KidneyTexas Celebrates 21 Years Of The Runway Report

By Cynthia Smoot       Photography by Dana Driensky, Daniel Driensky, Danny Campbell, Sharon Adams, Maurice Ballew



THE SETTING: Sandy Secor, the president of KidneyTexas, Inc., event chair Sharon Ballew, and honorary chair Jolie Humphrey, shouldered the responsibility to take this year’s event virtual, and their gamble paid off with the latest incarnation of The Runway Report. The video opened with a nod to the meaning of the theme Our Sole Mission: Transformations that featured butterflies, having transformed from caterpillars, fluttering away, symbolizing a fresh perspective on life. Scott Murray kept the energy alive as the program’s emcee.


The event’s honorees and award-winners, included Lorraine Meenan, Mary Miller, and Richard Dickerman, M.D.  Also recognized were Barbara Bigham, Patricia Cowlishaw, Emilynn Wilson, Patty Jo Turner, Carole Murray, Patty Caolo, and Nancy Carter.


THE STYLE: The entire event was virtual and streamed to all ticket holders, underwriters, and sponsors. Table hosts at certain levels had champagne, a floral table centerpiece, and lunch provided by Preston Hollow Catering delivered to their home or business for their guests. Teams of society photographers dropped by many host’s homes and captured photos of the fun, virtual event.


The PURPOSE: Funds raised at the KidneyTexas event will provide funding to improve methods of treatment, the search for a cure and prevention of kidney disease, and other kindred or contributory diseases, as well as develop adequate provisions for the care of persons suffering from such conditions.


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The Power of Prevention Shares Inspiring Stories

By Cynthia Smoot         Photography by Thomas Garza



THE SETTING: K&L Gates presented the Power of Prevention, an in-person program featuring former LPGA golfer, Laura Baugh, that benefited the Recovery Resource Council. The enthusiastic supporters gathered at the Hyatt Regency to hear Baugh share her experiences as a young mother touring with the LPGA, her struggles with fame and alcoholism, and her recovery journey to today’s 24-years of sobriety.


THE  STYLE: This was one of the very first in-person events to be held since the pandemic shut down the social scene earlier this year. From temperature-taking to hand sanitizing stations, every precaution was taken to ensure the safety of guests, including theater-style seating to allow attendees to socially distance. Tilda and Ty Beasley, the event chairs, welcomed the event’s attendees and shared the reasons for their leadership. Michael Molthan, host of M2 the Rock, was the program’s emcee. Robin Bagwell and Lauren Gillette issued a challenge for donations.


THE PURPOSE: The Power of Prevention event supports the services the Recovery Resource Council provides to North Texans who struggle to afford and access high-quality mental healthcare, including outpatient and referral services for addiction and substance abuse disorders, counseling for veterans and their families, housing and basic needs assistance for the homeless, and prevention education for at-risk children and youth.


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Star-Studded UNICEF Gala Dallas Dazzles To Set Fundraising Record Of $1.5 Million

By Jake Gaines     Photography by Rick Kern/Getty Images

THE SETTING: Pre-COVID-19, the Ritz Carlton Hotel in Dallas hosted the annual UNICEF Gala Dallas, where 430 guests were on hand for an evening of fun and, more importantly, fundraising for a very worthy cause. The evening featured VIPs from around the world, including former UNICEF President & CEO Caryl Stern, who is now the executive director of the Walton Family Foundation 

The night’s honorees were former Dallas Maverick champ and UNICEF Germany Ambassador Dirk Nowitzki, along with his wife, Jessica Nowitzki, founders of the Dirk Nowitzki Foundation. They have partnered with UNICEF to create and fund a new mental health training module to better evaluate and treat children in trauma cases, and have developed a monthly mentorship program for families, as well. Former Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings presented the Spirit of Compassion Award to the Nowitzkis.

THE STYLE: UNICEF’s adage, For Every Child, was on full throttle during the evening. The festivities began with a cocktail hour where jet setters in for the event mixed with locals to engage in lively conversation before the action began in the ballroom with the main program. After guests dined on a multi-course meal and listened to moving speeches, and a performance by the Texas Boys Choir, followed by a live auction that was full of fantastical items, went underway. The event was capped off by a performance from the band, King Calloway, whose show brought the crowd to their feet. Then, DJ Lucy Wrubel spun for the party-focused crowd. 

THE PURPOSE: The event, co-chaired by Moll Anderson and Jan Miller Rich, with Nancy C. Rogers serving as the honorary co-chair, raised a record-breaking $1.5 million for UNICEF. Advocating for the rights of children around the world to ensure their basic needs are met as well as expanding opportunities so they can reach their full potential is UNICEF’s primary mission.

