions of a major event collision, the Omni Dallas was ground zero on Wednesday, March 8. Perhaps it was to squeeze in one more fundraiser before North Texas emptied out for spring break. Or maybe it was just the “oops” ingredient for the fundraising recipe.

The problem was the schedule of two behemoth events for lunch — the Planned Parenthood fundraiser with Marcia Clark and the 88th Linz Award Luncheon on the same day. 

In the meantime, the Virginia Chandler Dykes Leadership Award Lunch fundraiser was across town at the Belo.

But the gods of planning smiled on the scheduling. Thanks to the Junior League of Dallas commandos, they had scheduled everything down to the second not to collide with the Planned Parenthooders.

Timing was imperative.

From the left: Tom Dunning, Ron Steinhart, Ruth Altshuler, Sheila Grant, John Scovell, Lyda Hill, Dolores Barzune, Walt Humann, Lindalyn Adams, Jody Grant, Debbie Branson, Forrest Hoglund, Bob Thornton and Bill Solomon

The Linz group’s past awardees (Lindalyn Adams, Bill SolomonSheila and Jody Grant, Debbie Branson, Ruth Altshuler, Forrest Hoglund, John Scovell, Ron Steinhart, Tom Dunning, Dolores Barzune, Bob Thornton and Walt Humann) gathered in a side room for a photo with the 2017 Linz Awardee Lyda Hill with the Dallas skyline in the background by 11:10. Then they were led to the VIP Reception outside the Trinity Ballroom.

With the timing of a prima ballerina, the Linz group was cloistered in the Trinity’s reception area just as the Planned Parenthood guests arrived for check-in at the Dallas Ballroom’s lobby.

In the meantime, men and women in blue stood watch. One Linzer wonder why all the security. It wasn’t because of the Linz Award. Rather, the recent protests at the Fort Worth Planned Parenthood had put the local first responders on alert.

When Lyda was complimented about how great she looked, the lady responded, “Take a good look, because it’s gonna be the last you’ll see me like this.”

Orange tableclothes

Despite the protests, Lyda did look great and, of course, was wearing an orange jacket. In fact that was the password color of the day. In the ballroom filled with hundreds of guests, everything from BBFs (Lynn McBee, Millie Cooper, Bobby Sue Williams, Diane Brierley, etc.) to table centerpieces honored Lyda’s love of orange.

Mike Rawlings and Lyda Hill

A couple of fellas like Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings and Don Glendenning sheepishly admitted that their borderline reddish, yellowish ties were as close as they could get to the color of the day.

Speaking of the good mayor, Mike reported that son Gunnar Rawlings’ wedding to Gabby Gutierrez had gone off without a hitch in Mexico, except for the bridegroom’s limp. Seems Gunnar had fractured his leg and hobbled to the altar. However, Mike admitted that it was a beautiful occasion with the weather behaving marvelously.

While some guests hopped between the Linz Luncheon and the Planned Parenthood Luncheon, 2016 Linz Awardee Debbie Branson got things going in the Dallas Ballroom. No sooner had she gotten the attention of the group than Junior League of Dallas Sustainer President Kitty Peeler thanked The Dallas Morning News and Zales and welcomed Rev. Stephen Swann to provide the invocation.

Planned Parenthood check-in

Following official introductions and recognitions, guests lunched.

Following the lunch, it was time for the salutes and a couple of shots across the bow. Mayor Mike kicked it off welcoming all to the city-owned hotel. He then told how in reviewing the list of Linz Award recipients, he was surprised that only 10 women had received it.

Mike recalled that when the Ebola outbreak and the July 7 shootings took place, Lyda was one of the first to step forward offering help. He pointed out other endeavors in which Lyda was a rock: VNA, North Texas Food Bank, Perot Museum, etc. He finished up by describing Lyda as a “rock of our city and a wonderful gem.”

Jim Moroney

Across the stage in a chair, Linz Award Co-Sponsor Dallas Morning News Publisher/CEO Jim Moroney didn’t look all that happy at the comment about the Linz recipients. Following Mike, Jim said, “Mayor, on behalf of the two sponsors of the Linz Award, I would say that we are not proud of the number of women that have received this award—but I think we’re doing better than the mayors of Dallas… Just saying.” That “shade throwing” got a mix of laughter and hoots from the audiences.

