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September 2012 Newsletter
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EWTG Banner with Members
EWTG STAR
In This Issue
President's Corner

EWTG July Luncheon Announcement

A Look at the San Marcos Conference Facilities
Legislative Update
Community Service Update
EWTG Star
August  Mini-Course Recap
New and Renewing Members
Quick Links
 
 
Quarterly Scholarships
EWTG scholarships are awarded on a quarterly basis to those wanting an opportunity for professional advancement or personal growth. All interested members are encouraged to apply; financial need is not a factor. Take a moment to treat yourself to a course you have been putting off or a conference you would love to attend.
 
Guidelines for qualifying for a scholarship and applications are available on the EWTG website at ewtg.org. The Scholarship Committee will accept applications for this quarter until 5:00 p.m. on September 30, 2012. 
EWTG Board Meetings
The EWTG Board holds its monthly meetings at the Carver Library in Austin on the third Wednesday of each month from 5:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. The agenda for each meeting will be posted on EWTG's website by noon on the Monday before the meeting.
 
A summary of the board meeting minutes is also posted on the website.

Kathryn Harris, Editor
Communications Director

Committee Volunteers Needed 
Please look over the Committee Descriptions on the EWTG website and consider becoming more active in the organization.
 
Participating on a committee is a great way to support EWTG, learn new skills and to meet other interesting executive women. As with so many things, "the more you give, the more you get."
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September 2012
 
President's Corner - September 2012 
 
Carolyn J. Fry, President 
 

Carolyn J. Fry

 
Have You...   
 
Have you participated in one of our Community Service Projects or attended one of the Educational Events this year? If you haven’t, you’ve missed great opportunities to serve in our community and great opportunities to learn and enhance your knowledge and skills. 
 
Del Randall chairs our Community Service Committee, and she and her committee have worked diligently to plan and coordinate outstanding community service projects this year. These projects provide you an opportunity to serve in our community on behalf of EWTG. Community service is a “volunteer” in action. An individual who participates in community service is volunteering their time, efforts, and skills and is also making a commitment to others who have a need or a mission. Time is a precious gift to give but giving from your heart in service to others makes you prosperous!

Volunteering at one of our EWTG community service projects helps keep you and EWTG connected with our community. You may never know how you have impacted someone’s life. Thank you, Del and your committee, for volunteering your time and efforts in planning opportunities for EWTG to make a difference in our community! Several community projects included:
 
·         Capital Area Food Bank - In May and June, the EWTG Community Service Committee collected healthy, non-perishable food from EWTG members for the Capital Area Food Bank of Texas (CAFB) to help provide meals to those in need. 
 
·         For the Children - For the Children is a volunteer-run organization where 100% of the donations go to purchase school supplies to place in the hands of Austin area elementary school children. In August, EWTG members helped to distribute much needed school supplies to designated elementary school representatives.
 
Mindy Eppler Wilkins chaired our Education Events Committee this year until she relocated to Oregon. Mindy and her committee planned a number of new and exciting educational events. EWTG educational events provide opportunities for members to learn about our history and community and to enhance their skills. Thank you, Mindy and your committee, for your time and efforts in planning new and exciting educational events! Several education events included: 
 
·         Ballet Austin Studio Spotlight - Members and guests enjoyed an informal tour that gave a behind-the-scenes look at choreography and elements from an upcoming production while it was still in the works.
 
·         Texas Music Museum, Inc. - Take a walk through Texas Music History! Members and guests toured the Texas Music Museum here in Austin. The tour included two Texas music history exhibits – an extended Austin spotlight exhibit: "Contributions of East Austin African-American Musicians to Texas Music" and the "Tejano Music: Spotlight on Austin."
 
·         Harry Ransom Center Tour - Members and guests participated in a guided tour of the Harry Ransom Center. The Ransom Center houses 36 million literary manuscripts, one million rare books, five million photographs, and more than 100,000 works of art on seven floors. The Center has a reading room for scholars and galleries which display rotating exhibitions of works and objects from the collections. The tour included the Gutenberg Bible, the first substantial book printed from movable type on a printing press and the exhibit, "The King James Bible: Its History and Influence.”
 
·         Story Circle Network - “Getting to Know Ourselves: The Power of Story.” This event, a mini-writing workshop, provided members an opportunity to hear Jeanne Guy, who, after a successful 25-year career in office management and business development, re-storied her life and uses her experience and insight to inspire others to write their stories.
 
Thank you Community Service and Educational Events Committees!
 
 
         
 
 

September 26th Luncheon Featuring
Dan R. Bullock
"Creative Leadership - What Do We Do Monday!"