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Mad Hatter’s Tea Celebrates 32 years Of Fundraising For The Dallas Arboretum

By Cynthia Smoot          Photography by Dana Drienski

THE SETTING: Before COVID-19, MIcah Gilbert, owner of Empressive Earth Gallery, along with his mother, Empress Gilbert, opened the gallery’s stunning showroom to host the Mad Hatter’s Tea’s The Art of Chic Judges and Hat Categories Reveal Party. The Women’s Council President, Venise Stuart, and Patti Flowers, the Mad Hatter’s Tea chair, welcomed guests as everyone wandered through the lavish gallery, which showcased fabulous minerals, fossils and corals.

THE STYLE: Celebrating its 32nd  year, the organization’s main event was canceled due to the COVID- 19 virus shelter-in-place order. It has been an ongoing fundraising affair sponsored by the Women’s Council of the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden. The Mad Hatter categories are: The Art of the Garden: Botanical Beauty; The Art of Music: Sounds of the Season; The Art of Dance: Magical Movement; The Art of Fashion: Fabulously Fashionable; The Art of Chivalry: The Most Elegant of Gentlemen; The Chic Chapeau: Simply Chic: The Marilyn Hailey Award. It’s always a fan favorite and this occasion evoked the spirit of the annual garden party.

THE PURPOSE: The event was chaired by Regina Bruce and Joni Krieg, and Robin Carreker served as the honorary chair. As in the past, Tootsies continued their sponsorship of the Mad Hatter’s Tea fashion show that is produced by the Jan Strimple. The funds that were raised grow and maintain A Woman’s Garden, a nationally acclaimed garden at the Dallas Arboretum. In the spirit of the Mad Hatter’s Tea and to support A Woman’s Garden, a flashback was created, including photos and a video.

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Fashion Group International Dallas Toasts Rising Style Stars

By Cynthia Smoot         Photography by Danny Campbell

THE SETTING:  Fashion Group International of Dallas (FGI Dallas) celebrated its annual Rising Stars gala at the mid-century icon, Statler Dallas Hotel. This year’s event honored the fashion makers in Texas who are achieving notoriety in their region…and beyond. The evening of glamour and excitement praised the community’s individuals and business leaders for their contributions within fashion and its related industries.


The honorees of the evening included Lela Orr of FERRAH (fashion), Barbara Kaiser Harvel and Stephanie Harvel of Kaiser Atelier (accessories), Matt Alexander, proprietor of Neighborhood Goods (retail), Marsi Hubbard of Brite Bar Beauty (beauty), Lea Fisher (art and design), and Samantha Stewart of Style of Sam  (fashion blogging).


THE STYLE:  The evening, emceed by Courtney Kerr, began with many of Dallas’ most fashionable as they mixed and mingled over cocktails and light bites. Guests also had the opportunity to support the nominees at specially created pop-up shops and enjoyed a beauty activation sponsored by Toni & Guy. During the ceremony, guests enjoyed runway shows featuring fashions from the 2020 Rising Star’s fashion nominees, produced by Jan Strimple Productions. It was the place to be to celebrate and admire the state’s thriving fashion scene.


THE PURPOSE:  Fashion Group International, Inc. provides a high-profile forum to promote the fashion business by hosting events that educate and facilitate the exchange of ideas by giving back to the community.


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2020 Dallas Go Red For Women Luncheon Raises Funds To Fight Heart Disease And Stroke

By Cynthia Smoot         Photography by James Edward, Sheryl Lanzel and Scogin Mayo

THE SETTING:  The Omni Hotel in Dallas was recently filled with a ballroom of philanthropically-minded women and men who wanted to make a difference in support of  one of their favorite causes, the American Heart Association’s Go Red For Women. They gathered to unite in the fight against heart disease and stroke at the annual event benefitting the American Heart Association, the world’s leading nonprofit organization focused on heart and brain health for all.


THE STYLE:  More than a thousand area business leaders, philanthropists, and survivors donned red to help raise vital awareness and funds for research and education programs to fight cardiovascular disease, the leading cause of death in women. This year’s luncheon featured Dr. Suzanne Steinbaum as the keynote speaker who has devoted her career to the treatment of heart disease through early detection, education, and prevention. Tim Wallace, the women of Trinity Industries, and Arcosa Inc. were recognized as the Sandi Haddock Community Impact Honorees for the historical impact they have made on the organization’s lifesaving mission. In fact, for more than 11 years, Trinity Industries, led by the leadership of Wallace, has raised nearly $7.5 million for the Association..


THE PURPOSE:  The event successfully raised $1.8 million and counting. The luncheon, chaired by Judy Hendrick, was nationally sponsored by CVS Health and locally  by Texas Health Resources, Aimbridge Hospitality, Alpha Phi International Women’s Fraternity, and Republic National Distributing Company. The American Heart Association is a relentless force for a world of longer, healthier lives. They are dedicated to ensuring equitable health in all communities. Through collaboration with numerous organizations, and powered by millions of volunteers, they fund innovative research, advocate for the public’s health and share lifesaving resources. The Dallas-based organization has been a leading source of health information for nearly a century.


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