In its sixth year, NorthPark Center’s Ambassador program boldly merges all things fashion, art and philanthropy. The assembly of Ambassadors ― an idea generated in tandem by Nancy A. Nasher and Kimberly Schlegel Whitman ― shines a spotlight on Dallas’ top influencers and the causes most significant and important to them.
Chosen specifically for their philanthropic endeavors, each year-long ambassadorship offers the opportunity to partner with NorthPark Center and its retailers for a variety of events and initiatives to benefit their respective charitable organizations. From a not-to-miss fashion show to a magical holiday season, NorthPark provides a platform to get the mission of these organizations out there and ignite significant impact all year long.
Andrea Cheek is a NorthPark Ambassador this year and is one of the Co-Chairs of Dallas’ signature event: Cattle Baron’s Ball. To date, Cattle Baron’s Ball has given over $92 million dollars to cancer research, as well as funded many grants that have resulted in life-saving screenings, tests, and treatments. In honor of its 50th year, NorthPark Center will be presenting a special exhibition on view from September 14th through October 9th. The exhibition will feature special outfits and accessories from the stylish chairs throughout the years.
We caught up with Andrea Cheek to learn more about how she’s partnering with NorthPark Center and the upcoming 50th-year moment for Cattle Baron’s Ball, which takes place on October 14th this year.
Why did you choose your featured charity/nonprofit organization?
I have been involved with Cattle Baron’s Ball (CBB) for seven years and am honored to serve as a co-chair for its 50th anniversary this fall. Unfortunately, like many others, cancer has deeply affected my family and friends and I have lost many loved ones. I volunteer with CBB so I can see a cure for cancer in my lifetime. Cattle Baron’s Ball Dallas is the number one single-night fundraiser for American Cancer Society in the world. In our 50-year history, we have raised more than $92 million for cancer research, the majority held right here in North Texas. Cattle Baron’s Ball is celebrating its 50th Cattle Baron’s Ball this fall and American Cancer Society is also celebrating its 50th Nobel Prize for cancer research.
Tell us about a specific memory from time spent working with or for the nonprofit of your choice.
Many of my fondest memories with CBB are based around working with our committee of 100-women – 100 of the hardest working women you will find in Dallas! Our members are raising money all year long, finding auction items, putting together donor events, and setting up for the Ball all-week leading up to the main event. I have met life-long friends and often in moments where you’re unloading 3,500 chairs, stuffing favor bags and cleaning up the day afterwards – the roll-up your sleeves and get things done moments.
What was it for you that first instilled the value of giving back to your community?
I grew up in a small town and my dad passed away when I was a little girl. Even though my mom was the sole parent and working full-time, she always managed to volunteer and give back to our community. She was the PTA President and Troop Leader for Girl and Boy Scouts. She would bake dozens of cookies for bake sales and volunteer for the jobs that no one else would do. It was instilled in me from an early age that you should always give back to your community no matter how much or little you have, no matter how big or small the job is.
Who have been your strongest role models?
My mom has been my strongest role model my entire life, teaching me to be a strong woman no matter what you endure, the importance of giving back to others, and how to juggle it all. Being in Dallas almost fifteen years, I’ve had the honor of volunteering with many amazing women that are now role models and mentors for me. I had the honor of co-chairing the Junior League of Dallas Centennial with Margo Goodwin and Margo has become a mentor and dear friend, showing me the importance of truly dedicating yourself to a volunteer role and thinking outside of the box, always with grace and while staying humble.
NorthPark Center is at the center of combining art and fashion. Can you describe your own personal art and fashion interests?
Growing up, my mom taught fashion merchandising at our local university and we always had fashion magazines and books around our house. As a teenager I was able to tag along to her students’ annual field trips to New York and visit fashion houses. I have always had a deep love for both fashion and art and appreciate the skill and creativity that goes into it. Being from a smaller town, I truly believe that fashion and art inspired my own creativity, imagination and to dream big!
What do you do to unwind?
I wish I had something fabulous to put here but truly I like to unwind on the weekends by slowing down and going to the park with my small children. A stop for Mexican food is usually involved too. Other times it’s just putting my phone away and catching up on television shows.
Fondest memory spent at NorthPark Center?
NorthPark has truly been a big part of my Dallas life at every stage. When I first moved here, my girlfriends and I would spend a lot of time at NorthPark on the weekend to window shop and have lunch. The Mermaid Bar is still one of our favorites. After I met my now husband and before kids, we were at the movies almost every weekend at NorthPark. Now as a mom, NorthPark is a regular for us, especially during the winter. Are you even a Dallas kid if you don’t slide down the slopes and see the NorthPark turtles and ducks? We also love Christmas at NorthPark, seeing Santa, visiting The Trains at NorthPark and all of the wonderful story times. I could go on and on about my favorite memories and how much time we spend here…
Upcoming events that you are looking forward to?
I am very excited about the 50th anniversary of Cattle Baron’s Ball this fall. There are several events leading up to the main event, including a golf tournament. With it being a major anniversary, it will be an honor to recognize and share stories from our many donors, members, and past Ball chairs that over our 50-year history made Cattle Baron’s Ball what it is today.
Words of advice you would give to your younger self?
Work hard and be kind to everyone. It always pays off even if it doesn’t feel like it in the moment. I tell my kids daily before school, “work hard and be kind.” I truly believe it.