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EWTG Star October 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 Are you “Charging Up” for the conference? We have started counting down the weeks for our annual conference and networking reception on November 24-25, 2019. Don’t forget to register and book your hotel room at the Embassy Suites Conference Center in San Marcos. EWTG’s Community Service committee will be collecting business clothing donations for Dress for Success of Austin at our monthly lunch meetings, mini-courses, and the annual conference. In addition to clothing donations, Dress for Success needs monetary donations to support the free programs and services it provides to countless women in the Austin area. You can donate on our website.

On Oct. 9, Jennifer Holmes and Melissa Moloney from Accenture presented during the mini-course luncheon. They shared ways to improve focus and productivity at work through simple adjustments daily. The audience left with takeaways they could implement immediately. Please join us on Oct. 23 at our next Professional Developmental luncheon. Our guest speaker will be Anh Selissen. Anh serves as Chief Information Officer (CIO) for TxDOT, overseeing information security, infrastructure, strategic direction, and the personnel and vendor activities of the Information Management Division. This will be a very informative meeting, so register at, and I will see you there!

On Sept. 11, our Mini-course presenter was Grace Rivera, and her topic was Prospect Us! Creating Work-Life Balance. Her presentation was a simple approach to cultivating a holistic lifestyle. She explained how to free our minds from internal edit and direct our energy with intent. She used four categories to create work clouds: growth, connection, rejuvenation, and service. We left her session relaxed and de-stressed. It was an excellent presentation!

On Sept. 24, Lesley Guthrie invited Audrey Selden, President-elect, and I to attend the State Agency Council Quarterly meeting at the Lower Colorado River Authorty. We gave a brief presentation about the annual conference and the benefits of EWTG. The guest speaker was Marny Lifshen, author of Some Assembly Required: A Networking Guide for Women.

On Sept. 25, Laure McLaughlin, 2020 Nominations Committee Chair, hosted an informative evening at the Austin Women’s Club. She shared the responsibilities and duties for the 2020 Board of Directors. She also invited our members to participate on committees and take advantage of EWTG’s benefits. The 2020 Board of Directors slate will be shared in next month’s newsletter.

Finally, if you have not joined a committee, it’s not too late! We need your support, and there are several committees that need your help. Those interested in signing up to help can contact us by email at or call us at 512-220-4298. We will help you get connected.

Here’s a quote from Mattie Stepanek: "Unity is strength. . . when there is teamwork and collaboration, wonderful things can be achieved."


Join your EWTG Community at the 2019 EWTG Annual Professional Development Conference
Women Empowered: Charging Up!



Executive Success Teams – Participation Rate Doubles

More EWTG women are participating with Executive Success Teams this year. In January, we confirmed that five Executive Success Teams were active. Twenty-five EWTG members were meeting regularly, sharing insights to assist one another both professionally and personally. Following a series of events, surveys, and articles about the benefits of mentoring, EWTG now has nine ESTs, representing 56 participants. The teams are meeting in various locations, downtown during the lunch hour, in Pflugerville in the evenings, and at restaurants quarterly to celebrate team members’ successes. The Licensing EST is looking for more members. Click this link if you lead a Licensing Division or have an interest in the licensing regulatory function. We welcome your participation.

The Procurement and Contracting EST has grown to nine members and meets monthly. They plan to discuss how the procurement process impacts teams and examine issues around customer expectations and customer satisfaction. Following an exercise to take stock of their professional and personal stressors, another EST has taken up the focus of self-care. Each member recommended activities that help them de-stress. The team plans to meet twice per month – once virtually and in person once to stay connected. TDI Outreach Specialist Falecia Rivers, said, “I’ve found my group. I look forward to getting together – learning, growing, and developing new skills. What a great EWTG membership benefit.”

Membership News

EWTG Presents at State Agency Council Quarterly Meeting

EWTG President Karen Howard and Audrey Selden, EWTG President-elect, shared information about the EWTG Annual Professional Development Conference and EWTG member benefits at the Sept. 24 State Agency Council (SAC) quarterly meeting. We discussed recent luncheon speakers that included state agency heads, local government leaders and nonprofit CEOs, as well as other benefits like mini-courses, peer mentoring, and scholarships. Several SAC members reported that their agencies are sending several women to the 2019 EWTG conference “Women Empowered: Charging Up!” November 24-25 in San Marcos. We enjoyed meeting with these women in top-level positions throughout Texas state government.

Members of the SAC Executive Board, including Chair Jennifer Hertsenberg; Vice-chair Lesley Guthrie; and Treasurer Nancy Prosser, attended along with more than 60 SAC members. They welcomed Christina McKinney, the new Executive Director for the Governor’s Commission for Women. At the request of the Governor, each state agency head appoints one member and one alternate to serve on the SAC. This organization provides support to Governor’s Commission for Women and offers professional development training to its members.

