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EWTG Star May 2019
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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
President's Corner

Karen Howard - pic The members of EWTG are committed to developing and mentoring women no matter what season it is. Spring has packed a powerful punch throughout the state, but Texans are resilient and will rebuild. Spring also gave us the Bluebonnets and Indian Paintbrushes that are so beautiful; along with all the other flowers that have bloomed this Spring. I hope you took lots of pictures.

I am so excited about our upcoming event on May 22, 2019. We are honored to have Dr. Courtney N. Phillips; the Executive Commissioner for Texas Health and Human Services (HHS) will be our guest speaker. Texas HHS consists of two agencies, the Texas Health and Human Services Commission and the Texas Department of State Health Services. The agencies directly serve millions of Texans each year and are focused on improving the lives of all citizens of the Lone Star State. She holds a bachelor’s degree in kinesiology and a Master of Public Administration from Louisiana State University, and a Ph.D. in public policy from Southern University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. I am looking forward to this event.

Our first EWTG Membership Event for 2019 is the ninth annual Kentucky Derby watch party. Come join us on Saturday, May 4, 2019, at the Four Seasons Hotel Austin from 2:00pm to 6:00pm. Let’s have some fun, break out your spring attire, fancy hats and fascinators. Go to our website for more information and to RSVP.

EWTG was invited as a partner at the inaugural Women in Texas Government Leadership Summit held on April 4, 2019. This event was hosted by Accenture, DIR and Executive Women in Texas Government. Jonathan P. Andrews, Managing Director Health & Public Service Client Lead, extended an invitation to EWTG to return in 2020. Several EWTG members were in attendance. EWTG connected with over 70 attendees and gave away two lovely designer bags as a door prize to one attendee. Audrey Selden and Karen Howard hosted the booth at the conference.

Dr. Dakota Doman, Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB) was the guest speaker at our Mini Course on April 10, 2019. He shared a proposal that will assist all “Stop Outs” (not Drop Outs) in finishing their education. The information regarding the 60x30TX Program will be on the THECB website this summer. Ladies, we all know someone that has had to “Stop Out” for some reason or another; so please share this information and check out their website at

The EWTG Mentoring Committee and Audrey Selden, President Elect, held an interactive event on April 23, 2019 and the theme was “Mentoring at the Mitte”. The goal of this event was to encourage and inspire our members to become a mentor/mentee or join an Executive Success Team. We discussed managing up, managing your creativity and some book reviews and enjoyed lots of food and fun. Great Job Ladies!!

Grace Lannie, an Award-Winning Branding Influencer, continually stretches the cutting edge of personal/professional branding by delivering keynotes at international events. On April 24, 2019 Grace provided an overview of the Branding Canvas©, and how they unfold into a personal branding profile that EWTG members can use to tell their unique stories. The key takeaways were understanding the power of inside-out personal branding and how to use LinkedIn to brand yourself. She also provided unique ways to understand your Outside-In personal brand. Grace really inspired us to use our social media. As a special gift she gave each attendee a free 15 minutes LinkedIn review session.

Our first community involvement event was April 13, 2019 with Girlstart’s Girls in STEM conference which was a huge success! Dominique Mcleggan-Brown coordinated this event. There were over 200 girls in attendance from 4th grade through high school. EWTG members volunteered assisting with the registration and mentoring and served lots of cheese pizza! Future community involvement events will be posted on the EWTG website; please check out the website for our May event!

