Grovel Alert: The Milestones Luncheon

The Milestones Luncheon Co-Chair Nikki Webb was all smiles when she revealed that the annual Junior League of Dallas Luncheon on Friday, November 17, was right on schedule for a sellout. In fact she reported that there are just a couple or three tables left to hear a conversation with Academy Award-winner Octavia Spencer.

Octavia Spencer*

Linda Perryman Evans (File photo)

Another factor for the popularity of the event is that it will honor Meadows Foundation President/CEO Linda Perryman Evans as Sustainer of the Year.

This luncheon is one of the last mega-fundraising lunches before Thanksgiving, so round up those buds to reserve one of those last remaining spots.

* Photo credit: Randee St. Nicholas

MySweetCharity Opportunity: Junior League Of Dallas Milestones Luncheon

Jennifer Scripps, Nikki Webb and Debbie Scripps*

According to Junior League of Dallas Milestones Luncheon Co-Chairs Jennifer Scripps and Nikki Webb and Sustaining Chair Debbie Scripps,

The Junior League of Dallas would like to invite the community to join us for the annual Milestones Luncheon Friday, November 17, featuring a conversation with Academy Award®-winning actress Octavia Spencer. As the annual fundraiser benefiting the Junior League of Dallas Community Service Fund, the Milestones Luncheon serves as a platform to raise awareness for the programs supported by the JLD, as well as to celebrate and honor members who are making a difference in the Dallas community.

Octavia Spencer**

Octavia Spencer has become one of Hollywood’s most sought-after talents on both television and the silver screen. She has starred in countless films, including “Hidden Figures, The Help, The Shack, Gifted, Zootopia” and many more. She will next be seen in “The Shape of Water.” Spencer has collected numerous accolades for her work, such as the 2012 Academy Award, BAFTA Award, Golden Globe Award, SAG Award, Broadcast Film Critics’ Choice Award and NAACP Image Award for Best Supporting Actress for her role in “The Help.” Earlier this year, she was awarded her second Academy Award nomination for her performance in “Hidden Figures.” She has guest starred in various television shows and amongst her other professional achievements like directing and producing, has co-authored an interactive mystery series for children called “Randi Rhodes, Ninja Detective.”

Linda Perryman Evans (File photo)

The JLD is proud to have many outstanding Sustaining members who continue to share their JLD leadership skills and training while making a difference in the community. They represent the very best qualities of League members and show selfless dedication. This year, the JLD will honor Linda Perryman Evans as Sustainer of the Year for her commitment and dedication as a Sustainer and motivated civic leader. Linda joined the Junior League as a Provisional member in Dallas and continued as an Active Junior League member in Washington, D.C. While in Washington D.C., she worked on Gerald Ford’s re-election campaign as an assistant to the press secretary for the late Senator John Heinz of Pennsylvania, and in the White House Office of Media Relations and Planning for President Ronald Reagan. She returned to Dallas as the Executive Director of the Dallas Welcoming Committee for the 1984 Republican National Convention before becoming president and CEO of The Meadows Foundation. Evans has served as a member, board member, chair or trustee for more than 20 organizations and fundraisers, including chair of Mayor Mike Rawlings‘ Fair Park Task Force. She has been recognized with awards such as the Dallas Historical Society Award for Excellence in Philanthropy, Nonprofit Times Top 50 Power and Influence Leaders and D CEO Top 500 Dallas-Fort Worth Business Leaders. Linda also received the Encomienda de la Orden de Isabel La Catholica for her work on behalf of enhancing relations between Spain and the United States. Sanctioned by King Juan Carlos I, and bestowed by the Spanish Ambassador, the award is one of Spain’s highest honors.

The 2017 Milestones Luncheon will take place Friday, November 17, in the Chantilly Ballroom at the Hilton Anatole Hotel. Check-in will begin at 10:45 a.m. and the Luncheon will start at 11:45 a.m. Individual Luncheon tickets are $175 and Patron Luncheon tickets are $350. Tables begin at $1,750. To purchase tables or individual tickets, please contact the JLD Development Office at 214.357.8822 ext. 118 or visit www.jld.net/milestones-luncheon for more information.