Then Jim got on his bully pulpit, bringing up the problems making headlines — homelessness, police and firemen’s pension fund, renegade dogs in South Dallas, etc. 

Nicole Small

After Mike’s and Jim’s exchange, Linz Award Co-Sponsor Signet Chief Retail Insights and Strategy Officer George Murray along with Lyda Hill Foundation CEO Nicole Small lassoed the group back to the topic du jour — Lyda. Nicole went on and on providing insight about the woman, who prefers to provide for others rather than promote herself. A telling moment came when Nicole asked Lyda to stand. Then Nicole asked all who had known or been friends with Lyda for more than 30 years to stand. More than a third of the room stood. Nicole then asked for a board member or executive director of an organization that Lyda had spent her time with to stand. Another third of the room stood. Her next request was for anyone whose organization had received funding from Lyda to stand. Almost the rest of the room stood. Nicole’s final request was for anyone who just wanted to know Lyda to stand. That allowed the handful of folks who were left to stand. 

The rest of Nicole’s talk was a valentine for Lyda, including the revealing of her love for dark chocolate and her hidden stash in the upper left hand drawer of her desk.

At one point Nicole told how Lyda would clear the trail of branches to make it easier for those who follow. Throughout her various endeavors, that is what Lyda has done — cleared the way for those who follow.

Lyda Hill

Being called to the stage, Lyda started off in typical Lyda form, “I think I’d be smart if I turned around and left right now…. Nicole, you didn’t have to tell which drawer the candy’s in.”

Lyda admitted that she had “born into privilege and have been privileged all my life to live in a great city with generations of community-minded citizens. But I feel far more privileged today to be able to have an impact on the city that I love.”

Despite only knowing her childhood surroundings, she attributed the Junior League’s provisional program for showing her what needed to be done and how to do it.

She recalled that she has lived half of her life following her breast cancer diagnosis. “I’m trying to make the best that I can with my borrowed time.”

Ten years ago when the economy went down, Lyda made the largest grant that she has ever made. The result? “Nothing is more gratifying than being able to experience helping the abused, the homeless and the hungry.”

She pointed out that in reviewing the previous Linz Award recipients, three traits stood out:

  1. They looked ahead to what was coming.
  2. They were entrepreneurs with a can-do spirit.
  3. Collaborations allowed the winners to bring groups together to solve issues.

With the enthusiasm of a child on Christmas Eve, Lyda talked about what the future held.

She encouraged the audience to in turn encourage family and friends to get involved. Within her own family, Lyda not only takes her nieces and nephews on her Meals on Wheels deliveries. She has also established the “Aunt Lyda Grant.” When her nieces, nephews and grand nieces and nephews turn seven, she sends them a letter “offering to make charitable contribution to the charity of their choice for $50 times their age. As they get older, the charities get happier. But most important I asked them why they want that charity, to get them thinking about it. Then I have the charities send the newsletters directly to them. I have also taken all my nieces and nephews and most of my grands to deliver Meals on Wheels. Because I want them to be exposed at how much fun it is to be there and help people and see what it feels like when you’re helping people.”

She closed by saying, “We are lucky to live in Dallas. Spread this luck in your own way. Most people vote every four years, but donors and volunteers daily vote for the kind of action for the world they want to be through their actions. That same kind of world is available to all of us. A world that is full of hope and inspiration for the future.”

For more photos, check out MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.

2017 Great Adventure Hunt Provided Brainbusting Puzzles Throughout The Perot From Mother Goose To Fencing For ChildCareGroup

While the black-tie-optional Catholic Charities group was filling the Omni’s Dallas Ballroom on Saturday, January 28, nearly 320 more casual types were on the other side of downtown Dallas at the Perot Museum.

Tori Mannes and Bart Showalter

Joe Mannes and Michael Newman

The occasion was the Great Adventure Hunt benefiting ChidCareGroup and chaired by Erin Nealy Cox and Trey Cox and Nicole and Justin Small and presented by
Data Alliance
. According to CCG President/CEO Tori Mannes, last year’s GAH wizard-behind-the-scenes/journalist Tom Shroder had begged off  this year, due to his writing two books. To seek a replacement puzzle strategist, Tori killed two birds with one stone. She asked past champ team members John Harris, Joe Mannes, Tom Nynas, Kemp Sawers and Elizabeth and Bart Showalter to create the puzzles for the night. Not only did she come up with some real insiders creating the evening’s challenges, she also allowed for a new team to score the top prize.

