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May 2012 Newsletter
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In This Issue
President's Corner

EWTG May Mini Course Announcement

Upcoming Education Events
EWTG May Luncheon Announcement
Community Service Project
Annual Conference Update
Affiliates Update
The Women, Wildflowers and Wine Event - After the Rose'
EWTG Stars
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 The Scholarship Committee will accept applications for this quarter until 5:00 p.m. on June 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 6:00 p.m. to 7:30 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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May 2012
President's Corner - May 2012 
Carolyn J. Fry, President 

Carolyn J. Fry

Formula 1 Creates Slight Detour for 26th Annual EWTG Conference
With the upcoming Formula1™ event scheduled for November 17-18, 2012 just outside of Austin, the EWTG Board found itself hurriedly looking for a new host facility for our annual conference. Let me first give you a little background on the “why” we moved the conference to the Embassy Suites San Marcos Hotel, Spa & Conference Center, then I’ll tell you more about the new host facility.
In February, the Hyatt Regency Lost Pines created a challenge for the EWTG Board by offering either to move the day of conference to Tuesday, November 20th or cancelling our contract. EWTG inquired about the availability of other weekends in November, but the Hyatt had none available. The Board felt that it was important that our conference volunteers be able to minimize the time spent away from work and that a Tuesday conference would be too burdensome. Also, due to the nearly year-long effort required to set up a successful conference the Board felt it was in the organization’s best interest to secure a host facility available during a November weekend. The Board also realized that our conference is an invaluable component of EWTG’s mission of providing professional development opportunities to our members and others interested in serving state government, and also realized that conference serves as a fundraiser to cover EWTG’s annual operating expenses. Therefore, it was important to the Board that we get this right.
Faced with the Hyatt dilemma, 2012 Vice-President and Conference Chair, Tanya Skaarup, contacted hotels and conference facilities in and around Austin that have capacity and facilities to hold our 900 conference attendees and sustain our conference format. However, none had a November weekend available. Tanya then turned her search efforts to the surrounding areas of San Marcos and San Antonio. She found that the Embassy Suites San Marcos Hotel, Spa & Conference Center was available on a November weekend. Moreover, the facility was excited to have the opportunity to host our 2012 conference!  
With that good news I quickly appointed a Contract Review & Negotiations Committee, comprised of Tanya Skaarup, Vice-President; Mary Castleberry, President-Elect; Susan Durso, Board Member; Kenya Johnson, Conference Facilities Chair; Carolyn Price, CMP Management; and myself. With the committee’s help, the Board was able to finalize a financially advantageous contract and retain many of the same amenities that our EWTG members have grown accustomed to at the Hyatt. Thank you, Contract Review & Negotiations Committee!  
Now that you know the “why” behind the need to relocate and change conference dates … let me share a little about our upcoming conference and the Embassy Suites San Marcos Hotel, Spa & Conference Center! 
Be sure to mark your calendars:
26th Annual Professional Development Conference
November 4-5, 2012
Embassy Suites San Marcos Hotel, Spa & Conference Center
Hopefully, these new dates will be appealing to all past and new conference attendees. Monday, November 5 will be our full-day Annual Professional Development Conference and our networking reception will be held the afternoon of November 4.  
Our new conference site is located between Austin and San Antonio on Interstate 35, approximately 30 miles south of downtown Austin. The drive to San Marcos is quick and easy using either I-35 or TX-130-Toll-N. Embassy Suites San Marcos is a 10-story hotel connected to the San Marcos Conference Center. The hotel has 238 two-room suites and offers many amenities, including: a full service restaurant, café with wireless internet access, evening Manager’s reception, full service spa, fitness center, outdoor pool & hot tub, and a business center. The facility is just north of the San Marcos Outlet Malls. Embassy Suites San Marcos Hotel, Spa & Conference Center can easily accommodate our conference format and offers convenient parking, ample exhibit space, and has a ballroom with capacity to seat our 900+ attendees comfortably. Did I mention space? Yes, you’ll be amazed at the space in the hallways which will facilitate the flow of traffic while additional conference center space will offer our silent auction volunteers, sponsors, and exhibitors plenty of room to interact with attendees. Click here to access the Embassy Suites San Marcos Hotel, Spa & Conference Center web page … but don’t reserve your room yet, we have special conference rates and a forthcoming online site for you to reserve your room!
Let me encourage you to invest in yourself, your professional development, and your career. Make plans to attend the 26th EWTG Annual Professional Development Conference at the Embassy Suites San Marcos Hotel, Spa & Conference Center.
Please continue to view our EWTG website at to follow conference details as they become available. Also, look for Tanya and her Conference Committee Chairs’ forthcoming newsletter articles and emails on exciting details surrounding the upcoming 2012 Conference.