By: Denice Bettencourt, Program Director
 
EWTG will welcome Dan R. Bullock as our guest luncheon speaker on September 26, 2012. For 30 years a banker, investment, and finance manager, he is now a leadership consultant, public speaker, and singer/songwriter. His significant current community affiliations include the Headliners Club, The Witliff Collections, Greenlights, Forklift Dance Company, AMOA/Arthouse and the Blanton Art Museum. Mr. Bullock was the first named outstanding alumnus of Leadership Austin. He is the founding chair of Austin’s nationally-recognized Adopt-A-School Program (now Partners in Education). Mr. Bullock was the past director of the Governor’s Office of Community Leadership and the St. David’s Healthcare Foundation. His past board service includes the Austin Symphony, Austin Museum of Art, Greater Austin Chamber, Headliners Club, Leadership Austin, Ronald McDonald House, Seton Cove, Umlauf Sculpture Garden, Wild Basin Wilderness, and Zach Theatre.
 
Dan Bullock’s community leadership efforts have been recognized in the Austin American-Statesman, Austin Business Journal, Dallas Morning News, Southwest Airlines Magazine, Texas Business Magazine, and Texas Monthly.
 
Register here to join EWTG member and friends for this insightful and dynamic program on the topic of creative leadership. The luncheon is held at the Austin Woman’s Club at 708 San Antonio Street (ample, free parking is available off of Nueces). Networking begins at 11:30 a.m. and lunch – a delicious entrée, salad, vegetables, rolls, dessert, tea, and coffee - will be served at 11:45 a.m. The program starts at noon and concludes at 1:00 p.m. The cost is $20 for EWTG members and $25 for guests
 
 

A Look at the San Marcos Conference Facilities...

By: Lora Weber, Conference Facilities Committee Member
 
Three members of the Conference Facilities Committee and 20-year veterans of EWTG conferences – Teri Flack, Jan Thomas, and I (Lora Weber) – toured the location of this year’s EWTG Conference for the first time in early August. Frankly, we were quite pleasantly surprised.
 
Who knew there was such a gorgeous and spacious conference center and spa just down the road near the San Marcos outlet malls? You simply could not ask for better in terms of facilities and amenities. The beautiful, large sleeping suites in the hotel can easily accommodate two, three, even four people. We would highly recommend grabbing a friend or two to come to the reception on Sunday and stay overnight for the conference the next day. In fact, consider coming earlier to enjoy the spa, too. It was lovely and serene and much larger than expected. Even though the spa is just a step off the main lobby, it is like entering another world once inside its doors – a soothing retreat to relax and enjoy.
 
 
 
The conference center space was amazing. We’ve never seen such a large main ballroom before! The “junior” ballroom will give exhibitors room to spread out and still leave attendees plenty of space to maneuver among them. Corridors throughout the conference center are much wider than usual to reduce congestion in moving from room to room – even if there are exhibits outside the rooms. Teri, in particular, was pleased to see that all the meeting rooms were so well-equipped, since she will be coordinating speaker needs such as microphones, projectors, and screens.
 
Jan is heading up arrangements for the reception on Sunday, and she could not have been happier with the space in which we will hold that event. The large open area near registration offers intimacy as well as spaciousness – the perfect atmosphere for networking and just enjoying one another’s company. She left the tour energized with enthusiasm for putting together our best reception yet!
 
I volunteered to coordinate the food since eating is one of my favorite pastimes. We did not have the opportunity to taste anything on this trip, but if the food is up to the same standards as the rest of the facility, we are prepared to be amazed. We’ll do that on a return trip and report back to you.
 
In the meantime, register now for the 2012 EWTG Conference, and take advantage of early-bird pricing. The programming will be top-notch as always, and if you were at all worried about the new location, rest assured it will be fantastic! You can register here and we will see you in San Marcos on November 4th and 5th!

 
 

Legislative Update - Options for Potential Benefit Changes

By: Jan Thomas, Legislative Committee Chair
 
Every time we approach a new Legislative session, rumors start flying about what changes might be coming to your retirement or health care plans. And while we won’t know exactly what changes might be in store until legislators start filing bills, we do know that there are lots of options the Texas Legislature may consider for improving the sustainability of the ERS pension or health plans.
 
In 2011, the Legislature directed ERS to compile a list of options for their consideration. As part of the year-long study, ERS hosted a series of educational forums, meetings, and presentations. These sessions, along with reviews of national trends and previous legislative proposals, helped ERS develop an extensive list of options which will be included in a final report due this fall.
 
