Posted May 4, 2023

TV Writer and Producer Wendy Calhoun Addresses Young Women's Leadership Conference

AT&T Performing Arts Center Marks Fourth Year of Teaching High School Students Leadership Skills Through the Arts

(DALLAS) – TV producer and writer Wendy Calhoun filled the keynote slot this week at the AT&T Performing Arts Center’s fourth annual Young Women’s Leadership Conference (YWLC). The program was held Wednesday, May 3, 2023 in the Margot and Bill Winspear Opera House in the Dallas Arts District. Calhoun met with approximately 180 young women from a range of public and private North Texas high schools and organizations.

“The program utilizes the performing arts to help young women develop and strengthen leadership skills that will be important to them throughout their life, such as critical thinking, problem solving, communication and self-confidence,” said Warren Tranquada, president and CEO of the AT&T Performing Arts Center. “This program is one of the most important education and engagement programs the Center provides and we’re thrilled that it has such an impact.”

During the half-day YWLC program, the young women work with local artists and arts leaders to facilitate discussions and interactive workshops to promote the many leadership skills naturally developed through the study of the performing arts.

This year’s workshop facilitators include:

  • Raychel Taylor, Founder of Girls March and Educator
  • Shani Brown, Professor of Business, Hospitality, and Global Trade at Dallas College
  • Samantha Schmitz, Vocal Performer at University of North Texas’ College of Music

The Peabody Award-winning Calhoun – raised here in Dallas – was this year’s Debbie Storey Keynote Speaker. Her unique career spans one-hour dramas, unscripted series, VR, and gaming. Credits include writing/producing the historic blockbuster first season of Fox’s Empire and debut seasons for The Rookie Feds, Prodigal Son, Station 19, Nashville, Revenge, and Justified. Known as a champion for diversity and inclusion, Calhoun developed and sold over ten series pitches with bold leading roles for women and people of color. She is a graduate of Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts and an honored alumnus of New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts.

“As a Dallas native, I am humbled to empower my hometown’s next generation of promising women by sharing my story,” said Wendy Calhoun, The Debbie Storey Keynote Speaker. “Fearlessly pursuing leadership requires grit, generosity, and faith. By offering candid thoughts on my experiences, I encourage others to trust their dreams are achievable, provide tools to help squash negativity and suggest ways to jumpstart passion in the rough and tumble pursuit of excellence.”

The discussion with Calhoun was moderated by Debbie Storey, the Center’s president and CEO from 2018-2022. She helped guide the Center through the financially devastating COVID pandemic. Storey also helped reach a groundbreaking partnership between the Center and Broadway Dallas and oversaw the expansion of the Center’s education and community programming, while also having a long history of supporting and mentoring young women leaders. YWLC was created under her watch. The Board of Directors established the Debbie Storey Fund and the Debbie Storey Keynote Address in 2022 to honor her service to the Center.

The Young Women’s Leadership Conference is free to students thanks to the support of Fossil Group, Tyler Technologies, the Debbie Storey Fund and Corgan. For more information on contributing to upcoming programs, email Vice President of Development, Kendall Purpura at

For more information on the annual Young Women’s Leadership Conference, please visit: