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Newsletter February 2015
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February 2015

In This Issue

1. President's Corner
2. Monthly Minicourse
3. Building Buddies
4. Monthly Luncheon
5. Legislative Update
6. Easter Baskets of Love
7. Executive Success Team 
8. New and Renewing Members


Quick Links

EWTG Web Site

Board of Directors

Thank you 2014 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 Email your 2015 first quarter application to the Scholarship Committee by 5:00 p.m. on March 31, 2015.

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.

Debbie Peterson, 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 to sign up and start receiving EWTG's updates.


President's Corner

2015 is underway, and EWTG board members have been busy organizing themselves and their committees. We’re taking on several new initiatives designed to engage current members and encourage new ones.  Jump in and email to express your desire to volunteer to help on one or more

  • EWTG is working with UT’s LBJ School of Public Affairs’ Executive Master in Public Leadership program in hopes of co-hosting a Capitol reception during the session to introduce legislators and their staffs to both of our programs. Stay tuned!
  • Smile…you may be in an EWTG video!  Communications Director Debbie Peterson and her crew will be video recording luncheons and mini-courses this year for later posting on the EWTG website for members, and especially affiliate members, to view and share.  
  • Another communications initiative is redesigning and modernizing the EWTG website to enhance its functionality and update our image…so our new videos will feel at home.
  • Building Buddies!  As the article below explains, a Building Buddy is an EWTG member who agrees to be the point person for her agency, or building, or office for all things EWTG, concentrating especially on helping new or young members. Maybe the Building Buddy knows of some members who want to carpool to a luncheon and could take a new member with them. The board’s goal is to have a Buddy in each agency or office location, so take the initiative and volunteer!

If the Legislature won’t be keeping you busy this spring, your EWTG sure will!  So dig in!

Laure McLaughlin
2015 EWTG President


February Monthly Minicourse

By: Karen Howard, Minicourse Director 

For the first minicourse of 2015, on February 11th, EWTG is excited to announce Debbie Saviano who will introduce you to a new way to transform your LinkedIn profile into an effective, dynamic marketing tool for yourself and your business.  Debbie will show you, step-by-step through video tutorials and written instructions, how to set up and use your LinkedIn profile to attract friends, acquaintances, potential employers and new customers.

Debbie is a frequent presenter at the EWTG conference on the use of social media. After a full and successful career in education as a building principal of five campuses for Pre-K to high school-aged students, Debbie knows a thing or two about organizing, inspiring and teaching others. So let her help you join the 21st century by updating and branding your profile in today’s fast-growing world of social media.

We hope you will be able to join us!  Register here.  

EWTG Building Buddies

By: Laure McLaughlin, President

Think back to when you were a new member to EWTG, and how lost or anxious you might have felt going to your first EWTG luncheon, mini-course, or other event.  How much easier would your entry into EWTG have been if you had someone in your state agency, or building or office that could have answered those “dumb” questions of yours about EWTG, or could have offered you a ride to a luncheon?

The goal of EWTG’s “Building Buddies” is just that: building relationships with other EWTG members within the same office or agency. EWTG is seeking volunteers now to be that buddy, the one who knows about EWTG membership and events, and the one who could put you in touch with other EWTG members in your workplace. 

If you’re interested, please email with your name, the name of your agency or company, your workplace address, best daytime phone number and best daytime email address.  We will make sure you have the latest information on membership requirements and events, and will encourage new EWTG members to contact you if they have any questions.  That’s it. Think you could be your workplace’s Building Buddy?


February Monthly Luncheon

"Change the World from the Front of the Room"

By: Dokpe Ogunsanya, Program Director

Our guest speaker this month is Tonya Hofmann, the CEO and founder of the Public Speakers Association. She is a national and international keynote speaker, trainer, author, business strategist, coaches’ coach, corporate and entrepreneurial educator. Ms. Hofman’s wide experience in retail sales, training and owning business networking organizations, in addition to founding the Public Speakers Association, is proof that her .genuine love of people and intense drive helps all those around her achieve their potential.