The health insurance study reviews 37 options for change within five policy areas:
  • Who should be eligible for health insurance and when, 
  • Who should contribute toward the cost of health benefits, 
  • How funds in the insurance program should be used, 
  • How the insurance programs should be managed, and 
  • How insurance plans should be designed to ensure quality of care while also maintaining efficiency and reasonable costs.
For example, two contribution strategy options include charging each employee a monthly contribution based on his or her salary, or charging each retiree a monthly contribution based on years of service. ERS also examined the impact of offering members more choice among plans—such as a high, medium and low benefit. Each option was evaluated for its financial, legal, policy, administrative, and customer impact.
 
The pension study offers suggestions for making sure the ERS pension plan is able to provide benefits for decades to come. To do that, the plan must:
  • Have an equal balance between income and expenses,
  • Be able to pay current and future benefits to current members and retirees, 
  • Support the State’s workforce with retirement benefits that help attract and retain qualified employees in a wide variety of positions, 
  • Share responsibility between employees and employers, and 
  • Cost the State a reasonable and predictable amount each year.
The study presents several options to help the State’s retirement plan achieve all of the above traits, including possible ways to increase income to the plan, change the design of the current plan, and adopt a new type of plan.
 
The ERS Solution Session videos related to the studies are available online at http://www.ers.state.tx.us/Events/Forums/.
 
Source: Ann Bishop, ERS Executive Director
        
 
 
EWTG Community Service Committee Thanks You: The Community Service Event in August was Successful!

 
By: Del Randall, Community Service Committee Chair
On Saturday, August 18, 2012, EWTG members met at Sanchez Elementary School to distribute school supplies to help Austin area children who qualify for the federally funded free and reduced price lunch program start the school year with basic school supplies.
 
         
 
For the Children is a volunteer run organization where 100% of the donations go to purchase school supplies to place in the hands of Austin area elementary school children. Their mission is to supply children from challenging home environments with basic school supplies to help make their school careers successful. This year, “For the Children” provided supplies to over 53,000 children.
 
The Community Service Committee would like to extend a heart-felt thank-you to all of the members who supported the “For the Children” activity.

 
 
 


EWTG Star
 
Jan Thomas has completed her 3 year consulting contract with the Texas Public Employees Association (TPEA).  Her future plans include performing client relations work and consulting services for Jim Gauntt and Associates.  She may be reached at JanThomasxGauntt@aol.com  or 512-659-2054.
 
 

August 8th Mini-Course Recap
FOCUS:  "Finding the Right Balance Between Work and Home"
   

Presenter: Susan Tolles, Expert in Midlife Reinventions
FlourishOver50.com and Powerful MeTM 
 
By: Connie Williams, Mini-Course Director
Susan Tolles inspired and equipped EWTG members with tools, information, and strategies. She also shared with us a summary of her presentation for expanding our FOCUS DAILY with 10 steps for finding balance in the following ways:
 
Fill your own cup first, and then give away what flows over to the saucer. This is likely the hardest thing for women to do because we are naturally givers and want to make sure everyone else is happy and well cared for. We become physically, emotionally, and spiritually depleted as we live in service to others and eventually we collapse, drained and depressed. You must learn to look out for you first by engaging in daily self-care. A healthy body will give you the energy you need to accomplish your goals, a healthy mind will keep you sharp and focused, and a healthy spiritual life will provide wisdom and direction. Proper nourishment in each of these areas will provide abundant energy to share in your personal and professional life. You cannot give away what you don’t have, so make sure you are filled to overflowing.
 
If you had an entire week to do only the things that you enjoy, what would those things be? What are the things that rejuvenate you and restore your soul? Write those things in your cup, and commit to yourself to do at least one of these things every week.
 
Optimize your life with the things that bring you joy and satisfaction. What are you doing that you love to do? What are you doing that, if given the chance, you wouldn’t even begin in the first place? Take a hard look at the things that are really important to you and make those your priorities. Stop doing the things that bring you down. If you design a life based on your core passions, values, and desires, you will live with meaning and happiness. If your life is based on what others want for you, your life will be filled with stress and dissatisfaction.
 
Some of the things that bring you joy and satisfaction require a lot of energy, time, and focus. But if they are really important to you and “light your fire” when you are doing them, then be sure to include them. Think of the things that you are really passionate about and write them down.
 
Control your calendar and your inbox. If you remain focused on your Life Purpose, priorities, and goals as you set your schedule, your days will be more productive and satisfying. If you get off-track and let others distract you, you will reach the end of each day frustrated and unproductive. See how much white space you can leave on your daily planner, not how much you can cover up. Manage your calendar, don’t let it manage you.
 