May 9th Mini-Course   
"Fostering Emerging Senior-Level Leaders"
An Executive Level Leadership Series Panel 
Susan M. Johnson, Ph.D.
Susan Durso, J.D., M.P.A.
Ginny Booton, M.B.A.
Diane Mazuca, M.P.A.

By: Connie Williams, Mini-Course Director
The May Mini-Course is an Executive-Level Leadership Series designed to equip emerging and senior-level directors and leaders for greater success in current assignments and to prepare them with confidence to gain new insights for senior roles. This Mini-Course is a professional development benefit for all EWTG members.
Learn how our Senior-Level Leader Panelists - who are also EWTG members - prepared for their Senior-Level roles, overcame obstacles, and cultivated career opportunities at the highest levels. Find inspiration to enhance your own career path to Senior-Level Leadership!
The following key points will be discussed by the Panel:
  • How the senior-level leaders grew to high-level positions of influence.
  • Real issues that affect how senior-level leaders succeed in their roles.
  • How senior-level leaders have overcome obstacles and achieved growth and success.
  • Authentic and direct advice from women who are currently serving in senior-level positions.
  • Strategies for leadership success.

Susan Johnson, Ph.D., is the former Associate Commissioner for the Texas Health and Human Services Commission’s (HHSC) Workforce Support Services in Austin, Texas. Currently, Dr. Johnson is providing leadership to the HHSC Employee Advisory Committee, Survey of Employee Engagement, Summer Internship Program, Leadership Academy Action Learning Project Implementation, College and University Partnerships, and Succession Planning Initiative. Dr. Johnson received her undergraduate degree in English from Fisk University in Nashville, an MA in Human Resources from the University of Texas at Austin, and a Ph.D. from Jackson State University in Urban Higher Education. She is a member of the Austin Chapter of The Links, Inc., Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., Jack and Jill of America, Leadership Austin, Leadership Texas, Leadership America, and a docent for the Governor’s Mansion for over 28 years. Dr. Johnson served as President of EWTG in 1993.
Susan Durso, a native of Port Arthur, Texas, graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a BA in Government and from the University of South Carolina with a J.D. and Masters of Public Administration. She has worked as an attorney for over twenty years. Ms. Durso has served the State of Texas as legal counsel in a variety of positions, including as the General Counsel for the Public Utility Commission, the General Counsel for the Texas Residential Construction Commission, and for the last two years, as the General Counsel for the Texas Public Finance Authority. Additionally, in July 2011, she was appointed the Interim Executive Director of the Authority. Susan served as President of EWTG in 2008.
Ginny Booton has held many leadership positions in Texas state government. She is currently the Director of the Consumer Relations Division at the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles, an agency which serves more than 21 million customers annually. Ginny pioneered the use of biometric identification in a civil application in Texas and led the launch of the state's first electronic benefits card. She helped start up a leadership program at the University of Texas at San Antonio - Center for Professional Excellence, and held various leadership positions at the Department of Human Services, Comptrollers Office, the Agriculture Department, and the Texas Department of Transportation. Ginny earned her BA in Business and MBA in Management. She served as President of EWTG in 2005.
Diane Mazuca currently serves as a Special Assistant to the Executive Director for the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ). She joined the TCEQ in 1994 and prior to her current position was a legislative liaison in the agency’s Intergovernmental Relations division. Her previous work experiences in Texas include positions with the Texas Senate in the Senate Research Center and the General Land Office. She also has held numerous positions working for the U.S. Congress in Washington, D.C. as a legislative specialist. Diane received a BA degree from the University of Texas at Austin and earned a Masters of Public Administration from Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts. She is an active member of St. David’s Episcopal Church and volunteers her time to various community and non-profit groups, in particular in the area of educational opportunities. Diane has been an active EWTG member since 1995.
The Mini-Course begins at 11:30 AM and the program begins at noon, ending promptly at 1:00 PM. The Mini-Course will be at the Carver Branch Library, 1161 Angelina, eight blocks east of I-35 just off East 11th Street. EWTG will provide terrific pizza, loads of fresh green salad, dessert, and drinks for $10, or you can bring your own lunch. RSVP here to ensure you get both a chair and lunch.
Make a commitment to increase your executive skills by attending every EWTG mini-course! They are held on the second Wednesday of each month through October. The mini-courses provide benefits to your organization including better trained leaders, teams, and a commitment to organizational excellence. EWTG mini-courses and luncheons may also count toward state employees’ annual training hours. When you register, click the specified box to receive a certificate of attendance. You will enjoy a catered meal with friends and colleagues while building a new portfolio of enhanced skills.

