Lucy Billingsley: Dallas is ‘Setting the Example for the World’

Lucy Crow Billingsley
Lucy Crow Billingsley

Dallas developer Lucy Crow Billingsley was presented with the 2013 H. Neil Mallon Award at a gala Friday evening. Presented by the World Affairs Council of Dallas-Fort Worth, the honor recognizes an individual’s contributions to the region’s international reputation.

The event drew a number of political and business leaders, including former Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings, Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price, CBRE’s Mike Lafitte and Michael Caffey, and former Dallas mayor Ron Kirk and his wife Matrice Ellis-Kirk, partner at Heidrick & Struggles.

Along with her commercial real estate work in the Arts District and throughout North Texas, Billingsley is the founder and director of Chiapas International, a microfinance nonprofit. Since its inception in 2003, the organization has provided more than $5 million in seed money to 242,000 women entrepreneurs around the globe.

The Kirks helped present the award, with Matrice Ellis-Kirk sharing a favorite quote of Billingsley’s, advice once given to her by a her father, Trammell Crow: “There must always be a burn in your heart to achieve. In the quiet of your solitude, close your eyes, bow your head, grit your teeth, clench your fist, ache in your heart, vow and dedicate yourself to achieve.”

Billingsley spoke about the role Dallas plays on the world stage. “This is a remarkable place, and we are remarkably lucky to have the entrepreneurship, the individualism, and the can-do spirit of this city,” she said. “We are leading the United States in growth, and by leading the U.S., we are setting the example for the world. All eyes are on us. This is a huge opportunity­—and responsibility.”

Along with Trammell Crow, past Mallon Award recipients include Ross Perot and Ross Perot Jr., Gerard Arpey, Lee Raymond, Raymond Nasher, George H.W. Bush, and Ray Hunt.