Recognizing the outstanding work and achievements of our graduates!
Hometown Hero - Anna Roach
2018 Leadership America alumna, Anna Roach, is making quite a name for herself. As reported in the South Fulton Lifestyle Magazine, “Roach’s list of accolades spreads long and wide, but her most recent undertaking, which involves responsibility for a $165M redevelopment of Fulton Industrial Boulevard, hit home for this South Fulton resident.”
The article details the redevelopment initiative that is “boasting more than 1,000 businesses, 28,000 employees, and about 500 residents, the nearly 8-square-mile stretch will bring millions in tax revenue to Fulton County and the school district.” Anna is responsible for this development project that will benefit, the airport, police department, emergency management and animal control – all departments that report directly to her.
“This project is probably the single most transformational development that will come to South Fulton,” said Roach. “South Fulton is a canvas for development for a host of reasons, not the least of which is its proximity to the airport. The distinction of this development is the transformation it will bring to an area that has had a depressed reputation for the community.”
For more on Anna and the project, check out The Amazing Anna Roach (citylifestyle.com), which re-published the South Fulton Lifestyle article from July 2021.
Monica Vargas to head Carondelet Health
2009 Leadership Texas graduate, Monica Vargas-Mahar is Carondelet Health Networks new CEO. A seasoned hospital executive, she has more than 20 years of experience in healthcare administration and served in multiple leadership positions. As announced by Carondelet Health, “Monica will provide leadership to advance Carondelet’s position as a premiere health provider for greater Tucson, delivering the highest standards of care.” Prior to her new position, Monica was chief executive officer of The Hospitals of Providence East Campus and market chief operating officer of The Hospitals of Providence in El Paso, Texas.
In addition to her new position, Vargas-Mahar is chair of the National Association of Latino Healthcare Executives and was appointed by The American Hospital Association to its Carolyn Boone Lewis Equity of Care Award Committee. She also serves on the board for Trinity University Healthcare Administration Program, Association of University Programs in Health Administration (AUPHA) and Loretto Catholic High School, and is former chair of the United Way of El Paso.
She earned her master’s degree in Healthcare Administration from Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas, and bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, Calif.
Charlotte King joins DiS Advisory Panel
Leadership America 2016 graduate, Charlotte King, has been named to Diversity in Sustainability’s (DiS) new Advisory Panel. DiS is a non-profit network focused on increasing equity, diversity and inclusion in the field of sustainability. DiS will rely on Panel members to provide strategic advice, representing the wisdom of many lived and professional experiences to help DiS build an intersectional and intergenerational approach to their organization.
As highlighted on DiS’s website, “Charlotte connects the dots between marketing communications, sustainability, public policy, UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and equity with almost 30+ years of experience working with Fortune 500 companies, multiple levels of government, educational institutions and NGOs. Applying a multidisciplinary lens, Charlotte focuses on scaling programs to deliver game-changing impacts. She has championed urban forestry, reaching millions across the U.S.; convened collaborative forums for tropical/urban forestry and a notable legislative forum following Hurricane Katrina; provided diversity training for the Atlanta Federal Reserve Bank and increased diverse forestry grantees by 30% in Georgia.”
For more, go to Diversity in Sustainability
Lisa Sherrod joins AT&T as AVP
Congratulations to Lisa Sherrod, Leadership Texas 2015 graduate, for her new position as Assistant Vice President of External Affairs for AT&T Services, Inc. In her role, Lisa will be responsible for managing stakeholder relations with the City and County of Dallas.
As highlighted in AT&T’s press release announcing Lisa’s acceptance of her position, “Previously, Lisa worked as Director of External and Community Relations for Tenet Healthcare, where she managed Tenet’s national and local community relations efforts, the Tenet Foundation, in addition to supporting government relations. Prior to her role at Tenet, she served as Outreach Director for Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson in Dallas, and for seven years worked on the Washington policy staff for two Texas delegation members.
Lisa is an alumna of Leadership Dallas and Leadership Texas programs. In 2020, Lisa chaired the UNCF North Texas Walk for Education which raises money for deserving college-bound minority students. Lisa is a member of the Dallas Chapter of The Links Inc. volunteer organization, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. and committed to a multitude of local civic efforts. She has been featured in Roll Call, Congressional Quarterly and Who’s Who In Black Dallas.”
Deanna Rodriguez to lead Entergy New Orleans, LLC
Congratulations to Deanna Rodriguez, LT’98, for her selection by Entergy Corporation to lead Entergy New Orleans, LLC, as President and CEO. Deanna is a 27-year veteran of Entergy and has served as vice president of regulatory affairs for Entergy New Orleans where she worked closely with the New Orleans City Council to launch the first Energy Smart program. The comprehensive energy efficiency plan was developed in collaboration with the New Orleans City Council and continues assisting customers today. She will assume her new role on May 9th, succeeding David Ellis.
“Throughout Deanna’s career, a common thread in her nearly three decades of success has been her understanding and expertise in how proactive and sustained stakeholder engagement can positively impact both business results and the livelihood of our customers and communities,” said Rod West, group president, utility operations for Entergy Corporation said in the companies’ press release. “Her industry experience combined with her background in regulatory affairs at Entergy New Orleans make her ideally suited to lead ENO.”
“I love New Orleans, and it is indeed a special place,” said Rodriguez. “I look forward to working with the City Council, the Mayor and other city leaders to develop programs and policy that will help us meet and exceed all of our customers’ expectations.”
Deanna holds a Master’s Degree in public affairs from the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin and a Bachelor’s Degree in Government from the University of Texas at Austin. She currently serves as Vice Chair of the Board of the Association of Electric Companies of Texas as well as on the Advisory board of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute, the Texas Senate Hispanic Research Council, the Subiendo Board for UT Austin’s School of Business and Austin PBS.
Check out Entergy’s full press release at Deanna Rodriguez Appointed President and CEO of Entergy New Orleans | Personnel Announcements | curated.tncontentexchange.com
Diversity Champion Beverly Wright
Beverley Wright, LA’05, LT’09, was featured in Plano Magazine’s April issue. The article, “Meet Beverly Wright, Diversity Champion,” highlights Beverly’s commitment to Dallas Dinner Table (DDT), an independent non-profit organization focused on improving race relations in the DFW metroplex, ONE DINNER AT A TIME. Through their organized dinners on the third Monday of January (to coincide with the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Holiday), DDT provides an opportunity to hear and share diverse perspectives about the impact of race on the daily lives of DFW residents.
Beverly heard about Dallas Dinner Table (DDT) through her participation in a local leadership development program and decided to participate. She immediately fell in love with what DDT was doing and joined the board of directors, becoming board chair in 2002.
With the help of sponsors such as the Dallas Mavericks, PepsiCo, and Frito Lay, the DDT project went virtual in 2021 as a result of the pandemic. Beverley told Plano Magazine that she is not surprised that this work is still needed in 2021, more than 20 years after the founding of DDT and 40 years after the civil rights movement. “The murder of George Floyd and related things that happened, coupled with the pandemic – people were pretty much at home and able to pay attention to things they would’ve overlooked. All those things worked together to help us understand we’re in this together,” she said.
