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Texas Women's Foundation Honorees Dr. Arlene Ford, Stacy Johnson, Dr. Sharareh Kermanshachi, Thana Simmons, Lynn McBee, Patricia Rodriguez Christian, Pat Jasso

Texas Women’s Foundation held its Leadership Forum & Awards Celebration (LFAC), presented by AT&T, on April 26 at the Dallas Omni Hotel and raised more than $600,000 to help lift up women and girls.

Miki Woodard, President and CEO of Texas Women’s Foundation, said “As we strive to meet the moment where we are all navigating various forms of a ‘return,’ we offered it as an in-person and online event and added an afternoon of forums from the seven honorees.”

Co-chairs Bonnie Clinton, Vice President and Chief Procurement Officer, Indirect Procurement Shared Services, Toyota North America, and Ana I. Hernandez, Senior Vice President and Senior Commercial Loan Officer, PlainsCapital Bank, greeted guests who arrived in the afternoon to attend the honorees’ breakout sessions. (See end for more information on forums).

After the forums, 600 guests sipped cocktails and sampled hors d’oeuvres. When the doors opened, June Blount, a fiddler duo, played upbeat songs to get everyone to their seats. Attendees enjoyed dinner and conversations around the table.

Alva Adams-Mason, Group Manager, Multicultural Business Alliance & Dealer Relations at Toyota Motor North America, introduced keynote speaker Radha Agrawal. Agrawal is Co-founder, CEO and Chief Community Architect of Daybreaker, a dance and wellness movement with a worldwide community of half a million people. She spoke about how this movement was founded on belonging to a community and how to develop community. Her book, Belong, was a part of the table centerpieces.

Agrawal asked attendees to close their eyes and put their hands on their hearts. She also asked the mostly female audience to hold hands with the person on each side and talked about the importance of community especially after the tough couple of years. Finally, at the end, she led in some spontaneous dancing, and most ladies were up dancing with her.

Hilda Galvan, Board Chair, Managing Partner of Jones Day Dallas and Awards Selection Co-chair, and Brenda Jackson, Awards Selection Co-chair, presented five women the Maura Women Helping Women Award:

Jackson gave the first awards:

“For her passion making diversity and inclusion a priority in all endeavors, and being an advocate for the inclusion of women in business from supply-chain to the board room, we award Patricia Rodriguez Christian with the Maura Women Helping Women Award.”

“For recognizing the need for inclusive and equitable policies and practices within our school systems and organizations, and bringing transformational change in these institutions to build bridges, we award Dr. Arlene Ford with the Maura Women Helping Women Award.”

"For her tireless work for gender equity and representation in leadership, and her commitment to amplifying women in political office, we recognize Pat Jasso, recipient of the Maura Women Helping Women Award.”

“For leading efforts in creating opportunities for marginalized communities, and for empowering the next generation with limited access by equipping them with the tools and opportunities to be leaders, we celebrate Lynn McBee with the Maura Women Helping Women Award.”

“For her deep dedication to serving and supporting teen mothers; her great heart for providing resources to help these families thrive by providing housing and education, we celebrate Thana Simmons, Maura Women Helping Women Award recipient.”

Galvan said, “Now, I have the honor of recognizing two women under the age of 40 who are blazing trails to help other women advance in leadership.”

“For pursuing her dream to create a safe place to help foster care children and young adults have a home and resources so they can thrive, we recognize Stacy Johnson with the Young Leader Award.”

“For leading the way in furthering more diversity in STEM programs to bring more women and people of color with talent into top positions in this field where they are underrepresented, we recognize Sharareh Kermanshachi with the Young Leader Award.”

Hernandez thanked the main sponsors:

Presenting Sponsor: AT&T

Speaker Sponsor: Catherine Coughlin Endowment for Women’s Leadership at Texas Women’s Foundation

Ripple Sponsor: Toyota

Empowering Women’s Leadership sponsors, EY and Haynes and Boone

Leadership Forum Sponsors: CBRE, Jones Day, Merrill Lynch, PlainsCapital Bank/Hilltop Securities/PrimeLending, Texas Capital Bank, Texas Health Resources

Media Sponsors: D CEO, Dallas Business Journal, Fort Worth Inc. and Local Profile

For a complete list of sponsors, visit

Maura Women Helping Women Award:

For 43 years, the Maura Women Helping Women Award has been presented to more than 200 courageous individuals who have catalyzed change for women and girls.

Young Leader Award:

The Young Leader Award recognizes breakthrough leadership exhibited by a trailblazer who is achieving success in a field, initiative or sector, and creating a path of opportunity for other women to follow.

About Texas Women’s Foundation:

Texas Women’s Foundation is Transforming Texas for Women and Girls, empowering them to build stronger, more equitable communities. One of the world’s largest women’s foundations, the Foundation raises funding from a broad base of donors, including individuals, foundations and corporations. These resources support more than $7 million in investments that advance economic security and leadership for Texas women and girls through groundbreaking research, advocacy, grants and programs. Since inception in 1985, the Foundation has invested $57 million in women and girls, including $43 million since 2011. The Foundation’s statewide research on issues affecting women and girls provides decision-makers and lawmakers with critical data to inform policies, practices and programs in the state. Its advocacy, grantmaking and innovative programs support solutions that help Texas women and girls thrive. In addition, Texas Women’s Foundation is an acknowledged leader and advocate in the gender lens investing movement and has deployed 100 percent of its assets – endowments, operating investments and donor-advised funds – in a gendered impact portfolio that yields strong financial returns and social benefits to women and girls. For more information, visit, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or Instagram or donate now.


The Forums:

Dr. Arlene Ford of the Equity Inquiry Project Inc. spoke on You Advocate, focused on advocating for diversity and inclusion in education. Moderator: Latonia Donaldson, of PrimeLending, Forum Sponsor. 

San Antonio retired AT&T Manager and Senior Planet, Pat Jasso, spoke about You Amplify: Amplifying women in political office. Moderator: Nina Vaca of Pinnacle Group.

Dr. Sherri Kermanshachi, associate professor in the Department of Civil Engineering and director of the Resilient Infrastructure and Sustainable Environment (RISE) Lab at the University of Texas at Arlington. Moderator: Rachel Vinson of CBRE, Forum Sponsor.

Lynn McBee, CEO of Young Women’s Preparatory Network, talked about You Impact: Creating a ripple of impact through philanthropy. Moderator: Michelle George, Texas Capital Bank, Forum Sponsor.

Patricia Rodriguez Christian of CRC Group Inc. held an informative discussed entitled You Diversify: Inspiring women entrepreneurs. She talked about the importance of paving the way and learning from those in your path. Moderator: Ferrell Keel, Jones Day, Forum Sponsor.

Thana Simmons of Viola’s House spoke about You Build: Building safe spaces for teen mothers. Moderator: Virginia Rose, Texas Health Resources, Forum Sponsor.

Stacy Johnson, founder of Central Texas Table of Grace in Round Rock, spoke You Persevere: Paying it forward for at-risk youth. Moderator: Carole Wentz, Merrill Lynch, a Bank of America company, Forum Sponsor.

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