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EWTG Star April 2018
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In This Issue

President's Corner Making the Most of Your EWTG Experience Membership News
Mini-Course Professional Development Luncheon Conference Update
Get Involved! Sponsor Appreciation Events & Announcements

Thank you to our 2017 Sponsors

Deborah Shaw-Boatner - pic There are finally signs of spring in the air!

You know its spring in Austin when our own version of “March Madness” hits. With any luck, you survived the excitement from SXSW activities, spring break, Rodeo Austin and Texas Relays. If you’re reading this newsletter you managed to survive! The seasonal rains have hit, the trees are in bloom and the bluebonnets are showing off all over town!

As you enjoy the bluebonnets, I hope that you have included some fresh air in your daily routine. Last month, we talked about “Living a Healthy Lifestyle”. When is the last time you visited Lady Bird Lake and took a walk on trails? Have you asked your co-workers to join you for a walk during break or lunch time to share in some good old-fashioned conversation about work, family or hobbies? If the answer is no -- spring is in the air …. The weather is better and it’s a great time to act and add a new outdoor activity to your lifestyle.

As you spring into action –don’t forget about getting involved in an Executive Success Team (EST). In March we held our annual EST kick-off event. It was a great start for the program in 2018. Thanks to everyone who made the event a success! Put EWTG on your “bucket list” to take advantage of this unique networking and relationship building opportunity that is available to our members to share their journeys with others and build each other up with our experiences.

Some of you are taking to heart the encouragement to ACT as we had 100% attendance of members at a recent professional development luncheon. How awesome is that? We hope that you will continue to ACT on behalf of EWTG by encouraging other non-members to attend EWTG events and get an opportunity to take advantage of the $10 discount for joining at an EWTG sponsored event.

The opening of spring brings with it some cloudy days. And on a sad note – we recently lost one of our esteemed founders, Nelda Wells Spears. In 1984 Nelda and five other amazing visionaries recognized a need for women in higher levels of Texas state government to have an educational and networking support group. Out of that vision the Executive Women in Texas Government was born. After 34 years, EWTG is still a visible and viable part of Nelda’s vision and legacy.

So, this month, we bid farewell to one of our extraordinary leaders who made a huge mark and record in the history of the state of Texas and in Travis County. Her accomplishments as a champion for women’s causes will live on and provide the path for other professional women to become elected officials and hold leadership positions in the Austin community and across the state.

As we move into April and you continue to consider new steps and actions to take in your life and career, here’s a word of encouragement from author Tara Jaye Frank, compiled from her list of 5 Leadership Quotes to Help You Spring into Action. She states: “You keep thinking about leaping. You’re constantly assessing the risk, wondering if it’s worth it. Here’s the thing – you’ll never know from the sidelines. Take a step out…then step into your greatness. You’ll accomplish so much more when you’re actually in the game!”

Wherever and whenever you decide to act, know that EWTG is here to support you along the way. The important thing is to spring into action today!

Deborah Shaw-Boatner
EWTG President, 2018

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Mentors Are the Best Thing

"If anyone should ever write my life story,
For whatever reason there might be,
Oh, you’ll be there."
~ Jim Weatherly, songwriter for Gladys Knight

I recently went to see Gladys Knight in concert. She was – and is, of course – fabulous. She’s an amazing singer, gifted storyteller, and winner of four Grammy awards. At age 73, she’s still going strong. We need more role models like her.

So who are the role models, not just for us as EWTG members, but for each of us as individuals? The easy answer is our mother, our grandmother, our special aunt, our favorite school teacher. Or perhaps people we’ve never even met, like our favorite actress, singer, dancer, or tennis star.

One of the reasons EWTG is successful is because each generation reaches out to mentor and inspire younger generations of women to be more successful in their careers.

But shouldn’t all ages have role models? What should they look like, act like, be like? What traits do they have that we think we should have?

Open any women’s magazine, and notice the ads for beauty products and the articles about skin care to help us look younger than we are. Learn catchphrases like “aging gracefully” and “50 is the new 40.”