For the full article in Plano Magazine, go to Meet Beverley Wright, Champion for Diversity – Plano Magazine For more information on Dallas Dinner Table, go to Welcome to Dallas Dinner Table – Dallas Dinner Table Dallas Dinner Table
Zenetta Drew Receives National Dance Award
Dallas Black Dance Theatre’s Zenetta S. Drew, LT’10, was awarded the Dance/USA’s 2021 ‘Ernie’ Award for her work behind the scenes as the Executive Director of DBDT for more than 30 years. As Dance/USA noted, she has “played a significant role in both DBDT’s success and in thought leadership in the arts.”
During her tenure, Dallas Black Dance Theatre has grown from an annual operating budget of $175,000 to over $4.9 million and has also grown from a community-based organization to a fully professional dance company. Annual services have grown from 30 to over 600 including national and international venues and total audience growth has increased from 20,000 to over 150,000. Under her administrative leadership, the company has performed on some of the world’s most prestigious stages including the Lincoln Center, the Kennedy Center, and the Olympics as well as performances for such luminaries as Her Majesty, the Queen and President Nelson Mandela.
Check out Dance/USA’s recent interview with Zenetta at Dance/USA — The national service organization for professional dance. (danceusa.org) And make sure you check out Dallas Black Dance Theatre’s website and Zenetta’s full bio at Executive Director – Dallas Black Dance Theatre (dbdt.com)
Krista Nightengale and The Better Block
The Better Block Foundation’s Executive Director, Krista Nightengale, LT’16, was recently featured on NBC5 in Dallas, highlighting the development of the MLK Food Park – a colorful and vibrant space in the Forest District of South Dallas during April. Designed by the Better Block as part of The Real Estate Council’s Dallas Catalyst Project, the temporary space was intended to address multiple concerns: provide much needed community space for the Forest District neighborhood, create a pop-up “incubator” for South and Southern Dallas culinary entrepreneurs, and serve as a testing ground for Dallas policy change addressing low barrier, mobile food vending options. The park was operational during weekends in April and ended on May 2nd as a test – featuring a variety of shipping container storefronts, building facades, food trailers, food trucks, and carts to further the conversation around permitting more affordable, rapidly deployable food vending options in the City of Dallas. Patrons of the food park were surveyed to help The Better Block Foundation move this project forward to potential permanency and change Dallas food policy!
Make sure you check out the NBC5 feature at https://www.nbcdfw.com/news/local/something-good/pop-up-food-park-to-open-in-south-dallas/2599103/ The mission and vision of The Better Block Foundation is available on their website.
Sheilah Clay elected as Vice Chair of The Empowerment Plan Board
Our very own LW Board Secretary, Sheilah Clay, has been elected as the Vice Chair of The Empowerment Plan Board of Directors. The Empowerment Plan works to create significant economic impact by serving as a stepping stone out of poverty into a state of stability. One of the ways they do this is by producing a durable and innovative coat that transforms into a sleeping bag – creating an employment opportunity for each person they hire to earn a stable income, find secure housing, and regain their independence.
Upon her announcement as Vice Chair, Sheilah commented, “- I am honored to have been elected Vice Chair of The Empowerment Plan Board of Directors yesterday. This is a phenomenal organization that is truly transforming the lives of homeless families by “empowering” them. You may know us best by the product we produce – the sleeping bag coat, but that coat also produces jobs and a path to economic stability.”
Sheilah, congratulations on this new position.
Plano's 2020 Citizen of the Year
Jeri Chambers, LT’2020, has been awarded Plano’s 2020 Citizen of the Year for her advocacy, the school district community and beyond. The award issued by the Plano Chamber of Commerce recognizes a Plano citizen whose personal contributions — outside of regular work duties — have over a number of years supported “the welfare and advancement of Plano,” according to the Chamber.
Jeri is currently a member of the class of Leadership Texas 2020 and serves as the board vice president of the Plano ISD. All of this while working at the Communities Foundation of Texas as the Donor Relations Officer.
This is not Jeri’s first recognition for her community impact. In 2019, she was recognized as the Collin County Woman of the Year. In receiving the award Jeri said, “I’ve been going about doing what I do in the community for a long time. It’s certainly affirming to be acknowledged for work that I was doing both as a professional and as an advocate and volunteer. I’ve been engaged in this community since we moved here in 1994. I feel very strongly that we’ve got some great things going on, and I also feel that we’ve got work to do.”
For more information, check out the Dallas Morning News.
Cynthia Conroy sworn is a Commissioner
Congratulations to LT’07 Cynthia Conroy (El Paso, Texas) for being one of three women appointed to the Governor’s Commission for Women. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott on Wednesday appointed Cynthia Conroy, director of Community Outreach, community reinvestment act officer and aide to the Chairman of Weststar, to the commission for a term set to expire on Dec. 31, 2021.
Governor Abbot has charged the commission with “developing a strategy and implementation plan to help make Texas the No. 1 state for women-owned businesses and to address the issue of human trafficking.”
Cindy has more than 12 years of academic administration and grant management experience with the University of Texas at El Paso, where she served as the Program Manager of the Environmental Science and Engineering PhD program.
For more information, check out KTSM in El Paso.
Way to go, Cindy!
Rita K. Adeniran featured in 2020 Year of the Nurse
The World Health Organization has named 2020 as the Year of the Nurse and Midwife, recognizing the “critical role they play in serving the public and to advocate for greater investment in the field.” And Drexel University is celebrating by showcasing the tremendous accomplishments of the College of Nursing and Health Professions and its alumni. So of course, they highlighted Leadership America 2017 graduate and Drexel alumni, Rita K. Adeniran, DrNP.
Growing up in a village in Nigeria, Rita admits, “I didn’t fully understand what nurses do, but I thought of them as smart and professional. I dreamed of being one of them.” She started her nursing education in Nigeria, but soon moved to the United States. “Nursing in the U.S. is everything I wanted it to be,” says Adeniran. “As a nurse, I could use my brain. I provide specialized care, advocate for patients, and leverage my critical thinking skills, working side by side with physicians and other members of the interprofessional care team for the best health outcomes.”
To read more about Rita’s passion for nursing, check out Drexel University’s magazine
Rotarian of the Year, Mary McQueen
Congratulations to Mary McQueen, LT’01, for being awarded Rotarian of the Year Award for District 5930. A visit by Ellison Crider District Governor 5930 at the RYLA meeting, 2019-2020, surprised Mary with the award. “I have to admit, I teared up. The best people in the world are Rotarians! They give of themselves to make our communities and countries better. To be honored by this amazing group is incredible,” said Mary as she recalled the special day.
Rotary is a global network of 1.2 million neighbors, friends, leaders, and problem-solvers over six continents who come together to make positive, lasting change in communities at home and abroad. Solving real problems takes real commitment and vision and our members use their passion, energy and intelligence to take action on sustainable projects. From literacy and peace to water and health, we continuously working to better our world, and we stay committed to the end. Grassroots at the core, it started with the vision of one man — Paul Harris. The Chicago attorney formed the Rotary Club of Chicago on February 23, 1905 so professionals with diverse backgrounds could exchange ideas, form meaningful lifelong friendships and give back to their communities.
Thank you Mary, for your dedication, commitment and vision!
Woman of Impact, Amy Marcus LT'15
El Paso Inc. has awarded LW Ambassador Amy Marcus with their “Women of Impact” in recognition of the many ways that she gives back to her community. Amy currently chairs the Braden Aboud Foundation’s largest program, the B Strong Shoe Giveaway, which has put more than 9,000 pairs of brand new tennis shoes on the feet of children in El Paso. Yearly, the foundation chooses schools in need to be recipients of new tennis shoes for every child on their campus.