Wendy Moore Oglesby,, Peggy Allison, Edward Oglesby Gladys Kolenovsky and Lyda Hill

Rena Pederson

One of those vying for the trophy was the infamous Lyda Hill team (Peggy Allison, Gladys Kolenovsky, Wendy Moore Oglesby, Edward Oglesby and Rena Pederson), whose captain, Lyda, has played in every GAH except the very first one. In preparation for the evening, Lyda reported her team had met twice to strategize and to allow each of their strengths to shine. Lyda recalled that her team had won the competition “several times in a row, but not recently. We have to let others win!” she joked.

When asked about her upcoming Linz Award, Lyda admitted that she was truly taken by surprise. She was told about the honor over the phone while she was driving, and was caught totally speechless.

Doug Murray

On another subject, Lyda was asked why time and time again people think her middle name is “Hunt.” While her brother (Al Galatyn Hill Jr.) and sister (Alinda Hunt Hill Wikert) both have middle names, Lyda doesn’t. But she recalled that years ago, everyone was into monogramming. Since a great monogram had three letters, young Lyda gave herself a temporary “H” to fill the bill.

While the cocktail reception carried on in the Lyda Hill Gems and Minerals Hall on the third level, production coordinator Doug Murray was preparing the acoustics for the dinner on the first level. Some guests didn’t recognize Doug. The reason? He’s lost 50 pounds—going from a 17 1/2 shirt-neck size to a 15 1/2—by exercising and eliminating soft drinks and breads from his diet. However, he admitted that on Sundays he may cheat and have a pizza. His goal is to lose 15 more pounds.

Fencing*

As for the competition, the puzzlemasters proved their worth.The very first challenge took place at the dinner tables with a round of Bingo, Then they were off and running with “puzzles featuring unique items such as edible clues, Mother Goose, a fencing match, ‘The Hokey Pokey’ and Twister. Some team solved the puzzles with ease, and other chose to receive extra hints.”

Tori Mannes, John Matthews, Kat Kunze, Suzanne Smith, Ben Mackey, Melanie Ferguson and Evgeniy Gentchev*

After the final team “crossed the finish line” and made it back to their tables for dessert and the results, it was team Matthews Southwest (John Matthews, Kat Kunze, Suzanne Smith, Ben Mackey, Melanie Ferguson and Evgeniy Gentchev) that not only took home the prize but also proved to have the distance in their effort. Boss John Matthews had flown in from Canada just to participate in the Hunt.

Other winners included the following:

From the left: (back row) Kathy Touchstone, Jenny Murphey and Jason Arneson; (front row) Kathryn Treece, Alyson Trout and Andrea English*

  • Second place — Kick-Off Party Sponsor Pegasus Bank and Bright and Bright LLP (Kathy Touchstone, Jenny Murphey, Jason Arneson, Kathryn Treece, Alyson Trout and Andrea English.
  • Third place — Meredith and Scott Wallace team
  • Rookie team — Meredith and Scott Wallace team
  • Best Team Name — Valet sponsor Roach Howard Smith and Barton for “Can’7 5OLV3 TH15”
* Photo provided by ChildCareGroup

 

7th Annual Great Adventure Kick-Off Party Put “Train Your Brain” Sessions With The Puzzle Pros Up For Auction

January may seem a long time off, but it isn’t for the dedicated players of the 7th Annual Great Adventure Hunt. The Kick-Off Party at Nicole and Justin Small‘s home revealed some new twists and turns for the ChildCareGroup fundraiser, including the addition of the introduction of the Puzzle Pros. Check out this report from the field about the Pros and more:

Garrett Shipman, Danielle Ricketts, Nannette and Rodney Swift

Garrett Shipman, Danielle Ricketts, Nannette and Rodney Swift*

The first social event held at Nicole and Justin Small’s newly-renovated home was the Kick-Off Party on the evening of Tuesday,October 25, for the 7th Annual Great Adventure Hunt, benefiting ChildCareGroup. The expansive patio of the Small’s elegant mid-century modern North Dallas home and the beautiful fall weather created the perfect backdrop for nearly 100 guests including ChildCareGroup CEO/President Tori Mannes, Jennifer Sampson, Garrett Shipman, Danielle Ricketts, Nannette and Rodney Swift, Rena Pederson, Gladys Kolenovsky, Jenny Murphey, Amber Neroes and Kathy Touchstone to mingle and practice puzzles for the most unique fundraiser in Dallas.

