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EWTG Star May 2016
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In This Issue

President's Corner Communication Survey Mini-Course
Monthly Luncheon The Affiliates - Houston From the Director's Chair
Leadership America Scholarship Executive Success Team Reception EST Spotlight - The MENTS
Social Media - Blog 101 Scholarships Volunteer
New and Renewing Members Thank you to our 2015 Sponsors
President's Corner

Jennifer Dormer

It is Mid-year so where is the board right now?

Your Board of Directors has been working hard to bring great events, luncheons, and communication to its EWTG members.

President Elect Clare Dyer has started the process of forming new Executive Success Teams. Be sure to sign up if you are not already on a team or looking to add more members to your existing team. There will be a kickoff event for the new teams on May 19th. Both new and current team members are welcome to attend.

Vice President Bobbe Walker is planning this year’s 30th annual conference - “Exceptional Women Transforming Government - Celebrating our Diamond Anniversary with Four C’s of Leadership: Character, Competence, Collaboration, and Creativity”. She has assembled a fantastic group of women who are diligently planning and implementing a conference that will bring attendees a great variety of breakout sessions, fascinating keynote speakers, exhibitors, silent auction items, and a Sunday night welcome event.

Communications Director Cheryl Taylor and her committee have implemented new and fun monthly newsletters. There are great articles from the board members, EST teams, and instructions on how to use various social media outlets by the communications committee to name a few. They stay on top of our Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter accounts with updates of all the EWTG events. Be sure to check them out.

Affiliates Director Grace Nobles is planning some visits to our affiliate chapters soon. She will also be participating on the Affiliates advisory committee to brain storm ideas on ways EWTG can assist our affiliates and ways to get new affiliate groups to join.

Membership Director Dokpe Ogunsanya has been recruiting new members at the luncheons and mini-courses. We have already had 35 new members join since the beginning of the year. She also has a great membership event in the works for July. More news to come.

Program Director Karen Howard and Mini-Course Director Barbara Chavis have found sensational and fun mini-course and luncheon speakers. There has been phenomenal attendance at these events. Don’t miss out on your opportunity to grow and learn from these speakers.

Treasurer Terri Peirce and Finance Officer Katrina Burch are busy with “behind the scenes” work, keeping our revenues and expenditures in order and always watching the budget-to-actual activity. They also worked to get our budget completed and our accounts setup for the new board.

Public Relations Director Amy Redmond keeps our organization in the public eye by finding ways to promote our organization to state agencies and other entities. She is also planning some promotional events at agency wellness events.

We have also had two great community events put together by our Community Service Chair Tamala Fletcher and committee. We had the 200 Easter Baskets assembled and distributed by the committee and several hundred handbags collected for Handbags for Hope.

And last, but not least, our Development Co-Chairs Shawana Abrams and Robin Smith, have been contacting both current and possible future sponsors for continuing sponsor funding and support. Our sponsors help support our events, conference, and scholarships.

We are only halfway through the year and there is still work to be done to continue making this a spectacular year for our members. Many of our directors and chairs are still looking for committee members, though. If you are interested in being a committee member, please visit our website and sign up.

It’s not about ideas. It’s about making ideas happen. – Scott Belsky

Jennifer Dormer
2016 EWTG President

communication survey

Improving Communication 

Thank each of you who took time out to complete the survey. We have been looking at the results in order to better serve the organization moving forward. The Communication Committee will have the results and outline of some ways of meeting your needs according to the survey next month. We want you to know we heard you and we are listening to what you had to say. If you want to contact us or have suggestions feel free to email us at

On the Record Advance Planning

May 11, 2016 at 11:30 am

Amy Praskac
End-of-Life Planner

Amy Praskac speaks from the heart and personal experience when she talks about being prepared for an emergency or end of life. She reunited with her high school sweetheart only to be widowed a few years later.

Amy battled a large insurance company and coped with family strife to settle her husband’s affairs. From this depth of experience, she began a new career as a counselor and planner for end of life.

Hear her tell about her current responsibilities as her mother’s executrix. Learn from her clients’ stories about why you need to be prepared.

Be inspired to leave your family a road map instead of a scavenger hunt.