And that is just one of the many community service projects she is involved in. She has assisted American Heart Association, El Paso Museum of Art, Paso Del Norte Allocations Committee, Leadership El Paso and Leadership Women to help women reach their full potential, and even the FBI Citizens Academy – learning how the FBI works with the local community. As a member and past president of the Junior League, she worked with the El Paso Rehabilitation Center to open a day care for special-needs children, “El Papalote” and was chairman of the Midnight Basketball program for at-risk youth, and the special-needs basketball program, Field of Miracles.
To read about Amy’s efforts with the B STRONG Shoe Giveaway and her philosophy of giving back…check out El Paso Inc.
Dallas Business Journal's Women in Business Awards
Leadership Women would like to congratulate three outstanding Leadership Women graduates for their recognition as a Dallas Business Journal’s “Women in Business Award” honoree: Trisha Cunningham (LT’10, LI’13), President and CEO, North Texas Food Bank; Lauren Hasson (LT’10, LA’19), Founder, DevelopHer; and Sheena Payne (LT’14), Director of Community Affairs, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas. “This prestigious award is given to 30 women who go above and beyond in the business and community sectors.”
The Dallas Business Journal‘s “Women in Business Awards” highlight decision makers across the metroplex that have shaped Dallas’ business community through legal and financial services, hospitality and tourism, human resources, manufacturing, civil service, nonprofits and more.
The awards will be presented virtually on Wednesday, August 19th from 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. For information on the event or tickets, click Women in Business Awards or go to https://www.bizjournals.com/dallas/
Join us as we raise a glass to toast these amazing women for their leadership and their gifts to the city of Dallas.
Managing in a Crisis - Trisha Cunningham
Trisha Cunningham, LT’10, left her 30-year career at Texas Instruments in 2017, seeking something significant for her second career. Using her tenacity for problem solving and her ability to “inspire her troops” she found what she was looking for at North Texas Food Bank.
Trisha was recently highlighted in the Dallas Morning News article, “North Texas Food Bank CEO finds a calling in second act fighting pandemic fallout.” As the article states, Trisha’s first year as CEO and President of NTFB was “a baptism by fire” with Hurricane Harvey and then the breaking ground of the NTFB’s Perot Family Campus in Plano, challenging her to bring in the final $7 million of the $55 million capital campaign. Not surprisingly, Trisha ended up surpassing the goal.
Now Trisha and the North Texas Food Bank are battling the effects of COVID-19 on hunger. On April 2 the NTFB set up a food distribution center at Fair Park. “For three hours, Cunningham, her husband and about 30 food bank employees and volunteers loaded thousands of boxes of groceries into trunks and beds of every make, model and year of vehicles driven by people of every demographic” the article states. Trisha remembers, “This was before the extra unemployment and the stimulus checks, and people didn’t know what they were going to do….just to know that we were giving them food to put on their tables was really powerful.”
Since March, the food bank has doubled its output, hired temporary workers and even brought in the National Guard to assist creating an additional $15 million needed in resources. “In January, we were distributing about 4.5 million pounds of food. In April, we distributed 9 million. And in the month of May, we distributed 11.5 million pounds of food,” Trisha says.
Check out the full article at The Dallas Morning News and visit the North Texas Food Bank for more info.
Janie Barrera & LiftFund Make a Difference
Leadership Texas 1986 graduate, Janie Barrera, President and CEO of LiftFund, has been a long-standing advocate of small business owners so it was no surprise when Texas Governor Greg Abbott announced that LiftFund and Goldman Sachs were partnering to provide $50 million in loans to small businesses in Texas impacted by COVID-19. “I thank Goldman Sachs and the LiftFund for providing this lifeline to Texas small businesses and their employees by providing them with the support they need to overcome the challenges posed by COVID-19″ stated Governor Abbott.
As a non-profit organization, headquartered in San Antonio, LiftFund helps small business owners with limited access to capital. More than 55% of LiftFund’s clients identify themselves as Hispanic, 23% as African American and 16% as White. Women comprise 38% of borrowers. And in 2019, 65% of their borrower’s were classified with low-to-moderate income levels. But LiftFund’s advocacy for small business owners transcends societal impact. As their website says, “What we do is rewarding beyond words. And knowing we are helping at the grassroots level in the communities we serve is a blessing and an honor.”
Janie Barrera has received recognition for her accomplishments, including the Small Business Administration Financial Services Advocate of the Year and the Minority Enterprise Development Consortium’s Corporate Advocate of the Year. San Antonio Business Journal listed her as one of “Twenty Defining Players: People Who Have Helped Shape the City,” and also named her as one of 2013’s “Legacy Leaders.” Janie has served on many national, state and local boards, including the Federal Reserve Board’s National Consumer Advisory Council. President Barack Obama appointed her to the President’s Advisory Council on Financial Capability and she also was named to the board of directors for the Federal Reserve of Dallas’ San Antonio Branch.
Kendra Burris Selected to Serve on LERT
Leadership Women would like to congratulate Leadership Texas 2010 graduate Kendra Burris for her selection to LERT. “The Lubbock Economic Recovery Taskforce is a diverse and experienced group of community and business leaders who all understand the impact of the Covid-19 crisis on our city,” said Mayor Pope. “Their recommendations to help the local economy will preserve both lives and livelihoods.” The LERT’s mission is to “provide guidance to the City Council on necessary actions to responsibly and safely reopen Lubbock’s economy.”
Kendra Burris, MBA, serves as the deputy chancellor for the Texas Tech University System in the Office of the Chancellor. She works closely with the chancellor, providing strategic counsel as well as developing and maintaining relationships and identifying and executing priorities to achieve the chancellor’s goals for the system. Kendra initiated the university’s first capital campaign to advance university initiatives in research, education/scholarships and outreach/patient services. Additionally, she directed the university’s communications and marketing efforts to strategically position TTUHSC as a national leader in health care education and research as well as the provider of choice in health care for the western half of Texas and eastern New Mexico.
The LERT held its first meeting on April 20, 2020 and met again on April 28th to unveil its proposed “Lubbock Safe Guidelines” to reopen local businesses. The Lubbock Safe Program is a voluntary program that businesses can apply to become “certified,” to give the public an extra sense of security that they are safe when they go inside. Certified businesses get stickers to display in their front windows. More information can be found at Lubbock Safe.
San Antonio Hall of Fame Inductees
The San Antonio Women’s Hall of Fame will honor Leadership Texas ’10 graduate, Barbara “Barbie” Scharf-Zeldes and current Leadership Texas 2020 participant, Glenda Raichlen, at their 2020 Induction Gala. These two amazing women will be celebrated along with their fellow inductees on March 13, 2020.
Barbie Scharf-Zeldes will be honored under the Law category. A San Antonio attorney, Barbie has more than 20 years of legal experience in the areas of family law and probate. In addition to having her own firm, Scharf-Zeldes Law, she also serves as the Associate Judge of the Mental Health Court for the San Antonio State Hospital and is a staff attorney for Group Legal Services. Barbie is a certified mediator, a member of the San Antonio Bar Association and the Bexar County Women’s Bar Foundation. Barbie has written numerous articles on various legal topics. She is a graduate of Brandeis University and St. Mary’s University School of Law.
