A world away from the Washington arguing, North Texas nonprofits and their “ambassadors” were being honored on Wednesday, January 22, at the Mansion on Turtle Creek. The occasion was NorthPark Center‘s 2020 NorthPark Ambassadors dinner that necessitated reserving the main dining room and the Veranda.
Just before the 40 guests arrived Restaurant Director Ryan Harvey spied a lone bulb that was dark at the top of one of the room’s chandeliers. A ladder was immediately recruited and Ryan climbed atop to change the bulb and check the fixture’s shades to be perfectly in place.
Since evening host David Haemisegger was out of town, his daughter Sarah Haemisegger stood in for him joining her mother Nancy Nasher to greet guests like past Ambassadors Lynn McBee and Jessica Nowitzki, UT Southwestern Cancer Programs Development Director Michele Myers and 2020 Ambassadors Meredith Land, Alvise Orsini and Geoffroy van Raemdonck, Kate Dykes with husband/SMU Coach Sonny Dykes, Jenny Kirtland, and Jamie O’Banion with husband Melbourne O’Banion.
The evening kicked off with a cocktail reception in the main dining room with portraits of the Ambassadors displayed on easels around the perimeter of the room.
At one point early in the evening there was a crash of a tray of glasses on the carpet floor, but the Mansion staff quickly removed the shards of glass and the wet spots on the carpeting. Hardly anyone noticed because they were too deep in conversation like Ronald McDonald House of Dallas Jill Cumnock table talking with Salvation Army’s Major Barbara Rich; Children’s Brent Christopher talking with Children’s Cancer Fund’s Jennifer Arthur and Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Dallas President/CEO Charles English.
Brent Christopher explained that his display in attending the Children’s Cancer Fund model announcement at NorthPark was due to a long-lasting meeting and the high-density traffic of families at Children’s Medical Center due to the flu.
Snapshots of the conversations included Dallas Symphony Orchestra CEO Kim Noltemy recalling how it was two years ago when she attended the Ambassadors dinner. She had only just taking over the helm at the DSO two weeks before and was amazed by the event.
Dallas CASA President/CEO Kathleen LaValle, who was subbing in for Ambassador/Dallas Mavericks CEO Cynt Marshall, revealed the organization was preparing for a double anniversary in 2020. Not only is CASA making plans for a big celebration for its 40th anniversary, but the annual Parade of Playhouses is heading for its 25th march. And, yes, NorthPark Special Events and Partnerships Director Kristen Gibbins reported that the Parade will return to NorthPark. Kathleen laughed that he staff shuddered when she threw out the idea of 25 playhouses. Last year’s collection was a whopping 17.
Another Dallas Maverick/Ambassador missing was center Dwight Powell, who had ruptured his right Achilles tendon the night before in a game against the Clippers.
Ambassadors/Cattle Baron’s Co-Chairs Diana Hamilton and Heather Randall reported that their plans to move the annual American Cancer Society North Texas fundraiser to The Star was getting rave reviews. The next day they were heading to The Star for a walk-thru of the facility.
When one guest asked Justin Whitman if he had lost weight, he reported that he was working out twice a week with a trainer and doing Peloton time. Goal: flat tummy and it’s working.
Ambassador/ Crystal Charity Ball Chair Tucker Enthoven recalled a night years ago when she, husband Rich Enthoven, her parents and Rich’s brother had a dinner in the hotel’s bar and decided afterward to check out the rest of the public rooms. Upon entering The Promenade, they discovered a wedding reception was underway and joined the celebration. They were such a hit that Tucker’s dad ended up dancing with the bride.
As Ambassador/Neiman Marcus CEO Geoffroy van Raemdonck approached Tucker, she greeted him saying, “I’m thrilled about our designer.” One might suspect that she was talking about the 2020 CCB Fashion Show at Downtown NM. Geoffroy embraced her looking equally happy. So, who’s the designer? Stay tuned.
At 7:45 p.m. the chimes announced that guests should take their assigned seats at tables in the Veranda. Once at their places, they were faced with decisions to be made from a delicious menu that included a first course (Pontchartrain jumbo lump crab cake preserved pepper emulsions with savoy cabbage slaw or roasted baby beets salad with Texas honey-organ vinaigrette), an entrée (seared diver scallops with orange braised endives, sunchokes, golden raisins and nage or a barn and ranch New York strip with creamed Yukon gold potatoes, Swiss chard, fermented turnips, black truffled bone marrow crust and red wine jus) and dessert (mocha affogato espresso, chocolate sauce, hazelnuts and vanilla ice cream or pecan and caramel pecan sponge, milk chocolate mousse and mocha crème).
But before the dining got underway, the 40+ guests heard fifth grader Colin Harris present his speech that had won the Foley and Lardner MLK Jr. Oratory Competition earlier in the week.
For more looks of the evening, check out MySweetCharity Photo Gallery.