Dallas Women’s Foundation’s 32nd Annual Luncheon on October 20 at the Hilton Anatole – with the theme “She Who Dares”—was full of surprises and excitement. From the presentation of an inspirational video of three local women talking about their careers in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math), to trading cards featuring 33 remarkable women leaders in STEM and an inspirational speaker, the 1,400 attendees were challenged to do more to create greater opportunities for women and girls to lead. Dr. Hope Jahren, an award-winning scientist, one of TIME Magazine’s Top 100 Influential People, best-selling author of Lab Girl and advocate for female equality in STEM, was the keynote speaker whose speech was also streamed to more than 10,000 students at 20 schools throughout Texas.
The luncheon is the Foundation’s principal fundraiser in support of its work to advance women’s economic security and leadership in North Texas and to drive positive social and economic change for women and girls through research, advocacy and grant-making.
As Luncheon Co-Chair Lisa Singleton said, “We are here today to advance opportunities for women and girls in our community – and beyond. We are here to encourage investments that bring hope and possibility to girls who are daring to be leaders. There are so many obstacles and challenges that stand in the way of girls pursuing and achieving their goals – especially in the areas of science, technology, engineering and math. We are here today to change that – to remove barriers that prevent girls and women from succeeding and leading. Your investment in today’s luncheon success enables Dallas Women’s Foundation to advance opportunities for women and girls – from the classroom to the board room.”
Luncheon Co-Chair A. Shonn Brown announced the livestreaming of Dr. Jahren’s speech to students, thanks to sponsor Lyda Hill. “Lyda invests in opportunity and innovation – and she loves supporting more women in science. That’s why she chose to make the very generous gift that is allowing Dr. Jahren’s speech to be seen via livestream by upwards of 10,000 girls and young women at 20 different schools in Texas. Through her generosity, we are creating a ripple effect today that can transform the tomorrows for girls and women in science and in society.”
Brown also announced a very generous matching gift from NexBank, whose President and CEO John Holt said, “NexBank understands the urgent and immediate need to recognize and celebrate women and their achievements, as well as the need to create more opportunities for women in STEM fields and in every field. That’s why we’re offering a matching dollar-for-dollar gift of up to $100,000 to help your contributions go farther. Our hope is that this matching gift will not only encourage support, but also challenge and inspire other Dallas-area businesses to increase their investment in programs that benefit women and girls in our community.”
By the day’s end, the She Dares campaign had garnered more than $80,000.
The Foundation created and gave each attendee a pack of the STEM trading cards, graciously sponsored by American Airlines. The women scientists, engineers, technologists and mathematicians featured on the cards demonstrate the impact of women leaders today in the STEM fields – and serve as real role models to inspire girls and young women to pursue their dreams.
Roslyn Dawson Thompson, Foundation president & CEO, said, “Shonn and Lisa together are a force of nature – and not only are they formidable fundraisers, they are two of the strongest and best advocates for our mission. They live it and breathe it – and that’s what has made this luncheon so very special: their commitment…and their families’…to ensuring an equitable society where girls and women are full participants.”
Thompson then greeted the students at the 20 schools watching the livestream and introduced Dr. Jahren. “Hope Jahren epitomizes She Who Dares. Award-winning scientist, best-selling author, one of Time’s Top 100 Most Influential People in the world –who also has written over 75 peer reviewed publications, earned three Fulbrights and has three Labs named after her at three universities. A geochemist and geobiologist at the University of Oslo, she studies living and fossil organisms and how they are linked to the global environment. In her spare time, her blog #hopejahrensurecanwrite is where she shares her anecdotes about the interactions between men and women in academia. She is a powerful and creative advocate in removing negative stereotypes of women and girls in science.”
Dr. Jahren’s speech, entitled “The Magic of Roots, Leaves and Everything in Between” focused on how plants are similar to humans. “Plants are just as alive as we are.” She recounted that from a young age: “I don’t remember a time when I didn’t want to be a scientist.” She showed a day in her life through photos of her lab, and she read an excerpt from her best-selling book, Lab Girl, about her early days learning from her father who taught science at a community college. Her fond memories included fixing broken equipment and having free-rein in the lab to learn. It was a poignant and emotional moment as she added that she lost her father last year. Her closing remarks were powerful: “I never let the opinions of men about my capabilities deter me from my goal, because he best man I knew thought I could do it (be a scientist).”
Dallas Women’s Foundation Board Chair Caren Lock thanked Dr. Jahren for a moving and inspirational speech and thanked everyone for coming.
A special thanks to the many sponsors.
She Dares Sponsor ($100,000)
Platinum Sponsors ($50,000)
Suzanne Ahn, M.D. Speaker Endowment Fund at Dallas Women's Foundation
Nancy Ann and Ray Hunt
Crystal Sponsors ($25,000)
The Men and Women of Hunt Consolidated, Inc.
Young Women’s Preparatory Network
Diamond Sponsors ($15,000)
Dallas Business Journal
My Sweet Charity
Emerald Sponsors ($10,000)
Ellenore and Kirk Baker/Carter Financial Mgmt
Barings Multifamily Capital LLC
Lucy and Henry Billingsley
Cecilia G. Boone
Chatham Hill Investment Partnership
Toni Muñoz-Hunt and Dan Hunt
Ashlee and Chris Kleinert
Paula and Ron Parker
Service King Collision Repair
Betty and Steve Suellentrop
Gold Sponsors ($5,000)
AdvoCare International LP
Bank of Texas
Baron & Blue Foundation
Phyllis F. Bernstein
Nancy P. Carlson
Serena Simmons Connelly
Roslyn Dawson Thompson and Rex W. Thompson
Dr Pepper Snapple Group
Cindy Engles and Dodee Crockett
The Episcopal School of Dallas
Patricia W. Fagadau
Amy L. Fikes
Sheila Gallagher and Kay Winzenried
Greenhill School and The Hockaday School
The Hart Group, Inc.
Haynes and Boone, LLP
Al G. Hill, Jr.
Trish Houck and Lyssa Jenkens
Jane and Michael Hurst
Lottye and Bobby Lyle
Lynn Pinker Cox & Hurst
Mankoff Family Foundation
Alice and Erle Nye
Parish Episcopal School
Sewell Automotive Companies
Sidley Austin LLP
Julia Simon and Mary Kay
Tabani Family Foundation
Tolleson Wealth Management
Trinity Industries, Inc.
Donna M. Wilhelm
Dallas Women’s Foundation is the largest regional women’s fund in the world. With the support of its donors, the Foundation unlocks resources to advance women’s economic security and women’s leadership through research, grantmaking and advocacy. The Foundation’s work improves education and quality of life, gives voice to issues affecting women and girls, and cultivates women leaders for the future. The Foundation was built on the belief that when you invest in a woman, there is a ripple effect that benefits her family, her community and her world. Dallas Women’s Foundation has researched, funded and demonstrated the ripple effect since 1985, granting more than $37.6 million since inception and over $4.5 million annually to help create opportunities and solve issues for women and girls. For more information, visit www.DallasWomensFdn.org, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn or Twitter.