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EWTG Star April 2019
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In This Issue

President's Corner EWTG 2019 Legislative Reception Recap Membership News
Mini-Course Professional Development Luncheon Conference Update
Get Involved! Sponsor Appreciation Events & Announcements
President's Corner

Karen Howard - pic March was an exciting month! Texas Health and Human Services Chief Deputy Commissioner Cecile Young was honored at a reception hosted by Executive Women in Texas Government at the Legislative Conference Center on March 12. Laure McLaughlin coordinated this remarkable event with more than 100 guests in attendance.

Our Mini-Course for March was also a great success! Ginger Gossman, Senior Director of Innovation and Policy Development with the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board discussed 60x30TX; a goal set by state officials to have 60 percent of its residents ages 24-35 earn a certificate or post-secondary degree by year 2030.

Our Professional Development Luncheon in March featured Amanda Hainline. Amanda specializes in combining holistic living with real-life practicality. She holds a certificate in nutritional counseling and is naturopathically trained. Amanda’s presentation focused on taming our inner chaos in order to achieve a work-life balance. Our first Community Involvement project for 2019 is scheduled for Saturday, April 13. We need volunteers to assist with class interactions and projects during the Girlstart Girls in STEM Conference. Girlstart aspires to be the national leader in designing and implementing innovative, high-quality informal STEM education programs that inspire girls to transform our world. Through its comprehensive programming, Girlstart provides a year-round, intensive suite of STEM education programs for K-12 girls.

Finally, take time to enjoy the beautiful Spring flowers as you rejuvenate your talents and cultivate your skills. Here’s a quote from Phillip Sweet: “Stay true to yourself, yet always be open to learn. Work hard, and never give up on your dreams, even when nobody else believes they can come but you. These are not clichés but real tools you need no matter what you do in life to stay focused on your true path.”

EWTG 2019 Legislative Reception Recap

Cecile Young, HHS Chief Deputy Executive Commissioner Honored

Chief Deputy Executive Commissioner Cecile Young was honored for her outstanding contribution to public service by Executive Women in Texas Government and the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs in March. Legislative staff, LBJ school representatives, EWTG members, and former and current HHS staff joined the celebration to honor her.

During her acceptance speech, Young said, “I feel very blessed that I had so many great jobs working with so many great people. I come from a family that values public service; my dad was a Marine and my mom spent her time and energy volunteering in our community, my brother and sister-in-law are both teachers, and my husband worked many years in the Governor’s Office and in state government.” Young worked her way to executive leadership by constantly asking questions, putting in late nights and always volunteering to take on extra duties.

She also credits much of her success to the mentorship of former HHS Executive Commissioner Albert Hawkins, who was at the reception to support Young. She met him while working at the Governor’s office and honored him during her speech.

Young passes on support and guidance to HHS team members interested in leadership positions through her involvement as a mentor in the Executive Leadership Academy and Aspiring Leaders Academy. In February, the ninth class of HHSC, DSHS and DFPS employees graduated from the ELA program. Among those 31 graduates, 23 of them were women.

“Our team is extremely thankful to Cecile’s dedication to public service,” HHS Executive Commissioner Courtney N. Phillips said. “We want to continue to empower our employees to create a winning team to serve the great state of Texas.”

Membership News


EWTG is hosting a mentoring event at the Mitte Foundation Carriage House. Aspiring women leaders and women executives are invited to join EWTG for this event on Tuesday, April 23 from 5:30 to 7 p.m. at the Mitte Foundation Carriage House, 1008 West Avenue in downtown Austin. Learn about EWTG Executive Success Teams (peer mentor groups), one-on-one mentoring opportunities and strategies for:

  • Mastering Your Work
  • Managing Up
  • Making a Creative Workplace

Light refreshments will be provided. Please register before April 22.

Register Today!