* Photo credit: Tamytha Cameron Smith 
** Photo credit: Randee St. Nicholas

 

Junior Leaguers Grand Slammed Milestones Luncheon With Awardees Caren Prothro, Linda McFarland And Venus Williams

The Junior Leaguers had pulled out all the guns for The Milestones Luncheon on Wednesday, November 16, at the Hilton Anatole. JLD President Bonner Allen and Luncheon Co-Chairs Amanda Shufeldt and Pat Prestidge had their over-the-top game plan in order, so they wisely booked the Chantilly Ballroom to accommodate the expected 1,500 guests.

Linda McFarland and Caren Prothro

And that game plan was built around some pretty heavy hitters — Linda McFarland would be presented as the Sustainer of the Year and Caren Prothro would receive the Lifetime Achievement Award, which has only been previously presented to Ruth Altshuler, Lindalyn Adams, Linda Pitts Custard and Lyda Hill. Needless to say, honoring these ladies alone could have sold out the luncheon ASAP.  

But then Bonner, Amanda and Pat wanted to complement the awardees with an equally prestigious speaker — tennis legend Venus Williams.

Still the event’s schedule was tight. Venus had to be out of there by 1 p.m. At first blush, it looked a little iffy. The VIP reception for the meet-and-greet started at 10:30 with organizers swearing Venus was “going to be here any minute” because she needed to leave by 11:15. By 10:41, the lineup for photos with the featured speaker was starting to extend beyond the cordoned-off area, but there was no Venus. A woman in white at a side entrance door was stationed to watch for her arrival. Just as the clock hit 10:54, Venus arrived. And it was so worth the wait.

While guests filled out forms, others handed off their purses and stood next to the towering 6’1″-tall tennis player, who was totally charming. She especially like Annika Cail’s necklace. But as every photo was taken, the lineup grew three-fold. Nevertheless, Venus’ posture and smile never wavered and she stayed past the 11:15 deadline.

Linda Secrest and Isabell Novakov

In the meantime, most of the men folk gathered at the other end of the room for coffee. Junior League Ball Chair Isabell Novakov reported that she was right on target for her March 4th fundraiser that will also take place in the Anatole’s Chantilly Ballroom. The 55th anniversary gala will “showcase past Balls and bring back elements of our history as we celebrate the JLD’s 95th Anniversary.” Her goal is a whopping $1M.

But back to the day’s fundraiser. Finally, the event could wait no longer and the Wedgwood Room doors to the ballroom opened at 11:18 with guests being encouraged to head to their tables. Still Venus stayed for the final photo that was taken at 11:25 and then headed to the ballroom.

Ten minutes later, Mr. Big Voice was heard advising guests to sit with the infamous “the program will start momentarily.” Only instead of a five-minute warning, it truly was momentarily with the house lights dimming seconds later.

Pat Prestidge and Amanda Shufeldt

Emcee Shelly Slater arrived at the podium, did a selfie and told guests to start eating. After Rev. Stephen Swan provided the invocation, Shelly was back with some “housekeeping tips.” No, not the Heloise type that involved grout cleaning, but how the purchase of the centerpieces would also help get through the valet line faster.

Bonner Allen and Kittye Peeler

At 11:39 Amanda and Pat thanked all for supporting the event and were followed by Bonner and JLD Sustainer President Kittye Peeler, who presented Linda and Caren with their awards.

Just past noon, guests got to their meals. Wise move. That way the clatter of utensils hitting plates would be done when Venus had a chat with WFAA sportscaster Joe Trahan starting at 12:36.

Taking their places in easy chairs on stage, the two talked as if they were in a living room. Sounding at times like a starry-eyed groupie, Joe asked Venus about her relationship with her sister, Serena Williams. While Joe wanted to get into discussing tennis, Venus took a timeout to say “Hi to everyone” and told how much she had enjoyed meeting guests earlier in the day. Looking out into the audience, she added, “You guys looked absolutely fantastic. I want to go shopping with all of you. We’ll do at a later date. Next time it will be Junior League-Neiman Marcus.” Grand slam!