On a different note here are some changes that effect the EWTG Board of Directors. Tonya Hofmann submitted her resignation as Program Director. We wish her the best in her next endeavors and we also want to thank her for serving on the board. Patrice Toles was nominated and approved by the EWTG Board to serve as the Program Director and will oversee the 2019 Professional Development Luncheons. In January 2017, Patrice was elected to the EWTG board of directors as financial secretary. Patrice is also a graduate of the 2016 Leadership Texas program. Patrice has exemplified the ideals of public service through a tireless commitment to community values. In addition to her extensive volunteer work, Patrice finds time to serve as an active member of EWTG, participating on the conference program committee each year since 2013. In 2016 and 2018, Patrice was nominated by Comptroller Hegar as an Outstanding Woman in Texas Government in the category of Outstanding Community Involvement. Patrice founded Standing in Faith, a teen empowerment organization for girls, in November 2011. Her goal is to enrich the lives of teen girls in Austin and the surrounding community with educational and mentoring programs, community involvement exercises, workshops and leadership conferences.

Finally, as we walk through life we all have doors that close on us, here’s a wonderful quote from Helen Keller “When one door of happiness closes, another opens; but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one which has been opened for us.”


Mentoring: Multiple Means and Meaningful Moments

The EWTG Mentoring Committee members promote mentoring with corporate partners, Central Texas youth, EWTG members and women leaders. We hosted a mentoring mixer, participated in a corporate women’s leadership summit and a symposium, helped organize a Board mentoring program and worked with elementary and middle school students in Austin. Mentoring opportunities are a great benefit of EWTG membership. Sharing our “aha” experiences, success strategies and our missteps develops our professional and personal acumen.

Mentoring at Mitte
The EWTG Mentoring Committee hosted Mentoring at Mitte on April 23 in downtown Austin with 22 women leaders attending. To dive deep in 90 minutes, after a speed networking activity, participants selected special mentoring topics led by subject matter experts: Executive Success Teams (EWTG peer mentoring groups), mastering your work, managing up and making a creative workplace.

Table captains for the discussion topics included:

  • Executive Success Teams Mercie Zapata (TxDOT) and Karen Howard (CPA)
  • Mastering Your Work Regina Durden (Bradshaw Solutions Group) and Melissa Hield (TDI)
  • Managing Up Pam Owens (Edge of Your Seat Consulting) and Deana Sanders (Austin Water)
  • Making a Creative Workplace Audrey Selden (Selden Consulting) and Catherine Crago Blanton (HACA)
  • Attendees received a resource flyer with mentoring tips and statistics.

Suggested resources are Mentoring 101 by John C. Maxwell, Starting Strong A Mentoring Fable by Lois J. Zachary and Lory A. Fischler and Strategic Relationships at Work: Creating Your Circle of Mentors, Sponsors and Peers for Success in Business and Life by Wendy Murphy and Kathy Kram.

Board Mentors
Several former EWTG Presidents and Board members volunteered to mentor current EWTG Board members. We understand the value and importance of sharing past board experience.

The mentor assignments are Former Board Member (Mentor) Current Board Member (Mentee):

  • Shannon Kelly,HHSC & LeNora Jones
  • Connie Williams, retired HHSC & Mary Sampson, CPA
  • Susan Durso, Texas Workforce Commission & Shalyn Bridges, Texas Legislative Council
  • Gena Minjares, Texas Treasury Safekeeping Trust Company & Deana Sanders, Austin Water and Carol Harper, Texas Office of Court Administration
  • Liza Willmore, Accenture & Marie Cohan, Texas DIR and Jori Mundy, HHSC
  • Joelyn Weeks & Patrice Toles, Project Consultant CPA, Karen Howard, CPA and Audrey Selden, Selden Consulting
  • Susan Johnson, CPA & Kim Kizer, Texas County and District Retirement System

Board Mentors conducted orientations, joined committees and shared past Board manuals and resources with the current EWTG Board members.

Gaining Mentors and Becoming One
Christina McCoy, Assistant Director for Information Services at the Texas Department of Insurance attended the Texas Diversity Council Women in Leadership Symposium. The conference theme included the importance of women building each other up rather than competing. Speakers shared several strategies for professional growth. Cecilia Camarillo, VP of Accounting for Parsley Energy presented “Gaining Mentors and Becoming One.”