Submitted By Barbara Charvis
Mini-Course Director

monthly luncheon
Children’s Bereavement Center of South Texas
May 25, 2016 at 11:30 a.m.
Marian Sokol, PHD MPH ~ Keep Calm and Carry On

Leadership When the World is Quaking Around You... Leadership requires integrity, focus, dedication and resilience. But each of our lives have ups, downs, and inevitably times of crisis...including personal loss. What happens when the sun comes up as always, but you just cannot bounce back? This presentation will address situations, including grieving, when even leaders must take time to heal before they can move forward.

Marian Sokol is Executive Director of Children’s Bereavement Center of South Texas, a nationally recognized Center in San Antonio serving more than 1000 grieving children, teens, parents and caregivers annually. Programs included individual counseling, peer support groups and camps, and the Grief Education Institute.

Submitted By Karen Howard
EWTG Program Director

the affiliates
Executive Women in Texas Government - Houston
Brown Bag Lunch Event
May 12, 2016



Denise Hamilton

Founder of

Currently on her US tour, Denise Hamilton, Founder of WatchHERWork is coming to meet/greet with the Executive Women in Texas Government - Houston Affiliate!

WatchHERWork Network will be interviewing rock stars - female business leaders from around the country and adding their voices to the site, because at WatchHERWork HER life really is your lesson.

  • Having trouble finding a mentor? You are not alone!
  • Fewer than 35% of women boast a truly successful Mentor/Mentee relationship. The numbers dwindle the further you move up the food chain where we need even more support navigating the shark infested waters of office politics.
  • WatchHerWork tackles this problem head on by crowdsourcing the wisdom of professional women from all walks of life. Using video, carefully curated information and guidance captured and organized for today’s working woman to have everything she needs to excel. If women are ever going to close the pay gap with men, the critical forks in the road every career woman faces have to be navigated expertly.

Submitted By Grace Nobles
Affiliates Director

From the Director's Chair
Communication Committee

The Communication Director is responsible for the following areas: the EWTG Website, the Newsletter - The Star, Videoing for the luncheons, mini-courses and other events, along with the different areas of social media such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Google. This is not the job of one person – the communication committee work together to get the job done. We work with the President, Board of Directors and CMP (EWTG Management Company) to get information to the members of the organization and others.

Communication is one of those areas that offer mountains of learning opportunities and challenges that can be applied to every area of your life. You not only get to work with different types of technology and applications but also with different people from different agencies each possessing different levels of communication and management styles. You get to learn from each other as a team as we figure out what piece of the puzzle we represent. Working with the communication committee helps you gain new skillsets or enhance the ones you already have thru experience. Challenges + Opportunities = Growth.

Submitted By Cheryl Taylor
Communication Director

leadership america scholarship
EWTG Announces Leadership America Scholarship Opportunity

EWTG has designated $5,000 in scholarship funds to support EWTG members interested in Leadership America. Established in 1988 with more than 2,000 graduates, Leadership America broadens the leadership lens of accomplished women leaders. This three-session Leadership Women program introduces participants to our nation’s power brokers, key policy shapers, respected scholars, imaginative innovators, and future-forward thinkers who reflect the widest range of backgrounds, disciplines, and personal or professional arenas. Through a competitive application process, Leadership America assembles 50-60 senior-level women from across the country and around the globe to expand their knowledge beyond their professional disciplines and responsibilities.

The 2016 Leadership America theme is Leading with a Global Vision and a National Focus: Leadership That Informs, Impacts and Inspires. The opening session featured Retired Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison and Senator Claire McCaskill discussing consensus and collaboration; Homeland Security Secretary Jeh C. Johnson on transcending politics; Linda Hawes Clever, MD, on identifying and nurturing your leadership reservoir; Dr. Karen Dynan, Treasury Assistant Secretary on economic policy; Dr. Johnnetta Cole, Director, National Museum of African Art on authentic leadership; as well as presentations from health and business experts; a panel discussion on transformational leadership for cities, nonprofits and businesses; and a private tour of the Capitol Visitor Center. Leadership America will venture to Phoenix and New Orleans later this year.

Submitted By Audrey Selden
EWTG Scholarship Committee Member

Executive Success Teams


Mark your calendars for the 2016 Executive Success Teams (ESTs) Kick-Off event on Thursday, May 19th. The Kick-Off event will be held from 6:00-8:00 p.m. at the Mitte Carriage House at 1008 West Avenue. The Carriage House is located on the corner of 11th and West Avenue, and is entered through the gates on 11th Street. New and current EST members are encouraged to attend, and others interested in learning more about ESTs are also welcome.

