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First Lady of Philanthropy  
 


 


 

 

Speeches

Speech from Mad Hatter for "Meals on Wheels"

Good afternoon, thank you Gina for your kind introduction. I am especially honored to be here to support the “Meals on Wheels” program, which provides a hot meal and a friendly face to some of our least mobile neighbors. Who knows when any of us as individuals might need either one?

Today, there is so much mass marketing that women are becoming confused about who we are and how we are expected to be. In seeking to establish our individual identities, it might be useful to remember that snowmen fall from heaven unassembled, and it is up to us to construct them. In a sense, we are all snowmen… snow-women really, who are under constant forces that melt what we are trying to build.

We need to take an honest look and ask what really matters to each of us. Everyday is significant, and there is no promise for tomorrow. While this is disconcerting, the phenomena adds to the adventure, excitement, and mystery of life. The hardest part of living for all of us—is to live in this very moment.

I am reminded of the 104 year old woman who was asked what's the best thing about being 104..and she replied “ No peer pressure”

My point is not many of us will make it that far, and we can't go back to yesterday. We have to live today and keep things in perspective. Be satisfied with who you are, and once you understand this, you will have the capacity to love others and give back.

Let's celebrate the individual spirits in this room. Whatever path you choose is your decision. Each of us is given different talents and a myriad of opportunities. We have the privilege of free thought. We can decide our own destiny and make dream choices.

Perhaps, you want to become the first female astronaut to reach Mars, a high-powered attorney like Sandra Day O'Connor, an artist, like Frida Kahlo, a dancer like Martha Graham, or maybe, you want to be the world's best stay at home mother. The opportunities are unlimited. We have to believe in our own individual spirit and have the courage to follow through.

Though we may not have the same family support, education, financial wherewithal as others—each of us is blessed in our own unique way. You can accomplish your dream. Once you have achieved your success, it is more rewarding when you reflect on the challenges you have overcome.

Developing your individual spirit is reflected in everything you do. It's your own personal style—your own statement about yourself. None of us feel the same way about everything—that's part of the joy of our individuality. We don't have to conform to what is expected; rather, our first loyalty should be to our own sense of uniqueness.

We have to bravely speak the words that are true to our hearts and perform the deeds that are true to our values. We have to cultivate thinking independently, and not go along with the crowd mentality. This freedom we are giving ourselves will let us flourish and spread our wings—not only within our own families, but also among friends and peers—this includes all who come into our aura.

The common humanity among us all is becoming blurred because of the short circuiting of life. We're on such a fast track with the advancement of technology that the human spirit is being left behind and trampled. Technology shouldn't replace real voices and conversations.

The simple pleasures and civilities which are inherent and should be extended from person to person are now taken for granted, and sadly, all but forgotten.

In reading our E-Mails, answering text messages, responding to pagers, talking to brokers, overseeing children, satisfying significant others, attending luncheons, running businesses, fulfilling civic obligations, and responding to the daily demands required for simple survival, we have little time to reflect on a sunrise, a sunset, and to savor the smile on a senior's face when they are shown kindness. We need also to make time to extend a hand to someone in need. These treasured moments of caring will bring brightness to anyone's day—not only to the person you are touching—but to your own inner-spirit.

Good manners and boundaries in relationships are fading and faltering simply because we are fast-forwarding life. To simply enjoy time communicating with friends for no specific purpose is becoming a rarity. Once you come to know your inner spirit—then you can help others find theirs—and soar. Never short-change your own value and worth just because it doesn't correspond with everybody else's. Most importantly, know the difference an individual spirit can make in influencing the collective good.

Women need to be openly supportive and embracing of one another. We grow by mutually lifting the spirits of others.

Look around this room and see your sisters. Women here of common purpose, all good people wanting what is best for themselves, their families, their communities, and each other.

We must muster the collective spirit to move beyond simple individual expectations and status to a greater unconditional sacrifice of mutual support. Only through this enhancement of a healthy and a vibrant individual contributing to the elevation of the spirit of all women can the true essence of the feminine spirit be realized.

In closing, remember you were born an original, don't die a copy. To quote Judy Garland, “Always be a first-rate version of yourself, instead of a second-rate version of somebody else.”

Thank you again for giving me the joy of sharing your company.

Speech from "Women Who Soar"

Good evening, and thank you, Dee, for your gracious introduction, your warmth and generosity of spirit. You are truly a woman who soars.

