Texas Trailblazer Keynote Speaker Gretchen Carlson Connects The Dots Between Domestic Violence And Sexual Harassment In The Workplace

Since being a little girl in Minnesota with a love of playing the violin, Gretchen Carlson has made the rounds. From being embarrassed … no, make that humiliated … when a sales clerk announced, “We need the biggest little girl bra for the chubby girl,” to taking on one of the country’s mega-media powerhouses, she’s not only rounded the track, she’s landed in the winner’s circle.

That was the feel for the Texas Trailblazer Awards Luncheon crowd on Friday, October 6, at the Anatole.

But first, the backstory. Gretchen, who had landed in Dallas back in the late 1990s as a reporter and anchor at KXAS, was the keynote speaker for The Family Place‘s annual fundraising luncheon that celebrated Elizabeth Grandell and Lamisa Mustafa as the 2017 Verizon Scholarship Recipients, TexProtects as Advocacy Awardee, and Lynn McBee as Trailblazer of the Year, who received a standing ovation.

Initially the day was sort low-key with the VIP meet-and-greet in the Peacock Terrace. Unlike last year’s line around the room for the grip-and-grin with Ronan Farrow, this year started off a bit slow. One guest, who arrived 10 minutes into the by-invitation event, had a touch of a shock in his/her voice, “Where are all the people?” This answer was, they were chatting it up in the opposite side of the room.

Cindy Stager, Lynn McBee, Gretchen Carlson and KJ Sanger

But Co-Chairs Kristen “KJ” Sanger and Cindy Stager and Lynn McBee as well as Nancy Gopez were on hand as well as Jan Miller in a new haircut and a touch of tear in her eye. It seems that the legendary Miller-Rich household beagle Schumacher had suffered a stroke a couple of weeks before and crossed the Rainbow Bridge.

Jan Miller and Gretchen Carlson

In the meantime, the Chantilly Ballroom was being set up with an open feeling. As one person pointed out, there were generous aisles between the tables. Still, the count of 680 was down from the jam-packed TFP luncheon of 2016 with Ronan. On the screen were names of sponsors including Trammel (sic) S. Crow. That second “l” in Trammell is a tricky one.

At 11:46 a.m., a big voice announced that the program was going to start. He was a man of his word. The lights dimmed and a video was shown followed by Co-Chairs KJ and Cindy welcoming the group and Rev. Susan Robb providing the invocation.

Before Gretchen talked to the crowd including Connie O’Neill, Claire Emanuelson, Joanna Clarke, Paige Flink, Jill Tananbaum, Travis Hollman, Carol Seay, The Family Place CEO Paige Flink told of “Naomi,” who just the day before had met with her for a one-on-one. It seems that Naomi’s abusive situation had driven her to the breaking point. Her suicide note was written; she was going to take her five kids to the fire station and then she was going to a bridge from which to jump. After talking with Paige and understanding that the newly opened Ann Moody Place would provide shelter for her family, Naomi and Paige finished their chat, tearing up the suicide note.   

Paige added that had it not been for Ann Moody Place, Naomi might have become part of the statistics like the 194,000 violent acts and 158 murdered last year. That latter number was an increase over the year before. On a light noted she announced that the facility had received its first dog, Buddy, with his family. She finished her report on a positive note, saying that thanks to The Family Place, more than one-half million people had been saved thanks to the community’s support.

In addition to Paige’s celebrating her 26th anniversary with The Family Place, she had another 26-year Family Place vet, Betty Regard, join her on stage. Betty issued a $25,000 match challenge at 11:58 a.m. By 12:20 p.m., the challenge had already hauled in $15,948.

At 12:38 p.m., Gretchen arrived at the podium and showed her Stanford education smarts by telling the group of her days at KXAS back in 1998 when she did a 30-part series on domestic violence. While she admitted that a lot has changed, it hasn’t been enough.

Seamlessly, she transitioned into the eye-opening connection between domestic violence and sexual harassment in the workplace that she knew all too well from her 20s, when a man accosted her, to her headline-making split with the Fox News network. Both domestic violence and sexual harassment continue due to fear, embarrassment, and a lack of support, she said.

Highlights of her talk included:

  • Her mother suggested that she enter the Miss America pageant. Gretchen told her mother there was no way she would win because she was short, played a violin and “Minnesota is not a pageant state.” She entered anyway and won, despite pageant judge William Goldman’s describing her as Miss Piggy and admitting that he hated the violin.
  • After winning Miss America, she was interviewed by a reporter [Editor’s note: New York reporter Penny Crone], who quizzed her with such questions as which presidents were on the $5 and $20 bills. Ten years later, Gretchen spotted the reporter and asked if she recalled her when she was Miss America. Then Gretchen gave it to her, saying, “When I was Miss American, you tried to take me down. I just want you to know I’m a correspondent for CBS and you’re not.”
  • She was stalked for four years.
  • Her first encounter with sexual harassment was when she was in her 20s, when a TV cameraman asked her if she liked it when he put her mic on her breast.
  • 70% of women never report sexual harassment.
  • Misconceptions about sexual harassment include: women can just leave; women bring it on themselves; women make it up; women who do report it are after money or fame.
  • She has become an advocate about sexual harassment because of her children — “It’s all about the next generation.”
  • All proceeds from her book — “Be Fierce: Stop Harassment and Take Your Power Back,” which was coming out the following week, will go her “Gift of Courage” effort.
  • She pointed out three things that were needed to end such treatment:
    • Bystander support
    • Education
    • Government legislation

In closing, Gretchen made a surprise announcement: she was giving $10,000 to The Family Place.

