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EWTG Woman of the Year - 1997 - Lora Hammond Weber
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Lora Hammond Weber
1997 Woman of the Year

A Legacy of Firsts: Lora Hammond Weber.  When we talk about leadership and EWTG and women who make a difference, a short list of exceptional women will come to mind. When we think of mentors and women who believe in other women and who strive to make possibilities real – not just for themselves but for others - our list shortens. In the end. when we think of women dedicated to - indeed who helped to create - EWTG's mission, whose influence is seen today in the nature and structure of this organization, and who make real the ideals consonant with "public service," the name leading the list is this year's EWTG Woman of the Year: Lora Hammond Weber.

  • At age 27, the first woman division director at the Public Utility Commission.
  • A founding member and strong positive force guiding EWTG.
  • Three years' chair for the State Employee Charitable Campaign.
  • A founder of the Women in the Public Sector Organization, and a liaison to the State Agency Council to the Governor's Commission for Women.
  • And, as first woman deputy executive director at the Texas Incentive and Productivity Commission, she was recognized for her considerable accomplishments when she was selected in 1990 as Outstanding Woman in Texas Government for Contributions to Other Women.

Lora has made a difference for Texas citizens inside and outside the government structure. At the PUC she directed the consumer affairs division, creating a responsible team to help resolve customer complaints and provide consumer education on telecommunications and electric utility issues, areas fundamental to a decent life. Experience as a manager and a communicator helped guide her as she set up operations for the Texas Incentive and Productivity Commission, the state agency created to encourage state employees to suggest ways to save money and improve state government. Leading a small agency and managing a division of a regulatory agency provided Lora with a sound foundation for joining the executive team at TDLR, a mid-sized agency responsible for regulating an array of professions ranging from boxing to air conditioning to architectural barriers and elevators.

In government it can sometimes be difficult to know that you are making a difference. Lora was recognized for her considerable accomplishments when she was selected in 1990 as Outstanding Woman in Texas Government for Contributions to Other Women. It is her family whom Lora credits for developing her values of teamwork and service. Her parents loved children and provided a home to numerous foster children. She continues this example through volunteering at a residential facility for adults with Down's Syndrome; teaching over a thousand adults and children to swim- through the American Red Cross's Learn to Swim program, and serving as a counselor with the National Runaway Hotline. In her three years leading the State Employee Charitable Campaign, annual contributions rose to $3 million for distribution to about 400 charitable organizations. Wanting to make a personal connection in addition to her organizational role, Lora volunteered as a mentor to a woman MBA student at UT.

A mainstay for EWTG, Lora has been a constant presence, a model leader, a willing worker. Her connection with EWTG is strong, and we see her influences today in the shape of this organization. Her guidance helped define our image. She served as the first registration chair in 1986 for EWTG’s first professional development conference. She pioneered the first newsletter, developed its logo and stationery. She was elected president in 1989. At that time, EWTG was healthy but small, with an annual budget of about $30,000. Significant activities consisted of the annual conference, monthly luncheons, and the Leadership Texas scholarship. Both the vision and the operations of the organization were still handled by the volunteer board. To bring EWTG forward to the next level, she led the initiative to hire the first executive director and to develop EWTG's first management/strategic plan. Under Lora's leadership, the board finalized EWTG's tax exempt status, bought a computer, and added two significant member services: a means of sharing job opportunities and an annual directory of members. To reach out to future women leaders, the board in 1989 created STARS, Strategic Training for Rising Stars, which evolved into the One-on-One mentor program in which she participated as a mentor. When Lora left office, the 1990 board approved a budget in the six figures, membership had increased more than 25%, and dreams for the organization were becoming realities.

It seems so apt that in this, our eleventh year, we honor Lora Weber who was there helping define a fledgling EWTG with clarity of vision and deep commitment to the goals we hold so proudly. She was there even after her elected positions ended, continuing to serve on committees and attending EWTG functions as often as possible. Her presence and influence can be seen today: here in this room are many women whose lives were touched and made more rich through Lora's involvement in EWTG.

Let us congratulate EWTG's 1997 Woman of the Year: Lora Hammond Weber.

 

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