Murphey Sears – 20 Under 40


Dallas Children’s Advocacy Center
Education: Vanderbilt University

Murphey Sears started her career in TV ad sales. Now, in the nonprofit world, Sears likes to say she does “sales with a purpose.”

She made the move into the nonprofit space during the economic downturn in 2007.

“I went back to my altruistic roots,” Sears said. “I have been a lifelong volunteer and have always loved helping others. My father ingrained in me to work in a field that interests me and inspires passion in me.”

“How could I possibly hit fundraising goals in a business that relies heavily on relationship building and seeing people when seeing people wasn’t safe?”

Over the years, she’s worked at the Texas Women’s Foundation, Genesis Women’s Shelter and Support, and the Museum of Nature and Science.

“Each mission holds a dear place in my heart, and I am honored to serve and make an impact for the most vulnerable populations,” Sears added.

Her work became even more critical during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“When the stay at home order started, my world flipped upside down much like everyone else,” Sears said. “How could I possibly hit fundraising goals in a business that relies heavily on relationship building and seeing people when seeing people wasn’t safe?

“Luckily, I was insanely motivated to work hard despite challenging circumstances on behalf of the thousands of children we serve. I was (and am still) grateful for my safe home because (for many) sending children home during the pandemic has meant they were stuck with their abusers and without the safe and trusted individuals like teachers who know the red flags of child abuse. So, I reminded myself constantly about the critical need DCAC serves.”

When she’s not working, she enjoys taking her four children to local parks. She’s been a book-fair co-chair on the Armstrong Elementary PTA board the past two years, has been involved in the Armstrong-Bradfield Preschool Association, and held leadership roles at the Highland Park United Methodist Church Day School. She also was an active Junior League member for 13 years until she became a sustainer. She served as president of the junior group of the Dallas Garden Club last year.

Biggest business/career success in the past 12 months:

Just last week, DCAC was awarded a prestigious $1 million grant from Crystal Charity Ball. To have that impressive group of philanthropists, with their rigorous and astute vetting process, select us is humbling. I have been constantly overwhelmed and grateful at how the Dallas community has shown up for abused children.

Where do you see yourself and/or your career 10 years from now?

In 10 years I’ll have 2 kids in high school and 2 kids in middle school. So, I’ll be navigating those landmines, feeding 3 teenage boys who eat like horses, and likely keeping my hair colorist and Costco in business as a result. Professionally, I see myself always working in service for others.

What was your first job and what did you learn from it?

My first job was babysitting when I was 12. I wanted to have my own “Babysitters Club” someday. Instead, now I just employ babysitters in droves! I have always had a love for taking care of and protecting kids.

Which leadership skills were the most challenging for you to develop and why?

I have to spend more time on process development. I am an “I don’t care how you get from A to B” kind of person, but there are many times that my teams’ success relies on processes to maintain momentum.

What would you tell an 18-year-old you?

Move to France after college! Because your French major won’t prove to be très importante in Dallas.

If you could buy a book (or rent a movie) for your neighbor, what would it be and why?

The children’s book The Last Stop on Market Street because it champions optimism and kindness and who doesn’t need more of that in their world?

Fun fact that someone wouldn’t know about you:

I’ve been in two TV commercials that both aired regularly — one in D.C. and one in several cities across Texas. My husband finds this so hilarious that he endearingly played both as a surprise (humiliation tactic?) to our entire rehearsal dinner. And I married him anyway!

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Rachel Snyder

Rachel Snyder, former deputy editor at People Newspapers, joined the staff in 2019, returning to her native Dallas-Fort Worth after starting her career at community newspapers in Oklahoma. One of her stories won first place in its category in the Oklahoma Press Association’s Better Newspaper Contest in 2018. She’s a fan of puns and community journalism, not necessarily in that order.

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