ESTs are the major component of EWTG’s peer mentoring program. Teams consist of groups of five to seven women who meet regularly to learn with and from each other in an open, relaxed, and confidential environment.  Team members commit to meeting throughout the year to support each other in personal and professional development.

Each group agrees on a time, place and agenda for meeting. Meeting times can vary: lunch, after work, or weekend. Most groups meet monthly.  Some teams have professional topics of interest, while others are more social in nature, and many cover a mix of professional and social activities. Each group offers an enjoyable and relaxed way to get to know other EWTG members in a small and supportive setting.

Submitted By Clare Dyer
President-Elect and Chair of Mentorship Committee

executive success team spotlight

The Ments

Our EST was formed in 1998, the first year of the program.  One of our initial members worked in the private sector, and for the first year, we met in her company's conference room, taking turns bringing snacks.  We initially had 7 members, dropping to 5 when we began Year Two.  At some point we named ourselves the MENTS to acknowledge each member's dual role as mentor/mentee. 

In the first year or so, before we really knew each other, we focused on career-related topics, such as working on our resumes or each reading a different book and reporting to the others about finding our ideal job or our truer selves.  As we got to know each other, we began rotating the hostess duties and meeting in our homes, and started sharing thorny work issues and other concerns.  

The hostess chose a focus for each meeting, and for a while, we researched starting a business, because a few of the members were very interested (and now, years later, have become entrepreneurs.)  Several of us have served as EWTG board members, including President, using the MENTS as a sounding board from time to time.  A few years ago, we held a 3-day session, spending a wonderful weekend at the coast.  Though we have always been busy with work, family and stuff, we made time to see each other, meeting only if all agree on a date.  We still meet almost monthly, usually on a weekday evening at 6:00 p.m.  Now we simply enjoy getting together, talking about whatever has been going on.  At our last meeting, we discussed planning something fun to celebrate 20 years as MENTS.

Our lessons learned:

  1. Make participation a priority.
  2. Invest time in getting to know each other.
  3. Take time to establish trust (confidentiality is important) before tackling more sensitive issues.

From observing the program over the years:

  • If your assigned group isn’t a good fit for you, change to another group, but see lessons learned above.
  • If you travel a lot or have trouble committing to meetings, it will affect the whole team and may not be a good time for you to start an EST.
  • Some members have enjoyed joining a different group each year.
Submitted by Clare Dyer
President-Elect and Chair of Mentorship Committee
social media - BLOGGING


Using Social Media to Your Advantage

Blog 101 – Let’s Start Blogging

We live in a world of social networks like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat. However, the personal or professional blog still plays an important role in crafting a message and amplifying your message to the world. Unlike Facebook and Twitter, on your blog, you make the rules. You control the content, the editorial direction, and the reader experience. Blogs also allow you to have full control over how information gets presented to your audience. A well-organized blog can act as an online headquarters where your followers from all of your other social media accounts can find you online.

So you’re convinced that you need a professional blog, where do you start? If you can write and send an email, you can publish a blog post. You don’t have to be technically savvy to get started, there are plenty of blogging services like, or Squarespace that will get you up and running with a few clicks. In addition, there are website designers around the world on sites like Upwork or Fiverr that can design and launch your blog while leaving the writing up to you.

Here are eight steps to help launch your blog:
  1. Select a topic.
    Is this something you can talk about for a year or two or ten? Is anyone interested in this topic? If someone else is talking about this topic already, how are you going to talk about it differently? One of my favorite bloggers, Chris Guillebeau, recommends drafting twelve blog posts prior to launching your blog. If you can’t generate twelve post ideas on a particular subject, it might not be blog worthy. With twelve blog posts drafted, you have three months’ worth of blog posts if you post once a week.
Submitted By Gina McCauley
EWTG Guest Contributor
New and Renewing Members

See Who Joined and Renewed in May 2016!

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 2016 second quarter application to the Scholarship Committee by 5:00 p.m. on June 30, 2016.

EWTG Board Meetings

The EWTG Board holds its monthly meetings at the Mitte Carriage House 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.

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."

Board of Directors

Cheryl Taylor, Editor
Communications Director

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