Glenda Raichlen will be honored in the category of Military. Glenda retired from the Air Force after 27 years of service and traveling the world. As a career Information Technology Officer, she held a wide variety of positions at the flight, squadron and group levels. During her last ten years, she was a Deputy Group Commander followed by being a Group Commander in charge of Air Force recruiting in the northeast United States. She served in the Pentagon as well as an instructor at the Armed Forces Staff College. Selected for promotion to the rank of Colonel in 2003 her final assignment was at Scott Air Force Base as Director of software development supporting the deployment of personnel and supplies to the middle east during Iraq War. Glenda is currently is co-owner and CFO of Access Imaging Solutions in San Antonio
More info at www.sawomenshalloffame.org
2020 ATHENA Award Recipients
Congratulations to Debbie Dennis, LA’98, LT’08 and Ana I. Rodriguez, LP’13, recipients of this year’s ATHENA Award and YPL ATHENA Award, respectfully. The ATHENA Leadership Program awards, presented by the Dallas Regional Chamber, “recognize exceptional women who excel in their careers, contribute to their communities and develop women leaders.
As announced by the Dallas Chamber, “Our ATHENA® Award, presented by Wells Fargo, recipient, Debbie Dennis, is Oncor’s Chief Customer Officer and SVP Human Resources & Corporate Affairs. Debbie, a 40-year veteran of Oncor, is responsible for customer service, community relations, economic development, branding and communications, and all human resource functions, as well as the strategic direction of Oncor’s philanthropy, community involvement, and employee engagement initiatives. A proud OSU alumna, Debbie is active in the region and serves on several local boards.”
The announcement continued, “YPL ATHENA® Award, presented by Thomson Reuters, recipient Ana I. Rodriguez leads the Latino Leadership Initiative, a center of excellence at the SMU Cox School of Business designed to help meet the nation’s growing need for diverse corporate leaders as national demographics evolve. A nationally recognized nonprofit executive, speaker, and strategist, Ana serves on the Board of Directors for The Concilio and TOPACHIEVERS.”
Leadership Women would like to congratulate both Debbie and Ana for this amazing recognition!
Change Maker: Patricia Diaz Dennis
Congratulations to Patricia Diaz Dennis, former LW Board Member, for her “tenacity, courage, and commitment to achieve gender parity in positions of leadership, influence, and responsibility in the legal profession.” Patricia will be honored for her efforts with the Hortense Ward Courageous Leader Award at The Center for Women in Law’s Award Luncheon on April 17, 2020.
No stranger to advancing women through her civic and community service, Patricia served for 16 years on the Leadership Women board (formerly Foundation for Women’s Resources). She was the first Latina Board Chair for the Girl Scouts of the USA, serving on their board for nine years. In addition to being active in legal associations advancing women, she also served as a visionary delegate for Vision 2020: The Institute for Women’s Health and Leadership. Since 2013, she has chaired the Sanctions Panel for the Global Fund, whose mission is to end tuberculosis, AIDS, and Malaria world-wide. And if Patricia wasn’t busy enough, she continues to find time to be active in the San Antonio Women’s Forum.
Leadership Women commends the CWIL for recognizing the leadership and tenacity of Patricia Diaz Dennis, a change maker who has dedicated her life and career to advancing women.
To read more about the CWIL and Patricia Diaz Dennis, click here.
LT Graduate Carole Greisdorf receives Distinguished Leadership Award
Carole Greisdorf, Leadership Texas 2011 graduate, has been recognized by Leadership Plano with their Distinguished Leadership Award. In recognition for her significant and notable contributions to the betterment of the community, Carole has served as an outstanding leader in Plano for more than 25 years.
Carole is a founding member and past-president of the Sci-Tech Discovery Center, a nonprofit that promotes active exploration of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM.) She has served on the Collin County Children’s Advocacy Center Board and the Advocacy Center’s Advisory Committee. She is a lifetime member of the Texas and National PTAs, a lifetime member of the National Council of Jewish Women, and a former officer of the Board of Directors of Plano Youth Leadership.
Carole is a sustaining member of the Junior League of Collin County and is Sustaining Advisor to the JLCC Diversity and Inclusion Committee. She has also served on the President’s Sustaining Advisory Council.
A graduate of Leadership Plano, Carole served as Chair of the Executive Board. She is also a graduate of Leadership Texas. Carole served as Leadership Plano’s Program Director from 2005-2007 and again from 2014-2018.
Change Maker - Dora Brown
Dora Brown will be retiring at the end of January after 50 years in the banking business. “I have survived Breast Cancer and a stroke…the doctors are calling me a walking miracle, so I think it’s time to let the younger generation do my job.” While someone might be able to do Dora’s job, they won’t be able to replace the woman. As Chief Senior VP & Chief Marketing Manager, Dora’s responsibilities include marketing, advertising, public relations, financial literacy, and community relations for IBC Bank McAllen. But her real legacy is Minitropolis!
The brainchild of Dora and Sam Houston Elementary Principal Connie Mahawari, Minitropolis is Dora’s passion. It started with one school in McAllen, Texas in 1996. Now, the program has extended to 30 elementary schools throughout Texas. The goal of Minitropolis is to help school aged students gain a better understanding of financial literacy concepts while learning the value of leadership and responsibility that will set them up for success as adults. The program functions as a mini city within a school, where students earn money they can save and spend at local businesses within their Minitropolis. Check out IBC’s video.
The majority of these schools are in low-moderate income areas and the students get an opportunity to learn responsibilities, life skills and develop self-esteem. Dora still keeps in contact with a young student of Sam Houston Elementary and the Minitropolis program, who went on to she serve as the “IBC Bank President” in 4th grade and the “Mayor” in 5th grade. Recalling the then shy young lady, “She did not like math at all, and now she has graduated from college and received her Master’s, working for one of the top accounting firms in McAllen.”
As she reflects on her career, Dora attributes her success to her team, colleagues and community partners. Of her participation in Leadership Texas 2004 and Leadership America 2005, she says, “I met a lot of very good, intelligent and outstanding women and gained a lot of knowledge, experience and memories that will last me a lifetime.”
What does the future have in store for Dora? Travel with her husband, Joe, and spending time with her daughter, husband-in-law and 18th month grand baby girl. You deserve it, Dora!
Change Makers: LT2019 - Produces Event on National Human Trafficking Awareness Day
Congratulations to the class of Leadership Texas 2019 for producing an informational event in Austin about how women leaders can get involved to help the epidemic of Human Trafficking. Open to Leadership Texas graduates in the Austin area, about 40 women attended the January 11 event and learned information about the “Not On Our Watch” Statewide Awareness Campaign.
Several organizations discussed their strategies to increase awareness and enhance detection/identification and many plan on attending the June 25 awareness event at the State Capitol.
To report suspicious activities, call 866-347-2423. Victims of human trafficking can call 888-373-7888 or text HELP to BeFree at 233733.
- Office of the Attorney General’s Human Trafficking page
- Governor’s Child Sex Trafficking Team (CSTT)
- National Human Trafficking Hotline
- Texas Statistics, Resources and Events
- U.S. Department of Homeland Security Blue Campaign
- Join Texas Businesses Against Trafficking
- Texas Department of Transportation: Prevent Human Trafficking
- Children at Risk
LW Board Member Jodi Joyce as new CEO of Unity Care
Jodi Joyce, current LW Board Treasurer and Leadership America ’16 graduate, has been selected as Unity Care NW CEO. She will take over the position at the end of January 2020.
“I am honored to accept this role and am inspired by the vision, passion, and expertise of the individuals who make up Unity Care NW,” said Joyce.