Strategic Plan Update

The 2019 EWTG Strategic Plan Committee has completed three strategy discussions. Our February 2 meeting focused on a review of the EWTG articles of incorporations, bylaws, previous Strategic Plans, past annual reports and the January 2019 Board of Directors strategic plan discussion notes. The 1988 EWTG purpose remains highly relevant as Texas’ global and national stature grows. According to the articles of incorporation, the purpose of EWTG is to:

  • Develop executive management skills for women in Texas Government;
  • Develop leadership capability;
  • Provide opportunities for interaction and support among women in top state agency positions;
  • Provide role models and assistance to aspiring women in state government; and
  • To provide a vehicle for elected officials to recruit women for top state positions.

The Bylaws (amended in 2016) provide additional details about the organization’s purpose:

Executive Women in Texas Government is a non-profit, non-partisan organization of dedicated individuals devoted to developing and encouraging women in Texas government and higher education by offering opportunities for professional growth, education and advancement. These opportunities are designed to provide members with the skills and knowledge necessary to excel in Texas government and higher education.
Executive Women in Texas Government is committed to supporting women in Texas government and higher education by increasing understanding of issues related to Texas government and higher education through educational meetings, seminars and conferences; by providing leadership and management training opportunities; by encouraging professionalism through peer support and mentor programs; by creating a vehicle for elected and appointed officials to recruit women for executive positions in Texas government and higher education; and by offering opportunities for professional interactions among women in Texas government.
Executive Women in Texas Government is committed to contributing positively to Texas government And higher education, and to maintaining the highest standards of ethics and social responsibility.

To consider which types of events and services are valued by members, we also reviewed EWTG financial and membership data for the past 5 years.

We then conducted a listening tour. Each committee member contacted 2 to 3 people or organizations to gather additional information about how EWTG is performing and the current status of women in Texas government, higher education and leadership positions. We interviewed new EWTG members, women who recently left the organization, Executive Success Team members, the Brazos Valley and Houston Affiliate officers, past EWTG Board Presidents, state agency executives, the office of the state demographer, the State Auditor’s Office, appointed agency executives, vendors, February 13 mini-course attendees and higher education institutions.

On March 2, the Strategic Plan Committee members reported on their data gathering assignment. We asked our stakeholders:

  • What are you seeing? (environmental landscape)
  • In what ways are organizations like EWTG helpful to reaching your organization’s goals? Your personal goals? (listening for compliance, advocacy and/or innovation themes; EWTG purpose alignment)
  • How does your organization support employee development and leadership?
  • As you think about the future – 5 years from now, how could an organization like EWTG help with your organization’s success?
Harvard Business Review - image of magazine cover

During the March 23 Strategic Plan Committee meeting, we summarized observations from our data gathering interviews and listening tour assignments. We also discussed the Harvard Business Review article – Better Brainstorming – Why Questions Matter More than Answers by Hal Gregerson (March-April 2018). Our target is to present a draft Strategic Plan to the EWTG Board in April 2019. Following completion of the Strategic Plan, we will monitor progress toward the five goals, draft an updated history of the organization and work on an Annual Report. The five EWTG Strategic Plan goals are:

  • Create Professional Development and Leadership Opportunities.
  • Assure the Needs of the Membership Are Being Met.
  • Promote EWTG Organizational Growth.
  • Increase Public Awareness of EWTG.
  • Assure Adequate, Cost Effective and Stable Administration of EWTG.

The Strategic Plan Committee members are Audrey Selden, EWTG President-elect (chair), Karen Howard, EWTG President, Aelia Khan Akhtar, Tonya Brown, Catherine Crago Blanton, Regina Durden, Melissa Hield, Gena Minjares and Liza Willmore.

