At first glance, the Texas Women’s Foundation‘s Leadership Forum and Awards Celebration may have seemed like a serious sit-down on Tuesday, April 26, at the Dallas Omni Hotel. However, the operative word was “celebration,” which it was with music, dancing and laughter, plus a good shot of inspiration courtesy of keynote speaker Radha Agrawal and the 2022 Maura Women Helping Women Awardees hosting forums. Here’s a report from the field:
Dancing, fiddlers, hand-holding and an uplifting message of community and belonging were highlights of Texas Women’s Foundation’s Leadership Forum And Awards Celebration (LFAC), presented by AT&T. The event took place at the Dallas Omni Hotel on Tuesday, April 26, and netted approximately $350,000.
Texas Women’s Foundation President/CEO Miki Woodard said, “As we strive to meet the moment where we are all navigating various forms of a ‘return,’ we offered it as an in-person and online event and added an afternoon of forums from the seven honorees. Even my mother was able to watch online!”
Co-Chairs Bonnie Clinton, Vice President and Chief Procurement Officer, Indirect Procurement Shared Services, Toyota North America, and Ana I. Hernandez, Senior Vice President and Senior Commercial Loan Officer, PlainsCapital Bank, greeted guests who arrived in the afternoon to attend the honorees’ breakout sessions. Ladies who haven’t seen each other hugged and caught up.
Following the forums, 600 guests sipped cocktails and noshed on hors d’oeuvres. Doors opened, and the fiddler duo June Blount played upbeat songs. Attendees enjoyed dinner and conversations around the table.
Toyota Motor North America Multicultural Business Alliance and Dealer Relations Group Manager Alva Adams-Mason introduced keynote speaker Radha Agrawal. Agrawal is co-founder, CEO and Chief Community Architect of Daybreaker, a dance and wellness movement that holds events in dozens of cities with a worldwide community of half a million people. After a Daybreaker video showed people dancing together in-person and online, Agrawal spoke about how this movement was founded on belonging to a community. Her book, “Belong,” was a part of the table centerpieces, and those who donated at least $120 received a copy she signed after the event.
Agrawal asked attendees to close their eyes and put their hands on their hearts. She also asked the mostly female audience to hold hands with the person on each side and talked about the importance of community especially after the tough couple of years. Finally, at the end, she led in some spontaneous dancing, and most ladies were up dancing with her.
Awards Selection Co-Chairs Board Chair Hilda Galvan, Managing Partner of Jones Day Dallas and Awards Selection, and Brenda Jackson presented five women the Maura Women Helping Women Award:
Jackson gave the first awards:
- “For her passion making diversity and inclusion a priority in all endeavors and being an advocate for the inclusion of women in business from supply-chain to the board room, we award Patricia Rodriguez Christian with the Maura Women Helping Women Award.”
- “For recognizing the need for inclusive and equitable policies and practices within our school systems and organizations and bringing transformational change in these institutions to build bridges, we award Arlene Ford with the Maura Women Helping Women Award.”
- “For her tireless work for gender equity and representation in leadership, and her commitment to amplifying women in political office, we recognize Pat Jasso, recipient of the Maura Women Helping Women Award.”
- “For leading efforts in creating opportunities for marginalized communities, and for empowering the next generation with limited access by equipping them with the tools and opportunities to be leaders, we celebrate Lynn McBee with the Maura Women Helping Women Award.”
- “For her deep dedication to serving and supporting teen mothers; her great heart for providing resources to help these families thrive by providing housing and education, we celebrate Thana Simmons, Maura Women Helping Women Award recipient.”
Galvan said, “Now, I have the honor of recognizing two women under the age of 40 who are blazing trails to help other women advance in leadership.
- “For pursuing her dream to create a safe place to help foster care children and young adults have a home and resources so they can thrive, we recognize Stacy Johnson with the Young Leader Award.”
- “For leading the way in furthering more diversity in STEM programs to bring more women and people of color with talent into top positions in this field where they are underrepresented, we recognize Sharareh Kermanshachi with the Young Leader Award.”
Hernandez thanked the main sponsors:
- Presenting Sponsor: AT&T
- Speaker Sponsor: Catherine Coughlin Endowment for Women’s Leadership at Texas Women’s Foundation
- Ripple Sponsor: Toyota
- Empowering Women’s Leadership sponsors, EY and Haynes and Boone
- Leadership Forum Sponsors: CBRE, Jones Day, Merrill Lynch, PlainsCapital Bank/Hilltop Securities/PrimeLending, Texas Capital Bank and Texas Health Resources
Media Sponsors: D CEO, Dallas Business Journal, Fort Worth Inc. and Local Profile
For a complete list of sponsors, visit https://txwfleadership.org/
* Photo credit: Kim Leeson/Texas Women's Foundation