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Nicola Hobeiche and Kelby Woodard, president of Cristo Rey Dallas

Cristo Rey Dallas College Prep honored Hilda Galvan, Jones Day Partner-in-Charge and Dallas Regional Chamber Board Chair, with its inaugural Ignite Award at the first annual CEO Breakfast, on Thursday, February 22 at The Petroleum Club in Downtown Dallas.


As the over 100 attendees arrived, they were each gifted a Cristo Rey Dallas tie, for the gentlemen, or an orange pashmina scarf, for the women.   As guests took their seats, many donning their new accessories, Kelby Woodard, President of Cristo Rey Dallas, welcomed all to the first annual event.


Woodard first thanked event co-chairs David Moran, Jackson Walker Managing Partner and Michelle Vopni, EY Managing Partner, for their leadership for this first annual event.  He also recognized dignitaries in attendance, the Honorable Pauline Medrano, Dallas County Treasurer, and the Honorable Jennifer Bennett of the 265th District Court, as well as the business leaders in the room, many of whom are part of the school’s Corporate Work Study Program, an innovative model of education that gives students a college prep education while earning work experience in a professional setting. 


Ms. Vopni followed and shared her own company’s positive experience as a Work Study partner, before Jasmine Chavez, a member of the Cristo Rey Dallas class of 2019,  took the podium with a special invocation. 


Chavez asked all to bow their heads as she read a powerful reflection written by classmate Daniel Venegas, who passed away during his freshman year.  His writing, entitled “Protect the Dream,” included his hopes and dreams for his own education and for his family.  In it he wrote, “I want to be someone meaningful in life, someone whose impact will be recognized.  I want to change the minds of people who might doubt me and prove that I can protect my dream each and every day.”


Following breakfast, John Stephens, senior executive vice president and CFO of AT&T, introduced Hilda Galvan, this year’s recipient of the Ignite Award, for her support of the three-year old college preparatory school and her commitment to providing opportunity and inspiration for its students.


After sharing Galvan’s many accomplishments, he introduced a video, which included personal and professional accolades from Dale Petrosky, President and CEO of the Dallas Regional Chamber, and Tracy Merzi, Publisher of Dallas Business Journal.   A video highlight included a conversation between Galvan and Cristo Rey Dallas student Edward Rojas, where Galvan revealed personal stories about her first job between 7th and 8th grade working at a jewelry-making factory.  And from that experience she recalled that working there with many women who had families “emphasized the importance of getting her education. “


Galvan then came to the stage to accept her award of a gold Cristo Rey Crown and Globe pendant studded with sapphire presented by Stephens.  She thanked Cristo Rey Dallas leadership and its board of directors for the recognition.  She also recognized the Corporate Work Study Program partners and others in the room, who support Cristo Rey Dallas.


She said, “The commitment that each of you has made you to Cristo Rey Dallas and to the students will change their lives forever and will change the lives of their families for generations to come.  You have given them a gift of an education, but you have also given them pride and self-confidence in earning that education.”


She closed by encouraging others to say, “yes” to becoming or continuing to be a job partner with Cristo Rey, “an incredible organization doing incredible things.”


Kelby Woodard then came back to the podium to honor student Emmanuel Moreno with a surprise Grit Award, awarded to a Cristo Rey Dallas student who exemplifies perseverance in the workplace, classroom and beyond.


As Emmanuel came to the stage, Woodard also announced that in addition to the Grit Award, a silver coin designed with the Crown and Globe, Cristo Rey Dallas partnered with employer Lincoln Property Company to underwrite a $5,000 scholarship for him.


In closing, co-chair David Moran came to podium and asked for another round of applause for honorees Hilda Galvan and Emmanuel Moreno, before sharing his firm’s experience as a Work Study partner.  To the other company leadership in the room, he thanked those who are current partners and encouraged those who are not to consider supporting Cristo Rey Dallas as a Corporate Work Study Program partner.


Sponsors for the CEO Breakfast include AT&T; DeGolyer and MacNaughton; Deloitte; EY; William Hornberger/Jackson Walker; Jackson Walker; JLL; Jones Day; Locke Lorde LLP; PwC; Riveron Consulting; Sarah and Loy Shaw; John Stephens; Tenet; and Mike and Mary Terry.

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