Listen to today’s popular music (if you must!), and identify the roles that women play. If you listen to pop music, you’ll hear songs about your body parts; if you prefer country, you’ll hear a man telling you to get in his truck and drink a beer with him. Neither of those ideas has anything positive to offer us as women.

Even movies seem to base our identity on whom we choose to love and how we raise our children.

Isn’t there more to being a woman than a title based on a relationship to someone else: wife, mother, girlfriend, sister, daughter, lady-at-the-gym, woman-I-know-from-the-office, and college-friend? Isn’t there more to being a woman than a title based on our duties: admin, supervisor, counselor, doctor, customer service rep, paralegal, team lead?

So if our daily lives offer so many different roles and variables, shouldn’t we each have several role models? And shouldn’t we strive to be role models at the same time?

Gladys Knight - Concert - photo Back to the Gladys Knight example. She uses her stage, literally, to showcase younger singers and musicians to help their careers while, as she puts it, they make her sound good.

How many opportunities do we have during the workday to showcase younger coworkers to help their careers? If you have a team project, are you in a position to help someone else show off her skill set? And if the project is successful, everyone on the team reaps the benefit.

If you have been at your agency or in your field for a long time, can you identify some of the younger folks who can teach you something? We all know that technology, software, media, and procedures change constantly, and we know that younger people tend to know more about those formats than their seasoned coworkers, so there’s always something to learn on the job.

If you are one of the newer employees in your agency, how do you decide which senior staff to emulate? What traits do you look for, and even if you don’t have the same personality type or the same work style, which women can you identify with and learn from?

No one can decide for you. You have to learn what your priorities are, which weaknesses you need to overcome, and which strengths you can improve. Consciously look around for the women who can help you meet your goals. Over time, it should become noticeable that you have made some improvements and learned something other than what the training manuals teach.

Even though they probably won’t know it, your mentors and role models will be right there with you, still coaching and encouraging you and leading by example. And if you choose well, that’s one of the best things that can ever happen to you.

Submitted by Cyndi Samford
EWTG Member

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Executive Women in Texas Government:
Houston Affiliate News

Here in Houston, 2018 is off to a roaring start. In January, we hosted Millennial$ and Money & The Houston Housewives of Finance Official. We had a great presentation on how to become financially independent and retire early. By focusing on building a financial foundation, we learned how to make money grow. These skills are essential for all of us as we look at insurance needs, college planning for ourselves and our children, retirement planning, estate planning, and if needed, long-term care. Those in attendance received a free financial planning guidebook as a gift from our guest speakers. Interested parties can see the January presentation on our Facebook page posting from January 23, 2018.

Brazos Affiliation Meeting, 2018 In February, we hosted Micah Adkins, an attorney with the Adkins Firm. Mr. Adkins is an identity theft lawyer dedicated to the rights of identity theft victims and consumers with errors on credit reports or background reports. Mr. Adkins' practice is 100% litigation in federal court. Attendees learned about safe identity practices both in the home and when in public. This included best practices for disposal of your discarded mail and even how to protect your identity when pumping gas at the station. We looked at how to best maintain control over your credit score and safety practices limiting thieves from using your name in a credit check. Viewers can see the February presentation on our Facebook page posting from February 13, 2017.

On April 17, EWTG Houston will host "Luby's Lunch Bunch" at the local Luby's Cafeteria on the Gulf Freeway. This is a social event for members to get out of the office, see fellow members, find out what's new on the EWTG front, and get a leg up on the next event. This is a new event that we have added to our calendar this year. Members look forward to a quick outing at lunchtime to meet and socialize. This is a great opportunity for members to socialize and learn from each other about the interworking and roles among employees of state government.

