Message from Michelle Thomas
2021-2022 Women of Tocqueville Chair
Women of Tocqueville All-Stars:
I cannot believe how fast these last two years have come and gone. It seems like just yesterday I was answering the call to be the Chair-Elect not knowing what value I could bring to this galaxy of high achieving, gifted and selfless women who never back down from a challenge. To this end, following “a year like no other” and in the brilliant light of 466 diverse, engaged, and impactful change-makers, my time as the 2021-2022 Women of Tocqueville Chair has come to its finale. I’m so pleased to report that this UWMD campaign year has been another spectacular year for our Mighty, Mighty Women of Tocqueville (WOT). We accomplished extraordinary feats because you continue to show up with passion and compassion to shine brightly for the benefit of our North Texas communities. It has been my honor, privilege, and joy to work alongside each and every one of you amazing super-stars. My gratitude to you for connecting to make a dazzling constellation for good!
“Shine your light and make a positive impact on the world; there is nothing so honorable as helping improve the lives of others.”
– Roy T. Bennett
In partnership with the incredible United Way of Metropolitan Dallas professionals, led by Susan Hutcheson and Deborah Arango, the 17 dedicated WOT Steering Committee members charted a challenging course for the year with our intentions focused on reaching for the stars by giving, advocating and volunteering in meaningful ways. I’m happy to report that we achieved everything we set out to and more! Through your outreach efforts such as alumni events, workplace campaigns, and connections functions at Tory Burch and Lela Rose, we added 54 new WOT members to our ranks.
Together, we aligned 13 WOT activities with our North Star – the UWMD Aspire United 2030 goals – to foster those building blocks of opportunity – Education, Income, and Health – through impactful and innovative solutions. We unleashed our members to cultivate and broaden our outreach to the diverse ethnic, industry and community sectors around us. WOT members were deeply engaged in both the hallmark and new initiatives – dedicating over 726 volunteer hours to connect, mentor, advise and advocate during a time of primarily virtual events. Your engagement and impact were evident in our key events like Most Generous Next Generation, which highlighted the investment in the Southern Dallas sector, sponsored by PwC and Vistra Corp., Reading Day presented by EY, and Bench & Bar sponsored by FTI Consulting, as well as our newer programs like State of the Regional Economy sponsored by Bank of Texas, WiNGS Baby Shower, Agape Resource & Assistance Center day of painting, and Summer Snacks Kit assembly.
Recognizing that our own well-being is imperative as we serve others, we started the Steering Committee retreat at My Possibilities with a time of meditation and self-reflection and then opened each Steering Committee meeting with a reflective and inspirational quote. That introspection and social awareness continued as we participated in the Dallas Children Theater’s Social Justice Initiative and introduced our Steering Committee to DINE! an initiative to discover differences by including one another to navigate new perspectives.
The extraordinary significance of over $4.6M in gifts, which supported over 118 community partners. I’m especially pleased with the WOT Fund for Women and Children that has raised more than $16M and made its first disbursement to provide targeted financial and skill-based investments for women entrepreneurs in partnership with LiftFund and Comerica.
I know that I speak for all of us in saluting and extending my/our sincerest gratitude to the Women of Tocqueville Steering Committee. I am especially proud to hand over the Chair reins to one of the brightest lights with a generous spirit and the most giving heart, Mandy Austin, Dallas Market President of the Bank of Texas, who has been by my side as Chair-Elect throughout the year. Mandy is a brilliant business and community leader with a passion for our North Texas neighbors. She will continue to be an incredible force for good as the 2022-2023 Chair!
As I close, let me reiterate my heartfelt appreciation to each of you, our brave All-Star luminaries, for not only seeing the light, but being the light. Thanks for taking care of yourselves and each other. I can’t wait to see how we will continue to learn, grow, empathize, and connect with the communities that we serve. Your work this year is exemplary of our theme WOT a mighty constellation…when all stars align!
Be well, do good, choose joy!
Michelle A. Thomas
This article was published on: Jul 15, 2022