Jodi will be leaving the University of Illinois in Chicago to relocate to Bellingham, Washington. During her time at UI Health, Jodi and her colleagues have led a large “improvement journey” that has resulted in substantial improvements in quality and patient safety. She also teaches courses on quality, safety, leadership, and change management at several of UIC’s health sciences schools. Jodi’s former roles include Vice President for Quality & Patient Safety at Legacy Health, a six-hospital system based in Portland, Oregon, and co-founder and Chief Operating Officer for Kaiser Permanente’s Care Management Institute.
LW Board Member, Sheilah Clay, Receives Honorary Degree
Leadership Women Board Member and Leadership America ’14 graduate, Sheila Clay was recently awarded the honorary degree of Doctor of Humanities Honoris Causa from Oakland University in recognition of her outstanding achievements as the former president and CEO of Detroit’s Neighborhood Service Organization.
In their announcement, The University of Oakland noted, “she serves as a role model for those who aspire to be leaders in community service and healthcare, with her tremendous efforts to address homelessness and mental health issues.” Under her leadership, the historic Bell Building was converted into permanent housing for homeless and other vulnerable populations.
Leadership Women could not be more proud Sheilah’s incredible accomplishments and highly deserving recognition.
EWTG Women of the Year: Audrey Selden
Leadership Women would like to congratulate Audrey Selden for being selected as Executive Women in Texas Government’s Woman of the Year for 2019. Presented at EWTG’s Annual Conference each November, the Woman of the Year award “recognizes an individual woman who has distinguished herself in EWTG, her profession, and her community.”
Audrey Selden is an innovative public speaker, attorney, teacher and facilitator. Audrey served as the Texas Assistant Secretary of State and Deputy Commissioner for the Texas Department of Insurance, Compliance Division. She consults with educational institutions and government agencies regarding equity, leadership and diversity and inclusion. In 2016, Audrey was an invited presenter at the White House Conference on Inclusive STEM Education for Youth of Color.
Audrey is a 1992 graduate of Leadership Texas, a 2004 Leadership America graduate and has completed five Leadership Women International programs. She currently serves on the Leadership Women Philanthropic Planning Council and is a LW Board Emeritus.
Check out EWTG’s Woman of the Year page for the soon to be released video highlighting Audrey’s career.
LT'19 Classmates Work Together to Make a Difference
LT’19 graduates, Dr. Andrea Tawney with Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center in El Paso and Christine Kutnick with The Caring Foundation of Texas are working together on a new partnership that will help the residents in West Texas.
This unique collaboration will mobilize the TTUHSC El Paso medical students and faculty and move them to the areas where the uninsured and under-insure live, pray, and work where they will provide preventive healthcare services. The Caring Foundation of Texas, where Christine serves as COO, is providing the van and covering the cost of mobilizing the students and equipment. Way to make a difference!!!!
For more information, check out The Caring Foundation of Texas’ website.
Saint Frances Healthcare has a new CEO: Sally Deitch
Dallas-based Tenet Healthcare, the parent company of Saint Francis Hospital, announced in October that Sally Deitch, LT’00, will be chief executive over the Memphis market and Saint Francis’ hospitals. As reported in the Memphis Business Journal, Deitch has been Tenet’s chief nursing officer and VP of patient care services since May 2018. “With both a strong clinical and operational background, I am confident that Sally is the perfect leader to coordinate and enhance the service offerings of our Mid-South Group and Memphis market,” Dr. Saum Sutaria, Tenet’s COO, said in the Oct. 15 press release.
Texas Women's Foundation Recognizes Jennifer Stimpson, LT'13
Congratulations to scientist, entrepreneur, and educator Jennifer Stimpson, LT’13 for being recognized as a Woman Helping Women among the Texas Women’s Foundation’s 2020 Maura Award recipients — while teaching at The Hockaday School, serving as an IF/THEN ambassador, advising Girl Scouts of Northeast Texas on STEM, and earning her doctorate at the University of Pennsylvania. Outstanding! Read more about Jennifer at The Leadership Awards and Forum site.
LA'16 Graduate, Tiffany Masson, to lead new Kansas Health Science Center
Tiffany Masson has been named the president of the Kansas Health Science Center, a new $75-million medical school project in Wichita. As the former Chicago Campus Dean and Online Studies Dean for The Chicago School of Professional Psychology, the move to KHSC is a move within the TCS Education System. In a recent article, Tiffany mentioned that her immediate attention, as it relates to building a college of medicine, will be to focus on the community of Wichita. She noted, “at the end of the day, if our goal is to be able to make a community impact, we have to listen to the community.” Congratulations Tiffany!
BCBSTX Presents Donation to Paseo del Norte Foundation
Recently members of Blue Cross Blue Sheild of Texas, including LT’14 graduate Sheena Payne, visited with Tracy Yellen, LT’19, to learn how the Paseo del Norte Foundation was addressing the El Paso shooting victums’ needs after the horrific event. Yellen, CEO of the Foundation, spoke of the lessons they learned, the procedures they have put in place to disperse funds, and the additional needs of the community. Sheena Payne recognized the work of the Paseo del Norte Foundation by presenting the Foundation with a generous donation from BCBSTX, which will directly impact the victims. #ElPasoStrong
Federal Reserve Bank Promotes Katherine Sedgwick, LT'18
The Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas has promoted Katherine Sedgwick to Vice President of Financial Management. Previously serving as the Assistant Vice President, joined the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas in 2011 as an accountant within the corporate accounting function and was promoted to manager of accounting policy and operations in 2012. She transitioned to management of the strategic risk management team in 2013 and was promoted to director in 2015. She played a key role in the establishment of the District Project Management Office and has become a significant contributor to the System’s risk and controls efforts. In 2016, Katherine was promoted to Financial Management Officer and assumed additional responsibility over the budget and cost accounting function. She earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in accounting from the University of North Texas, graduating with summa cum laude honors and is a member of the Leadership Texas Class of 2018.
El Paso Inc. Women of Impact Honoree - Aliana Apadaca, LT'15
The El Paso Inc. Women of Impact honorees were announced on August 18th, recognizing six El Paso women who have made significant and positive impact on the El Paso Community! Leadership Women would like to congratulate Leadership Texas 2015 graduate Aliana Apadaca on receiving this year’s award for “taking actions that impact the world.” “Super proud of her,” added LW Regional Ambassador Amy Lait Marcus.
As President of Positive Directions, Aliana helps people, organizations and communities inspire change through speaking engagements and conferences. In addition, she is also the founder of the Southwest Women’s Leadership Institute and Latinas 100; two organizations dedicated to furthering the leadership capabilities of women and providing them tools for networking and professional development. Her friend Dan Olivas told El Paso Inc., “Aliana gets up every morning thinking, ‘How can I improve the city? How can I help someone take a step forward in meeting their destiny?”
You can read more about Aliana and the Women of Impact Awards on El Paso Inc.’s website.
Dianne Dorsett, LT'13, LA'14, Receives Lifetime Achievement Award
Leadership Women honors 2013 Leadership Texas graduate and 2014 Leadership America graduate, Dianne Dorsett, for her Lifetime Achievement award presented by the San Antonio Business Journal in conjunction with their 2019 Women’s Leadership Awards. The San Antonio Business Journal recognized Dianne with the award for her years of commitment to Methodist Healthcare Ministries.