Don’t get bogged down in email early in the day. Make a short list of the people who you really need to hear from. Look for these important names first and send short replies. Then close your email! Come back later when you have made significant progress on your to-do list. Emergencies are rarely communicated via email! If it is urgent, someone will call you. Messages that are not urgent can be read later in the day.
 
When you look at an email, consider the “4 Ds”:
Do - Can I respond to this in 2 minutes or less? If not,
Defer - schedule a time to do it later.
Delegate - is there someone else who can/should handle this request? Save time by forwarding it to that person.
Delete! Get rid of the things that are not important! Better yet, go through and unsubscribe from all those newsletters and databases that constantly send you sales pitches. Don’t worry - you won’t hurt anyone’s feelings! And if you do, that’s their problem.
 
Unleash the power of saying “No!”Remember that you have choices, not obligations. There is great freedom in saying “No,” so do it often! Choose the things that give you energy and support your goals. Focus on the things that are truly important, and don’t feel guilty about being protective of your time. Remember, when you say no to one thing, your time will be freed up to say yes to something else. It also allows someone else who really wants to do it to say yes.
 
Separate your work life and personal life with clear boundaries.Set a clear schedule for your day, work diligently, and then quit when the time is up. Few projects require you to spend your nights and weekends away from your personal life. Answer this question: If you knew you only had six months to live, what would you do more of? Chances are you didn’t say work! Spend more time doing the things you love, and know that your work is a means to achieving a great life, not the other way around. If your career takes you to an office, then breathe deeply when you arrive home and be “present” with everyone who is there. Unwind and enjoy visiting about your day instead of continuing it in your study or at the kitchen table.
 
De-clutter. A cluttered home or office can cause stress and anxiety, and can totally drain you of energy. You either worry about how to conquer the disarray, you stress over where to even begin, or you lose valuable time just sorting through the piles. Your desk should be a place to work efficiently, not wasting valuable time every day looking for documents or notes. Your home should be a haven of peace, not a cavern of chaos. Strive for simplicity, establish systems for organization, and enlist the help of a professional organizer who can put you on a path to recovery in no time.
 
De-clutter your household and/or your office—get organized and throw things away. The piles of “stuff” may be adding stress and chaos to your life, when you really need calm and serene.
 
Take small steps. Select just a “bite” of a big pile so you won’t be overwhelmed. Set a timer for 15 minutes and see what you can get done.
 
Hire an organizer. A great way to tackle the challenge is to hire a personal organizer who can create a plan for you in just a few hours. Not only will you have a strategy for success, but you will have an accountability partner to keep you on task who is not emotionally attached to your things.
 
If you can’t afford professional help, then check out these websitesOrganizedHome, Get Organized Now, and The Clutter Diet. They are generous with free information and have newsletters that give you regular tips to streamline your life.
 
De-clutter your mind. Block out time to spend in quiet self-discovery, even if you have to schedule it on your calendar. Get away to a peaceful spot and allow yourself to breathe deeply and relax, something that most women rarely do. Meditate, pray, and let your mind be filled with creative thoughts, while letting your “intuitive mind” lead you. Be open to exploring the “side roads” along your mental journey, and seek affirmations about the path you are on. Do this regularly, and your mind will stay better focused on your true priorities rather than allowing you to bounce around with no clear direction. Feel refreshed and rejuvenated as you clean up the clutter in your mind.
 
De-clutter your body. Appreciate your beautiful body for the amazing creation that it is, and nourish it so it can give you the sustained energy you need for a vibrant life. Susan shared, “My friend Kay Wilson, Certified Holistic Wellness Coach, says that spring is the perfect time to cleanse your body of all the heavy foods and toxins that have built up in your system over the winter. Eating more fresh fruits and vegetables that become more plentiful is a good way to begin, but a good ‘system cleaning’ is also important. Kay also recommends adding a non-dairy-based probiotic to your diet to maintain good digestive health. A healthy digestive system supports mental clarity and healthy hair & skin, and even can reduce mood swings.”
 
De-clutter your closet. Did you know that the 80-20 rule also applies to your clothing? Statistics say that you wear 20% of your wardrobe 80% of the time, so now is the perfect time to de-clutter your closet as well. 
 
Accept Imperfect. 
Acknowledge that Perfect is the enemy of great. If you wait around until you have something in perfect shape, you might never get it out to the people who need it most. Susan shared, “I now know that it is much more important to be real, imperfect and meaningful than to compare myself to other websites that have investment money and support staffs behind them.”
 
Lighten up on yourself, and ask “does this really matter in the grand scheme of things?” Or “will this matter in 10 years, or even next year?” Be happy with doing a great job, and don’t have unrealistic standards that add stress to your life. Live by the mantra that “good is good enough.”
 