Some highlights included:

  • Consider formal and informal mentoring opportunities. Understand that finding a mentor is sometimes a trial and error process and that’s ok – the goal is a relationship that works for both parties.
  • Look for a mentor that emulates your type of success. Remember success is different for all us.
  • Share your success and your mistakes. Senior leaders have a duty and an obligation to mentor others.
  • Recognize that mentoring comes in many forms: one-on-one, small peer groups and educational seminars for a group.
  • Be prepared to have “real” conversations and expect constructive criticism. Candid feedback and honest conversations can help you grow.
  • Consider a mentor that doesn’t look like you. Diverse mentoring can broaden your perspective.

Accenture Women in Texas Government Leadership Summit
When She Rises, We All Rise #TXWOMENRISE. Liza Willmore (Accenture) and Marie Cohan (DIR) invited Karen Howard, EWTG President and Audrey Selden, EWTG President-Elect to staff an exhibit booth and attend the Accenture Women in Texas Government Leadership Summit. Accenture opened the Summit with a powerful video: Inclusion Starts With I. More than 70 EWTG members and women leaders in government and higher education visited the EWTG exhibit booth at the summit. Women leaders shared mentoring advice about meeting periodically with women in executive positions and learning from one another. EWTG will return to exhibit at the 2020 Summit.

Mentoring Young Leaders – Back to School
Audrey Seldon led an interactive career discussion with 30 5th graders at Reilly Elementary School in Austin. Selden discussed her public service jobs and how the government can help people, especially following a disaster. It was a wonderful opportunity to encourage young women leaders to consider state government as a career option. Dominque McLeggan-Brown (TCEQ), Karen Howard (CPA), Audrey Selden (Selden Consulting), Tonya Brown (retired City of Austin Legal Department) and several EWTG members volunteered at the April 13 Girlstart Girls in STEM Conference in Austin. We staffed registration, assisted with classroom activities and served as lunch table mentors to elementary and middle school students at Travis Early College High School in Austin.

Executive Success Team Forming in Central Austin

Are you interested in joining an Executive Success Team that meets near the Capitol during the lunch hour? Send your contact information to Audrey Selden, EWTG President-elect at or complete the EST Survey. Executive Success Teams are peer mentoring groups that meet periodically, support EWTG members’ professional development, and expand your network. We welcome your participation.

Hawaiian Luau
EWTG Capital Cruise on Lady Bird Lake

The Membership and Educational Events Committee invite you to our annual boat cruise for a sightseeing adventure on Lady Bird Lake (formerly Town Lake) in Austin. Members will have the exciting opportunity to view the famous home of the largest urban bat colony in the world, the Austin skyline and a breath-taking sunset. There will be plenty of food, wine, soft drinks, door prizes and time to enjoy the evening tour. Below are the cruise details:

Wednesday, July 31 at 5:30 p.m.
Meet at the Dock at 208 Barton Springs Rd. (adjacent to the Hyatt Regency Hotel) Austin, TX 78704
Boat leaves promptly at 6:00 p.m. and will return at 8:00 p.m.
Cost is $20 per person for members and $25.00 per person for guests
Register before Tuesday, July 30.

Dress in comfortable clothes and join us for an enjoyable and fun-filled event. Those who attend will have the opportunity to participate in the “Most Creative/ Best Dressed” Hawaiian Luau theme costume contest. There will be prizes for the top three costumes selected. As a special treat, non-member guests who join EWTG at the event will receive a one-time $10 discount off the regular annual dues of $75 and a special gift. EWTG members, if your guest joins EWTG that night, you’ll be entered in a prize drawing, too! Bring your business card to participate in the prize drawing. Network, learn and relax! Come one – come all – and meet other EWTG members and friends for a fabulous relaxing evening.

Questions? Call EWTG at (512) 220-4298.