But Gretchen isn’t gone. Come November, she’ll return to the area as part of the across-the-nation launch of workshops to empower women.

BTW, Gretchen didn’t talk about her headline-making situation with the late Roger Ailes. But just a few days later, women in the entertainment industry started following Gretchen’s lead, according to an article by Ronan about Harvey Weinstein‘s sexual harassment. They, like Gretchen, were not going to be silenced.

Grovel Alert: 2016 Texas Trailblazer Award Luncheon

Ronan Farrow*

Ronan Farrow*

If you haven’t gotten your tickets to Tuesday’s Texas Trailblazer Award Luncheon at the Hilton Anatole’s Chantilly Ballroom benefiting The Family Place, time is really running out.

Just heard on the q.t. that in addition to Ronan Farrow as the keynote speaker, “we will have a major announcement to make at the luncheon.” And don’t even try to weasel the news out of the organizers. That would take all the fun out of it being a surprise.

* Photo provided by The Family 
Place

JUST IN: Lisa And Marvin Singleton To Co-Chair 2016 Texas Trailblazer Award With Charlotte Jones Anderson Receiving The Award

Before everyone starts packing for spring break, more local fundraising good news just flew in. It comes from The Family Place about the 2016 Texas Trailblazer Award.

The co-chairs for the event that raises funds to “help survivors of domestic violence by providing safe housing, counseling and skills” are that public relations couple Lisa and Marvin Singleton.

Marvin and Lisa Singleton (File photo)

Marvin and Lisa Singleton (File photo)

Charlotte Jones Anderson (File photo)

Charlotte Jones Anderson (File photo)

And what smart PR people they are! They’ve arranged for Dallas Cowboys Executive VP/ Chief Brand Officer Charlotte Jones Anderson to receive the Texas Trailblazer Award.

In addition to her day job, Charlotte is also chairman of the NFL Foundation and serves on the Conduct Committee of NFL Owners.

Her professionalism even had longtime sports-pert Brad Sham declared that she should be the next NFL Commissioner.

Until tickets go on sale for the Tuesday, October 4th luncheon at the Hilton Anatole, sponsorship and underwriting information can be obtained by checking with The Family Place’s Melissa Sherrill.

JUST IN: The Family Place Launches A $13M Capital Campaign With A $5M Gift From The Moody Foundation

The Family Place’s Paige Flink promised to make an announcement today at the 20th Anniversary Texas Trailblazer Awards Luncheon. Well, she did way more than that. She made two amazing announcements in the Anatole’s Imperial Ballroom!

Paige Flink

Paige Flink

First announcement: A $13M capital campaign — “The Family Place Legacy Campaign-Building Hope for the Future” — that will allow The Family Place to turn a 40,000-square-foot building into the Central Dallas Counseling Center. The plan calls for raising the needed funds by December 2016.

Second announcement — The Moody Foundation has already got things going with a $5M gift.

In a show of appreciation of the largest gift in The Family Place’s history, the Center will be named The Ann Moody Place.

According to Ann Moody’s daughter Francie Moody-Dahlberg, “My heart is touched when I think of the legacy of rebuilt hopes, restored futures and simple dreams of safety that The Family Place has given to so many women in Dallas. The Moody Foundation is honored to be a champion of The Family Place’s extraordinary legacy.”

The new facility “will allow The Family Place to house expanded victim counseling services and its administrative offices in a location easily accessible by bus and rail.”

According to Paige, “The expanded space will help us to better prepare our clients to start new lives by expanding our training and education rooms. We will be able to have a client computer lab in the new facility that will allow us to empower clients with hard and soft job skills programming and certificate and employment training, as well as providing collaboration with organizations like the Dallas County Community College District, Per Scholas and other job training programs.”

The renovation of the present facility will kick off in March 2016.

Texas TrailBlazer Award Luncheon’s Joe Torre Has Just Lost The Man Who Taught Him To Stand Up Against Domestic Abuse

Joe Torre‘s big brother Frank Torre played a very big part in Joe’s childhood. It was Frank who kicked their abusive father out of the household. As Joe tells it,

“Although I did not get phys­i­cally abused myself, I grew up in fear because my mom did. I was shy and dad would make fun of me. When­ever I saw his car in the dri­ve­way, I didn’t want to go home. One win­ter, when I was 12, my older brother Frank (20) said to my father, ‘We want you out of the house. We don’t want any­thing other than the house we live in. We don’t want any­thing from you. Just leave.’ And he left.”

Frank also mentored Joe on his professional baseball career.

Despite Frank’s death this past Saturday, Joe will carry on his big brother’s leadership and inspiration in battling abuse when he will be the keynote speaker at Wednesday’s Texas Trailblazer Luncheon  at the Anatole benefiting The Family Place.