Ms. Hofman is host of the “Tonya Hofmann’s Fabulous TV Show”, and a twice-published author of “A Client A Day The Coffee Shop Way!” and “Change Your World.” She has received the International eWomen Network conference 2008 Business Matchmaker of the Year Award,  along with nominations for 2014 CEO of the Year Award by the Austin Business Journal, the Most Connected Person in Dallas by the Small Business Conference, and the Austin’s Business Journal’s Profiles in Power. 

We hope you will be able to join us to hear the energetic, insightful Tonya Hofman.  Register here.  

Legislative Update

By: Susan Biles, Legislative Committee Chair

The 84th Legislature kicked things off last month with a little bit of excitement - the first contested Speaker’s vote in 40 years in the House and the Senate abolished the long standing tradition of the two-thirds rule.

Speaker Joe Straus cruised to an easy victory over sophomore Scott Turner, who won only 19 votes.  It was the first time since 1975 that a speaker was elected by record vote in a contested race. Usually, a speaker candidate who knows he is going to lose will release his supporters from their pledge to vote for the challenger.  The reason is to avoid damaging those members’ chances for a successful legislative session.  

Texas Senators also voted to change the two-thirds rule to the three-fifths rule, taking the number of Senators needed to bring up a bill on the floor from 21 to 19.  The two-thirds rule was first put in place in 1947.  Because the Senate is required to take up bills in the order they are put on the Senate calendar, the Senate intentionally places a bill at the top of the calendar that they never intend to vote on.  To suspend the rules and bring up subsequent bills, a Senator needs two thirds, or 21 votes, to suspend the rule in the Texas Constitution requiring bills to be considered in order.  With 31 members, two-thirds means garnering 21 votes. This means that the minority only needs 11 votes to keep a bill from being heard on the floor.  This year Democrats hold 11 votes – enough to continue to block bills under the two-thirds rule.  After years of rumblings about making a change, the Senate changed that rule to require 19 votes.  While this rule is usually discussed in a partisan context, votes can fall on urban vs rural lines as well.

The House and Senate released their budgets in January. The House base budget is $202.4 billion and the Senate base budget is $205.1 billion. 
The Senate budget includes $4 billion allocated for tax cuts - $3 billion for property tax cuts and $1 billion for business franchise cuts.  The House budget gives a boost to local school districts by allowing them to keep funding that would normally be reduced due to rising property values within the districts. Both budgets fund public school enrollment growth, estimated to be 84,000 students.  

Both budgets also increase funding for border security, $815 million in the Senate budget and $283 million in the House budget.  Both end $1.2 billion in so-called “highway fund diversions,” for example, the current practice of using dedicated highway instead of general revenue monies to fund the Department of Public Safety.  

While there isn’t much discussion right now of what might be done to improve the actuarial soundness of the ERS pension fund, both HB1 and SB2 do fund state employee health insurance at the requested levels.  State employee and retiree organizations are asking for an additional $350 million as a beginning to bringing the fund closer to soundness.

And you read that correctly, while the House and Senate generally file their budget bills as HB1 and SB1, this year the Senate reserved SB1 for a tax relief bill.  The final budget will be HB1.

To read more, click here

Easter Baskets of Love

By: Tamala Fletcher, EWTG Member

Two EWTG members, Tamala Fletcher and Charity Denning, are teaming up again this year with Huston-Tillotson University to provide Easter Baskets for the annual Easter Egg Hunt.  In 2014, the two prepared and distributed more than 150 Easter baskets to disadvantaged children participating in the hunt, but unfortunately, there were more children than baskets.  This year, Tamala and Charity set a goal of 200 baskets and are asking for your help to bring Easter Baskets to all the children who participate in the hunt. 

To read more, click here


What are Executive Success Teams? 

By: Jennifer Dormer, President-Elect

Executive Success Teams are the major component of EWTG’s group mentoring program.  Teams are groups of five to seven women who meet regularly to learn with and from each other in an open, relaxed, and confidential environment while developing and expanding their EWTG network.  Team members commit to meeting throughout the year to support each other in personal and professional development. 

To read more, click here

New and Renewing Members

 January 2015

Click here to read. 


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