DFW News

Jewish Family Service Luncheon Featured Stories of Inspiration and Hope and the Importance of “Being Yourself”

By Elizabeth Lenart | Contributor

Susan Kramer, Barbara Spigel, Bonnie Repp, Cathy Barker (CEO, JFS), Sam Utay, Fran Toubin

More than 1,000 guests in bright spring colors and floral attire filled the room at the Fairmont Dallas on April 18 for the Jewish Family Service (JFS) garden party-themed Woman to Woman Luncheon, featuring renowned makeup artist and entrepreneur Bobbi Brown as headliner. 

Board Chair Eric Goldberg kicked off the luncheon with special thanks to the Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas, United Way of Metropolitan Dallas, and the many family and community foundations, corporate and individual donors, and the board and staff.  Cantor Vicky Glikin, Temple Emanu-El, led a powerful invocation emphasizing that the Jewish community is about loving one another “even when we disagree.” 

HONORARY CHAIRS (The Diaper Ladies!): Julie Liberman, Cathy Glick, and Beverly Rossel pictured with Bobbi Brown

Luncheon Co-Chairs Susan Kramer, Bobbie Repp, Barbara Spigel, Fran Toubin, and Sam Utay took the stage, led by Utay, who highlighted their connections to JFS, including utilizing adoption services, serving on the board, accessing resources for an aging loved one, supporting disaster relief efforts, or volunteering in the food pantry. She also recognized those who chaired before including the luncheon’s founding chair, Ethel Zale, and sustaining chair, Linda Garner.

A highlight of Utay’s comments included recognition of the three honorary chairs, Cathy GlickJulie Liberman, and Beverly Rossel, who as founders of the JFS annual Diaper Shower held each October, have helped bring more than 1.5 million diapers and wipes to families in need over the past 13 years.

“These three powerhouses met while volunteering for a JFS event and were inspired by their shared experience to do more,” said Utay. “As mothers themselves, they knew firsthand the importance of having access to enough diapers to keep your child clean, dry, and healthy.”

JFS CEO Cathy Barker took the stage to share the success of JFS’ recently opened Northpoint Health Center, addressing access to healthcare disparities by providing clients with a medical home. 

Zona Pidgeon, Rachel Yaker, Barbara Spigel (luncheon co-chair)

“Already, our chief medical officer, Dr. Heather Esquivel, is hearing stories of patients who haven’t been treated in 10 years because they either didn’t have access to a practice that would take their Medicaid, they couldn’t afford the time off work or have transportation to get to other available options, or they didn’t have any insurance,” added Barker. “The good news is they are now getting the help they need and are already improving.”

She also shared how JFS has integrated their comprehensive behavioral health services with their medical services – a best practice approach to improving overall health outcomes. 

Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins, Council Member Jaynie Schultz 

The program then turned to a tete-a-tetes chat between JFS Senior Director of Philanthropy Leah Guskin and Pam Cohen, who shared her story of mental illness and how JFS’s PLAN program impacted her life. Now a peer support specialist for the program, she shared her inspirational journey. Not only has Cohen worked in a variety of positions, she received her master’s in clinical psychology, and “can now see mental illness from both sides of the couch.” In addition, she is an author of a book, titled Bipolar Depression and Me: From Both Sides of the Couch, part memoir and part guide for those currently struggling with their illnesses.

The audience was then directed to a video about the many services and programs of JFS.

Barker then introduced moderator Cynthia Izaguirre, WFAA anchor, for a conversation with makeup artist, entrepreneur and author, Bobbi Brown. 

Ilana Rossel and Bobbi Brown

“As founder of Bobbi Brown Cosmetics, Bobbi has not only revolutionized the cosmetics industry but has also redefined what it meant to feel confident in one’s own skin,” said Izaguirre. “Since the launch of Bobbi Brown Essentials in 1991, and with the launch of her newest brand, Jones Road Beauty, Bobbi has been on a mission to empower women to embrace their natural beauty. Her philosophy, ‘Women want to look and feel like themselves, only prettier and more confident,’ has resonated with millions around the globe. Her latest campaign, ‘I Am Me,’ which launched today, is a celebration of what she has been preaching for nearly four decades – to know who you are; own it unapologetically and embrace every freckle and fine line.”

A few highlights from Bobbi’s conversation with Cynthia:

–        Bobbi began by saying that she felt like crying. She had met such wonderful people at the luncheon, and it felt like family, “my family.” She continued, “We were taught to care about people and do things for others – even doing something little makes you feel good.”

–        On her new company Jones Road and the “I Am Me”campaign: “It’s about consciously focusing on what you like about yourself, and embracing what makes you unique. It highlights women from all backgrounds, sharing their individual journeys to finding confidence and true happiness in their lives and in their beauty.”

Linda Garner (sustaining luncheon chair), Ethel Zale (founding luncheon chair)

–        On embracing your true self: “It’s about being confident in your skin, in your body and in your shoes so you can be the best version of yourself.”

–        Keys to success: “Do what’s right for you and think about if this is what you want.” 

–        Regarding any regrets in achieving family/career balance: “There’s no such thing as balance. There’s no such thing as perfection.”

–      On her current and future goals: I’m real, and I’m me, and I’m comfortable with who I am, and I don’t try to change that.” “I hope to be doing another business when I’m in my 80s.”

–        One takeaway message for the day – “You’re OK.”

Julie Liberman (honorary co-chair), Bobbie Repp (luncheon co-chair), Cathy Barker (CEO, JFS), Peachy Rudberg

Luncheon attendees included Dawn Aaron, Candy Brown, Wende Burton, Julie Gothard, Dot Haymann, Mary Pat Higgins, Judge Clay Jenkins, Beth Konig, Elaine Pearlman, Peachy Rudberg, Lisa Sadoughi, Jaynie Schultz, Lisa Sherrod, and Donald Zale.

The biennial Woman to Woman luncheon is the largest source of unrestricted funds for JFS, raising over $5 million since its inception in 2004. Visit Jfsdallas.org.

Jewish Family Service of Greater Dallas is a nonprofit organization providing comprehensive health services that address physical, emotional, nutritional, and financial well-being. Their mission is to provide effective and accessible whole-person care that promotes lifelong self-sufficiency and well-being for the Greater Dallas community. JFS Dallas offers programs to the community such as primary medical care, individual age-appropriate counseling and group support, career and financial coaching, a food pantry, support for older adults, and a Clubhouse for adults with mental illness. Since 1950, they have served anyone, regardless of age, race, religion, or ability to pay. The agency’s services impacted over 16,500 lives last year. Jfsdallas.org

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