Venus Williams and Joe Trahan

Highlights of the conversation included:

  • Her winning her very first Wimbledon, six to three — “I did?…Okay. My first championship was born out of tragedy a bit.” She explained that back in 1999 when she and Serena were playing the U.S. Open, they were in the semi-finals, so they had the chance to meet in the finals. “I didn’t actually win my match, but I learned so much from that. It made me so hungry.” Off for a number of months due to injuries, she played at Wimbledon, “When I went there, I thought ‘This is my time. I’m the one.’ So, I went to that tournament knowing I was going to win. I’ve got to say that I haven’t gone to another tournament with that same attitude, but it was just like you want to win your first one,  you want to cross over that line and it was just knowing that I was not going to walk away without that title that year.”  
  • What she does when she gets to that match point — “I just press the gas pedal. I love being at match point and at that point I just knew it was mine. It’s a privilege to be at match point. I try to live my whole life at that match point level.”
  • Venus Williams

    Winning the first title compared to subsequent ones — “It always changes. It’s never the same. I wish there was a special equation of ‘Now you do it this way. Here’s your formula. And there you go.’ But it’s not. Sometimes you’re torn; sometimes you’re off; sometimes you’re injured; you’re playing a different opponent; it might be windy; sometimes you’re confident; sometimes you’re not. But it’s never the same formula. I think the next year I played, I ended up playing someone who was an upstart and got to the final. And then, of course, you don’t want to go there saying one of the best players in the world loses to someone you never heard of. It’s a whole different kind of pressure.”

  • Venus’ op ed piece on equal pay for men and women — “I never thought that I was going to be a part of equal rights. It wasn’t something that I was aware of as a young person that women weren’t paid the same as men. I grew up dreaming of winning Wimbledon and the U.S. Open and didn’t realize that it wasn’t equal until I got there. So, once I got there and I had an opportunity to be part of it, it was like you have to take a stance for something. Sometimes you find yourself in a situation. There was no grand plan, but it’s been wonderful for me because I’ve been able to follow the footsteps of people like Arthur Ashe and Billie Jean King and that’s meant so much to me to be able to contribute more.”
  • Lessons that apply both to sports and business — “In sports, there is no win-win. There’s just win. But you figure out how to win. And it applies to teamwork. Of course, within your own organization, it’s about teamwork. It’s about collaboration and it’s also about setting goals and working toward them…That’s why sports is so amazing for young women because it gives them confidence. It gives them goals; it gives them focus. You feel good about yourself and about your body especially in a day when body image is so challenging. Instead of thinking about what you look like, you think about what your body is doing for you. It’s switching the focus…. But you also learn about losing. As much as you want to, you can’t always win. And loss is the biggest single teacher every single time. Even if you don’t want it to be.”
  • Venus Williams

    Her sister Serena — “I would never pass up an opportunity to play with Serena Williams in doubles. You can’t make that work. We love each other’s company.  We always buoy each other up. It’s awesome to play with someone that you feel confident in. Then you can do your job and you don’t have to feel like you have to carry them. You can relax a little bit more. And if you’re playing bad, you know they can carry you and vice versa. It’s an awesome partnership. We wish we could play every tournament because we love that dynamic, but that’s not possible. She’s really fun. I’ll have to bring her next time.”

  • Sisterhood — “A lot of cultures have their own thing about community. In West Africa, they have like a symbol where everyone is pushing everyone up a tree.  So, we’re always pushing each other up. And that part of pushing is also competing, but it doesn’t mean we have to be rivals. We can respect each other as competitors. Just as women, we have to always be supportive of each other because not only are we facing not an equal playing field, we can’t also fight each other. We also have to have that ‘good girls club.’ We have to all be good girls and get on board and support each other. If someone phones asking if you can be here, you don’t need to know why, you just say, ‘I’m there.’ I love to win. It’s fun. I also love to see other people win, other people be successful. I love to see women be powerful. There is nothing more amazing than seeing a powerful woman. It’s intimidating actually to see someone so amazing, so beautiful, so gracious just kicking butt.”
  • Failure — “It’s an important, unfortunately but fortunately, motif in my career. Failure has always motivated me and taught me a lesson. When you fall back down, you’ve got to get right back up again. Don’t be afraid to fail. Failure is part of your success. If you’re not failing, that means you’re doing too safe or you’re such an expert and amazing that you’re just not human…. The biggest failure to me is not learning from a loss.”
  • Motivation — “The biggest motivation in my tennis career has been my sister outside of mom and dad. I wouldn’t have picked up a racket if it hadn’t been for them. But Serena taught me how to be tenacious and strong. She was just naturally so competitive and so courageous and fearless. And I was, ‘Okay, I’ve got a talent, but I hadn’t grown that heart yet.’ Remember how the Grinch had that little tiny heart? And at the end the heart got big and he became this amazing person. Well, that’s kind of what happened to me in sports. I didn’t push myself enough. You have to throw your whole body even if you’re faced with a firing squad. It doesn’t matter if you go down  on a stretcher, you won the match and die on the spot. But if that’s what it takes, that what it takes.  So, I kind of had to learn that and she showed me that. I’m eternally grateful to her because I would have been a great player who never crossed the line.”
  • Venus Williams and Joe Trahan