Register Today
Membership News


EWTG awarded Mary Sampson, a training specialist at the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts, a $1,500 scholarship to pursue a leadership certificate program in Austin. The University of Texas Center for Professional Education offers a Leadership Academy Certificate that customizes an eight-course program designed to help leaders challenge our perspectives about leadership and the values that shape it. Various learning experiences, in-depth discussions and peer interactions are included in this 8-month to one-year program. Mary is on a mission to increase her leadership skills and prepare herself for greater work challenges and opportunities. Mary has volunteered at two EWTG Annual Professional Development Conferences. She served on the Sponsor and Registration Committees and moderated breakout sessions. She serves on the 2019 EWTG Board as the Mini-Course Director and has organized several courses this year, attended numerous luncheons and invited guests to luncheons and mini-courses. She was an active member of an Executive Success Team for several years and joined a new team in April 2019.

EWTG supports its members with scholarships for formal education, courses that contribute to a certificate or degree program. Scholarships are also available for seminars (short-term professional development events), Leadership Texas and Leadership America and the EWTG Annual Professional Development Conference. Scholarship applications are reviewed quarterly. Successful applications highlight the EWTG member’s commitment to and participation in the organization. Effective committee service, Board service, attendance at EWTG functions, recruitment of EWTG members, a strong explanation of how the particular professional development will assist the EWTG member’s growth and how the member will share what is learned with their organization and EWTG are critical factors that are considered during the application review process. The next application deadline is June 30, 2019.

The 2019 EWTG Scholarship Committee members include:

  • Debbie Eller, City of College Station, Committee Chair
  • Susan Durso, Texas Workforce Commission
  • Karen Howard, Comptroller of Public Accounts
  • Deana Sanders, Austin Water
  • Audrey Selden, Selden Consulting
  • Dora Fogle, Health & Human Services Commission
  • Dedurie Kirk, City of Austin
Learn More

Four Seasons Hotel 9th Annual Party for the Ponies

Dress image

The EWTG Educational Events Committee and the Membership Committee partnered up for a Kentucky Derby watch party at the Four Seasons Hotel in Austin, Texas. This was the Four Seasons’ ninth year to host the Derby Day party which was held in the hotel’s Lobby Lounge on May 4, 2019. The party included trivia contests, giveaways, a build-your-own mint julep bar, food and a pop-up hat shop. Guests enjoyed race-themed décor, live music, costume contests and much more as part of the entry fee. All proceeds benefit the Make-A-Wish foundation.

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.

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, news to share or would like to serve on this committee, let us know at The committee meets monthly via Google Hangouts.

See who joined & renewed membership last month!


Moving Forward in Your Leadership Journey in State Government


Dr. Susan Johnson

Organizational Development Manager, Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts


Our presenter, Dr. Susan Johnson lead a discussion on moving forward in your leadership journey in state government. Dr. Johnson shared her 30 plus years of state service for moving forward as a leader in state government. Participants walked away from this open discussion with clear ideas and tips to use to enhance their leadership path in state government.

Dr. Susan Johnson is the Organizational Development Manager for the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts. A proven leader and motivator, Dr. Johnson has held several high-level management positions in state government. Her passion for developing future leaders has returned her to the classroom as an Adjunct Professor for both Texas State University and Concordia University.

Dr. Johnson’s vast professional experience includes serving as Associate Commissioner, Office of the Consumer Support and Workforce Services and the Office of the Ombudsman for the Health and Human Services Commission. She served as a Staff Assistant to the Deputy Commissioner of the Texas Department of Human Services, Training Manager for the Texas Department of Transportation and Director of Program Planning for the Health and Human Services Policy Council in the Office of the Governor.

Dr. Johnson holds an undergraduate degree from Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee, a Master of Arts in Managing Human Resources Development Leadership from the University of Texas at Austin, and a Ph.D. in Urban Higher Education from Jackson State University in Jackson, Mississippi. Dr. Johnson is a graduate of Leadership Austin, Leadership Texas and Leadership America. She is a Certified Facilitator, Certified Mediator, and holds a Teaching Certification (Life).

