Society / Featured Parties

NorthPark Ambassadors Dinner Brings Dallas’ Most Influential Philanthropists to The Mansion

11-Year-Old Orator Extraordinaire is the Highlight of the Evening

BY // 01.28.20
photography WJNPHOTO

A cool winter night, an 11-year-old orator extraordinaire, fashionable philanthropists, a basketball legend’s wife, a gorgeously set table in a dim candlelit room, and a mariachi band. What am I describing? Well, it was the annual NorthPark Ambassadors dinner held at the Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek.

Meredith Land, one of this year’s Ambassadors, made quite the entrance with her husband, Xan Moore, as she had just wrapped up her anchor shift on NBC5 and thrown on a striped dress from a Tory Burch limited collection. When describing her current schedule as a television personality, mother and tireless volunteer, it’s exhausting to me and inspiring that she always looks like the chic girl-on-the-go.

Kimberly Schlegel Whitman, Jessica Nowitzki (Photo by WJN Photo)
Kimberly Schlegel Whitman, Jessica Nowitzki (Photo by WJN Photo)

Kimberly Schlegel Whitman, NorthPark Center’s fashion and lifestyle expert who also leads its Ambassador initiative, looked transported from a different era in a vintage Saloni burgundy velvet gown as she greeted the group after the first course was served. She shared why this program is so important as the Ambassadors all have the opportunity to bring attention to the charities for which they feel passionate.

The most poignant and profound moment of the night occurred when 11-year-old Colin Harris, a fifth-grader at JP Starks, came to the microphone. Harris, who was diagnosed with Autism in 2012, is the recent winner of the 28th annual Foley and Lardner MLK, Jr. Oratory Competition. The competition asked for students to answer: “What would Dr. King’s vision be for America in 2020?”

Colin Harris speaking at the podium about Dr. King’s vision for America in 2020. (Photo by WJN Photo)
Colin Harris speaking at the podium about Dr. King’s vision for America in 2020. (Photo by WJN Photo)

Everyone at the dinner table held to his every word and was moved when he said, “The only way for evil to exist is for good men to remain silent.” This young man seemed so poised and eloquent at the podium that I, like many in the room, are hopeful he might one day have a career in politics.

A couple that is always the most dapper in a room, Alvise Orsini and Geoffroy van Raemdonck, were recently back from holidays spent on the other side of the pond. The two are the only Ambassador couple in this year’s mix and were beaming as musicians of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra and the young musicians’ program performed “Autumn” from Vivaldi’s “Four Seasons.”

For those who don’t know this handsome couple, van Raemdonck has been the Chief Executive Officer of Neiman Marcus since 2018 and Orsini is the founder of Orsini Design, a full-service interior and commercial architecture and design firm based in New York, London, and now Dallas. They live in Lakewood with their twin boys and are passionate about the performing arts.

Geoffroy Van Raemdonck, Tucker Enthoven (Photo by WJN Photo)
Geoffroy Van Raemdonck, Tucker Enthoven (Photo by WJN Photo)

Others seen exiting the beautiful evening as Mariachi Rosas Divinas, the first and only all-female mariachi group in the DFW Metroplex and one of just a few in the United States, played included Sarah Haemisegger, Jessica Nowitzki (that basketball legend’s wife I mentioned earlier), Jenny Kirtland, Charles English, Jamie and Melbourne O’BanionStephen Crawford, Lynn McBeeTucker Enthoven, Heather RandallDavid Drake, and Diana and Steve Hamilton.

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