On May 15, EWTG Houston will host Elizabeth Edwards, an attorney with Tindall England PC. Elizabeth H. Edwards, a seventh generation Texan, received her undergraduate degree from The University of Texas at Austin. While an undergraduate student, she studied abroad at Oxford University, majoring in English literature. After earning her bachelor's degree, Elizabeth taught English as a second language in the Hunan Province of China for one year, which provided her the unique opportunity to live and work in a developing country. In May 2013, Elizabeth received her Juris Doctorate from South Texas College of Law, where she was active in competing in mock trial and moot court competitions, providing her with a strong background in legal arguments and trial skills. She was admitted to the State Bar of Texas in November 2013 and joined Tindall England in December 2014 after briefly working for another family law practitioner. Elizabeth's experience in family law cases includes divorce, adoption, paternity, custody disputes, enforcement and modification of divorce decrees, premarital agreements, and marital property division. Additionally, her experiences as a court-appointed amicus attorney representing the best interest of children provide her with an understanding perspective for parents going through the process. Our members understand that everyone in our community knows at least one person who is facing the challenges of shifting family dynamics through a divorce. The presentation will focus on divorce and custody laws in Texas with an emphasis on where to go for help when facing these changing dynamics in the family environment.

In June, EWTG Houston will host its fourth annual campaign in support of Operation Shoebox. Operation Shoebox embraces a practical mission of providing hands-on support for our troops deployed overseas and returning home. It is the mission of Operation Shoebox to meet the needs of every hero with dignity and appreciation. Members will be accepting donations to include coffee, socks, toothpaste, toiletries, and sports gear. Members are also encouraged to write letters of encouragement for service members overseas. EWTG Houston will then turn over the collections to Operation Shoebox for packaging and distribution. Members recognize and appreciate the hardships associated with geographic and family separation due to military service. If we as an organization do our part to remind the service members that they are appreciated and missed, perhaps we can ease the pain of being so far from home.

If you're planning a trip to Houston, check out our Facebook page at EWTG Houston. There are plenty of exciting events, and we would love to have our sister affiliate members join us.

Submitted by Elizabeth Patrolia
EWTG Houston Affiliate President, 2018


Founding and Honorary Member of EWTG Passes Away

Nelda Wells Spears - photo It is with respect and sadness that we acknowledge that one of EWTG's founders and lifetime members, Nelda Wells Spears, passed away on Tuesday, March 20, 2018. She was well-known in the Austin community, having served two decades as Travis County's tax assessor-collector before retiring in 2011. She was the first African-American to hold that office and was well regarded as a community leader and mentor to black youth, and women, in particular, encouraging them to choose a career in public service. For more detailed information on the life and service of this great woman of Texas, please read the article from Austin American-Statesman newspaper. [read more]

In lieu of flowers, Nelda’s family is accepting donations for the purchase of a brick for the Walk of Friends at Hospice Austin (aka Christopher House). To honor our founder we plan to donate funds towards a memorial brick. If you are interested in making a donation to recognize this remarkable leader you may send checks (no cash) payable to “Hospice Austin” and state “Nelda Wells Spears – EWTG” in the memo section. Checks should be mailed to EWTG - P O Box 1635, Leander, Texas 78646. Donations made payable to Hospice Austin are tax deductible.

Connect With EWTG Online!

On Facebook, get connected by joining our EWTG Members Group. This group is for all EWTG members statewide — Austin & affiliate chapters — and it's private, so only group members will see what you post there. It's great for posting photos of EWTG events, sharing job postings, or asking questions of fellow EWTG members.

Social Media icons On LinkedIn, get connected by joining our group page. As a professional networking site, this is an even better place to share job postings and articles on professional development or women in government. Any member of the group can post, but keep in mind that these posts are public, so please do not post personal information there. Log into your LinkedIn account, type "Executive Women in Texas Government" in the search box. Click here to visit EWTG’s LinkedIn Group. Click "Ask to Join" in the upper right corner.

On Twitter, get connected by following EWTG. This is the easiest one of all! Log into your Twitter account, type "EWTG" in the search box, and click "Follow" on the right under the photo.

If you have news to share, we'd love to hear from you!
Send your news to

See who joined & renewed membership last month!

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Mini-Course - April 11th

Roger C Davis - photoNew Tax Changes for 2018


Roger C. Davis

Tax Specialist, H&R Block

This presentation will focus on the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 passed by the U.S. Congress that took effect January 1, 2018. The presentation will address personal taxes, including personal exemptions, standard deductions, itemized deductions, alimony, child versus family tax credits, the ACA individual mandate, and tax rate changes. If time allows, the presentation will also address business taxes, including qualified business income, bonus depreciation after Sept. 27, 2017, and tax bracket changes.