Marny Lifshen, a nationally recognized author, speaker and marketing communications consultant, presented Building Bridges: Forging Productive Professional Relationships Across the Generations. She remarked that interpersonal dynamics, productive professional relationships, and effective communication are key in achieving long-term career success and satisfaction. A common factor disrupting workplace harmony is the clashing of different generations. Marny stressed that with insight, understanding and adaptation, we can overcome this issue. Her presentation included:

  • The foundation of effective professional relationships.
  • Understanding who makes up the four generations in today’s workforce, and what their motivations, values, and experiences are.
  • Keys for building cross-generational relationships.
  • How to avoid common behaviors that sabotage work relationships.
  • Tips for reducing miscommunication.
  • How to build an army of advocates internally and externally, including all generations.
  • Building a positive team dynamic, and
  • How to utilize cross-mentoring relationships between generations.

Her personal examples made for great insight. Check out her book: Some Assembly Required: A Networking Guide for Women for real-world stories about how networking can help you achieve your professional and personal goals.

A special thank you to Lesley Guthrie, for inviting EWTG to meet with SAC members. Agency heads are in the process of appointing the 2020 SAC members and alternates. We look forward to congratulating the SAC participants next year.

EWTG Mentors 2019 Leadership Texas Graduating Class

On October 6, Audrey Selden, EWTG President-elect helped organize a mentoring reception and dinner for the 2019 Leadership Texas graduating class of 75 women leaders from across the state. Executives, EWTG mentors and table hosts shared their leadership stories and discussed ways to engage with government and learn about significant policy initiatives and resources. Attendees included:

  • Audrey Selden, EWTG President-Elect and LW Philanthropic Council, LA, LT, and LI graduate
  • Karen Howard, EWTG President, Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts, LT graduate
  • Cassie Brown, Texas Workers’ Compensation Commissioner
  • Tonya Brown, former UT System Vice-Chancellor, City of Austin Legal Division Chief, LT, and LI graduate
  • Susana Carbajal, Assistant Director, Austin-Bergstrom International Airport, LT graduate
  • Lisa Craven, Chief of Staff, Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts
  • Veronda Durden, President and CEO, Any Baby Can, LT, and LA graduate
  • Lesley Guthrie, State Agency Council Board Vice-chair; DFPS Volunteer and Community Engagement
  • Christina McKinney, Executive Director, Governor’s Commission for Women
  • Gena Minjares, Chief Financial Officer, Texas Treasury Safekeeping Trust Company, LT, and LI graduate
  • Deanna Rodriguez, VP Regulatory and Public Affairs, Entergy, LT graduate
  • Liza Willmore, Manager, Management Consulting SW Region, Accenture; LP, and LT graduate
  • Aelia Khan Akhtar, Senor Transformation Specialist, HHSC; LP graduate
  • Catherine Crago Blanton, Head of Strategic Initiative and Resource Development, HACA, LT graduate
  • Regina Durden, Bradshaw Solutions Group, LA, LT, and LI graduate
  • Raette Hearne, Human Resources, HHSC, LA, LT, and LI graduate
  • Melissa Hield, former Associate Commissioner, Texas Department of Insurance; LT, and LI graduate
  • Alice Reinarz, LW Board Member; LW Philanthropic Council; former Admissions - Texas A&M University
  • Deana Sanders, EWTG Board Secretary-Treasurer, Austin Water, LT graduate
  • Dale Simons, LW Philanthropic Council, LT, and LA graduate

Congratulations to EWTG members who graduated from Leadership Women programs this year and to Marie Cohan, Texas Department of Information Resources and LT graduate, who will serve as a Leadership Women Ambassador for the Austin region.


Brain Science for Building Better Teams

How do you build a high performing team? New research helps us to manage our teams and ourselves better. In the October mini-course, Jennifer Holmes and Melissa Moloney from Accenture helped us explore the neuroscience behind methods to cultivate individuals into cohesive teams that can make the impossible, possible. You can harness the power of neuroscience to be more productive, more engaged at work, and happier at home. Attendees learned practical tips for themselves and their teams. We talked about productivity, sleep, mindfulness, movement, stress, and how brain science is the new secret to optimum wellness. We walked away with tangible ideas and methods to build a better workplace and workforce supported by an understanding of how the human brain works.

Learning Objectives

  • Participants learned about the distractions at work that prevent teams from achieving their goals and practical ways to eliminate them.
  • The audience discovered ways to generate community and trust among their teams, leading to higher performance, that they can take back and implement immediately.
  • Participants learned why their brain works the way it does, and how we think, remember, and learn impacts how we perceive events and make decisions.