In 1995, Dianne was hired as Methodist Healthcare Ministries first employee, helping to build the newly formed non-profit from scratch before it has a name, mission or CEO. As highlighted by the San Antonio Business Journal, Methodist Healthcare Ministries of South Texas continues to provide funding and access to support uninsured and low-income families across a 74-county area.
After nearly 25 years with Methodist Healthcare Ministries, Dianne prepares to step down as the board liaison. She told the San Antonio Business Journal, “There will be some sadness. But I’m ready,” Dorsett said. “I’ve been afforded the privilege of selecting my time to leave. I was told I could stay as long as I wanted. That gave me the comfort to make the decision I needed to make.”
Woman of the Year: Erika Prosper Nirenberg, LT'15
The San Antonio Business Journal has awarded Erika Prosper Nirenberg, LT’15, as their Women of the Year as part of the 2019 Women’s Leadership Awards. Way to go, Erika! Recognized as a business executive, San Antonio Hispanic Chamber of Commerce board member and the city’s First Lady, Erika has overcome many obstacles in her life. They “allowed me to move forward as a leader because I don’t get stuck in a spiral of panic,” she told the San Antonio Business Journal.
Erika, who is the Senior Director of Consumer Insights for H-E-B, became one of the most active board chairs during her tenure with the Hispanic Chamber, all while supporting her husband (San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg) and his goals for the city. And if that wasn’t enough, she created RISE (Rising & Inspiring Successful Entrepreneurs), a program that seeks to give parents tools to teach their children entrepreneurial soft skills such as financial literacy and problem solving. RISE is a program that Erika conceived and brought to life.
As board chair of the Hispanic Chamber, Erika helped to quantify the value of women in San Antonio in the workplace and in the home by commissioning studies economists from St. Mary’s University. “I’ve learned over the years that you cannot ask society to just empathetically value women,” she said. “We do so much, and we are so much a part of everything. … So I thought that it was important to size the value [of women] because I think that if you’re asking people nowadays to pay attention to something that you have to give them a number,” noted Erika.
Sheree Boegner honored as Jefferson Award Recipient
Sheree Boegner, LT’18, was recently honored at the George Bush Library in College Station, Texas as founder and organizer of the annual Sassy Shoe Social, benefiting awareness of those dealing with domestic abuse. For her community work, Sheree is one of the a recipients of the national Jefferson Awards for Public Service presented by the American Institute for Public Service. The Institute, created by Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Senator Robert Taft and Sam Beard, presented the first awards in 1973. Local citizens have been honored since 2004. Check out the amazing article and video by KBTX-TV3 in Bryan/College Station about Sheree’s role as community leader and loyal advocate, which is driven by her passion for helping others.
Cynthia Pearson inducted into the Hardin-Simmons 2019 Hall of Leaders
Hardin-Simmons University in Abilene recently recognized the 2019 Hall of Leaders inductees at its annual Hall of Leaders Luncheon. Leadership Texas 2010 graduate, Cynthia Pearson was one of four inductees, chosen from current and former students, faculty and staff who “exemplify leadership, service and are people of character.” Recognized for her community leadership, Cynthia is a non-profit executive and current CEO and President of Day Care Nursery in Abilene. Read more about Cynthia and her accomplishments on her HSU graduate page. Learn more about all of the inductees and the luncheon by reading HSU’s Induction article.
Savita Raj, LT'16 joins Girl Scouts of the USA
Starting in July, Savita Raj, LT’16, will head from Austin to New York to serve as the Vice President of Community Engagement & National Partnerships for Girl Scouts of the USA. Stepping down as Executive Director of the Texas Alliance for Minorities in Engineering (TAME) after nine years in the position, she posted on the organizations website, “There is no easy way to say goodbye.” Savita continued, “The work of TAME is very close to my heart, and I won’t be traveling far. In fact, you’ll probably see me volunteering at the State STEM Competitions over the next few years! Meanwhile, in my new position as Vice President of National Partnerships and Community Engagement with the Girl Scouts of the USA, I will be working to strengthen an ecosystem of opportunity that supports all of our young people.”
Since 1976, TAME has been working to build a strong STEM workforce that reflects Texas: more women and more minorities contributing to their communities and to the world through STEM careers. They wish Savita all the best in her new position, asking those who knew her to share a memory or leave her a note on their website. “We are grateful for her years of effort and cannot wait to see what she will do next!”
Leadership Women knows that Savita will make an impact at Girl Scouts and we also extend our best wishes to her. To read Savita’s full “goodbye” letter to TAME, click here.
Zenobia Edwards, LA'18, recognized for reaching beyond the classroom.
Recent Leadership America graduate, Zenobia Edwards, is an educator in Darlington County, but to her community, she is so much more. Recognized in a recent article by WMBF News, Zenobia reflects, “When I walk through the door every day, I want to create something. I want to solve issues for students because I know that there’s going to be some.”
As a Science teach and later as an administrator, Zenobia wanted to remove the stigma associated with alternatives schools, so in 1999, she created the first comprehensive alternative school in Darlington County. “I don’t want them to feel like this is the end. This isn’t a dumping ground. This is an opportunity to recreate yourself, flip the script, for you to take the negativity and turn it around,” she said.
And when her students still felt as if they couldn’t do it, or if they felt unworthy, Zenobia took another step. She and her sister, Tina Woodward (LA’18), created a community organization called I am B.E.A.U.T.I.F.U.L. in 2004. Centered on building self-esteem the acronym stands for Brave, Energetic, Assertive, Unique, Tenacious, Important, Fabulous, Unequaled and Loved. Offering training support, tools and resources to help girls ages 6-18, I am B.E.A.U.T.I.F.U.L. also focuses on STEM and has partnered with the Governors School for math and science.
As WMBF News reported, “Her tireless work, effort and compassion to help students and young girls reach their full God-given potential in life is why Edwards thrives.” Check out their full report at She Thrives.
To learn more about I am B.E.A.U.T.I.F.U.L, click HERE.
Dallas Business Journal Minority Business Award Honoree
Congratulations to Leadership America 2014 graduate Amy Stewart for her nomination and recognition as one of the twenty-five 2019 Minority Business Leader Award honorees who were honored on February 12, 2019. As noted by the Dallas Business Journal, this year’s honorees “represented a variety of industries and roles, in addition to displaying an excellent track record of community service.”
Amy is one of the Founding Partners of Stewart Law Group, a minority and woman-owned litigation boutique in Texas. Also certified by the National Association of Women and Minority Owned Law Firms, Stewart Law Group brings a culturally diverse perceptive to the legal practice.
In addition to her recent award, Amy was elected to the Dallas Bar Association’s Board of Directors as a Director-At-Large in January.
Leadership Lessons from Colleen Brinkmann and the North Texas Food Bank
Make sure you add Colleen Brinkmann’s new book, “Moonshot Leadership: Catalyzing an Enduring Nonprofit Brand (Against All Odds)” on your reading list. The former chief philanthropy officer of the North Texas Food Bank shares in her book how she went from a childhood in India to successfully leading a $55 million capital campaign.
Our very own Leadership Texas 2010 graduate recently chatted with D Magazine’s Frontburner to discuss her motivation for the book, her tenure with the NTFB, the loss of Jan Pruitt (LT’09, LA’12), and her salute to fellow LT’10 classmate Trisha Cunningham.
Check out the full interview and Colleen’s plans for the future at D Magazine Online.