 

Jenny Murphey, Amber Neroes and Kathy Touchstone

Jenny Murphey, Amber Neroes and Kathy Touchstone*

Nicole Small and Erin Nealy Cox*

Nicole Small and Erin Nealy Cox*

The 2017 Great Adventure Hunt, presented by Alliance Data and co-chaired by the Smalls, along with Erin Nealy Cox and Trey Cox, will take place at the Perot Museum of Nature and Science on the evening of Saturday, January 28.  Returning to the Perot Museum will be déjà vu for Nicole, who was the Museum’s CEO for 12 years, leading the successful completion of the world-class downtown museum.

Pegasus Bank and Bright & Bright LLP sponsored the Kick-Off Party where the co-chairs made the exciting announcement of the event’s Puzzle Pros sponsored by Lyda Hill. The masterminds behind the Hunt’s fun and challenging puzzles are John Harris, Joe Mannes, Tom Nynas, Kemp Sawers and Bart Showalter. Longtime Hunters will recognize the puzzle gurus, who collectively have either won or placed in the event at least 10 times.

Kemp Sawers, Joe Mannes, John Harris and Bart Showalter*

Kemp Sawers, Joe Mannes, John Harris and Bart Showalter*

Nicole ended the evening by auctioning off three “Train Your Brain” sessions with the Puzzle Pros. Winners will enjoy exclusive, insider tips on solving puzzles for the Hunt over cocktails with the Pros.

The Hunt takes over the Perot Museum for the evening and turns the museum’s five-floors into fun and unexpected puzzle sites. During the Hunt, teams of six players compete against other teams to decipher wacky clues and solve puzzles. From inflatable gorillas and disappearing ink to edible clues, you never know what you will find! Judges tally the scores, and teams who solve the most puzzles correctly in the shortest amount of time receive special prizes and bragging rights.

The event annually raises $300,000 to support ChildCareGroup’s early childhood education programs. For 115 years, ChildCareGroup has been offering high impact, holistic services for vulnerable parents and children. By helping children start kindergarten ready to excel and giving parents the chance to pursue better educations and careers, ChildCareGroup empowers two generations to lift themselves out of poverty.

Since children learn through play, the Great Adventure Hunt allows to the community to give through play. The Hunt is a unique opportunity to have loads of fun while having a significant impact in the community.

Another sell out is anticipated and teams are going fast! Click here for more information or to reserve a team, or contact Kendal Kramer at 215.905.2404 or kkramer@ccgroup.org.

* Photos provided by ChildCareGroup

JUST IN: Issue Of ‘Different Views’ Leads To CEO Colleen Walker’s Resignation At Perot Museum Of Nature And Science

Less than two years after being appointed CEO, Colleen Walker is stepping down as the Eugene McDermott Chief Executive Officer at Dallas’ Perot Museum of Nature and Science. The surprising development was disclosed in a March 30 letter to museum “friends and supporters” from John Jaggers, chairman of the Perot’s board of directors.

Colleen Walker (FIle photo)

Colleen Walker (FIle photo)

“I am writing to inform you that Colleen Walker—in consultation with the Executive Committee—has decided to step down from her position …” Jaggers wrote. “She has agreed to remain in her current role, however, until June 30th to help ensure a smooth and seamless transition.

“It is important to emphasize that this is not an outcome either Colleen or the Board had anticipated, but over time it has become increasingly evident Colleen and the Executive Committee held different views concerning the Museum’s strategic direction and focus,” Jaggers went on. “We agreed, accordingly, that a measured transition to new leadership is warranted.”

A former Miss Colorado who holds an MBA from Harvard University, Walker in June of 2014 succeeded Nicole Small, the Perot’s founding CEO, who retired in late 2013 after 13 years. Walker came to the nonprofit museum after serving for seven years as CEO of the Girl Scouts of Northeast Texas.

In his letter, Jaggers said the museum’s board is appointing a search committee to help select Walker’s successor.  The committee will be led by Herman Saenz, the board’s incoming chair.