Roger C. Davis is originally from Chicago, Illinois, but has lived in Austin, Texas, since January 1987. He graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Accounting from Florida A&M University in May 1984, and currently works as a customer account management representative with 3M in northwest Austin. He is also a tax specialist with H&R Block and a licensed life, health, property, and casualty insurance agent with Primerica. He is a founding member of the Black Professional Alliance and currently serves as that organization's treasurer. He also serves on the board of the Greater Austin Black Chamber, is co-chair of the 3M Austin African American Network, and is a past president of the National Association of Black Accountants. He proudly serves as a care group leader and Bible class teacher at the Church of Christ Eastside, and commissioner of the Church of Christ Basketball League in the Austin area. He is married with three children and enjoys spending time with family, playing sports, watching movies, and serving the community.

Submitted by Barbara Chavis
EWTG Mini-Course Director, 2018

Read More & Register Today!
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Professional Development Luncheon — April 25th

Rachel Green - photoThe Leader Ship Box


Rachel Green

CEO, A Brand Called U
Founder, Leader Ship Box


This month's speaker will discuss the mission of Leader Ship Box, which is to empower women to make educated choices in every aspect of their professional and personal lives by supplying affordable sources of literature and access to virtual workshops and career development conferences.

As CEO of A Brand Called U and Founder of Leader Ship Box, Rachel has cultivated her passion for public relations and brand management into multifaceted award-winning businesses that operate successfully in competitive arenas such as sports, lifestyle, tech, nonprofit, and subscription box services. Rachel's clients have been featured in outlets such as Forbes, Essence, Black Enterprise, CNN, Crain's Business, Inc. Magazine, Mix Mag, and more.

She has proudly represented a variety of celebrities, entertainers, filmmakers, authors, artists, athletes, and business owners. Her previous projects have included traveling the globe managing book tours, awards shows, and spearheading the very first House Music Art Gallery and Mobile Museum in Glasgow, Scotland.

EWTG Past Presidents: check your email for a discount code
to register for this event at a special rate!

Submitted by Mary Castleberry
EWTG Program Director, 2018

Read More & Register Today!
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conference update

The Conference Is Coming, the Conference Is Coming!

Megaphone - graphic The 2018 EWTG Conference Committee has been charged with bringing you a conference that is thrilling, fun, and relaxing while focusing on professional development. We are excited to have conference workshops and speaker presentations that will be focused on what women in the industry are seeking. The Conference Committee is working hard to make this the best conference ever! Conference participants will be given the opportunity to listen and learn from industry leaders, network with other professionals, attend seminars and gain hands-on experience, receive leadership training, develop analytical thinking skills, and garner new ideas on how to advance your careers.

You will soon find links on the EWTG website for those who wish to sign up as an exhibitor, presenter, or donate to the silent auction. Soon we will have the link ready to register for the conference, to reserve a room at the hotel, and to register for the networking reception. Please continue to watch our website and newsletter for new details and developments for the 2018 EWTG Annual Professional Development Conference!

If you would like to volunteer on one of our conference committees, please sign up online or e-mail me with the subject line "Conference Committee" at There is still time and space available for you to volunteer!

Please remember to mark November 18 (networking reception) and November 19 (professional development conference). Just as a groom anxiously awaits his bride to walk down the aisle, we anxiously anticipate on providing you with a conference experience that you will not forget! The conference is coming, the conference is coming!

Submitted by Shawana Abrams
EWTG Vice-President & Conference Chair, 2018

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get involved!

What Does the Affiliates Committee Do?

The members of the Affiliates Committee are responsible for working with our existing EWTG affiliate chapters to help increase their membership and broaden the visibility of their organizations among state and local agencies and institutions of higher education. Texas-shaped Texas flag - graphic This committee meets to brainstorm ideas that will improve support and communications between the main organization here in Austin and our sister organizations in the Brazos Valley and Houston, as well as to help in developing solutions to problems they may face. In this way, members of the Affiliates Committee serve as advocates for our affiliate chapters to ensure that their needs as members of EWTG are being met. It's very important that EWTG's strong relationship with each of our affiliate chapters is constantly maintained, so Affiliates Committee members may also go along with me as I visit our two affiliate cities to discuss the status of their organization and talk with them about their plans and goals for the year.

