When you earn recognition by Les Femmes du Monde, you can only hope that your friends and family will be there to support you on award night. For Dr. Gail Thomas — president and CEO of The Trinity Trust — this was not even a question.
Belo Mansion was filled with Thomas' family and friends, including former woman-of-the-year recipients Yvonne Crum, Dee Wyly, Billie Leigh Rippey, Caroline Rose Hunt and Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, who dropped by during the reception. Jeff Harelson told me his mother in-law "is a deep thinker but very involved and civic-focused."
She also likes what she does. Anyone who didn't know that before the dinner certainly knows it now.
Emcee Jocelyn White explained that Les Femmes du Monde started as a committee for the Dallas Council of World Affairs. Once Les Femmes became its own nonprofit, Children's Medical Center became the second beneficiary. With 51 years in service, Les Femmes continues to support children through education.
While guests — Lynn and Allan McBee, Susan Rogers, Kyra Barnett, Kristin Johnson, Jennifer Roady, Amanda Ammons, Electra Harelson, Judy Pollock, Jim Falk, Teann Nash, Dr. Joanne Stroud, Stephen Stephanou, and Brenda and Nelson Spencer — indulged in decadent chocolate cake, Thomas modestly took the stage.
The video didn't run due to technical difficulties, but Thomas still conveyed a powerful message about building a city. "Everything in a city must be motivated by love," she said. And three components are required to create a healthy city: educating with art, rather than just economics; urban design; and nature, with trees and water.
Thomas shared her experience in supporting the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge and said that it "shows the world that our city wants to come together — black, white, drunk, sober." (That last bit was commentary about the grand opening party.) "Dallas has been too pure — and now it's an exciting time," she said.
Thomas' newest projects include the Trinity River Corridor Project (reclaiming 10,000 acres of land with trails and a lake running through it), the renovation of the Continental Bridge and the Calatrava-designed Margaret McDermott Bridge.