When the YWCA of Dallas changed its moniker to Wings, it also adjusted its mission — to empower women, fight poverty and impact generations. To recognize those women and men who have exemplified the mission, the Mentors And Allies Awards Luncheon was created. On Wednesday, May 9, the 2018 Mentors And Allies Awards Luncheon took place at the Hyatt Regency Dallas with North Texas powerhouse Elaine Agather as the keynote speaker. And, as usual, Elaine knocked it out of the park, or rather in this case, the ballroom. Here’s a report from the field:
Wings welcomed 400 guests to its Mentors And Allies Awards Luncheon at the Hyatt Regency Dallas on Wednesday, May 9. Attendees came to honor those who lead the way in positively impacting our community’s women and to hear from power banker, preeminent civic leader and Texas cowgirl Elaine Agather.
Returning for a second year as emcee, NBC 5 Anchor and Reporter Katy Blakey and Luncheon Chair Emily Touchstone introduced Wings’ mission of empowering women and fighting poverty in our community. Lead sponsors included Herb Kelleher, Colleen Barrett, AT&T, Ebby Halliday Realtors, Mary Kay and Sammons Enterprises.
Wings CEO Jennifer Ware introduced the agency’s focus on women helping women. She joined Wings Board President Starlette Johnson to honor Soap Hope CEO Salah Boukadoum and The Admin Awards CEO Sunny Nunan with the 2018 Individual Mentors And Allies Awards.
Ware and Johnson also presented the Corporate Award to Mary Kay CEO
for the organization’s 55-year history of empowering women. Ebby Halliday’s Randall Graham presented the Ebby Halliday Volunteer of the Year Award to DART Human Capital VP Cheryl Orr for her countless hours volunteering in Wings finance and career classes.
A social entrepreneur and impact investor, Boukadoum said, “If we would simply focus on equality for women, all the rest of our goals would become easier. I am not calling for a world run by women. I am calling for a world run by women and men, with equal authority among them.”
Nunan shared how her mother, a career admin, inspired her to launch The Admin Awards to recognize the invaluable contributions of administrative professionals.
But Wings graduate Angelica Rodriguez made guests pull out their tissues when she told her story of becoming pregnant at age 13 and finding support through Wings Nurse-Family Partnership (NFP) program. The room applauded her for graduating from high school early and becoming a nurse with inspiration from her NFP nurse, Holly.
Agather closed the program with her typical gusto and humor – calling the audience to step up and become mentors for women: “It is the very job of the people in this room to pass on what we have learned to ensure that the next generation of women feel empowered, take ownership, develop confidence and be fearless.”
She expressed four lessons for success from her almost 40-year banking career. “First, we have to own it,” emphasizing while there are still fewer women in leadership positions, women must come up with solutions. “We have come a long way, and it is our job to ensure that we continue to make progress and fix the problems that still exist. We must pass down a work environment that is equal for both men and women.”
Her second tip was about having control. Tying to Wings programming, she urged women to take control their finances. “That means ensuring women have the tools, skills and confidence to manage daily finances, withstand unexpected emergencies and meet long-term goals.”
Agather’s third tip encouraged growth. “It is important to realize that you will make mistakes. It’s how we recover from mistakes that matters. I often advise women to ‘get over it.’ Don’t hide from your mistakes: Fix them, move on and learn how to laugh at yourself.”
Agather got lots of laughs when she talked about handling criticism of her “Pepto-Bismol” Escada suit and being told she talks too much. “Growth happens when you’re confident enough to let others help you grow,” she said.
She closed with the final tip: to pass it on. She talked about the women of the American West, the women who built this country. “Women have been doing it for a long time, and now it is our turn to help the next generation.”
* Photo provided by Wings