Four Seasons Hotel 9th Annual Party for the Ponies

Dress image

Ever wanted to attend a Kentucky Derby event and wear a fancy hat? The EWTG Educational Events Committee and the Membership Committee are partnering for a Kentucky Derby watch party at the Four Seasons Hotel in Austin, Texas. This is the Four Seasons’ ninth year to host the Derby Day party which will be in the hotel’s Lobby Lounge from 2 to 6 p.m. on May 4, 2019. The party will have trivia contests, giveaways, a build-your-own mint julep bar, food and a pop-up hat shop. This Google search is a great resource for members who want to make a hat. Guests will also enjoy race-themed décor, live music, costume contests and much more as part of the entry fee. The entry fee is $25 per person which includes food (all proceeds benefit the Make-A-Wish foundation).

Menu choices include light bites such as traditional tea sandwiches along with a hearty Hot Brown sandwich made with smoked turkey, house-cured bacon, roasted tomatoes and Mornay sauce on sourdough. Seating is first come, first served, and those interested in attending are encouraged to register early as the event has sold out the past few years. The Four Seasons is located at 98 San Jacinto Blvd., Austin, TX 78701 and the event will be in the Lobby Lounge.

Remember if you are due for membership renewal and you attend the event, you get $10 off your renewal for the year. Guests who decide to join during the event will also get $10 off their new membership fees.

Please check the EWTG website for additional details and a registration link to reserve your ticket.

Texas Connections to the Kentucky Derby

  • In 2018 Margaret Reid, a Texas woman became a millionaire after placing an $18.00 bet at Retama Park Race Track in Selma, Texas which is located northeast of San Antonio, TX. Reid made a “pick five” bet which is choosing the winner in five consecutive races. The winning horses for her bet were (in order) Limousine Liberal, Maraud, Funny Duck, Yoshida and Justify who won in the fifth race. Against unbelievable odds, Reid took home 1.2 million dollars from the “pick five” bet.
  • My Boy Jack (Thoroughbred) is owned by Don’t Tell My Wife Stables and Monomoy Stables. The Don’t Tell My Wife Stables and Monomoy Stables is a partnership directed by trainer J. Keith Desormeaux (who conditions My Boy Jack) and its headquarters is located in Fort Worth, TX.
  • Owner Brad Grady, whose Thoroughbred horse competed in 2017 and is named Girvin, is an entrepreneur and rancher from Texas. Grady was born in Girvin, Texas, so he decided to name his “best” racehorse after his hometown. In 2009 Mr. Grady became involved with horseracing and now he owns a Thoroughbred training center in Texas called Grand Oaks. He also owns a cattle and pig ranch in Grandview, Texas, along with Grady Rentals LLC, an oil and gas equipment rental company.

The Communications Committee

The Communications Committee is responsible for the EWTG social media accounts, the newsletter and the website. We want to hear from our members. If you have an idea for an article, a suggestion or would like to serve on this committee, let us know at The committee meets monthly via Google Hangouts.

Connect with EWTG Online!

On Facebook, get connected by joining our EWTG Members Group. This group is for all EWTG members statewide — Austin and 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. Request access to the group by emailing: Feel free to follow the EWTG Page and the EWTG Houston page.

Social Media icons - graphicOn 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 (or go to and 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!


Dakota Doman - pic

Dakota Doman

Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board


EWTG will present GRAD TX at the mini-course on April 10. Grad TX is a collaboration between the State of Texas, community colleges, and universities ready to help you complete your college education.

Do you have college credits? Still need to finish your certificate or degree? Grad TX can help you finish. With support from Grad TX, you can finish a certificate, associate degree, or bachelor's degree. Degree programs are designed with flexibility in mind (online, face-to-face, accelerated coursework, or a mixture of all three), and the ability to use credits and possibly even work experience you have already earned.

Join EWTG and Dakota Doman of the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board to learn the next best steps for returning to college and completing that certificate and/or degree.

Mini-Courses are held the second Wednesday of each month, and are located at the Carver Library, 1161 Angelina St., Austin, Texas. Ample parking is available, doors open at 11:30 a.m., and the presentation is from noon to 1 p.m. A pizza buffet lunch is available for $10/person. RSVP’s are strongly encouraged in order to have enough pizza.