Lissner Medal Awarded to LA'18 graduate Dr. Jennifer Wayne
We are excited to announce that 2018 Leadership America graduate, Jennifer Wayne, PhD, was selected as the 2019 recipient of the H.R. Lissner Medal from the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME).
Jennifer is a professor in the Virginia Commonwealth University Department of Biomedical Engineering. She is the first woman recipient of the Lissner Medal and the first recipient from VCU, in recognition for her outstanding achievements in development of new computational tools for understanding the biomechanics of joints and effects of injuries and surgical procedures, for training medical and bioengineering professionals and her service to the organization.
Fellow LW graduate, Dr. Barbara Boyan, LT’88, LA’89, the Alice T. and William H. Goodwin Jr. Dean of the College of Engineering praised Jennifer’s accomplishment. “The recognition of Dr. Wayne’s contributions to the field of biomedical engineering is well deserved. Like the Lissner Medal winners in the past, she has dedicated her career to the application of cutting edge biomechanics in order to better understand conditions that affect the musculoskeletal system and how to best treat these conditions. At the same time, Dr. Wayne has been an outstanding educator, not only of VCU’s undergraduate engineering students, but also surgery residents and fellows in orthopaedics, as well as graduate students in biomedical engineering,”
Check out a video of her Orthopaedic Research Laboratory.
Impact at the State Level
Recently appointed to the Board of Social Work Examiners, Leadership Texas 2011 graduate Megan Graham, recalls when she came back from each of her LT sessions on fire and eager to part of the solution to the issues facing the state. “A few years ago, I decided I make an impact on the state level, so I got my application together for the Board of Social Work Examiners. This was possible because of Leadership Texas!”
Encouraged to apply for Leadership Texas by ’95 LT graduate Nancy Neal, Nancy was also the first reference on her application list. “Thanks in part, to this LT sister’s support, I am honored to have been appointed by the Governor to a four year term,” notes Megan.
Returning from her first weekend on the Board of Social Work Examiners, Megan says, “I have already learned so much about the process of licensing and accreditation for social workers. I am excited to be part of helping our government run as effectively as possible.”
Megan exclaims, “I truly believe that my time with Leadership women and my connections to women of leadership have allowed me to continue on a grander scale to the service for which I feel called. Thank you for your work to empower and motivate women.”
EWTG Woman of the Year
Leadership Women congratulates, 2016 Leadership Pipeline and 2018 Leadership Texas graduate Shalyn Bridges for her recognition as EWTG’s 2018 Women of the Year! Executive Women in Texas Government (EWTG) recognizes one outstanding member as “Woman of the Year” who demonstrates excellence in her personal and professional life, as well as commitment to the community. This distinguished member is judged across five categories including: educational achievements, career accomplishments, participation in EWTG, community involvement and overall leadership qualities.
As noted in the December edition of the EWTG Star, “Shalyn Bridges, met and exceeded the expectations to earn this prominent award. Shalyn was born in Galveston County, Texas and grew up in La Marque, Texas. She currently serves as a Senior Paralegal & Law Librarian working for the Texas Legislative Council. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in History & Politics from Cornell College and a Master of Library and Information Science degree from The University of Texas at Austin. Shalyn is a Certified Paralegal and a certified etiquette consultant. She is an active member of EWTG, serving since 2009 on various committees and as a board member during 2017 and 2018. In addition to her membership with EWTG, she serves the community through the Austin Junior Forum, The State Agency Libraries of Texas and is the owner & instructor of the Bridges Etiquette & Academics, LLC. ”
Of her participation in Leadership Texas 2018, Shalyn reflects as her number-one take-away, “The things that divide us might seem big and complicated, but they are outnumbered by the values we have in common. Common ground is the starting point to finding solutions.”
For more information on the EWTG and Shalyn’s recognition, check out EWTG’s website.
Karen Howard....Madam President
Leadership Texas 2016 graduate Karen Howard has been elected as the new President of Executive Women in Texas Government starting in January 2019. Most recently, Karen served as EWTG’s Vice President and assumes the President-Elect position vacated by Tanya Skaarup (LT’14). Leadership Women wishes Karen a truly successful year!
Karen Howard has been employed with the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts Office for over 34 years. She currently is a Supervisor and Training Coordinator in Tax Policy/Taxpayer Services Division. She manages over 30 employees in a call center environment. Prior to Karen moving to the Tax Policy division, she worked in the Revenue Administration division for more than 33 years. In addition, she serves on several panels and committees. A few of her accomplishments include; Special Events Coordinator for the Taxpayer Services and Revenue Processing Division and Vice President and Secretary of Black American Comptroller Employees (BACE). She earned the title of “Certified Trainer” for her diligent work in developing training manuals and facilitating training classes for Revenue Processing and Revenue Administration. Karen was also the Electronic Content Management System (ECMS) Transition Team Chair. In 2009, Karen started her tenure with EWTG as a volunteer on the Conference Program Committee. She enjoyed being a volunteer; and shortly thereafter became the Conference Program Committee Chair. She has currently held that position for 4 years. To further expand her knowledge and networking skills, Karen accepted the position on the 2015 EWTG Board of Director as the Mini Course Director. In addition, Karen was nominated to the 2016 EWTG Board of Director as the Program Director.
Women In Business
We are proud to announce that the October Issue of Arlington Today features recent 2018 Leadership America graduate, Mary German (center). As Chief Operating Officer of the Arlington Convention & Visitors Bureau, and the Executive Director, Travel & Sports Legacy Foundation, she has been instrumental in developing innovative programs that benefit the city of Arlington, Texas. As noted, “there’s rarely a day that the 26-year ACVB veteran isn’t busy helping enhance the appeal of the city to folks who visit.”
Mary created the Travel & Sports Legacy Foundation, the 501c3 non-profit charitable arm of the Arlington Convention & Visitors Bureau. The foundation is an innovative and solution-driven program that focuses on assisting youth with educational attainment, financial support and career opportunities in travel, tourism and sports management, and providing workforce solutions for tourism industry employers.
“I’m inspired by many world and local leaders whose vision and good deeds have had an indelible impact on civilization and the communities they serve,” she says. “I try to create opportunities for innovation and growth, strive for excellence and lead with integrity and honor.”
For more check out Arlington Today’s October Issue.
Neighborhood Service Organization Names Linda Little President & CEO-Elect
Congratulations to Leadership America 2017 graduate, Linda Little, for her recent appointment as the President and Chief Executive Officer-Elect for Neighborhood Service Organization (NSO), one of Michigan’s leading social service agencies. Current NSO President & CEO, LW Board Member and Leadership America 2014 graduate, Sheilah Clay will retire on December 31, 2018, after 18 years at the helm of NSO.
In their October 1 press release, NSO Board President Richard Lichtenstein said, “I want to praise Sheilah Clay for the extraordinary dedication, knowledge and leadership that she has compassionately provided to NSO over the past 22 years. Finding an executive with industry specific experience to follow her lead was no easy task.”
Dr. Lichtenstein added, “We are pleased that Linda Little has joined our agency as President and CEO-Elect. Linda’s deep experience in clinical healthcare, behavioral health, care management, education and financial management is unparalleled in this marketplace. Importantly, her previous involvement as an NSO Board member and her dedication to our mission make her uniquely qualified.”
Leadership Women also congratulates Sheilah Clay for her dedication and commitment to NSO. We wish her nothing but success in her next chapter!
