The Dallas Women’s Foundation Leadership Forum and Awards Dinner brought new meaning to the phrase “girl power.” More than 500 leading ladies, from entrepreneurs to executives, filled Omni Dallas ballroom for the annual fundraising ceremony.
To start, DWF president and CEO Roslyn Dawson Thompson presented the organization’s new logo, which represents the ripple effect that occurs when people invest in women. It not only benefits individuals and families, but also the community at large.
After a warm welcome from event co-chairs Cathy Coughlin and Maribess Miller, honorees Clare Buie Chaney, Beverly Tobian and Melendy Lovett received Maura Awards for their dedication to helping women and girls in North Texas.
Then Veronica Torres, experience director of the Dallas Convention and Visitors Bureau, was presented with the Young Leader Award. In addition to her day job, Torres established Healthy Latinas, which encourages women to exercise and eat healthfully, and she started the first Hispanic Young professionals group through the Greater Dallas Chamber of Commerce.
As guests — including Brenda Jackson, Vivian Castleberry, Diana Dutton, Sandra Lewis, Christina Goodman, Angela Ross, Anne Beard, Kristy Cooley and Anna Sterling — finished up their meal, they continued to network with tablemates until keynote speaker Linda Alvarado, CEO of Alvarado Construction Inc. and owner of the Colorado Rockies baseball team, took the stage.
Alvarado spoke about growing up in a house full of boys and the challenges she faced working in man’s world. “I didn’t look the part,” Alvarado said. “I was a woman.” But she never let her sex or her Hispanic heritage stop her from pursuing her dreams.
Alvarado also shared an interesting story about speaking at a women’s leadership event for Goldman Sachs, where the women were interested in the designers and labels she admired. Alvarado replied that she misunderstood the word “runway” to mean airplane runways.
As the room erupted in laughter, Alvarado continued to impress upon everyone their ability to make an impact on the world. She also pointed out that stay-at-home mothers are equally as important as working women — but that staying at home with her children simply wasn’t her plan.
After feeling inspired to make a difference, Ashlee Kleinert, chair of the DWF board of directors, recognized all the former Maura Award recipients. Honorary chair Maura McNeil — the namesake of the awards — proudly looked around at the few dozen women who stood up in the crowd.