Mini-Course Registration

In Case You Missed It; Mini-Course Recaps…

Our Mini-Course speaker for March was Ginger Gossman, Senior Director of Innovation and Policy Development with the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board. Gossman discussed 60x30TX; a goal set by state officials to have 60 percent of its residents ages 24-35 earn a certificate or post-secondary degree by year 2030.

Submitted by Mary Sampson
EWTG Mini-course Director, 2019


Grace Lanni - pic All About That Brand


Grace Lanni


Inspiring clients to discover their personal and professional brands for business success is Grace Lanni’s passion. She is equally likely to be seen in the boardroom or a coffee shop listening deeply to a person’s goals while connecting to what makes them tick.

Grace is the Founder of the award-winning All About That Brand © platform, including workbooks, online courses, VIP programs, a YouTube Channel, and a podcast (now appearing on the eZine ‘SheSpark’). Ever the influencer, Grace continually stretches the cutting edge of personal and professional branding and delivers keynotes at international events. Originally trained as a Bio/Electrical engineer, her first CEO venture was an online software solution. One of only two women to be venture funded at the multi-million-dollar level in Austin in 2000, Grace was featured in the Austin Business Journal, on KEYE, and won the KPMG Stand-Out Startup Award. Grace’s most recent book, The No B.S. Truth: What it Really Takes to Build a Successful Business is an International Best Seller. Her next book focuses on the dynamics of a gig economy, giving her readers a guide to manage their branding dance between employment and entrepreneurship. Grace is first a mother of two millennials and a wife. She is also a performing R&B Musician, startup accelerator mentor, and advocate for women’s leadership. In 2016, Grace was recruited to lead eWomenNetwork – Austin, winning the Leverage Leader, Social Media Community Creator, & Turnaround Champion awards. Learn more about Grace Lanni:

Join us at Chateau Bellevue, home of the Austin Woman's Club, in Austin, TX. Ample free parking is available. Enter the parking lot from Nueces Street between 7th and 8th Streets (view map). Networking will begin at 11:30 a.m., and lunch will be served at 11:45 a.m. The presentation will start at noon and conclude at 1 p.m.

Please register early in anticipation of a full house. Registration is $20 for EWTG members and $25 for guests. Members must log in to receive member pricing. Online registration will end at 10 a.m. Monday, April 21. Cancellations must be received 48 hours before the event to receive a refund or for your registration fee to be waived. Onsite registration is available for $30.

Professional Development Luncheon Registration

In Case You Missed It; Luncheon Recap…

Amanda Hainline - picWork Life Balance - Taming your Inner Chaos


Amanda Hainline


Life can be an action-packed, non-stop rollercoaster. When we do get a chance to slow-down, we may find ourselves anxious or collapsing from exhaustion.

These patterns of life, as we have come to accept them, are taking a toll. Seen or unseen, our emotional responses to our lives come with a physiological cost. This can manifest as emotional instability, insomnia, heartburn, high blood pressure, hormone imbalances or many other physiological diseases. The question to answer is, how do we manage life, regardless of the stage of life we are in? How do we bring balance to our chaos?

Simply, the balance starts within. Until we address the chaos within ourselves and learn to manage it, the outer chaos remains. It is important to realize that many of the things we do every day are made heavier by our thoughts about them. Our to-do list becomes not only a list of things to do it becomes an emotional burden. The act of this is called emotional stacking. The pile of laundry is full of more than just shirts and socks. It’s a stack of guilt for letting it sit there too long, the dread of folding it, the frustration of not having help with it, ans the thoughts of the family not putting it in the hamper. This emotional stack that we have created doesn’t go away when the laundry is done. We carry it with us and stack it higher next time we do the laundry. That one load of laundry can get to the emotional equivalent of folding 1,000 shirts. By calling attention to the emotional stack, we can start to unstack it and throw it away.