One of the most exciting objectives for the Affiliates Committee this year is to explore the possibility of establishing new affiliate chapters in new areas of the state. Last month, I reported on the analysis we have been doing on the list of committee attendees to identify potential areas for new affiliates, and the e-mails that were sent to attendees from these areas. Within the next month or two, the Affiliates Committee will follow up on our initial outreach.

Your help would be greatly appreciated, whether it's by talking to your own agency and business contacts across the state about EWTG and how easy it is to start up a new affiliate, or by becoming a member of the Affiliates Committee. If you are interested in participating this year, please sign up online.

Submitted by Cindy Hale
EWTG Affiliates Director, 2018

It's easy to get plugged in with EWTG committees — just fill out
this quick, online form and let us know what committees interest you!

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Sponsor Appreciation

Max Effect With MAXIMUS

For several years, MAXIMUS has sponsored EWTG's Annual Professional Development Conference. While the company may be well known among members who work in health and human services, others may not be as aware of the work this sponsor does, both as a government contractor as well as through its foundation grants program and employee volunteer efforts. So, here's a quick rundown of the history of the company and the impact it has both around the globe and here in Texas.

Maximus - logo MAXIMUS was originally founded in 1975 by David Mastran, a graduate of West Point and Stanford University, an officer in the U.S. Air Force, Vietnam veteran, and former manager at the U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare. His background in civil engineering and the military may not seem like the most obvious starting point for a health and human services CEO, but it was exactly that training that gave him the analytical and project management skills necessary to develop programs and tools that would connect people with the services needed. "The mission of MAXIMUS from the beginning was helping government serve the people," said Mastran in a 2014 interview with The West Point Center for Oral History. (Mastran left the company in 2004 when his wife had breast cancer; he has since founded a new company, Quaver Music, developing tech tools for children's music education.)

Health and human services are MAXIMUS' wheelhouse. The company provides administrative, program management, and customer contact services in states across the country related to Medicare, Medicaid, Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP), and health insurance exchanges under the ACA. The company also manages welfare-to-work programs; supports child support enforcement agencies; provides benefits and eligibility assessment services to child welfare, juvenile justice, prisoner re-entry, and human trafficking victims' assistance programs; and offers consulting services related to higher education, child care, child welfare, and nutritional programs such as WIC and SNAP. The company works with agencies at the local, state, and federal levels in the U.S. and has expanded to offer similar services in Canada, the U.K., and other countries around the world.

Despite global growth, the focus on positively impacting individual lives remains constant. Here in Texas, the MAXIMUS Foundation has partnered with organizations such as the Moody Clinic in Brownsville, which provides speech, physical, and occupational therapy to children; the Rio Grande Children's Home in Mission, which provides a home for neglected and orphaned children, helping keep siblings together through their foster care and adoption services; and Community Partners of Dallas' Kids in Crisis program, which meets critical needs of abused and neglected children. In 2017, the foundation partnered with The Hays-Caldwell Women's Center in San Marcos to help victims of family violence, sexual assault, and child abuse. Additionally, the company and its employees donated more than $100,000 to the American Red Cross' disaster relief fund to help Texans recover from the devastation of Hurricane Harvey, and more locally, MAXIMUS employees donated their time and effort in a joint project of Austin Habitat for Humanity and Austin's Helping Hand Home for Children to create three playhouses for children who had found forever families through Helping Hand's adoption program.

To learn more about this sponsor, check out these resources:

Submitted on behalf of the Development Committee

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Events & Announcements

April 11th, 11:30 a.m. — Mini-course — See details above about this event.

Calendar - graphic April 18th, 5:30 p.m. — EWTG Board Meeting — The agenda will be posted on EWTG's website by noon on Monday before the meeting. A summary of the board meeting minutes located on the website.

April 25th, 11:30 a.m. — Professional Development Luncheon — See details above about this event.

June 30th — EWTG Scholarship Application Deadline — 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. [learn more]

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Board of Directors

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