2023 YWCA Luncheon with Geena Davis


Geena Davis speaks at the 28th Annual YWCA Women’s Luncheon. The event was at the El Paso Convention Center. Photo courtesy of Mia Badillo

Mia Badillo and Orlyanka Tantchou, Co-Editors-in-Chief

On April 27, 2023, the YWCA El Paso del Norte Region hosted its 28th Annual YWCA Women’s Luncheon featuring Academy Award and Golden Globe Award-winning actress, Geena Davis. 

The luncheon began at 11:30 a.m. and was held at the El Paso Convention Center in downtown El Paso, Texas. 

Davis, who has starred in films such as “Thelma and Louise,” “A League of Their Own,”, and “Beetlejuice” headlined the luncheon and also held a VIP book signing event.  

In her speech, Davis spoke about everything from her experience as a woman in the film industry to her participation in the Sydney 2000 Summer Olympics.

If you weren’t able to attend the event, The Prax’s Co-Editors-in-Chief are here to fill you in on all of the details. 

Follow along as Mia and Orlyanka provide a summary of their trip to the 28th Annual YWCA Women’s Luncheon!

Davis’ speech

The excitement could be felt from the crowd as Davis made her way to the podium to begin her speech.

She first acknowledged the people who helped her along her journey and shared her experiences starring in numerous films.

Upon entering the film industry, Davis recognized the lack of representation and wanted to raise awareness of the issue.

Davis said, “One area of gender inequality can change overnight: on screen.”

Davis realized that there were few female characters in shows made for kids in the 21st century and felt she should help make a change.

She shared a shocking statistic as she said, “For every 3 million characters, only one of them is female.”

Davis said, “Most recently, we’ve reached gender parity in main and supporting characters. 

There’s still more work to be done for characters of color, characters with disabilities, LGBTQ+ characters, and intersectional characters.”

Davis delivered a moving message about the long road we have ahead of us to show accurate and diverse representation on screen.

Meeting Geena

Loretto students meet Davis after her speech. Co-Editors-in-Chief of The Prax, Mia Badillo and Orlyanka Tantchou, interviewed Davis. Photo courtesy of Orlyanka Tantchou

Right after Davis’ speech, the Loretto students bolted to the VIP room to secure a photo opportunity with the actress.

When Davis entered the room, we all gasped and felt starstruck.

We successfully took a group photo with Davis and were even able to ask her a question for The Prax.

The question we asked was: What advice would you give to aspiring young females who are wishing to shatter the glass ceiling?

Davis said, “First of all, it’s amazing that it’s still possible for a woman to be the first woman doing something.

We’re making progress constantly and so, it doesn’t matter if your goal seems extreme or hard to reach at all. 

Somebody is going to do it and it might as well be you!

Whatever you’re passionate about, I think you should definitely just go for it.”

When we found out we were attending the luncheon, we would have never thought that it would lead to us interviewing Davis.

We are extremely grateful for the opportunity as it was an extremely educational and fulfilling experience.

About the luncheon

A view from Loretto’s tables at the luncheon. We took our seats as they introduced the first speakers from the YWCA. Photo courtesy of Mia Badillo

The YWCA El Paso del Norte Region has served the El Paso community since 1909 and welcomes a new featured speaker for their annual luncheon. 

Last year’s speaker was American sports commentator, Erin Andrews. 

According to KTSM News, 1200-2000 community members attend the luncheon annually.

This year’s luncheon exceeded expectations with 2,200 attendees.

A majority of the money raised from the luncheon goes to women and children who have suffered from family violence. 

By attending the luncheon, we could tell how close-knit and united the community was. 

Even with so many attendees, people were reconnecting with one another everywhere you turned. 

Since we were wearing our Loretto uniforms, many alumnae approached us to reminisce on their days as Loretto Angels. 

It was special to see women of all ages come together to support the YMCA in their efforts to positively impact the El Paso community.

Raffle tickets for sale!

In total, a group of 13 Loretto seniors attended the event.

Loretto’s Student Activities Director, Helen Martinez, drove us to the Convention Center.

As soon as we arrived at 9:30 a.m., we entered the venue and got to work. 

Our job was to sell as many raffle tickets as we could to attendees along with staff members. 

One raffle ticket cost $5 and five tickets cost $20. 

With over 15 big prizes to win, tickets were selling left and right! 

The two hours we were selling tickets flew by as we were scrambling back and forth to restock our envelopes and drop off our collected money. 

At 11:40 a.m., the raffle closed, and we were able to help randomly draw the prize winners.

At 11:45 p.m., right before the prize winners were about to be announced, we were able to take our seats and enjoy some delicious food. 

For lunch, we were served pasta salad with spinach, tri-colored rotini, cherry tomatoes, bell peppers, mozzarella, and chicken breast. 

Coffee, iced tea, water, bread rolls, and desserts were also available at each table. 


After a few motivational speeches from YMCA members, it was time to raise donations!

For about ten minutes, the YWCA posted a QR code on the big screen and asked the audience to donate. 

When someone donated, their name and donation amount were displayed on the big screen.

Loretto senior Zoe Moreck got in on the fun and donated $10 to receive a shoutout!

Zoe Moreck’s name appears on the big screen. Moreck donated $10 to the YWCA to be featured. Photo courtesy of Mia Badillo

Over $60,000 was raised in a matter of minutes. 

The donation segment was a great success, and it was apparent that the audience was ready to support the YWCA.

Final thoughts

Across the board, we can confirm attending the luncheon was an experience we will never forget.

It was an honor to listen to such inspirational women share their stories and continue to encourage others to make an impact.

From selling raffle tickets to speaking with the legendary Geena Davis, not a second of the day went by that was not enjoyed.

Through Davis’ words, we realize the unconscious bias that society has toward women in the film industry and many other sectors of society.

Being in a room with thousands of powerful women allowed us to have meaningful conversations about the state of the world and motivated us to want to make that change for future generations. 

We are so grateful to have represented Loretto at the luncheon and we enjoy sharing our thoughts with our Prax family!