Step 1 is to write down one thing that causes you the most stress.
Step 2 is to write down all of the thoughts that go through your mind in relation to that thing, no matter how odd it seems.
Step 3 is to start unstacking. This is done by emotionally discharging the thoughts on your list.
Step 4 This can be done anywhere. Hold the thing that stresses you in your mind. Now add the thought to it that you wrote down.
Step 5 Fold your arms across your chest and hold your upper arms in a hug. Alternate tapping your hands on your upper arms as you hold the thought in your mind and breathe deeply. If your mind wanders, bring it back to the thought. After 15-30 seconds, or longer if needed, stop and uncross your arms. Visit the thought again and see if it feels different. If you still feel stress with the thought, keep going with the exercise and repeat with each thought.

This exercise can be done with any stress in your life.

By discharging the emotion from the task, you will begin to start the process of taming the inner chaos.


Are you new to EWTG and looking for a way to meet other members and get involved in our organization? Maybe you are a seasoned member looking to try something new. Whether you are a new to EWTG or have been around a while, volunteering on a conference committee will give you the opportunity to give back to your organization. Planning for a conference as large as ours requires a lot of outstanding volunteers and serving on a conference committee affords the opportunity to develop valuable organizational, leadership, and networking skills.

If you are looking for an exciting way to contribute to our organization, join a conference committee. Each committee has a unique purpose and importance that, combined, make for a successful event thanks to many committed and hard-working volunteers.

Please review the list of committees below and decide which one is best for you. Once you have decided, contact, Kim Kizer the conference chair, at

  • Conference Exhibits Committee - The committee identifies and obtains exhibitors for the conference. The committee completes mailings to potential exhibitors, maintains frequent contact with those interested, plans layout of exhibits and writes follow-up thank you letters.
  • Conference Program Committee - The committee develops the conference theme and workshop subjects, secures the workshop presenters, determines presenter audio/visual needs, secures and trains moderators, works closely with the Facilities Committee to assign workshop rooms, works closely with the Registration committee to develop the workshop presenter bios in the conference program and sends thank you letters to workshop presenters.
  • Conference Registration Committee - The committee coordinates with the conference committees and board directors to develop the conference program, purchases the participant gift, supplies the final copy to the printer, prepares the participant bags for the conference participants, and works registration the day of the conference.
  • Conference Silent Auction Committee - The committee identifies potential donors and obtains items for the silent auction. The group prepares the bidding sheets, staffs the silent auction tables on the day of the conference, awards the items to the high bidders, and sends follow-up thank you letters to donors.
  • Networking Reception Committee – This committee develops the theme and obtains the speaker/band for the Sunday night reception. They work closely with the Facilities committee to arrange the audio/visual needs, reception food/drinks, and possible speaker/band needs.

Called to Serve

Join us for our first official volunteer event of 2019 when EWTG helps out at the Girls in STEM conference on Saturday, April 13 at Travis High School from 10:30 a.m.-1p.m.

Girlstart - logoSign up here and make sure you list EWTG and sign up for the 10:30 a.m.-1 p.m. time slot. You do not need a science background! We will be assisting classroom workshops coordinated by local female STEM professionals. We will help clean up and set up each classroom for the next group of girls and we will encourage positive dialogue between the students about STEM. Girlstart’s mission is to increase girls’ interest and engagement in STEM through innovative, nationally recognized informal STEM education programs. Girlstart’s core programs foster STEM skills development, an understanding of the importance of STEM as a way to solve the world’s major problems, as well as an interest in STEM electives, majors, and careers. For more information about Girlstart, please visit their website at

If you are interested in registering your budding scientist as a participant, you can do so at this link:

Be on the lookout for more service opportunities throughout the year. EWTG has served the following organizations over the years: Red Cross, Safe Place Alliance, Central Texas Food Bank, Susan G. Komen, Ann Richards School for Young Women Leaders, Ronald McDonald House, and many other organizations helping women and children.

If you have any questions or want to join the Community Service Committee, please contact

Volunteer Signup

Communities Statewide Invited to Read Across Texas

The Texas Center for the Book (TCFB) invites libraries and community non-profits to join in a statewide reading campaign. Read Across Texas- Know Your Neighbor: Cultivating Communities of Compassion kicked off this March with libraries throughout the state signing up to host reading and discussion programs.

