In its fourth year, NorthPark Center’s Ambassador program boldly merges the worlds of fashion, art and philanthropy. The Ambassadors ― a masterful idea brought to life by Nancy A. Nasher and Kimberly Schlegel Whitman ― shines the spotlight on Dallas’ top influencers and the nonprofits they support.
Hand-selected for their philanthropic contributions, each year-long ambassadorship offers the opportunity to partner with NorthPark Center and its retailers for various events and initiatives to benefit their respective charitable organization. This year’s Ambassadors possess and unswerving commitment to the community, and are unshakably tethered to fashion, art and stylish philanthropy.
Today, we catch up with Jamie O’Banion, a woman as breathtaking as her brand. O’Banion is the Founder and CEO of BeautyBio. Her formula-honest and results driven line of beauty products are highly sought after, including a patented GloPro tool that brings microneedling treatments home for skincare obsessives.
But running her successful business is not the only thing on O’Banion’s mind. Children’s Cancer Fund and Children’s Health champions kids in their fight against cancer. For more than a century, Children’s Cancer Fund and Children’s Health has been on a mission to make life better for children, through high quality patient care, advocacy, education and preventative care.
Why are you passionate about this charitable organization?
O’Banion: Growing up with my oldest brother having special needs, I have always had a soft spot for any pediatric-focused organization. After experiencing chemo treatments with both my mother-in-law and one of my best friends, Children’s Cancer Fund struck a chord with their impactful work with pediatric oncology patients.
They directly fund the Child Life Center at Children’s Hospital. It is one place where these children can feel normal, and forget the physical and emotional battle they fight each day. I’m grateful to be part of an organization that has such a direct impact on the lives of these children and their families.
With social distancing, how are you staying engaged with your friends and community?
I’m incredibly thankful for social media, FaceTime, and Zoom during this time. I think it’s truly helped the world to stay connected and unified in solidarity during this life-changing year for all of us. Personally, I’m hooked into all my devices to stay connected: laptop for work, and cell phone for family — and TikTok.
For my brand, BeautyBio, these connections are especially important, because we have lost some of that ability to interact with customers in person, we have ramped up our social presence, through emails, virtual trainings, and masterclasses. This time is challenging us to pivot and think of ways we can still deliver that personal service to our customers in a totally virtual way, and my team is going above and beyond every day.
NorthPark is at the center of both fashion and art. Describe your own fashion and art interests:
Like any true fashion lover, my closet is color-coded, organized and highly visually efficient ― allowing me to instantly pair ensembles together, whether it’s a trip with snow, sand or cityscapes.
I think fashion and art go hand in hand, and to me, fashion is absolutely art. I’m very particular about the art in my office and home. I also love supporting my friends who own their own design and fashion businesses, those pieces are priceless, and mean so much to me.
What little luxuries, hobbies or rituals are keeping you sane these days?
Any time I can spend with my family ― whether it’s taking a break to go on a family walk, or planning weekend getaways, to safely vetted locations where we can hike or swim in the ocean has been massively important to all of us.
We’ve also been scheduling lots of FaceTime calls with the grandparents. I haven’t seen my folks up close since March, which has been a complete 360-degree shift from how often we used to see them. So, we’ll do drive-bys or FaceTimes to give them virtual hugs and catch up. Also, my skincare routine has always been extremely calming for me, and I still get ready for the day in the traditional sense. I get fully dressed and pull myself together each day ― to feel empowered, confident and ready to work.
Describe your ideal day:
Right now? My ideal day is waking up my kids and enjoying breakfast with them before jumping on morning Zoom calls. Taking mini breaks between meetings to help the kids with their arts and crafts (we probably single-handedly keep Michael’s in business); wrapping up my day before 7 pm so that my family can enjoy mealtime together, un-rushed. Then, watching a movie as a family or having dance-offs outside with a small fire going and s’mores. We end the day with a family prayer and scripture verse. Then, I usually hop back on email to stave off any urgent issues…so I can start the next day with clear priorities.
What is your chosen charity doing in times of COVID19 to continue its mission and cause?
Our primary focus is on keeping our kids safe and healthy right now. With immuno-compromised systems, it’s critical that outside visitors are kept at minimum, but that doesn’t mean everyone should stay apart emotionally. FaceTime and electronic connections are so important right now!
Any creative fundraising or virtual fundraisers planned?
Right now, we are still assessing what next year will look like. Like so many others, we’ve had to cancel our major fundraiser ― our 32nd Annual Gala, but the fight continues, and online donations are an easy way to contribute to the cause because #CancerIsNotCancelled.
We have shifted to a Craft Campaign for patients. We are raising funds for kids who are isolated in their hospital rooms. There is more information on those opportunities here. We are also funding this special cancer research, like CRISPR gene-editing, with the help of our major donors.
We have not held the NorthPark Raffle yet this year, and hope to launch that in the fall with the support of CBS11.