I am especially honored to be here to support the Big Brothers, Big Sisters program, which offers friendship and mentoring to children on a one-to-one basis. Can you imagine anything in life that is more important than mentoring a child? As an honoree of the inaugural Brilliantly You – Women That Soar Event, I am happy to celebrate the individual spirits of all who are here and to honor my friend, Tina Knowles, a woman of accomplishment.

Whatever path you choose is your decision. Each of us is given different talents and a myriad of opportunities. We have the privilege of free thought. We can decide where our destiny will take us and make dream choices.

Perhaps you want to become the first female astronaut to reach Mars, a high-powered attorney like Sandra Day O'Connor, an artist like Frida Kahlo, an entertainer like Beyonce or maybe you want to be the world's best stay at home mother. We have to believe in our own individual spirit and have the courage to follow through.

Though we may not all have the same family support, education, financial wherewithal as others – each of us is blessed in our own unique way and with skills to help accomplish our dreams. Once you have achieved success, it will be more rewarding when you reflect on the challenges you have overcome.
The fact that our stay on this planet is brief can be quite disconcerting, this phenomenon certainly adds to the adventure, excitement and mystery of life. The hardest part of living though is to live in this very moment.

I am reminded of the 104-year old woman who was asked what is the best thing about being 104…and she replied, “No peer pressure!”

My point is not many of us will make it that far, and we can not go back to yesterday, but anyone can begin now and create a new ending. We have to live today and keep things in perspective. Be satisfied and believe in who you are and you will have a greater capacity to love others and to give back.

Developing an individual spirit is reflected in everything you do. It is your own personal style, your statement about yourself. We have to bravely speak the words that are true to our hearts and perform the deeds that are true to our values. We have to cultivate thinking independently and not go along with the crowd mentality. This freedom we are giving ourselves will let us flourish and spread our wings – not only within our own families, but amongst friends and peers and all who come into our aura.

Women need to be generously supportive and embracing of one another. We grow by mutually lifting the spirits of others.

Big Brothers, Big Sisters sets the example and standard for all of us in providing support, mentoring and friendship and volunteers who continue to echo the sentiment that they receive so much more than they give, which is so apparent in the mission of this organization.
Remember, you were born an original, so do not die a copy. To quote Judy Garland, “Always be a first-rate version of yourself, instead of a second-rate version of somebody else.”

Speech from 2008 University of Houston Alumni Awards Dinner

I’m very honored to be the recipient of The Houston Alumni Organization Chair’s Award. I have the fondest memories of the magical “Quest for Excellence” evening, where we raised in excess of 3 million dollars for the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics. Knowing that students and faculty still benefit from that effort gives me great joy.

The University of Houston colleges are fortunate to have an esteemed faculty with high standards of capability and achievement that motivate students to be their best and strive beyond. And you, Dean Bear--rank at the top. Most importantly, University of Houston students never forget the preparation for life’s challenges offered by the University.

The University of Houston is OUR city’s university. With a diverse and growing student body, nationally recognized for doctoral degree granting programs and comprehensive research programs, it is the “jewel of academia” for Houston.

The University of Houston welcomes great students—the traditional ones as well as the non-traditional who may need financial assistance while they hold down jobs or raise families. Every student is afforded the treasured gift of an education and the opportunity to dream and discover their potential. The U of H nurtures a highly skilled workforce through its academic programs which serves business, the arts, science, and industry.

Some of my proudest moments have been volunteering for this great institution. Each college on the campus is deserving of our support. My involvement with the U of H began when Rudy Davalos, the former athletic director, asked me to honor alumni—Carl Lewis and Hakeem Olajuwon in establishing a scholar athlete program named for Lucile Melcher and Mary Cullen.

Later, I was privileged to chair a memorable Blueprint Ball for the College of Architecture with the support of Dean Joe Mashburn and an Endowment Campaign to sustain the legacy of architect Philip Johnson.

The “Quest for Excellence” recognized the accomplishments of The College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, emphasizing our leadership in superconductivity, molecular design, computational sciences and space technology.

Goethe, the German philosopher reflected: “Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genuine power, success, and magic in it.”

The University of Houston was a dream of Hugh Roy Cullen who wanted to make a college available to working men and women and their sons and daughters. He wasn’t just interested in a “rich man’s college.” Look what this great philanthropist and visionary accomplished and where our future commitment will take us for the betterment of society for generations to come.

I will forever be a cheerleader for this great university. Thank you for this very special honor which I accept in memory of my two Jakes.

© Carolyn Farb. All rights reserved 


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