The Mini-Course is held at the Carver Library, 1161 Angelina St., Austin, Texas once a month. Ample parking is available.


Dr. Courtney N. Phillips - pic It’s Risky Business


Dr. Courtney N. Phillips

HHS Executive Commissioner


Dr. Courtney N. Phillips serves as executive commissioner of Texas Health and Human Services (HHS), the largest state agency system committed to improving the health, safety and well-being of Texans. HHS comprises 38,000 teammates and an $80 billion budget for the 2018–2019 biennium.

Before moving to Texas, Dr. Phillips served for three years as the chief executive officer of the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services. In this capacity, she developed and executed the department’s first annual business plan — an initiative credited with making the agency more efficient, accountable and transparent. Under her leadership, the agency completed more than 93 percent of the 213 business plan deliverables in year one and 97 percent of the deliverables in year two. Before serving Nebraska, Dr. Phillips spent 12 years with the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals in a variety of roles, giving her keen insight into all health and human services operations.

Dr. Phillips attributes her leadership abilities to her focus on establishing a can-do culture, clear priorities, efficient business processes and dynamic stakeholder relationships.

Dr. Phillips earned a bachelor’s degree in kinesiology and a Master of Public Administration from Louisiana State University, and a Ph.D. in public policy from Southern University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. She continued honing her process-improvement skills by earning an Executive Green Belt in Lean Six Sigma. Away from the office, Dr. Phillips’ passions include spending time with her son, Langston, and exploring the great state of Texas.

Leadership in Action Dr. Phillips will share the details of her journey toward becoming the first woman to lead Texas Health and Human Services and discuss ways you can support the next generation of aspiring leaders.

Join us at the AT&T Executive Education and Conference Center at 1900 University Ave, Austin, TX 78705, in the Guadalupe Room. 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 1:00 p.m.

Please register early in anticipation of a full house. The cost is $20 for EWTG members and $25 for guests. Members must log in to receive member pricing. Online registration will end Sunday night, May 19, 2019. 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 at $30.

Professional Development Luncheon Registration

2019 EWTG Annual Professional Development Conference
Save the Date

Women Empowered: Charging Up

November 24-25, 2019
Embassy Suites by Hilton San Marcos Hotel Conference Center & Spa
1001 E McCarty Ln.
San Marcos, TX 78666

Registration will open later this summer.

Registration Rates *Early Bird Rate
ends 10/31/2019
Regular Rate
ends 11/11/2019
On-Site Rates
start 11/24/2019
Member Registration $199 $249 $299
Non-Member Registration $275 $325 $375



Called to Serve

EWTG Supports Girls in STEM
On April 13th, EWTG members volunteered with Girlstart during the annual Girls in STEM conference. The day-long event hosted over 560 elementary and middle school aged girls from the Central Texas area. The students rotated through a variety of classes and labs to learn everything from making slime, to robotics, to solar energy. EWTG members volunteered as classroom assistants and participated as lunch table mentors. We are so proud of all our members who participated in this wonderful event to encourage girls to pursue their interest in STEM!

Please keep your eyes out for information about our next community service project in May at Mother’s Milk Bank (

Be on the lookout for service opportunities during 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

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!


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

May Birthdays:
Michelle Hinex
Ranada Williams
Michaela Knaplund
Brenda Coleman
Wishing you all a wonderful celebration!

May Calendar of Events

Saturday, May 4, 2019
Kentucky Derby Party
Location: Four Seasons Hotel, Austin, Texas
Time: 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm

Wednesday, May 8, 2019
April 2019 Mini-Course
Location: Carver Library, Austin, Texas
Time: Noon to 1:30 pm

Wednesday, May 22 2019
May 2019 Professional Development Luncheon
Location: Austin Women’s Club, Austin, Texas
Time: 11:30 am - 1:00 pm

PO Box 1635, Leander, TX 78646
| 512-220-4298
| 512-692-2651 (fax)

We Thank Our 2019 Sponsors

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