The TCFB sponsors Read Across Texas to encourage meaningful discourse. The campaign features four book selections that explore the complex topic of what it means to “know your neighbor” and encourages communities to engage in challenging, insightful and transformative conversations. Each community can choose a title from the recommended list and hold a book discussion on what cultivating compassion can look like within that community.

TCFB, which is administered by the Texas State Library and Archives Commission, is also making available grants to libraries to help them buy books that can be used in group discussions. Libraries and organizations can access an online step-by-step facilitator toolkit that includes materials such as a how-to guide, additional recommended titles, digital resources and links to discussion questions. The toolkit along with the program registration form and grant application are available at

Activities for Read Across Texas begin in March, but libraries and organizations may conduct programs throughout the spring and summer. Know Your Neighbor: Cultivating Communities of Compassion offers libraries a broad canvas for convening individuals and groups together to explore the unique questions, challenges and solidarity that can occur in communities throughout the state.

EWTG Birthday Club

graphic - happy birthdayEWTG has a Birthday Club! As a member, if you opt in to the Birthday Club, you will receive a $5 discount on the monthly Professional Development Luncheon registration fees. Also, the member will get a shout out in the newsletter recognizing her birthday that month.

Opting In…

You must “opt-in” by completing the consent form indicating you wish to participate. The consent form will request the following information: First and last name, email address, and birthday month.

  • Once you complete the form, only your birthday month is added to your membership profile. Only CMP (our management company) essential staff and the EWTG Membership Director will have access to the information.
  • You are eligible to receive a $5 discount off your Professional Development luncheon registration fees by using the discount code, BIRTHDAY19. NOTE: Only one $5 discount will be granted per month and cannot be combined with other luncheon discounts.
  • Since we do not have professional development luncheons in November or December, those members who have birthdays in those months will be recognized with the October birthdays.

Be on the lookout for an email asking you to opt in or opt out of the birthday club. Please respond to the email so we can recognize you during your birthday month. We look forward to seeing you at the Professional Development luncheon. The speakers have been fabulous this year!

Submitted by the EWTG Membership Development Committee

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!

LBJ School of Public Affairs at UT Austin

EWTG’s Sponsor of the Month for April is the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin. The LBJ School is the only public policy school tied to a top-tier research university, a presidential library, a state capital and a foreign border. For more information on the LBJ School, visit

If you would like to become a 2019 sponsor or know of a business that believes in the power of women and wants to support leadership development, please contact us at and please provide the business name, a contact person, and a phone number or email address. THANK YOU for supporting EWTG!


If you have an announcement to share, please send it to

April Birthdays: We wish you all a wonderful celebration!
Jamie Cook, Catherine Crago Blanton, Allie Garcia, and Tonya Hofmann

April Calendar of Events

Thursday, April 4, 2019
Women in Texas Government Leadership Summit
Location: AT&T Conference Center, Austin, Texas
Time: 8:30 am to 1:00 pm

Wednesday, April 10, 2019
April 2019 Mini-Course
Location: Carver Library, Austin, Texas Time: 11:30 am to 1:00 pm

Saturday, April 13, 2019
April 2019 Girls in STEM Conference
Location: Travis High School, Austin, Texas
Time: All Day

Wednesday, April 17, 2019
EWTG Board Meeting
Location: Mitte Foundation Carriage House, Austin, Texas
Time: 5:30 am to 7:30 pm

Tuesday, April 23, 2019
Mentoring Event
Location: Mitte Foundation Carriage House, Austin, Texas
Time: 5:30 am to 7:00 pm

Wednesday, April 24, 2019
April 2019 Professional Development Luncheon
Location: Austin Women’s Club, Austin, Texas
Time: 11:00 am - 1:00 pm

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We Thank Our 2019 Sponsors

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