Thursday, June 4, 2015

Emmitt Smith Celebrity Invitational Smashes Fundraising Goal Bringingin $1.2 Million


I feel lucky to call Pat Smith a friend. I am even luckier that earlier this year, she hired me to join her team and my agency now handles social media marketing for Pat & Emmitt Smith Charities. Working for Pat is what I would imagine it's like to work with Oprah. You hold hands and pray before you begin business meetings, you hug and say "I love you" - a lot, you leave every encounter with them inspired and motivated and there are lots of teary moments when you witness the impact their work has on our community. It's a pretty sweet gig. The culmination of all these efforts roll into their annual fundraiser, held every May. This was my first year to work on the Emmitt Smith Celebrity Invitational weekend, presented by SoftLayer, which commenced on Friday, May 8th, with a celebrity reception, red carpet entry, dinner and live auction party at the Omni Hotel Dallas and continued on Saturday, May 9th, with 18-hole charity golf tournament at TPC Craig Ranch in McKinney. This year's event chairs were Sarah and Jud Chapin and honorary chairs were Matrice and Ron Kirk. This event is work - a whole lotta work and I have to say, I have the easiest job out of everyone. I get to hang out with the celebrities, capture the fun moments and push them out through their social channels. Sometimes I have to pinch myself that people pay me to do this...

This is what I did all weekend. Hang out with the cool kids and play paparazzi. So fun!

The weekend started out with a VIP Celebrity Golf Tournament on Friday morning at TPC Craig Ranch. Sports legends like Ivan "Pudge" Rodriguez (Texas Rangers legend), Sterling Sharpe (Green Bay Packers/NFL analyst), Tony Casillas (Dallas Cowboys), Michael Finley (Dallas Mavericks), John Randle (NFL Hall of Fame/Seattle Seahawks) took to the course for a fun day of golf.
Note: I am telling you who they played for because I am such a girl that I had to look up most of these guys to see what teams they were associated with. I knew names, but matching them to teams... Hmmmm, not so much. So, I am short-cutting it for you. :)

That evening, 900+ guests headed for the Omni Hotel Dallas for a black-tie affair. Celebrities including Melissa Rycroft Strickland, Vivica A. Fox, Cheryl Burke, Tony and Candice Romo, Jake Pavelka, Tony Dorsett, Ed "Too Tall" Jones, Jane McGarry and more, walked the red carpet before enjoying a seated dinner and presentation hosted by the delightful Tom Bergeron. During the gala, Pat and Emmitt Smith presented Steve and Marjorie Harvey with the Roger Staubach Award as an honor for the couple’s charitable efforts in positively impacting the lives of children. Following the dinner and live auction, guests danced the night away to live music by The O’Jays and Emerald City.

Fashion Note: Pat Smith wore a custom red lace gown from Watters on the red carpet and changed into a magnificent black gown with white beading from Ese Azenabor for the gala awards and dinner. Vivica A. Fox also wore a black gown with amber beading from Ese Azenabor. I love to see our Dallas designers getting so much love! See photos below.

Their goal was to raise one million dollars. Everyone was thrilled when it was announced that the event raised more than $1.2 million for Pat and Emmitt Smith Charities. Pat and Emmitt Smith Charities supports education programming for underserved children. The proceeds raised throughout the weekend will fund summer camps, afterschool programs, college tuition and other educational programming that impact more than 25,000 children annually. To lean more, visit

These are a few of my favorite photos from the night. Can you tell we had so much FUN!? Click to enlarge any image and scroll through the gallery at full-size.


photos: Thomas Garza Photography