Awesome Upcoming Education Event ...
Wild Basin Wilderness Preserve Tour

By: Shawana Ellison, Education Events Committee Member
      Mindy Wilkins, Education Events Committee Chair
Wild Basin Wilderness Preserve
You are invited to join the Education Events Committee for a tour of the Wild Basin Wilderness Preserve, a true Austin treasure. Wild Basin Wilderness Preserve is 227 acres of forest and trails and is an integral part of the Balcones Canyonlands Preserve (BCP). The Preserve exists to protect and maintain its urban wilderness, and to promote the importance of environmental education, research, conservation, and preservation.
  • Who: EWTG Members Only (pets not permitted)
  • Where: Wild Basin Wilderness Preserve - 805 N. Capital of Texas Hwy.  Austin, TX, 78746
  • When: May 12, 9:00 am  – 1:00 pm
  • How:  Admission - $3/person
  • What:   
    • 9:00 am – brief presentation about the history of Wild Basin
    • 9:30 am - 11:15 am – guided hike by a trail guide who specializes in native plants 
    • 11:30 am - 1:00 pm – lunch with a brief presentation about current research projects at Wild Basin and St. Edward's University
Stay tuned for emails with additional details on the upcoming Wild Basin Wilderness Preserve Tour.
Mark your calendars and plan on joining the Education Events Committee for this exciting event!
Education Events Committee
Mindy Wilkins, Chair
Leticia Kappel
Jo Virgil
Beth Perry
Shawana Ellison                            


May 23rd Luncheon:
Anne Pritchard Grady
"Leading Without Authority:  Success Strategies That Get Results"