Don’t push yourself. Susan shared, “I have been overworked and overwhelmed on more than a few occasions. Yes, I preach about that very thing all the time, how we are not supposed to let our lives get out of control. But I constantly have to remind myself ‘Who else knows that you are behind schedule? And who really cares? Take a break!’”
 
Don’t be afraid. Susan shared, “I never would have made it this far if I’d been afraid to take a few risks. ‘Dream big and step out on faith’ has been my motto since the beginning of my journey, and I hope to inspire others to do the same. You have most everything you need inside you, so don’t worry! If you fall down, just get up and keep going.”
 
Be proud of who you are, and who you are becoming. Susan shared, “I am a 55-year-old woman with no training in what I am doing now. What I have accomplished is pretty extraordinary if I may say so myself (I shudder to say that out loud). I dig in, learn the things that are vital to my business, ask for help when needed and allow myself to be creative as my vision for the future gets better all the time. It is hard for me to say it, but I really have done some powerful things over the past few years.”
 
Inhale Deeply.There really is a science behind breathing deeply and completely as one of the most effective stress reducers. If you are like most people, you breathe shallowly and irregularly, using only 20% of your lung capacity. But breathing in deeply through your nose, holding it for seven seconds, then exhaling through your mouth actually increases oxygen saturation, clearing the mind, purifying the blood, providing more energy, and calming the body. On the other hand, lack of oxygen will lead to mental sluggishness, lack of focus, depression, and anxiety. Practice this breathing exercise several times a day, inhaling and exhaling three times slowly, concentrating on taking in energy-giving oxygen while exhaling your stress.
 
Listen for guidance in the quiet times.Turn off the noise, the electronics, and the phone. Take a break from email, Facebook, Twitter, and the radio in your car. Pray, Listen, and Receive. Be still and quiet, breathe and allow yourself to focus on your innermost feelings, desires, and dreams. You may be surprised at how much clarity you have after spending time in quiet reflection, slowing your mind down and allowing it to simply rest.
 
Yippee! Celebrate something every day. Look for the positive things and don’t dwell on the negative ones, being more focused on your joys and less conscious of your pain. Share your success with others so they can celebrate with you - be proud of yourself! Give yourself a special treat when you accomplish a goal. You might keep a Joy Journal where you record at least one thing every day that you are grateful for, recording notes about the people who have supported you faithfully and the little things you take for granted. Find at least one thing every day to say “Yippee!” about, and let those things feed your spirit, releasing the worry as you embrace the delights of your life.
 
Thank you for attending and supporting the EWTG Mini-Courses!
 
 
 
 
 
New and Renewing Members 
August 2012
 
 
New Members
Emily Clisby, Texas Department of Transportation
Patricia Columbus, Health and Human Services Commission
Jamie Cook, Health and Human Services Commission
Jennifer Crosby, Texas Department of Transportation
Mary DeShazo, Sam Houston State University
Allison Fischer, Texas Commission on Environmental Quality
Yolanda Hall, Texas Juvenile Justice Department
Keara Holm-Nielsen, Employees Retirement System of Texas
Melodi Jones, UT Southwestern Medical Center
Mary Lewis, Department of State Health Services
Vicki Lott, Houston-Tillotson University
Carolyn Olsson, Texas Office of the Attorney General - Child Support Division
Latasha Robinson, The Boon Group
Emily Scroggs, Texas Department of Motor Vehicles
Melissa Shannon, County of Bexar
Constance White, City of Burleson
Carol Williams, Health & Human Services Commission
 
Renewing Members
Patricia Clark, State of Texas
Lisa Dover, Health and Human Services Commission
Margaret Earnest, Texas Commission on Environmental Quality
Janet Gilmore, Department of Information Resources
Roxanne Gruhlke, Texas Workforce Commission
Lesley Guthrie, Governor's Commission for Women
Erin Hutchins, NIC - Texas.gov
Leticia Kappel, Texas Board of Professional Geoscientists
Erin Little, Employees Retirement System of Texas
Janet Manley, Texas Department of Transportation
Valarie Maxwell, Midwestern State University
Ginny McKay, Sunset Advisory Commission
Judy Mintier, Texas Department of State Health Services
Deborah Mitchell, Office of Attorney General of Texas
Carol Morgan, University of Texas at Austin
Molly Roman, Texas Board of Professional Geoscientists
Julie Warton, Commission on State Emergency Communications
Tiffany White, State of Texas
Carolyn Wofford, Texas Department of Transportation
Marianne Woods Wiley, Teacher Retirement System of Texas
 
 

 

 

 

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