The banking business was well-represented, with Keith Eastman, Tiffany Cason and Mary Jo Hoch of Capital One Bank in attendance. So were accounting and professional services, with Jason Downing of Deloitte even serving as co-chair. But no industry seemed to be more in evidence than commercial real estate at the Cristo Rey Dallas CEO Breakfast on Wednesday, February 20, at the Belo Mansion & Pavilion.
In addition to guests like Allen Gump of Collier’s International, Jason’s CEO Breakfast co-chair was Jack Fraker of CBRE. And Jack’s CBRE compadre Phil Puckett was there talking up another Cristo Rey fundraiser that he’d be co-chairing in April. But more about that later.
In the main, the CEO Breakfast was all about honoring the Catholic college-prep school’s second annual Ignite Award winners. Some 200 people turned out for the presentation, where power networking—not to mention pancakes, scrambled eggs, smoked bacon and pastries—were on the early-morning menu.
After an invocation by Thomas Laredo, Cristo Rey Class of 2021, and the hearty meal, CRD Board Chair David Moran prepared to present the Ignite Award to Michele and John Stephens. While guests including Jennifer Sampson and Harriett Miers looked on, David explained that no fewer than 16 students in Cristo Rey’s innovative work-study program are employed at AT&T, where John serves as chief financial officer. (To date, students in the Cristo Rey work-study program have worked with more than 140 Dallas companies and earned more than $4 million toward the cost of their tuitions.)
Said David: “When John speaks about Cristo Rey, everyone listens.” As John and Michelle came onstage to accept the award, John opened with, “I’m Mr. Michelle Stephens,” and everyone laughed. Then he turned serious. “Education is the great equalizer,” John said. “And we’re so proud to be a part of this. I went to a school much like Cristo Rey. Some generous benefactor paid half of my tuition, and that’s how I got through high school.”
With that, Cristo Rey President Kelby Woodard recognized student Dipaouly Shah, class of 2020, for her hard work and perseverance with the school’s second annual Grit Award. The breakfast program also included a plug for the “Cristo Clays” fundraiser, to be held on Monday, April 29, at the Dallas Gun Club in Lewisville.
The sporting-clay event is being co-chaired by Phil, Neal and Campbell Puckett and Chris Calandro. Phil said the organizers are hoping to net $100,000 for Cristo Rey with at least 40 teams, each one with four shooters.
* Photo credit: Tamytha Cameron