By: Denice Bettencourt, Program Director
EWTG presents Anne Pritchard Grady as the May 23rd monthly luncheon keynote speaker. Ms. Grady is the founder and president of Acclivity Performance. She is a nationally-recognized speaker and facilitator who has helped hundreds of organizations build teamwork, increase productivity, and reduce stress. She captivates audiences with her unique blend of humor, refreshing honesty, down-to-earth style, and her ability to get results. With a master’s degree in Organizational Communication and over fifteen years of experience, Ms. Grady has helped a diverse array of companies, non-profits, and government agencies leverage the strengths of individuals and teams. She plays many roles – entrepreneur, wife, volunteer, consultant, friend, and leader. But it is her role as a mother to an amazing special needs child that has fundamentally shaped her perspectives, her outlook, and her professional message.
The topic that she has chosen for the EWTG May luncheon is “Leading without Authority: Success Strategies that get Results.” Ms. Grady states that the greatest difference between leadership and management is that while management is denoted by title, leadership is an art and may be demonstrated at any level in the organization. Over 90% of leadership occurs from the middle, not the top of the organization. The difference between successful people and REALLY successful people is the ability to influence others to action. While there is no magic formula for success, there are tools, skills, and strategies that can take your personal and professional performance to the next level. During this luncheon you will have an opportunity to explore different leadership styles and approaches, learn how to tap into and leverage your strengths and the strengths of others, and develop strategies to create win-win outcomes. Get ready for a fun, engaging, and relevant discussion that will provide you the tools to help you improve productivity, personal leadership, and communication. You will learn how to:
  • Influence others to action
  • Regain control and focus
  • Stay motivated and energized
  • Focus on high payoff activities
  • Maximize communication and personal leadership style
  • Leverage individual and team strengths
Register here to join EWTG member and friends for this insightful and dynamic program. 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.
Donate Food ~ Donate Happiness

By: Del Randall, Community Service Committee Chair
The EWTG Community Service Committee is collecting healthy, non-perishable food for the Capital Area Food Bank of Texas (CAFB).  CAFB is the largest hunger-relief charity in Central Texas providing food and grocery products, nutrition education, and social services outreach to 300,000 clients each year through a network of 300 Partner Agencies. The most requested items are:
  • Canned meats like tuna, stew, and chili (pop-tops preferred)
  • Canned vegetables
  • Pasta & pasta sauce (no glass, please)
  • Beans
  • Healthy cereals
  • Peanut butter

For every five pounds of food donated, CAFB can provide the equivalent of four meals! 

Please bring your donations to the May and June EWTG Luncheons and Mini-Courses. 
2012 EWTG Community Service Committee:
Del Randall - Chair
Betsy Ford
Brenda Parnell
Jan Washburn
Jena Randall
Karin Darnell
Margaret Earnest
Melissa Neeley
Paula Griffin
Vivian Brandt
Alison Gilliam

2012 Professional Development Conference Shaping Up to Be An Exciting Event!

By: Tanya Skaarup, Vice-President and Conference Chair
First, I would like to thank all of the ladies who contacted me and the other Conference Chairs to offer their special skills and talents to the benefit of our organization – you are truly influential leaders! Your abilities will be applied to each of the Committees that were fortunate enough to gain you as a team member. Without these volunteers, the EWTG Conference could not continually provide the high-quality professional development our Members expect, and draw such a large number of executive women throughout Texas’ government ranks.
As Carolyn mentioned in her article, Embassy Suites San Marcos Hotel, Spa & Conference Center is as excited to host our 2012 EWTG Professional Development Conference as we are to have this new opportunity in light of the unforeseen Formula1™ circumstances. While we were shocked at our situation, you can be sure that your Board of Directors was working on a contingency plan. Believe me when I say, we were fortunate our Board jumped into action at the first sign of a potential conflict.
As some stories go, when one door closes, another door will open. EWTG is taking advantage of some exciting opportunities due to this change in venues. To mention just a couple of highlights, the facility has much larger breakout rooms and the capacity for growth exists for both attendees as well as exhibitors! Keep a watch on the EWTG website as many updates will be happening very soon, now that we have inked the contract.
In the meantime, your Conference Committee Chairs are gearing up for November 4th & 5th and would love to hear from you if you are interested in getting involved and learning about the other great additions we have planned for the 2012 Conference in San Marcos!
Your 2012 Conference Committeecontact information follows:
Conference Exhibits Committee - Laure McLaughlin, Chair
Conference Evaluation Committee - Ardra Alexander, Chair
Conference Facilities Committee - Kenya Johnson, Chair
Conference Programs Committee - Karen Howard, Chair
Conference Registration Committee - Mercie Zapata, Chair
Conference Resolutions Committee - Jennifer Dormer, Chair
Conference Silent Auction Committee - Katrina Burch, Chair
Vice-President and Conference Chair - Tanya Skaarup

