Instead of a TGIF happy hour, it was “Pop Fizz Clink! A Wings Fling” brunch at the Thompson Hotel on Friday, April 29, benefiting Wings Dallas. In addition to head-turning entertainers, all types of fun activities and flutes of champagne for one and all, the inaugural Ebby Halliday Empowering Women Award was presented to Anne Motsenbocker. Here’s a report from the field:
Wings’ reimagined spring event “Pop Fizz Clink! A Wings Fling” brought people together to delight in brunch favorites, engage with out-of-the-box entertainment, and learn more about Wings’ mission to empower women, fight poverty and impact generations. Enhanced by the beautiful backdrop of the Thompson Dallas décor, Event Co-Chairs Annika Cail and Stephanie Seay, Honorary Chair Kim Hext, and Wings CEO Kate Rose Marquez were joined by a full ballroom of guests dressed in their brunch best.
While the décor, entertainment and vendor activations drew much attention from the guests, the theme of empowerment was the focus of the day.
The morning kicked off with a VIP Reception, sponsored by Oncor. Guests indulged in bubbly served from a beverage ballgown and assorted hors d’oeuvres served by Thompson staff, including mini lox, mini brisket tacos and mini cream cheese blintzes.
As doors to the ballroom opened, guests were greeted upon entry by a towering, mirrored stilt walker and entered with looks of shock and delight on their faces. Donning bright frocks and eye-catching accessories, guests made the space feel more like a runway than a ballroom. Thanks to Event Designer Prashe, the ballroom had been transformed into a colorful and enticing scene, accented by DJ Christy Ray on the main stage.
Event goers frequented the various vendors throughout the room. They giggled as they tried helium-filled candy bubbles from the Edible Bubble Bar. They sat pretty for Party Illustrations, a quick-line fashion sketch artist. They visited the Mary Kay Lipstick Lounge, selecting one of eight shades of the new Mary Kay Supreme Hydrating Lipstick, and applied it as they got their fortune told by lipstick readers from Pucker Up Impressions. Pop-up performances from an ambient cirque performer and Clover the electric violinist kept the room dynamic and exciting as guests enjoyed brunch favorites from stations throughout the room and sipped on bubbly from the mimosa bars.
At noon, after guests had explored the room and compared top fashions on friends throughout the room, the program began with a clinking of a glass. Annika and Stephanie took to the stage to welcome everyone, thank generous sponsors and share how they’ve been inspired by the women of Wings. Annika remarked, “These women are claiming their futures and their children’s futures, and taking an active role in steering toward their north star – a better and more resilient tomorrow.” Stephanie echoed this sentiment and encouraged everyone to lift one another up and help even more women rise through the Wings programs.
A highlight of the day was the presentation of the inaugural Ebby Empowering Women Award to Anne Motsenbocker. Named after the late Ebby Halliday, this award was created to recognize her legacy of empowering women and positively impacting the Dallas community.
In presenting the award, Kate Rose started by recognizing legendary Ebby Halliday for her contributions to the Dallas community and her deep connection to Wings. “It was important to us that we honor Ebby’s legacy as one of the first female entrepreneurs in Dallas with an award that speaks to the way she lifted up countless women around her and encouraged growth,” said Kate Rose.
Although choosing an award recipient is a process that requires careful consideration, Kate Rose mentioned it did not require much time to select Anne. Recently retired from her executive leadership role as Managing Director for JPMorgan Chase, Anne has paved the way for female leadership throughout her personal and professional life. She listed Anne Motsenbocker’s many accomplishments, both personally and professionally, and highlighted how as Anne trailblazed her path to success, she continuously lifted up other women along the way.
Anne took to the stage in her bright turquoise dress with green floral accents smiling from ear to ear accompanied by a standing ovation throughout the ballroom. Kate Rose presented Anne with a champagne bottle custom painted by Theresa Mangum to commemorate the occasion, and led the room in raising their glasses to toast Anne.
Anne’s remarks were both gracious and powerful. She grew emotional as she expressed gratitude to her friends, mentors and peers in the audience who contributed to her journey, by encouraging her, providing advice and supporting her. She spoke about Ebby’s legacy and remarked on the incredible work Wings is doing to elevate and empower women and truly impact generations. “I have seen firsthand that when you impact a woman, you also impact her family and the community around them for generations,” said Anne. To close her remarks, Anne’s call to action was simple – as you climb the ladder, reach out your hand and pull someone up.
The award presentation was followed by a video, sponsored by Mission Impact sponsor Toyota. The video detailed Jacqueline Green’s story – a story of resilience, empowerment and strength. Jacqueline found Wings when applying for WIC benefits. Newly pregnant, she had just lost her mother-in-law and the support system she provided. Jacqueline turned to the Nurse Family Partnership at Wings to provide information, advice and support. Through this program, Jacqueline was partnered with Rhonda, a registered nurse who walked alongside her to ensure she had a healthy pregnancy and baby until the child turned two. Fueled by confidence and motivation, Jacqueline then joined the Wings Economic Advancement program, which taught her about her credit score, helped her develop a savings plan, and enabled her to pay for and graduate college.
As the video ended and the lights came up, Kate Rose took a moment to remind the audience that the women, not Wings, are the protagonist of the story. Each client comes to Wings with her own unique goals. Wings staff simply provides tools, one-on-one coaching and accountability to help them reach those goals.
Wings Board Chair/Mary Kay Inc. VP James Vaughan joined Kate Rose on stage and reinforced Mary Kay’s support of Wings and the women they serve. Kate Rose announced a $25,000 matching gift from an anonymous donor and James kicked off the ask with a personal $5,000 donation. As Kate Rose and James detailed how each level of donation provided essential support to the women of Wings, bright orange donation cards went up around the room. The room buzzed with energy as Wings staff collected the cards and thanked donors for their generous support.
Kate Rose wrapped up the quick, yet impactful, program with an echo of gratitude to all in attendance. Although this is the first year of this event, it is certainly not the beginning of Wings. Kate Rose reiterated that Wings, formerly the YWCA, has been supporting the Dallas community for the past 114 years and continues to evolve over time to support the needs of women in the community.
DJ Christy Ray kept the music going until the event ended at 1 p.m. – at which point many eventgoers kept the celebration going at Catbird, which opened early exclusively for Wings guests.
* Photo provided by Wings