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Bonnie Clinton, Judy Trevino, Effie Dennison

Texas Women’s Foundation (TXWF) held its 42nd annual Leadership Forum and Awards Celebration (LFAC), presented by AT&T, on April 29. The Foundation honored five Maura Women Helping Women recipients and two Young Leader Award recipients who have made positive impacts in the lives of women and girls. The keynote conversation featured Adriana Gascoigne, author of Tech Boss Lady and founder and CEO of Girls in Tech, interviewed by AT&T’s Senior Vice President of Engineering and Operations Marachel Knight.

After the compelling talk, the honorees and TXWF leaders and supporters participated in leadership forums with event attendees. LFAC netted $475,000 to further the mission of Texas Women’s Foundation.

Co-chairs Jana Etheridge, senior vice president, chief of staff & customer office, Financial Services, Capital One, and Hattie Hill, president and CEO of T.D. Jakes Foundation, welcomed everyone and discussed how difficult the pandemic has been on women, particularly working moms who have had to balance work, school, child care and family duties – if they had a job where they could work from home.

Brenda Jackson, Leadership Awards Selection Committee co-chair, gave a history of the leadership awards.

A. Shonn Brown, Chair of the Texas Women’s Foundation’s Board, introduced three of the award recipients.

  • Maura Award Recipient Trisha Cunningham is leading in calm and in crisis as the president and CEO of North Texas Food Bank by leading a staff of 180 that helped serve 97 million meals in 2020.
  • Rani Puranik, Maura Award recipient, is an intrapreneur and global change agent as co-owner and Global CFO of Houston-based Worldwide Oilfield Machine and leading supporter of an Indian school.
  • Young Leader Award Recipient Kim Roxie is an entrepreneur and catalyst for women of color as founder and CEO of LAMIK Beauty that caters to multicultural women.

Co-chair Hattie Hill introduced the two award recipients:

  • Maura Award Recipient Judy Treviño is paying it forward as executive director of CCVI Ministries, an international nonprofit organization that is transforming the lives of people and the community.
  • Cheryl Polote Williamson, Maura Award recipient, is helping people find their power through their purpose as founder of Soul Reborn and Cheryl Polote Williamson LLC.

Co-chair Jana Etheridge introduced two award recipients:

  • Young Leader Award Recipient Diana Mao is transforming women from victimized to victorious as the president of Nomi Network whose mission is to eradicate human trafficking.
  • Jin-Ya Huang, Maura Award recipient, invests in women as the founder of Break Bread, Break Borders that empowers refugee women economically through the storytelling of cooking, food and culture.

Jennifer Biry, chief financial officer of AT&T’s Warner Media business and presenting sponsor, introduced the keynote speaker, Adriana Gascoigne and Marachel Knight.

Marachel Knight moderated the discussion with Adriana Gascoigne and asked her questions about her life, career and advice. Gascoigne, who has often been the only female and woman of color at many start-up companies gave the following advice:

  • Leadership starts at the top.
  • Resiliency is an important quality in starting a business.
  • Find your passion and purpose.
  • Find the right partners and the right funding sources.
  • Don’t be afraid to take risks.

Roslyn Dawson Thompson, Texas Women’s Foundation president and chief executive officer, thanked Gascoigne and Knight.

Following the event, attendees selected one of the breakout Leadership Forums featuring a moderated discussion with the award recipients about key issues and their own pathways to leadership.

In addition to the video recordings, Texas Women’s Foundation launches Gender Matters™, a podcast series sponsored by Kimberly-Clark Corp. that features in-depth interviews with each award recipient with Kimberly-Clark Corp. executives and TXWF CEO Roslyn Dawson Thompson. More information can be found at

A special thank you to the sponsors:

Presenting Sponsor: AT&T

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

Podcast Sponsor: Kimberly-Clark Corp.

Leadership Forum Sponsors: Capital One, Comerica Bank, EY, Fossil Foundation, Kleinert Foundation, Texas Capital Bank, Thomson Reuters

Impact Sponsor: T.D. Jakes Foundation

Advocate Sponsors: Haynes and Boone, Nancy Ann and Ray Hunt, Mary Kay, Texas Instruments

Media Sponsors: D CEO, Local Profile, MySweetCharity

For additional sponsors and information, visit

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

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