Spring Has Arrived for EWTG Affiliates   

By: Gena Minjares, Affiliates Director
Spring is a wonderful time of year in Texas. Whether it’s the beautiful wildflowers that line our highways, the much needed rain that is slowly pulling us out of the drought, or the energetic feeling of new beginnings that often accompanies this time of year, spring is a great time to reflect on and enjoy the blessings the season brings.
The EWTG Affiliates have welcomed the season with a renewed sense of commitment to exploring opportunities for personal growth and professional development. From hosting events for charity, behind the scene tours of local points of interest, or thoughtful discussion about maximizing the benefits an EWTG membership has to offer, the Affiliates in Dallas, Houston, and Brazos Valley are springing into action.
Dallas Affiliate
Speaker Karen Cortell Reisman visited the EWTG Dallas Affiliate on Thursday, April 19. Ms. Reisman presented “Speak to Win,” which helped attendees feel more confident when speaking before large audiences or staff meetings. Registrants also received a copy of Ms. Reisman’s E-Book “The Naked Truth About Giving Great Speeches.” 
The EWTG Dallas Affiliate also participated in an Easter Basket Drive for the Community Partners of Dallas. Almost 70 baskets were donated, assembled, and delivered!
This month EWTG Dallas welcomes Debby Jett Allbright, CEO and owner of Fashionomics, to its monthly meeting on Thursday, May 17. Ms. Allbright will discuss how to achieve a polished professional look while remaining within budget. Gently worn clothing items will be collected at the meeting for the Genesis Women's Shelter Thrift Store.
Houston Affiliate
The Houston EWTG Affiliate had two productive meetings in February and March in which members set goals for the 2012 year, exchanged ideas for programming, and strategized about the best way to execute the EWTG Houston Affiliate mission and recruit new members from the Houston area. The Chapter’s Officers, under the leadership of Ronda Tewell, are off to a great year!
The Houston Chapter will be welcoming speaker Pam Wiley of Discover Your Best Self, who will be presenting a short version of her workshop “The Passion Test.” Pam Wiley was well received at the 2011 EWTG Annual Conference this past November. Houston members are in for a great treat. This event is scheduled for Friday, June 15th at noon.
Brazos Valley Affiliate
Many of us are in the habit of making New Year's resolutions. 2012 began no differently than any other year, but the members of the EWTG Brazos Valley Affiliate were inspired to stick with their resolutions at their February meeting. Debbie Eller, Membership Development Chair, gave a presentation on change and even shared some details of personal changes she is making this year.
On April 25th, the Brazos Valley Affiliate enjoyed a tour of an internationally-renowned training facility for search and rescue workers called Disaster City. Disaster City has been featured in Popular Science magazine, National Geographic, and on CNN, FoxNews, and MSNBC. This facility and its staff of highly-qualified experts attract emergency personnel from around the world to the Brazos Valley, where they receive specialized training to respond to earthquakes, tornados, hurricanes, and other disasters. Disaster City is managed by the Texas Engineering Extension Service, which is a state agency and member of the Texas A&M System.
The events calendar for the Brazos Valley Affiliate has been posted on their webpage on the EWTG website. Please visit this site to get details on the meetings that are scheduled for the remainder of the year.
San Antonio
Planning meetings to launch a San Antonio Chapter have generated a lot of interest from members in the area. If you or someone you know is interested in being part of the leadership team for this Chapter, please contact us at

The Women, Wildflowers and Wine Event
After the Rose' 

