Genesis CEO touts protection for women, confesses to presidential gaffe
Genesis Women’s Shelter executive director Jan Langbein has advocated for efforts to end violence against women for decades.
She co-founded the International Conference on Crimes Against Women in 2006, served as a senior policy adviser to the director of the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office on Violence Against Women through 2009, and worked with numerous boards and advocacy groups, including the Dallas Mayor’s Domestic Violence Task Force.
This year, the University Park resident can add Park Cities Fourth of July Parade grand marshal to her resume.
The Rotary Club of Park Cities Parade celebrated Langbein’s selection during a June 2 luncheon.
Her passion for domestic violence prevention started from a piece she read about the issue in a magazine while volunteering with the Junior League of Dallas.
“This magazine slips in my lap, and it says on the cover, ‘Every nine seconds in this country, a woman is battered,’ and I thought, ‘Well, nobody I know,’ and then it said one out of every three women – one of out every three women – you pass at NorthPark, in the grocery store, in your faith community, will know domestic violence on an ongoing basis,” Langbein said. “I got to Junior League headquarters, opened up to violence intervention, stuck my finger down on Genesis.”
She’d never heard of it.
Then, after the president said the agency needed new leadership, someone able to work a crowd and raise money, Langbein reacted. “Out of my mouth shoots, ‘Oh my gosh, that’s me.’”
She became CEO of the Genesis Women’s Shelter in 1991, when it had seven rooms, and led it to add a K-8 school, a daycare, and legal aid services.
Most recently, Genesis opened a nearly 30,000-square-foot facility off Harry Hines Boulevard in the Medical District for non-residential services.
“So many people think this can’t happen in the Park Cities, and I can tell you for a fact, it does,” Langbein said, explaining she agreed to serve as parade grand marshal to draw attention to the issue.
“There are women who are afraid in their own homes, there are children who cry themselves to sleep at night, and we think it happens someplace else, not to people like us.”
Langbein, known for interviewing high-profile guests at Genesis Women’s Shelter fundraisers, also told guests at the Rotary luncheon about her worst gaffe – a doozy.
It came while interviewing former President George W. Bush, known for joking about his speech blunders.
He had been talking about the birth of a grandchild.
“I turned to him,” Langbein recalled. “I was trying to say, ‘throughout your presidency,’ but I said, ‘throughout your pregnancy.’
“The president, of course, just kind of goes on and on with, ‘You know I’m pro-life, Jan, but this is ridiculous.’ “He wouldn’t let it go.”