January 2014

In This Issue

1. President's Corner
2. Monthly Luncheon
3. Woman of the Year
4. Affiliates
5. Women's Resources Announcement
6. Diversity Leadership Conference
7. New and Renewing Members


Quick Links

EWTG Web Site

Board of Directors

Thank you 2013 Sponsors!

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 the 2014 second quarter until 5:00 p.m. on June 30, 2014.

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.

Tanya Skaarup, 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."

Follow EWTG on Twitter

Twitter is a free service that lets you keep in touch with people or organizations through the exchange of quick, short messages. Go to twitter.com/ewtg to sign up and start receiving EWTG's updates.


President's Corner
Liza C. Willmore, President

Happy New Year! As we all bring Executive Women in Texas Government into 2014, I want to thank you all for your continued support and dedication to EWTG and our mission.  This year will be a celebration of the past, present, and future.  We are bringing in the institutional knowledge from the past, continuing the progress accomplished in recent years, and leading this amazing group of talented women to the next level of learning, growth, and leadership.

A while back, as I was finding my stride in personal and professional development, I learned that the best reward of helping others is to empower them. It is their accomplishments and growth that brings me joy.  After this realization, I began my journey in promoting others through service and guidance, which is why this year is celebrating and honoring the past, present, and the future.

Each of your 2014 Board of Director is carefully selected based on her experience, strength, and vision.  Each woman brings with her the knowledge to take us to the next frontier of developing the strategies and skills necessary for future Texas leaders.  I have personally had the pleasure of speaking with each director and listening to their vision for this upcoming year. It is going to be exciting.

Just to touch on a few highlights, our goal will be to increase visibility, educational access, and partnerships.  As we finalize our plans for the year, I am looking forward to sharing with you the details of 2014, in each month's EWTG newsletter. 

As I close out this month's message, please ponder with me this quote from Oprah Winfrey:

"I’ve come to believe that each of us has a personal calling that’s as unique as a fingerprint – and that the best way to succeed is to discover what you love and then find a way to offer it to others in the form of service, working hard, and also allowing the energy of the universe to lead you.”

I look forward to working with you on developing EWTG, and I am interested to hear your thoughts. Feel free to contact me at pres@ewtg.org, and let's develop your ideas for the year!

EWTG Monthly Luncheon
January 22nd


Contributed by: Dokpe Ogunsanya, EWTG Program Director 2013

Our featured luncheon speaker for January 2014 is Ms. Erin Lawler, a licensed Texas attorney and a credentialed mediator with the Texas Mediator Credentialing Association. She is a volunteer attorney-mediator with the Austin Dispute Resolution Center and also works as a mediation coach with the training firm of Corder/Thompson and Associates. Ms. Lawler is currently the Vice President of the Austin Association of Mediators. She works as a public policy specialist for the Texas Council for Developmental Disabilities and serves as the vice-chair of the Disability Issues Committee of the State Bar of Texas. Ms. Lawler earned a J.D. with honors from Notre Dame Law School, an M.S. with honors from the London School of Economics, and a B.A. from American University, where she graduated Phi Beta Kappa. The following is a synopsis of Ms. Lawler’s presentation:  the data on women and negotiating reveals over and over that women are reluctant to negotiate for the things they need to succeed. Caught up in a desire to be liked or to be perceived as easy to work with, women sometimes neglect to advocate for themselves. This is not just a problem for professional women looking for career advancement; the problem extends to everyday conversations with family members, neighbors, co-workers, and associates.

Some examples of situations where women can benefit from negotiating include:

  • discussing compensation and benefits with a prospective or current employer,
  • resolving a property dispute with a neighbor,
  • coming to terms with a contractor or landlord about repairs to a home or apartment, and
  • buying or leasing a car.

Fortunately, there are effective strategies available to women that apply in almost every negotiation. Through this presentation, participants will learn some of these strategies, including how to:

  • prepare for a negotiation,
  • advocate a position while protecting likeability,
  • describe their proposals in a way that will appeal to the other party’s goals, and
  • generate options toward compromise.

Employing these strategies will make women more effective and more confident negotiators.

Please join EWTG members and friends for this insightful and dynamic program. The luncheon is held at the Austin Woman’s Club, 708 San Antonio Street (ample free parking). Networking begins at 11:30 a.m. and lunch 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. Remember to register early for the luncheon in anticipation of a "full house,” thank you!                        

2013 Woman of the Year...Connie Williams!!!

Contributed by: Julia Schacherl, Membership Director 

This was an exciting year for EWTG culminating with the conference and the announcement of our very own 2013 Woman of the Year.  The nominees represented the best of who we are as women and as leaders.  They have contributed countless hours to their communities, to EWTG, to mentoring others and to achieving their dreams through numerous educational and professional development accomplishments.  This year the nominees were:

  • Susan Durso
  • Shawana Ellison
  • Dee McIlroy
  • Shawna Ridley
  • Connie Williams

Connie Williams is the EWTG 2013 Woman of the Year (WOTY)!  Connie has been a member of EWTG since 2004 and has served in various roles ranging from a member of the Nominating Committee, to 2007 EWTG President. Committed to enhancing her education, she graduated from Leadership Texas and the completed the Governor’s Center for Management Development Certification.  During her 30 year career in Texas state government she developed multiple service delivery programs receiving national recognition.  Connie is also committed to mentoring the youth in her community teaching those skills necessary to develop their leadership abilities.