    Motivation in business — “My dad always encouraged us to be entrepreneurs. He encouraged us to work for ourselves. He encouraged us to get our education. He said, ‘I’m not raising some athletes here.’ Sometimes we took advantage of that by saying, ‘Dad, we have a lot of homework today.’ He’d say, ‘Okay, then we’ll cut the court short today.’ We didn’t do that too often, or he would have caught on.  He was a Renaissance man. Growing up, we’d be going to tennis tournaments and he’d be playing a tape about foreclosures. We didn’t understand it, but it was a mentality. When you’re eight years old, if you understand a foreclosure you’re probably not doing it again. It just set us up to be confident and to think for ourselves, which is super-important for a female athlete, especially a female tennis player because you’re going pro so young and there are all these outside forces that can stumble you and you can become a statistic really fast. There are also a lot of parents who stumble their own children by not allowing them to make their own decisions and grow up to be independent and strong. Our parents were a keen influence on all of that.”

  • Being in the National Museum of African American History and Culture — “I didn’t know I was in there…. That’s cool. I hope they don’t remove it.” She learned about it when friends sent her a picture of the exhibition.
  • Women in the future — She applauded what has been accomplished by women, and feels that in the future it’s important to have men come on board. “Unfortunately in this world, there is always something to conquer, but fortunately there are groups like the Junior League that are in it to win, and I appreciate your having me here today.”
  • Adversity in her life that she’s grateful for — “Wow! That’s deep. Any challenge, I don’t question it. For me it’s about being able to live with how I deal with it and being able to deal with it on my own terms. And coming out with what I can do to win and being able to regulate it and live with it that way. That’s enough for me.”
  • Her proudest accomplishment — “Two things I would say: Being able to look with no regrets, and also looking back and saying I enjoyed it.”
  • Volunteering in Compton — This past November she and her family kicked off the Yetunde Price Resource Center in Compton, California, for families suffering from violence. Her older sister Yetunde Price was killed in 2003 in a drive-by shooting. The opening and support of the center allows Venus and her family to come full circle. “It was a super healing experience for my whole family to come back to Compton and to do that. We ended up going back to the court that we practiced on a lot. I got so emotional. It was so surreal. When we got there, all those things that happened. I loved that whole experience…Serena talked about the foolish things we did.”
  • Final words — “I love Dallas and thank you for allowing me to be a part of it [the luncheon]. I love the things that you’re doing on all levels. I look forward to the next chapter and coming back if you’ll have me.”

    Venus Williams and Joe Trahan

Finishing up just before 1 p.m., Joe proved to be a typical dad and Venus fan asking for a selfie with Venus for his daughters. Without hesitation Venus flashed that constant smile and accommodated Joe.

Junior League Of Dallas Reveals Big Plans For Anniversary Year With Awards Luncheon Featuring Venus Williams And “Encore” Gala

The very idea of a coat, tie and suit on Tuesday, June 21, was like wearing mittens to thread a needle. But a handful of gentlemen like Dan Novakov, Brent Christopher and David Shuford mustered up their inner strength for the announcement of the Junior League of Dallas’ upcoming fundraising plans for its 95th anniversary.

But don’t be too teary-eyed for the men. After all, the event was taking place inside Joyce and Larry Lacerte’s mansion. And to keep things cool, the house general Roxann Vyazmensky scurried to the entry hall to close the front doors that were wide open. After all, the secret to summer party success is keeping things literally cool.

