Genesis Women’s Shelter & Support hosted its 26th Genesis Annual Luncheon on Friday, May 10, 2019, at the Hilton Anatole. Actor, athlete and activist Terry Crews headlined as keynote speaker and reminded more than 1,300 people that “the most dangerous place in the world for a woman should not be in her own home.”
Robyn and Don Conlon served as the 2019 Luncheon Chairs, continuing the longtime support of Robyn’s father, the late Gil Thomas – a founding board member of Genesis – in leading the way toward ending domestic violence. The Conlon’s sons Kevin, Keith and Casey, along with their spouses Marybeth, Megan and Lizzie, assisted as Luncheon Co-Chairs, facilitating in planning Genesis Women’s Shelter’s primary fundraising event that provides safety, shelter and support for more than 3,700 women and children each year who have experienced abuse.
As attendees stepped into the ballroom, they were washed over with watercolor hues of peach, coral and sunny yellow. Tables were set with fresh watermelon, arugula, feta and chili flake salads. Pan-seared chicken with a charred tomato cream sauce served as the main entrée, accompanied by haricot verts and roasted marble potatoes. Thanks to beauty sponsor Mary Kay and candle sponsor Xela Aroma, sunset-colored tissue paper peeked out of gift bags filled with a makeup clutch purse and a scented candle for every guest.
Jan Langbein, CEO of Genesis, recognized the 2019 Jane Doe Award recipient Cynt Marshall for her extraordinary commitment to standing alongside women and their children throughout their journeys to abuse-free lives, and for leading the charge for a cultural transformation as the Dallas Mavericks seek to set the NBA standard for inclusion and diversity. Cynt joined past recipients including Legal Aid of Northwest Texas, the Junior League of Dallas and The Dallas Morning News. She chronicled a childhood of catastrophic difficulties after growing up with an abusive father. Having since turned her tragedy into triumph, she now uses her voice as a beacon of hope across the NBA, the Dallas Mavericks organization and the North Texas community.
Langbein also celebrated the 2019 HeRO Award recipient. Created to acknowledge men who use their voice and influence to take a public stand against domestic violence, the award was presented to Crayton Webb, owner/CEO of Sunwest Communications. Crayton was the Genesis HeROs board chair from 2012 to 2018, leading the charge for men to get involved and be a part of the solution in the fight against domestic violence. Crayton sets the standard for what it means to be a gentle man by serving as a positive male presence to his family and community, dedicating his time and energy toward the cause and serving as an anchor to the HeROs.
Crayton then took the stage to guide a radical conversation with Terry Crews, who spoke with authenticity and passion about the pervasiveness of domestic violence. Between enduring and witnessing abuse in childhood, confronting the challenges of a toxic masculine culture and overcoming an experience with sexual assault, Crews’ discussion on domestic violence was both genuine and raw. “When I hear a child is being abused, I know that panic and fear,” he said. He reminded attendees that the question should never be why doesn’t she leave? but only why is he hurting her? He emphasized, “If we raise the right questions, we can find out what’s the cause.”
While speaking on how he has broken the cycle of generational violence as a husband and father, he encouraged attendees to have those crucial conversations with their own children about respecting others. “People were never meant to be used,” Crews remarked. “They were only meant to be loved.”
Genesis would like to thank Luncheon Chairs Robyn and Don Conlon; Co-Chairs Marybeth and Kevin Conlon, Megan and Keith Conlon and Lizzie and Casey Conlon; Raffle Chair Amy Hegi; Crystal Sponsors Nancy C. and Richard R. Rogers; Diamond Sponsors Billie & Gillis Thomas Family Foundation and Ashlee and Chris Kleinert; Platinum Sponsors Nancy and Randy Best, Robyn and Don Conlon, Highlands Residential Mortgage, The Men and Women of Hunt Consolidated, Inc. and Nancy Ann and Ray Hunt; and Corporate Naming Sponsors Commercial Metals, WFAA-Channel 8 and Kimberly-Clark Corporation for their incredible support. Genesis hosts the Genesis Annual Luncheon each year because we know that we cannot have safe communities if women and children are not safe in their own homes, and without the financial support of our sponsors, we could not provide help, hope and healing to women and children who have experienced domestic violence.