The Public Relations committee would like to congratulate all the very deserving nominees for 2013 and especially Connie our 2013 Awardee, on all their accomplishments and thank them for their commitment to EWTG.  Congratulations, ladies!

Executive Women in Texas Government
(EWTG) Affiliates

Contributed by: Cindy Hale, Affiliates Director

The Executive Women in Texas Government organization has been growing over the past few years!  We now have affiliate groups in Houston, Dallas, Brazos Valley, and San Antonio.  It’s great that there are so many women out there expanding their knowledge and  professional careers.  To stay relevant, we all know we need to sharpen our skills and create the networks that build on our careers.  The opportunities exist within the EWTG-sponsored events. These may come in the form of new ideas from the training workshops or simply the chanced meeting with an industry professional at a social. In this year, EWTG will look to provide more of these opportunities to the Affiliate offices.

I will be reaching out to each of our Affiliate organizations in the next few months to gather ideas from them on ways to improve communication and more of the training and networking opportunities that is currently available to Austin.  There are many tools we can use to do this, and we are in the developing stages on incorporating them.   If you’d like to help, please consider joining the Affiliates Committee! There’s a lot to be done and we can use your help!

Women's Resources (WR) Announces Leadership Texas Class of 2014!

Contributed by: Tanya Skaarup, Communications Director

Brenda Grays, EWTG Brazos Valley Affiliate Chair and Tanya Skaarup, EWTG Communications Director, were recently notified of their acceptance in to the 2014 Leadership Texas class!

Launched in 1983, Leadership Texas is the longest running program to develop women leaders in the US. At the forefront of change for three decades, Leadership Texas consistently provides exceptional opportunities that enhance participants’ value to their organizations and fields of interest. Each year, the series of interactive, expert-led sessions are crafted to expand each woman’s understanding of the interconnectedness of the myriad issues, dynamics and cultures that propel the state, nation and globe. Some 3,000 women are graduates of the statewide program, competitively chosen from a wide field of applicants to reflect the unique diversity of personal and professional backgrounds of the society as a whole.

Leadership Texas 2014 Program Dates:

  • March 2-4, 2014 - Dallas
  •  May 4-6, 2014 - Laredo
  •  September 7-9, 2014 - Abilene
  •  November 9-11, 2014 - Austin

After completing this exclusive program, these ladies will be part of an elite team whom have expanded their educational and development opportunities to progress as leaders and developed their knowledge of the diverse dynamics, issues, challenges and opportunities that impact work, personal lives and communities. Leadership Texas is an enduring and influential network for women leaders among its founders, participants, graduates, supporters and presenters.

 Both Brenda and Tanya are proud recipients of a EWTG Leadership Texas Scholarship and submitted throughout applications that allowed them to be selected to join an elite network of women as members of the Leadership Texas Class of 2014.  Leadership Texas participants are competitively selected from a myriad of outstanding women leaders from across the state to participate in the longest-running women’s leadership development program in the US.  Throughout the year-long program, they will have the opportunity to broaden their perspective on our state by exploring four Texas cities and receiving cutting-edge information from  renowned experts, government officials and other leaders to positively inform their work and community for years to come,” said Candace O’Keefe-Mathis, CEO of Women’s Resources. Leadership Texas, now in its 32nd consecutive year, is the flagship program of the Texas-based foundation headquartered in Dallas.

Since launching in 1983 as the first statewide program for women’s leadership development, Leadership Texas is patterned after, though not affiliated with, the co-educational civic programs that have found success in a number of cities throughout the state and nation.  "Our founders decided to create Leadership Texas to help women become better, more informed leaders in our state’s communities, organizations and corporations,” O’Keefe-Mathis added.

"Participants will visit Dallas, Laredo, Abilene and Austin where each city’s opportunities and challenges will help to illuminate the participants’ knowledge of our rapidly evolving state across three common themes– the economy, education and the environment,” O’Keefe-Mathis said.

"We consider it a privilege to offer these influential women leaders from a broad diversity of professional and personal backgrounds some new perspectives, opinions and validation on some of the issues, people and places they might not otherwise encounter outside of the program. We recognize that it is necessary for today’s successful leaders to understand the cultural, social and economic shift before us and the programming of Leadership Texas provides opportunities and access to help women impact the future of our evolving state.”

Through the generous contributions of the Leadership Texas Program Partners, the program continues to provide the most up-to-date information on leadership and issues affecting Texas. Corporate Program Partners providing major support for Leadership Texas 2014 include Southwest Airlines, Blue Cross Blue Shield and Texas Instruments.