Roxann Vyazmensky, Lena Baca and Joyce Lacerte

Roxann Vyazmensky, Lena Baca and Joyce Lacerte

The plan for the evening called for the party to start at 5:30 and the “remarks” at 6 p.m. By 5:40, the streets were already lined with vehicles. Sure, some of ‘em belonged to folks at the Highland Park pool, but more than 170 were there to hear the JLD reveal.

Bonner Allen

Bonner Allen

Promptly at 6 on the dot, like a lead cheerleader 2016-2017 JLD President Bonner Allen welcomed the group including Nancy Halbreich, Lynn McBee, Aimee Baillargeon Griffiths with her old Vanderbilt roomie Dr. Regina McFarland (aka JLD-er Linda McFarland‘s daughter-in-law), Sarah Losinger with her son John Losinger and his wife Laura Losinger, Linda GibbonsMarian Bryan, Connie O’Neill, Gerald Turner, Louise Griffeth, Christie Carter, Nancy Gopez, Linda Secrest and Dee Collins Torbert.

Laura and John Losinger and Sarah Losinger

Laura and John Losinger and Sarah Losinger

Dee Collins Torbert

Dee Collins Torbert

Susan Nowlin

Susan Nowlin

Aimee Bailllargeon Griffiths and Regina McFarland

Aimee Baillargeon Griffiths and Regina McFarland

But let’s not dawdle with the niceties. It’s the news of the night that had the Lacertes’ great room greatly filled with two cloaked easels positioned in front of the fireplace.

Amanda Shufeldt and Amy Prestidge

Amanda Shufeldt and Pat Prestidge

First on the agenda were 2016 Milestones Luncheon Co-Chairs Pat Prestidge and Amanda Shufeldt, who revealed the event will be held at the Hilton Anatole on Wednesday, November 16. Then they announced three biggy surprises. First was the recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award. It’s a highly prized acknowledgment among the JLD sisterhood, since it’s given only once every five years to a JLD Sustainer. Previous recipients had been Ruth Altshuler, Lindalyn Adams, Linda Custard and Lyda Hill. The 2016 honoree will be Caren Prothro. Next up was the announcement of which of the JLD Sustainers would be recognized for her work. It was no surprise that Linda McFarland will be the honoree.

Ruth Altshuler, Caren Prothro and Nancy Halbreich

Ruth Altshuler, Caren Prothro and Nancy Halbreich

Linda McFarland

Linda McFarland

Then the final luncheon surprise was who the speaker would be. In the past, it had been folks like Jan Langbein, Vernice Armour, Laura Bush and Jenna Bush Hager. Pulling the cloth off one of the easels, Pat and Amanda announced the keynote speaker would be tennis powerhouse Venus Williams. The news was greeted with cheers and applause.

KarenShuford

KarenShuford

Next up was Isabell Novakov, who is chairing the 55th Annual Junior League of Dallas Ball on Saturday, March 4, in the Anatole’s Chantilly Ballroom. First out of Isabell’s bag of surprises was that Karen Shuford, who has chaired practically everything (JLD Ball, Cattle Baron’s Ball, Crystal Charity Ball, The Senior Source’s Spirit of Generations Luncheon and Dallas Museum of Art’s Art Ball when it was known as the Beaux Art Ball) except the Byron Nelson, will serve as honorary chair.

As for the theme, Isabell removed the drop cloth from the second easel and there was the theme —“Encore.”

Isabell is using the event to “celebrate and pay tribute to our dedicated ball chairs who are now serving as Sustaining Advisors. We plan to showcase past balls and bring back elements of our history once more for the ‘Encore’ presentation.”

Janet Quisenberry, Sandy Ammons, Paula Davis, Isabell Novakov, Lydia Novakov, Linda Secrest and Connie ONeill

Janet Quisenberry, Sandy Ammons, Paula Davis, Isabell Novakov, Lydia Novakov, Linda Secrest and Connie ONeill

Watching proudly from the sidelines was Isabell’s mom, Lydia Novakov. It was a bit like old home week for Lydia as she was joined by members of the executive committee (Janet Quisenberry, Sandy Ammons, Paula Davis, Linda Secrest and Connie O’Neill) who served with her when she was JLD president.

Tickets for the black-tie ball are available, as are tickets to the Milestones luncheon.

For more photos of the reception, check out MySwetCharity Photo Gallery.

