Leadership Exchange - Spring/Summer 2018 - 34

WOMEN I ADMIRE - Members' Dedications to Women they Admire

Dolly Parton
Imagination Library, which gives free books to children,
is Dolly's literacy philanthropic effort. Earlier this year,
she was invited to the Library of Congress to donate
her 100 millionth book. She is also passionate about
the conservation of our national symbol, the bald eagle.
She has a foundation, a sanctuary and rehabilitation
services in service of the formerly endangered species.
These are just two examples of the way Dolly shares
her generosity of spirit.

When asked to write about a woman I admire, I kicked
the question around for a while. There are so many
women worthy of admiration, so it became about finding
one that felt personal to me.
On Saturday, September 20, 2008, I had 4 tickets to the
world premiere of "9 to 5: The Musical" at the Ahmanson
Theatre in Downtown Los Angeles. The opening night
crowd was full of stars, but none perhaps as big a star as
Dolly Parton, who starred as Doralee Rhodes in the 1980
movie by the same name, and who wrote the music and
lyrics for the musical.
In case you are only passingly familiar with Dolly, I'll give
you some stats and anecdotes about why I admire her so
much. Dolly Parton was born in the Smoky Mountains of
Tennessee, one of 12 children, and her life is described as
a "rags to rhinestones" story. Her song, "Coat of Many
Colors", is a personal anecdote that covers a myriad
of subjects: growing up poor, bullying, love of family,
and the ability to make something special out of what is
available.
Dolly Parton has written some truly wonderful songs, "I
Will Always Love You", "Jolene", "Why'd You Come in
Here Lookin' Like That", and "9 to 5" are my personal
favorites, but there are literally ninety albums full of songs
from which to choose.

34

GLA ALA Leadership Exchange I Spring/Summer 2018

So, beyond the great talent, and the philanthropy, is
a woman I admire for owning who she is. She has
famously said, "If something is bagging, sagging
or dragging, I'll tuck it, suck it or pluck it." And
here's another gem from Dolly, "A lot of people have
said I'd have probably done better in my career if I
hadn't looked so cheap and gaudy. But I dress to be
comfortable for me, and you shouldn't be blamed
because you want to look pretty." She is perfectly
comfortable in her skin and she doesn't apologize for
who she is.
Now, back to that Saturday night in 2008, and the world
premiere of "9 to 5: The Musical." Midway through
the first act, there was a song aptly named "Out of
Control" in which the character of Judy has to deal with
an out of control Xerox machine. Unfortunately, the
highly choreographed number encountered debilitating
technical issues that night, and the show actually
came to a full stop. The silver lining for the audience
is that during the break to reset the scene, Ms. Dolly
Parton took stage, introduced her co-stars from
the original movie, Lily Tomlin and Jane Fonda, and
proceeded to lead the 2,000 person audience in a
singalong of "9 to 5."
Stars who can spontaneously entertain an audience
like this when called upon, unplanned, are too few and
far between. The minutes that she took the stage and
spoke to us like we were friends in her living room, stay
with me, and remind me of her happy approach to life,
and the dynamo that is Dolly. n
Jennifer Bradshaw

Office Administrator
Olivarez Madruga Lemieux O'Neill, LLP
jbradshaw@omlolaw.com
(213) 744-0099



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