Takeaways to improve focus and productivity

  • “Understanding and managing attention is now the single most important determinant of business success.” – Thomas Davenport, the Attention Economy Harvard Business School Press, 2001. Making micro changes in our daily tasks can help improve focused attention. For example, putting your phone down more, limiting social media, creating small timeboxes for focused attention, giving yourself rewards for completed tasks, and making time for mental breaks through meditation or walks.
  • Multi-tasking is a myth and does not produce more results. It produces fewer results because of the additional effort in attention needed to switch between tasks. Our brains do not need as much focus on routine tasks like brushing our teeth. Multi-tasking works better when combined with a routine task versus combining two or more tasks that require focused attention. When you need to multi-task, try to be mindful of the task you are working on at that moment.
  • Meditation helps improve physical and mental health. One example is to take time to meditate on the things you are grateful for daily. Gratitude is an opportunity to create mindfulness and focus on the positive aspects of your day. Whatever you meditate on, the idea is to improve focus and shut out the daily noise and internal chatter. There are apps to help you get started.
  • Physical changes that will help improve focus and productivity: Drink more water to flush toxins from your body. Sleep is critical. During sleep, the brain clears out the harmful waste proteins that build up between its cells. Most adults need 7-8 hours of sleep daily, but a lucky few (10% of the population) can get by with 6 hours. Sitting posture is essential, and "all-day" sitting impacts our physical health. Try taking more stretch breaks throughout the day, including a short walk outside (when possible), and use these breaks as rewards for focused work. Stretches that can be done at your desk can be found online.
  • Creating inclusion within our community improves productivity. By including others in discussions, brainstorming, and decision-making, we create a sense of belonging, we build trust, and we improve engagement overall.
  • Book recommendations: How to Have a Good Day, Caroline Webb; Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World, Cal Newport; Think Small: The Surprising Simple Ways to Reach Big Goals, Owain Service & Rory Gallagher; and The Sleep Revolution, Arianna Huffington.


Melissa Moloney has spent over 20 years serving governments and nonprofits in areas of organizational design, strategy, technology, innovation, and transformation. Melissa is a certified Project Management Professional (PMP) and helps her higher education and public sector clients achieve transformational business outcomes. She is a Gallup-certified expert on strengths in the workplace and team engagement and is thankful for her experience coaching executives and teams of all sizes. Melissa is especially curious about personal development and has a passion for helping people and teams be at their best and loves to share her learnings with others. When not working, you can find Melissa spending time with her husband and twin third graders. She also loves learning, travel, and personal finance.

Jennifer Holmes is an Austin-based Account and Project Manager with Accenture's Public Service Consulting practice. She has nearly 20 years of consulting experience, spending the last 14 years working with Public Service clients developing strategic roadmaps, executing implementation plans, and leading and executing change management strategies. Jennifer is a certified Project Management Professional (PMP) focused on achieving business outcomes for Texas state and local government, higher education, and non-profit organizations. Jen has recently discovered the benefits of sleep, mindfulness, and self-care in both her work and home life and enjoys sharing those insights with her team. When not working, Jennifer geeks out on podcasts and personal development and spends time with her husband and three girls.

Mini-courses are held on the second Wednesday of each month from February through October. Mini-courses provide training to the EWTG membership and are open to anyone interested in attending free of charge. For more information or to suggest speakers, email


Staying Strong & Confident in Your Leadership Journey

Leadership is a journey unique to every individual. Anh Selissen will speak about her leadership journey to becoming Chief Information Officer at the Texas Department of Transportation. She will discuss steps that she takes to build respect and teamwork in an organization and lessons learned throughout her career. She will conclude with insight into how she builds her confidence as a female executive leader.

Anh Selissen serves as the Chief Information Officer at the Texas Department of Transportation (TXDOT). She is honored to be a part of this mission-critical agency and to be a part of the TXDOT family. Anh has led information technology organizations in both the public and private sectors. She previously held positions as Chief Information Officer at NuStats Inc., Director of Enterprise Systems at the University of Texas at Austin, and (most recently) Anh served as Deputy CIO at the Texas Comptroller’s Office.

Among several professional affiliations, Anh is President-Elect of the Texas Association of State Systems for Computing and Communications, and IT Chair of the State Agency Coordinating Council. In each of her leadership roles, Anh has built a diverse range of experience working across the organization to deliver IT services to meet the needs of the organization and customer community. She is passionate about providing reliable customer service and strives to work with her team to provide strong support and services to the organization and its customers. This has resulted in improved interactions with the end-user communities and positive positioning of the organization. Anh prides herself on being a dynamic and influential leader.

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). The cost of the luncheon is $20 per member and $25 per guest. Remember to register early for the luncheon in anticipation of a full house. Networking begins at 11:30 a.m., and lunch starts at 11:45 a.m. The presentation will start at noon and concludes at 1 p.m.