One woman's fight for New Orleans' future
As part of a two-year tricentennial celebration, the Times-Picayune and NOLA.com embarked on a celebration of 300 events that shaped New Orleans, and 300 people who have made it a better place. One such person…Leadership America 2017 graduate, Melissa Sawyer!
Melissa’s work with the Youth Empowerment Project (YEP) was focused in “Just say YEP: One woman’s fight for New Orleans’ future.” A native of Canada, Melissa came to New Orleans in 1998 with Teach for America and left two years later to get a Master’s degree from Harvard. She would later return to work for the Juvenile Justice under the Post Disposition Project to get young people out of jail. The article on NOLA.com states, “Sawyer realized there were no programs to help kids when they returned to their communities and tried to get an education so they could find work.” Thus YEP was born.
When asked why she stays in New Orleans, Melissa was quoted, “”Seeing for the first time the amount of dire poverty and the inequitable distribution of wealth in New Orleans was so staggering. I think that’s why I’m still here, quite frankly. We have so much work that we need to do. I don’t feel like I’ve played a big enough role in trying to make it better.” Read more at NOLA.com.
LT Impact: The Value of Mentorship
Alyssa Cervantes, LT’16, Associate Managing Director at Texas Tech Health Sciences Center in El Paso, met America Adame during her Leadership Texas year. After America shared her story during a presentation at Amarillo College, Alyssa introduced herself. She saw the opportunity to show America that she could triumph and succeed in spite of life’s obstacles – and she has served as her mentor ever since. Alyssa challenged America to make good on her promise to graduate from college and as her mentor, she would accompany her every step of the way in her journey, to ensure that America reached every milestone and accomplishment that she dreamed to reach.
America graduated with a bachelor’s degree this past May, but Alyssa continues to mentor and guide her. “I remind her regularly that she is my role model, and one day, will tell her story to so many more young ladies who need to hear it. I know that one day soon, she will trade places with me, and will mentor young ladies just like herself,” adds Alyssa.
Leadership Women applauds Alyssa for exhibiting real leadership in action and for her commitment to mentoring America.
Anna Roach Fulton County's new COO
Leadership America 2018 graduate, Anna Roach, has just been named the new COO of Fulton County in Georgia.
The Atlanta Business Chronicle reported, “Fulton County Manager Dick Anderson has promoted the county’s chief strategy officer, Anna Roach, to become Fulton’s new chief operating officer. Roach has worked for Fulton County for five years. Before that, she spent 14 years as a criminal defense attorney and as a consultant to various government agencies, including MARTA, the Georgia Division of Aging Services and the city of East Point, Ga.”
“Anna’s leadership and acumen as an administrator made her a natural fit for this role,” Anderson said. “She is an innovator whose contributions to Fulton County have already accelerated our progress in areas of behavioral health, justice and performance management. I look forward to her continued success in this new role.”
STEM Award at Murray State Honors 2 LW Board Members
The Murray State University TSM (Technology Solutions Management) program announced a new award to be given to women in technology. They have named it the Lana Garner Porter Award for Women in Technology to honor Lana Porter who has been a Murray State alumnae and has had an illustrious career in technology including AT&T and Ameritech Library Systems (the world’s largest provider of software for libraries).
The first honoree of this award is another Murray State alumnae, Trisha Cunningham, who had a 30 year career at Texas Instruments and rose through this technical company serving in many marketing capacities and was the Chief Citizen Officer before retiring in 2016. Since then, she has become the CEO of North Texas Food Bank, one of the tenth largest food banks in the country.
LW congratulates Board members Lana and Trisha!
United Way Award to Carolyn Schmies
Congratulations to Carolyn Schmies, LW Ambassador, for receiving the Barbara Ann Kazen Award from the United Way of Laredo Board of Directors in recognition of her volunteer spirit.
The Barbara Ann Kazen Award was created to recognize an individual who brings hope for a brighter tomorrow and faithfully gives of themselves to care, love and advocate for those less fortunate. Carolyn is on the Board of Directors of Literacy Volunteers (LVA), working to help hundreds of non-reading adults by developing fundraisers such as the “Adult Spelling Bee.” She has also developed fundraising programs at Laredo Community College to support the United Way.
LW Graduate Featured in Dallas Morning News
Beverley Wright, LA’05, LT’09, was recently featured in the May 1, 2018 issue of the Dallas Morning News, sharing her insights in starting her Coaching Business, Wright Choice Group, later in life.
Beverley states, “I see potential in people and I enjoy bringing that to the forefront.” And while her business allows her to coach business leaders in the areas of healthcare, financial services and transportation, she has also coached emerging leaders in our Leadership Pipeline program. LW would like to thank Beverley for her continued support of LW programs, her wisdom and leadership savvy.
Check out the full article here.
The Hospitals of Providence Announce New CEO of Transmountain Campus
Tasha Hopper, LT’18, is the new CEO of The Hospitals of Providence Transmountain hospital campus. She replaces Nicholas Tejeda, who recently was promoted to Providence’s El Paso Market CEO. Hopper, a registered nurse, has worked for Providence for 20 years. She previously was chief operating officer for the Transmountain campus, and oversaw construction of the hospital, which opened in 2017. She received her Bachelor’s degree in nursing, and Master’s degree in nursing administration from the University of Texas at El Paso.
This just in...LT 2014 Graduate Wins City Council Race
Canadian, Texas held a City Council Election on May 5th with Leadership Texas 2014 graduate and political newcomer, Wendie Cook, taking one of the three open seats available. As the results rolled in, Wendie posted, “A giant thank you to Canadian for giving me an opportunity to work for you. It will be my honor to do so. Now, it’s time for the work to begin. Cheers to our bright future!”
It's Official....Solis is El Paso's New Judge Elect for the 243rd District
LT 2012’s Selena Solis has officially announced that she is the Judge Elect for the 243rd District Court seat. Selena wrote on her campaign Facebook page, “It’s finally official! I’m the Judge Elect for the 243rd District Court. I am honored to continue my service in this capacity to El Paso, one of the best communities in the state! A heartfelt thank you for all your support. I can’t tell you how excited I am to be the sole nominee in the general election.”
Do you know of a LW graduate that has recently been promoted, received an award or been otherwise recognized as an outstanding leader? Please let us know!
Changing the Face of Government
Leadership Women would like to recognize and thank the following graduates for running for political office and to those that continue to serve.
- Missy Bender (LT’12), Board of Trustees, Plano Independent School District, Texas
- Katherine Cabaniss (LA’13) – 248th Criminal Court, Harris County, Texas
- Anette Carlisle (LT’03, International ’17) – Amarillo College Board of Regents, Texas; Community College Association of Texas Trustees Board
- Ann-Marie Carruth (LT’18) – GOP Candidate for Lubbock Justice of the Peace, Precinct #4, Texas
- Wendie Cook (LT’14) – Canadian City Council Member
- Christi Kennedy (LT’17) – Judge of the 114th District Court, Smith County, Texas
- Mercy Murguia (LA’14) – Commissioner Precinct Two, Potter County, Texas
- Kim Olson, Col USAF, ret. (LA’15) – 2018 Democratic Nominee, Texas Commissioner of Agriculture
- Selena Solis (LT’12) – Judge Elect, 243rd District Court, El Paso, Texas
- Randa Trapp (LA’97) – Judge of the Superior Court of San Diego County in California
- Celina Vasquez (LT’13, LA’14) – Candidate for Justice of the Peace, Precinct 4, Brazos Valley, Texas