JUST IN: Laura Bush To Be Keynote Speaker And Regen Fearon To Be Honored At Junior League Of Dallas’ Milestones Luncheon

News has just come in about the Junior League of Dallas’s annual Milestones Luncheon. Let’s get the housekeeping info over with first, so you can lock it down on your calendars. Date: Thursday, November 6. Place: Hilton Anatole’s Imperial Ballroom (formerly known as the Khmer Ballroom).

Laura Bush (File photo)

Laura Bush (File photo)

Now, for the good stuff. JLD President Julie Bagley reports the keynote speaker will be former First Lady Laura Bush thanks to speaker sponsor Ryan, the global tax services firm.

According to Julie, “We are honored to have former First Lady Laura Bush speak at The Milestones Luncheon in November. The Luncheon’s purpose is to educate and inspire, and as a member of the Junior League of Dallas herself, we could not think of a more fitting person than Mrs. Bush to emphasize the importance of voluntarism, empowerment of women and improving our community. Her experience and passion for key issues such as education and healthcare relate directly to the programs and mission of the Junior League.”

Julie Bagley (File photo)

Julie Bagley (File photo)

In addition to the Milestones Luncheon’s raising funds for the JLD Community Service, it also recognizes the Sustainer of the Year. And Regen Fearon is the 2014-2015 honoree.

Oh, what’s that? What exactly is a JLD sustainer? She is a member who is an outstanding example of JLD commitment and dedication. Just to prove that point Regen has held numerous leadership positions with JLD plus a very active in such organizations like the Big Sister Program, ChildCare Group, Commit and Dallas Assembly. Just recently Regen and her husband Dr. Jeffrey Fearon were named honorary co-chairs of the 2014-2015 Trains At NorthPark.

Tickets for the annual luncheon start at $175.

MySweetCharity Opportunity: The Milestones Luncheon

According to The Milestones Luncheon Chair Emily Eisenhauer and Sustainer Co-Chair Patti Flowers,

Emily Eisenhauer (File photo)

Emily Eisenhauer (File photo)

Patti Flowers (File photo)

Patti Flowers (File photo)

“Since 1922, Junior League of Dallas (JLD) has been building a better Dallas, thanks to generous donations and thousands of hard-working members. From rocking infants to answering crisis line calls, more than 5,200 members give more than 130,000 hours of community service each year.

“We are looking forward to an exciting second annual Milestones Luncheon. This luncheon is a wonderful opportunity to celebrate the Junior League of Dallas and recognize the achievements, developments and impact our many volunteers have made on our great city throughout the year.

“Also at the luncheon, we will honor our 2013-2014 Sustainer of the Year for her commitment and dedication to the League. This year, we are thrilled to present this award to Linda Secrest. Linda continually reflects the mission of the Junior League of Dallas by volunteering, developing the potential of women and improving the community through her service with the League and through her charitable works with organizations like Genesis Women’s Shelter and Support, The American Red Cross and Crystal Charity Ball. Her unique sensitivity toward others and her many skills have opened doors of communication as well as set records for silent auctions.

“The Milestones Luncheon will also feature an amazing and inspiring guest speaker, Vernice Armour, a retired captain in the United States Marines and America’s first African American female combat pilot. Armour, known to most as “FlyGirl,” went from being a beat cop to combat pilot in just a few short years. Earning her wings in 2001, Armour served two tours overseas where she found herself flying over the deserts of Iraq supporting the men and women on the ground. Upon returning home in 2007, Armour realized that while many people desire to create similar breakthroughs in their own lives, they lack the tools to do so. Inspiring countless individuals and corporations, her accomplishments have been featured on OPRAH twice, as well as CNN, the Tyra Banks Show, NPR and Tavis Smiley. Armour will entertain with her extraordinary story and what principles formed her Zero to Breakthrough™ Success Plan.

“We hope you will join us Thursday, November 14, 2013, at the Hilton Anatole to honor Linda and the thousands of other Junior League of Dallas members whose dedication has made a great impact on Dallas and our community. Doors will open at 11:00 a.m. and the luncheon will start promptly at noon. To purchase tickets and for more information, please visit the Junior League of Dallas’ website at www.jld.net. Funds raised from The Milestones Luncheon benefit the Junior League of Dallas’ Community Service Fund.”