By: Susan Durso, Membership Director
Twenty plus members and their guests enjoyed a spirited ride on a small limousine shuttle to historic downtown Gruene, the Wimberley Valley Winery, and the Duchman Family Winery. We embarked from the Sunset Valley Elementary parking lot around 10 a.m. on Saturday, April 28th. Our shuttle driver, Jeff, kept his eyes on the road as the EWTG group played trivia games for door prizes, nibbled on a variety of snacks, and got to know one another better.
EWTG member Louis LeDoux donated a bottled varietal white wine from his parents’ winery to add to the door prizes. Louis also added to the trivia play with his vast knowledge of oenology. Other contributors to our event included Randall’s and Spec’s, which both donated wine carriers and wine bags to keep our purchases safe on the bus.
Our first stop in downtown Gruene was the Winery on the Gruene, where Jeff parked our shuttle. We disembarked with an agreement to return in approximately an hour. Many went straight into the winery to begin tasting the offerings there. The Gruene Winery purchases its grape juice from other vineyards and blends its wines onsite. Others ate lunch at the Grist Mill or shopped along Gruene and Hall Roads in the Gruene historic district. We timely assembled back on the bus for our next stop at Wimberley Valley Winery.
It took approximately an hour to travel from Gruene to the Wimberley Valley Winery. We re-hydrated with bottled water, played more trivia games, and enjoyed the beautiful Hill Country scenery as Jeff guided the bus along the winding two-lane roads.
The Wimberley Valley Winery opened its tasting room between Wimberley and Driftwood in April 2011, but has had its vineyard in a dry part of the Hill Country since 1983. The driveway to the winery is bordered by flowered pastures with miniature horses and small donkeys grazing side-by-side. In the new tasting room, the winery staff set up a separate tasting area for our group, where Gena helped many of us with our wine selections. However, we also spilled along the other tasting bars as spaces opened up. The winemaker prefers making sweet wines, so most of the house-made wines were of the dessert variety, although the winery also makes an excellent viognier. The tasting room also served wines made by other vineyards. We left after about an hour and made the short drive to the Duchman Family Winery, in Driftwood, TX.
The Duchman Family Winery set up a private tasting area, where we enjoyed five tastings for ten dollars—a fifty percent discount from the usual private tasting cost, which was a gracious donation to our trip. The Duchman Family Winery started in 2004 and makes wines in the Italian tradition. It is also home to a wonderful restaurant—Trattoria Lisina. The drive home came too soon, so we agreed to hire Jeff for an extra half-hour, which allowed us to enjoy the wine and the lovely grounds just a little longer. It took a short 30 minutes to arrive back at the elementary school parking lot, and we still had plenty of time to catch a nap before fixing supper. As they stepped off the bus, many were planning another trip into the Hill Country.
EWTG Stars

Susan Durso is featured as the “Lone Star” in the May edition of Texas Government Insider. Congratulations Susan!  Click here to read more.  Susan is our 2012 Membership Director and will be on our May Mini Course Executive-Level Leadership Series Panel.
New and Renewing Members 
April 2012
New Members
Ceclie Norton, Texas Department of Insurance
Renewing Members
Ardra Alexander, Texas Workforce Commission
Kay Arnold, Retired
Dr. F. Ethelynn Beebe, Mental Health and Mental Retardation
Susan Biles, General Land Office
Shalyn Bridges, Texas Legislative Council
Lara Coffer, Texas Department of Information Resources
Barrie Cogburn, Texas Department of Transportation
Bonnie Cone, Texas Board of Nursing
Rebecca Davio, Texas Department of Public Safety
Anna Dunn, Texas Department of Insurance
Susan K. Durso, Texas Public Finance Authority
Josefina Franco-Alvarado, Retired
Joanne E. Holshouser, Teacher Retirement System of Texas
Carol Lauder, Lauder Communications
Dokpe Ogunsanya, Dupsy Enterprises
Dee Patience, Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs
Susan Raney, Texas Health & Human Services Commission
Wendy Sanchez, Employees Retirement System of Texas
Tammy Sturm, Texas Department of Transportation
Kathleen West, Employees Retirement System of Texas




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