The Texas Women’s Foundation (TXWF) announced the women leaders who will grace the stage at their 36th Annual Luncheon being held on September 30. Angie Thomas and Cleo Wade, best-selling authors, will discuss the overarching message of, “My Voice. My Story. Every Woman’s Power to Build Compassion and Community.”
The speakers are sponsored by Target and the Suzanne Ahn, M.D. Speaker Endowment Fund at the TXWF. Co-chairs Lindsay Billingsley and Debra Hunter Johnson, both of whom are philanthropists and women leaders in both their personal and professional lives, are hosting this renowned TXWF fundraiser.
Women Leaders Who are Listening to the Women of Texas
This annual event is TXWF’s main fundraiser aiming to “advance women’s economic security, leadership, education, health and safety in Texas through research, advocacy, programs, and grantmaking.” Texas holds a specific context for women, specifically millennial, working, women of color.
According to the TXWF Luncheon site, 59% of Texan women are women of color and 2.3 million women are living below the poverty level. Hearing the stories of these women, spoken from their mouths and written with their words, parallels with TXWF’s overall mission of finding women where they are and advocating for progress alongside them.
The Trailblazing Keynote Speakers
Keynote speaker Angie Thomas, a Jackson, Mississippi native, began sharing her story as a teen rapper. After expressing herself through music and the spoken word, she decided to shift slightly, receiving her BFA in creative writing at Belhaven University. In 2017, she released her now award-winning novel, The Hate U Give, which quickly and rightfully found itself on the New York Times best-seller list. This much-needed novel tackles and highlights racial profiling, gun violence, and what it’s like to a young black person in the U.S.
Over the past few years, Thomas has released Find Your Voice: A Guided Journal to Writing Your Truth, On the Come Up, and a prequel to her original novel, Concrete Rose, all of which provide a vital insight into racial injustice in today’s world.
Keynote speaker Cleo Wade is a world-renowned poet uniquely expressing herself as both an author and community advocate. Her books include Heart Talk: Poetic Wisdom for a Better Life, Where to Begin: A Small Book About Your Power to Create Big Change, Heart Talk: The Journal: 52 Weeks to Self-Love, Self-Care, and Self-Discovery, and a children’s book entitled What the Road Said. All of her books provide inspiration for women and girls to find their own voices and use them for self-advocacy and necessary sociocultural progress.
Acclaimed by Times Magazine as the poet of her generation, Wade didn’t stop there. As a board member of The Lower East Side Girls Club, the National Black Theatre in Harlem, and the Women’s Prison Association she advocates for women and girls throughout many facets of life.
The Supporting Women: The Pioneering Co-Chairs
Lindsay Billingsley, Founder of LAB Strategies and co-chair of the TXWF Luncheon, is a leader in fundraising, donor engagement, and strategic growth for charities and organizations throughout Texas and across the country. As the recipient of the Dallas Business Journal’s “Heavy Hitter” award, amongst many other recognitions, Billingsley’s career has spanned immense advancements for women in the areas of philanthropy, real estate, and political advocacy.
Debra Hunter Johnson, Founder of Reciprocity Consulting Group, LLC and co-chair of the TXWF Luncheon, has a wide-spanning engagement as “a speaker, consultant, investor and community volunteer with rich experience navigating entrepreneurial, large-corporate and nonprofit settings.” As a trailblazer for youth, specifically women and girls of color, Hunter Johnson tackles inequities in economic mobility, workplace settings, and healthcare.
Other notable women philanthropists and leaders in their own right involved in the luncheon include TXWF board chair-elect and Jones Day Dallas partner-in-charge, Hilda Galvan, and Target’s Executive VP and Chief External Engagement Officer, Laysha Ward. The luncheon tickets are being sold for $36 apiece and anyone who’d like to sponsor the event are welcome to contact Ashley K. Lindsay at either firstname.lastname@example.org or 214.525.5311.