Actress/Advocate Geena Davis Was Part Of The Top-Tier Panel For The Dallas-Fort Worth Comerica Bank Women’s Business Symposium

Comerica provided 500 gals the opportunity to hear from a top-tier line up of females about the challenges, opportunities and advances for women in business. On hand to be part of the panel on Friday, October 13, at the Dallas Mariott Las Colinas was actress/advocate Geena Davis, who created the Geena Davis Institute on Gender. But it was more than listening and learning. It was also celebrated with a nice check presentation for ChildCareGroup. Here’s a report from the field:

Five hundred guests gathered to learn, connect and grow at the inaugural  Dallas-Fort Worth Comerica Bank Women’s Business Symposium, a sellout, on Friday, October 13, at the Dallas Marriott Las Colinas.

Julia Wellborn, Nina Vaca, Deborah Gibbins, Geena Davis and Jennifer Sampson*

Geena Davis, award-winning actress and founder of the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media, headlined the event, while the luncheon opened with a local Power Panel featuring Deborah Gibbins – CFO, Mary Kay Inc.; Barbara Lynn – Chief District Judge, United States District Court for Northern District of Texas; Jennifer Sampson – CEO and President, United Way of Metropolitan Dallas; and Nina Vaca – Chairman and CEO, Pinnacle Group / Comerica Incorporated Board of Director Member.

Jamie Gwen*

Peter Sefzik*

Long-time California Comerica Women’s Business Symposium emcee Celebrity Chef Jamie Gwen made sure the jam-packed program flowed smoothly with Texas Market President Peter Sefzik on-hand to welcome guests and share how Comerica is not only investing in women externally, but also internally with professional development opportunities for its colleagues.

The Power Panel moderated by Julia Wellborn, Comerica Bank’s Executive Director of Wealth Management, proved to be a lively discussion and dialogue — the panelists covered a variety of topics from mentoring, landing that coveted seat at the table to how they have dealt with gender discrimination.  They also provided insight on their road to success and the importance of helping other women succeed.  

Vaca applauded Comerica Bank Chairman and CEO Ralph Babb for his commitment to empowering women and fostering an environment for them to succeed. Comerica Inc. recently appointed its third female, president and CEO of Commercial Metals Company Barbara R. Smith, to its Board of Directors, which also includes Vaca and Jacqueline P. Kane, retired Executive Vice President of Human Resources and Corporate Affairs at The Clorox Company.

Davis then shared her perspective on gender equality and why it should matter to us all with the underlying theme that if women are seen in certain positions and/or roles, it encourages other girls and women to pursue these opportunities / careers.  She also highlighted a few key studies conducted by the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media that indicated there still is a significant gender gap in the entertainment and media industries as it relates to casting roles and featuring women in a non-traditional sense in media campaigns.

Margareth Aviles, Tori Mannes, Catherine Pistor and Julia Wellborn*

Haynes & Boone, Winstead PC and Bodman PC sponsored the Women’s Business Symposium — a portion of the event proceeds benefited the ChildCareGroup. Comerica North Texas Women’s Initiative representatives presented Tori Mannes, the CEO of the ChildCareGroup, with a check for $10,000. The ChildCareGroup provides or manages the early care and education for more than 14,000 Dallas-area children from low-income families. Because of donor support, these children have better learning environments; well-educated, caring teachers; and involved parents—key components to a good start in life and a solid foundation for the future.

The Women’s Business Symposium concluded with an open networking reception, providing an opportunity for guests to mix, mingle and exchange business cards and contact information in support of helping each other further their careers and personal growth.

* Photo credit: Lisa Means

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