spring fundraiser

Former first lady cheers on women in workplace at empowering Dallas gala

Former first lady cheers on women in workplace at Dallas gala

Laura Bush
Laura Bush was the keynote speaker. Photo by Grant Miller
Charity Wallace and Laura Bush
Charity Wallace interviews Laura Bush on stage. Photo by Grant Miller
Lisa Cooley & Tracy Lange
Lisa Cooley, Tracy Lange Photo by Deborah Brown
Diane Paddison, Alva Adams, Charity Wallace
Diane Paddison, Alva Adams, Charity Wallace Photo by Deborah Brown
Heidi & Reid Rassmussen
Heidi Rassmussen, Reid Rassmussen Photo by Deborah Brown
Majors Jon & Barbara Rich
Majors Jon and Barbara Rich Photo by Deborah Brown
Karla and Rafe Baldelli
Karla Baldelli, Rafe Baldelli Photo by Deborah Brown
Amurag & Emma Sharma
Amurag Sharma, Emma Sharma Photo by Deborah Brown
Brown, Jason-Marleigh Merrell-Cyndi Brown
Jason Brown, Marleigh Merrell, Cyndi Brown Photo by Deborah Brown
Sharin & Jim Herrin
Sharin Herrin, Jim Herrin Photo by Deborah Brown
Laura Bush
Charity Wallace and Laura Bush
Lisa Cooley & Tracy Lange
Diane Paddison, Alva Adams, Charity Wallace
Heidi & Reid Rassmussen
Majors Jon & Barbara Rich
Karla and Rafe Baldelli
Amurag & Emma Sharma
Brown, Jason-Marleigh Merrell-Cyndi Brown
Sharin & Jim Herrin

What: Fifth annual 4word Gala

Where: Renaissance Dallas Hotel

The 411: Former First Lady Laura W. Bush took the stage as the keynote speaker for the 2020 4word Gala, one of the last big spring fundraisers to take place before dozens were forced to cancel due to COVID-19.

More than 500 attendees, many from across the nation, gathered to support women in the workplace around the world. The evening started with a reception in the foyer featuring classical musical quartet Serenata Strings. Guests had the opportunity to bid on hundreds of auction items, before emcee Karla Baldelli started the program.

Event chair Charity Wallace interviewed Bush on stage — a perfect fit as Wallace has worked with the former first lady for many years, including as the deputy chief of protocol of the United States at the White House.

Bush provided a brief family update and shared stories from her time in the White House. She also discussed her current work as the chair of the Woman’s Initiative at the George W. Bush Institute. The program is working to improve the lives of women and children around the world by equipping women from the Middle East, North Africa, and Afghanistan with the skills to become more effective leaders.

Remarks by 4word founder and executive director Diane Paddison were followed by a performance of the Potter’s House Mass Choir and live auction.

At the end of the night, the gala raised more than $490,000. Proceeds benefit 4word, a community that empowers and inspires women in the workplace through personal connection and mentoring.

The 4word mentoring program has paired 500 women as mentors and mentees. The deadline for applications for the summer mentoring program is May 3. Details are available on the organization's website.

Who: Honorary chair Alva AdamsBernice Washington, who gave the invocation, Lisa Cooley, Tracy Lange, Heidi Rasmussen, Reid RasmussenMajors Jon and Barbara RichAmurag Sharma, Emma Sharma, Rafe BaldelliJason Brown, Marleigh Merrell, Cyndi Brown, Sharin HerrinJim Herrin, and many more.