Bryan’s House Power of You 2023 Awards Luncheon Celebrating its 35th Year Shined the Spotlight on an Emotional and Charismatic Mickey Rowe

(Featured photo: Dr. Carla Russo and Regina Bruce, Luncheon Chairs; Steve Hoyl, Honorary Chair and Presenting Sponsor.)*

Bryan’s House Power of You 2023 Awards Luncheon celebrated its 35th year as it shined the spotlight on Mickey Rowe, a talented and popular actor, author and speaker, who is an autistic and legally blind person and founder of the National Disability Theatre. He has appeared on Broadway in the play Amadeus and others, and is the author of Fearlessly Different: An Autistic Broadway Actor’s Transformational Insights.

Dr. Carla Russo and Regina Bruce, luncheon chairs,welcomed guests while they enjoyed a champagne and wine reception with delicious passed hors d’oeuvres as Elizabeth Smith, Auction Chair and Anna Berman modeled delightful custom jackets by Andre Yabin, Informal Modeling Sponsor.

During the reception, everyone was excited to witness the presentation of the Wisdom’s Hope Awards. These recipients attended the event: Accessibility Award: Santander Consumer USA, represented by Suzanne Massey; Community Award: Debra Villarreal; Volunteer Award: Norco Mayflower Movers represented by Sylvano Leyva and Donna Martin. Award recipients who were unable to attend included Clinical Partner Award: Broadway Cares – Equity Fighting AIDS; Corporate Award: Liberty Mutual Insurance; Philanthropist Award: Rose Family Foundation.

The centerpiece of the event was the elegant and beautiful stage inside the ballroom,  filled with stunning flower arrangements on each side and a five-tier 35th Anniversary cake encircled with butterflies in tribute to the event’s logo, and topped with 35 years of Bryan’s House stellar service to children with special needs in the DFW community. After an informative and compelling video, celebrity emcee Rebecca Lopez, a nine-time Emmy Award winning senior reporter, WFAA-TV, welcomed Stephanie Newland, Director, Belong Disability Ministry at Highland Park United Methodist Church, who was also a speaker co-sponsor, as she shed light on the ministry at HPUMC, its accomplishments and overview of the program. She also led the invocation and luncheon was served.

Joining in the luncheon were Stephanie Held, Bryan’s House founder; Dr. Keith Mankin, board chair; David Andrews, Underwriting Chair; Elizabeth Smith, Auction Chair; Esé Azénabor, Nicole Blythe, Rhonda Sargent Chambers, Kunthear Mam-Douglas, Rose Kaur, Christina Menendez-Pettibone, Joe Pacetti, Steven J. Roth, Kelly and Geoff Schorr, David Wagner and more.

The chairs had more exciting news: The luncheon, subtitled “Extraordinary things happen when kids with special needs are given wings to fly” presented by the Lone Star Monarchs, welcomed Hoyl Financial as the title sponsor.
“That means that 100% of each seat’s value, whether it’s at a certain underwriting level or ticket sales, will be matched by honorary chair, Stephen Hoyl’s firm, Hoyl Financial, so that all of those funds raised directly benefit Bryan’s House,” Regina said. “Stephen’s generosity is unmatched and certainly will make a great impact and a crucial difference in our fundraising goals for this vital nonprofit.”

Rebecca recognized the Host Committee, and sponsors including CAPTRUST, Regina Bruce and John Pickett, Microsoft, Gensler, Santander Consumer USA, BDO USA, LLP/Carla and Joe Russo, Bryan’s House Board of Directors, Holland & Knight, Jeanne Lewis, Ron McCallum & Associates. Special mention was given to Posh Cakes by Shane Morgan for the fabulous 35th Anniversary cake; Andre Yabin, Informal Modeling Sponsor; Printing and Signage Sponsor The UPS Store on Lemmon Avenue; Graphic Arts by Kristi Eakin Designs, and Kate Weiser Chocolates. Media sponsors were PaperCity magazine and People Newspapers.
Dr. Mankin thanked everyone for their continued support, and it was time to cut the cake!  Joining Stephanie Held on stage as she cut the ceremonial cake were Dr. Mankin, Steve Hoyl, Regina and Carla.

Auctioneer John Rieger took the stage and conducted a spirited live auction, including a special appearance by Marty Turco of the Dallas Stars and owner, Kingsville Beer who joined Chef Kent Rathbun on stage as their live auction package of a Backyard BBQ for 10 at Chef Rathbun’s home sold four times. Other packages included a Dallas Stars VIP Meet and Greet, Bisbee’s Black and Blue Marlin Tournament entry fee for a team of four which sold twice; Broken Bow magical weekend sold three times; Wine Reception at Samuel Lynne Galleries sold twice and Escape to Breckenridge. A paddle raise met a matching donation of $50,000.

Introducing featured speaker Mickey Rowe, co-sponsors Kelly and Geoff Schorr representing Schorr Law Firm PC, said that we all can learn from Mickey to embrace our differences. In a compelling and heartfelt presentation, Mickey said that as an autistic child, he made up his own sign language in a desperate attempt to communicate and struggled mightily with personal relationships. Growing up and graduating from college, he earned income as a street performer and finally made it to Broadway in his first role and the first autistic actor to play the lead role in the play The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. He said he is better because of his autism and that people with disabilities are the best creative problem solvers because they have had to be creative their entire lives. He said when we are able to help each other, we are giving the world a huge gift. Saying, “Jump in and advocate for yourself,” the entire crowd answered with a resounding standing ovation.  As everyone was leaving, many lined up to speak with Mickey as he signed copies of his book.
To learn more about Bryan’s House, visit the website for more details at

About Bryan’s House:
The mission of Bryan’s House is to provide children with special needs and their families with trusted case management, educational, therapeutic, and medically-supported care.

About Lone Star Monarchs:  To inspire and nurture the human spirit, as together, we build an effective network of individuals and organizations to support a broad spectrum of charitable organizations in Dallas and throughout Texas. Lone Star Monarchs’ (LSM) purpose is exclusively educational and charitable to connect people and enrich lives.

LSM welcomes all people who value our mission. We are committed to inclusive environments of diverse individuals, organizations and communities. We promote volunteerism and a spirit of service.

LSM has no paid employees. All contributions and funds raised go to LSM services and grants for our service partners.

*Photos by Danny Campbell

** Photos by Rob Wythe/Wythe Portrait Studio

(Sharon Adams, Adams Communications Public Relations, is honored to represent this Bryan’s House Luncheon and other special events and post this Philanthropy Lifestyles Scene.)


Principal of Philanthropy Lifestyles (formerly, the award-winning eBuzzNewsletter and Adams Communications Public Relations, a boutique PR firm specializing in media and community relations for small businesses and nonprofit organizations. Sharon is also a freelance writer whose articles have appeared in Dallas Business Journal, Katy Trail Weekly, People Newspapers (Park Cities People and Preston Hollow People/North Dallas People), Preston Hollow Life magazine, The Park Cities News, White Rock Lake Weekly, numerous blogs and websites and more.