"Program Partners provide more than financial support for the program; their women leaders also participate in Leadership Texas to build connections for the benefit of the entire state,” O’Keefe-Mathis said.

Women’s Resources Leadership Texas is a program of Women’s Resources (WR).  Established in Austin, Texas, in 1974, Women’s Resources seeks to advance the power of leadership and legacy through programs that connect, inspire, empower and honor women.  To extend Women’s Resources’ message of strength and build bridges to and opportunities for women, WR founded Leadership America in 1988 and helped in the creation of complementary women’s programs in California, Illinois, Missouri and North Carolina, among others.  WR also established the nation’s first comprehensive women’s history museum, The Women’s Museum: An Institute for the Future, which opened in Dallas, Texas, in association with the Smithsonian Institution in 2000. Since 1996, WR has been offering a series of national retreats for emerging women leaders called Power Pipeline.  In 2009, WR launched new globally focused programming under its newly acquired banner, Leadership International, the Sandy Tyler Regional Series.

The Diversity Leadership Conference (DLC) Empowering Middle School Youth for Social Change www.omegapoint.net/DLC

Contributed by: Stephanie Nestlerode

As women, we understand that our future depends on investing in young people.  As leaders, we know the power of giving everyone a voice to create positive change.  As human beings, we experience the challenges and gifts of including people who are different from ourselves.  How do we equip youth and adults in their school lives to handle these leadership tasks? 

In 2011, Austin’s Alliance for Youth Leadership had an idea for addressing the need.  They created a social innovation - a conference designed for and led by middle school students.  The DLC approach encompasses two core elements: giving youth the opportunity to direct their own learning and take action, and giving adults in schools the tools they need to support student leadership and action.  By involving private, public and charter schools, youth have a genuine experience of diversity while learning new skills for gaining the benefits of diversity and inclusion.  Seven schools attended the first conference in 2012.  In 2013, the conference grew to thirteen schools along with a delegation of homeschoolers.  On Feb. 3, 2014, we’re expecting nineteen schools to attend.  What’s the secret to its success?  Positive word of mouth from youth and adult sponsors and results!

Here’s what youth participants have said:

  • "Great minds came together to change the world”
  • "I learned so much, made new friends and had plain fun! "
  • "It was mainly led by students and it was a good environment to talk about bullying and diversity”
  • "The activities challenged us to think, brought awareness and opened my eyes”
  • "We are using our knowledge together to make the world a better place for teens”

Adult participants have said:

  • "Because our students are involved in every step of planning and participating at the conference, they feel an incredible sense of ownership.  This empowers them to carry change forward.”
  • "Loved that youth helped lead and were independent from adults”
  • "Safe environment for students to speak on social situations that are relevant AND to make a plan.”

Here are just some of the noteworthy results:

  • The Small Delegation returned and brought the exercises to teachers and administrative staff.
  • The Kealing Delegation worked with administration to strengthen relationships between its two schools.
  • One youth reached out and received support for an eating disorder at the conference.
  • Two young men from rival schools spoke of the friendship they formed at the conference.
  • A student from Pearce who performed both years at the conference is now linked to Disney
  • Around half of the youth who spoke at the ‘open mic’ at the end, thanked the adults who made the conference possible.

How can you support the effort?
1. Learn more by attending and/or volunteering at the conference on Feb. 3, 2014

2. Become a DLC sponsor with a tax deductible contribution

  • Contribute a registration fee for one youth to attend for $45
  • Contribute breakfast and lunch for 12 youth for $96
  • Support attendance for a school delegation for $450

(The instructions below are critical for having the check arrive to the right place!)
Make the check out to LifeWorks.  Please put Diversity Leadership Conference on the envelope and on the check.  Send to:  Peg Gavin 
Director of Youth Development
835 N. Pleasant Valley Road
Austin TX  78702

3. Get involved with the planning team - the Alliance for Youth Leadership (a public, private, and civic sector collaborative)

For information, contact Stephanie Nestlerode directly via email at snestlerode@omegapoint.net or by calling 512.925.1360; www.omegapoint.net/DLC.




New and Renewing Members December 2013

Sarah G.Bauer, Waddell & Reed, Inc
Denice Bettencourt, Texas Department of Transportation
Angela Curry, Texas Commission on Environmental Quality
Pamela Darden, Texas Military Department
Jennifer Dormer, Texas Department of Aging & Disability Services
Margaret Earnest, Texas Commission on Environmental Quality
Joanne Edge, Retired
Trina Edwards, Texas Department of PublicSafety
Debbie Eller, City of College Station
Teri Flack, Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board-retired
Amanda Hafer, Texas Military Department
Stephanie Hogg, UT Southwestern Medical Center Dallas
Louis LeDoux, Texas Workforce Commission
Stephanie Lendecky, NTT DATA
Catherine Limon-Mann, Texas Military Department
Robin Owen, Dept of Family and Protective Services
Elida Vidos, UT Southwestern Medical Center
Laurie Watts, UT Southwestern Medical Center