Thursday, February 16, 2012

The Chairman’s Spotlight

The Chairman’s Spotlight :

Katherine Lalonde
On April 12th Katherine Lalonde will be the chairman for the New Friends New Life WINGS Luncheon. The WINGS luncheon is the biggest fundraiser for the year for the NFNL foundation. They plan to host over 800 attendees as well as raise a goal of $300,000. The guest speaker will be well known author, Nicholas Sparks. The luncheon begins at 11:00 a.m. at the Hyatt Regency in Downtown Dallas. We recently spoke with Katherine about the fundraiser as well as an insight into her fabulous life in Dallas.

Why is this cause so special to you? Gary Brandenburg, a very wise man who is the pastor of my church, one Sunday was discussing the plight of women who are enslaved by the sex industry. His comment that followed was, “I have a 10-year-old granddaughter, and I am pretty sure that she, or ANY 10 year-old-girl, is not dreaming of a life in the sex industry.” Before that day, I frankly had not given much thought to women involved in the sex trade, or thought about what kind of abuse and trauma would lead women and girls to think that was their only hope. That one Sunday sermon stirred something within me; I felt a sense of outrage that these women have led lives of suffering that have culminated in even more suffering. The sense of sheer hopelessness I sensed they must feel spurred me to find a way to help change that. New Friends New Life was exactly the cause I wanted to work for – they are the only agency in Dallas to offer women and girls a holistic way to escape that life – from spiritual and psychological counseling to financial aid and job training. But those services aren’t the most important thing they offer their clients. The most important thing New Friends New Life gives these women and girls is love.

What is your favorite part about Dallas that makes it so unique? The fact that when our city recognizes a problem, it unites and finds a way to solve it. The people of Dallas don’t know the meaning of the word impossible – indeed, it seems the more the rest of the world deems something hopeless, Dallas just seems to respond: Just wait. Probably this is a result of the sense of community, openness and friendship that Dallas exudes to all who inhabit it, whether you’re a 6th generation Texan or a transplant of 6 months. This is the most empowered - and empowering -city anyone could dream of living in: I consider myself extremely blessed to call Dallas home.

How do you spend your free time when you are not working for a charity? Doing my best to balance devoting the time my family deserves, traveling and working with my gifted colleagues at U.S. Trust and (just before I collapse at the end of the day) getting in a few chapters of the current book I am reading. Scheduling time with my inspiring friends is also always at the top of my wish list.

With you being such an influential person within the community, who is it that inspires you to do bigger and better things? God is my inspiration. My wish is to serve Him, and to always share the love with others that my Savior has shown me.

What is your favorite quote? “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” – Jesus, Matthew11:28-:30

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