Members must log in to receive member pricing. Online registration will end on Sunday, Oct. 20. Cancellations must be received 48 hours before the event to receive a refund or to waive your registration fee. Onsite registration is available for $30.

Register Today!

The EWTG Annual Professional Development Conference is the premier educational forum for those interested in leadership and professional growth. Government, higher education, and industry experts will cover a wide range of topics relevant to leadership trends, government policies, and emerging growth areas in the public sector. The 3rd Annual Professional Development Conference, “Women Empowered: Charging Up!” hosts a prime opportunity to invest in yourself through 24 workshop sessions. You will have a chance to select two workshop sessions, and attend valuable General Session Trainings! Please be sure to register early to take advantage of the Early Bird pricing, which is available through October 31, 2019…time is running out.

Join more than 800 attendees from the state government, higher education, and public-private partners at this two-day conference. Engage with industry leaders. Network with experts and gain practical and hands-on experience. Gain leadership tools. Enhance strategic planning skills. Develop new approaches to planning.

We encourage you to arrive on Sunday, November 24 and join us for a networking reception that evening to prepare you for the conference activities on Monday, November 25.

Please Note: To receive the member discounted registration rate, provide your user name and password. If you do not remember your user name and password, contact EWTG at Non-members will be prompted to either establish a membership or register at the non-member rate.

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



Called to Serve

EWTG is excited to support Dress for Success Austin as our Fall community service initiative. At Dress for Success, each woman receives a suiting session where they get four pieces and shoes. The goal is that they have an interview outfit and a second outfit for a callback. DFS makes sure each woman feels confident in the pieces they choose with their stylist. Each woman also receives an initial career assessment, as well as a follow-up meeting. Dress for Success is also committed to supporting their clients after they're employed. To that end, Dress for Success Austin hosts a professional women's group that brings in speakers to provide their clients with opportunities for continual career growth.

EWTG is collecting donations from now until the conference. Clothes/accessories will be collected during both days at the conference and at other select EWTG events. Our goal is to raise over $1,000. Dress for Success needs black handbags, unopened makeup, full-sized toiletries, as well as suiting and business attire.

Our donation portal is live and ready for use. Donors can either text the code EWTG2019 to 44-321 to receive a text with a link to the page, or copy and paste the URL below into their browser:

Dress for Success of Austin has scheduled office hours for donation drop-offs at WeWork 801 Barton Springs Road for the following dates:

  • Tuesday, Oct. 29, 10am-12pm
  • Tuesday, Nov. 5, 10am -12pm
  • Thursday, Nov. 7, 10am-12pm
  • Tuesday, Nov. 12, 10am-12pm
  • Thursday, Nov. 14, 10am-12pm

When arriving at WeWork (801 Barton Springs), there is a parking garage at the bottom of the building. EWTG members should ask for Christina Rinaldi (Gartner).

If you are interested in joining the community service committee, please email or

Donate Today!

EWTG Birthday Club

graphic - happy birthday Members who join the EWTG Birthday Club will receive a $5 discount on the monthly Professional Development Luncheon registration fee. Members will also get a shout-out in the newsletter, recognizing them during their birthday month.

Opting “In” You must opt-in by completing the consent form indicating your wish to participate. The consent form will request the following information: First and last name, email address, and birthday month. Only the birthday month will be added to a member’s profile. Access to the information is restricted to our management company, essential staff, and the EWTG Membership Director.

Discount – Members who opt-in receive a $5 discount off the Professional Development luncheon registration fee during their birthday month by using the discount code, BIRTHDAY19. NOTE: Only one $5 discount will be granted per month and cannot be combined with other luncheon discounts. EWTG does not have Professional Development luncheons in November and December. Members with birthdays during November or December will be recognized with the October birthdays.

Submitted by the EWTG Membership Development Committee


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


Our annual conference is our most popular and best-attended event. This daylong event, held November 25, brings together approximately 900 women who serve Texas through employment in state government, higher education, and other professional industries.

Being a sponsor of the EWTG Annual Professional Development Conference allows you the opportunity to reach decision-makers and emerging leaders throughout the government and business communities. We are currently seeking sponsors for the conference on November 25, and the networking reception on November 24.

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 click the link below or contact us at and provide the business name, a contact person, and a phone number or email address.

THANK YOU for supporting EWTG!


October Birthdays: Wishing you all a wonderful celebration!
Robin Agnew, Mary Morales, Lila Valencia, and Jennifer Dormer

October 23, 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. – Professional Development Luncheon at the Austin Women’s Club in Austin, TX. See details above about this event.

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

We Thank Our 2019 Sponsors

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