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Texas Women's Foundation Hattie Hill, Hilda McClure, Marsha Clark, Adeeba Raheem, Cimajie Best, Heather Bellino, Jamila Thomas, Deborah Roberts, Karen Hughes White, Sakina Rasheed Foster, Veronica Torres Hazley

Texas Women’s Foundation held #BESTSELF 2024 and the Leadership Forum & Awards Celebration on April 30th at the Omni Dallas Hotel.

The day started with more than 200 middle and high school young women who attended #BESTSELF 2024, a leadership program of Texas Women’s Foundation. Capital One’s Andrella Thomas and K.J. Grassi of Dallas Mavericks’ Girls Empowered by the Mavericks program, welcomed everyone.

With the Empowered theme, the breakout sessions featured Girls Inc. talking about the “Power of Your Health;” Dallas College’s Marlonda Taylor spoke about the “Power of Your Future.” The final session included Founder and CEO of Hey Chica!, Veronica Torres Hazley (also event co-chair) speaking about the “Power of Your Voice.”

The afternoon Leadership Forum & Awards Celebration continued the Empowered theme with the honorees sharing advice and stories. After the forums, guests enjoyed a cocktail reception with European Ensemble playing stringed instruments.

At the dinner, co-chairs Sakina Rasheed Foster, Haynes and Boone, LLP partner and office managing partner, and Veronica Torres Hazley, the first Young Leader Award recipient, welcomed everyone.

They thanked the key sponsors:

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

Award: Haynes Boone

Leadership Forums: Texas Capital, Vistra

Impact: The Dallas Mavericks

Media Sponsors: D CEO, Dallas Business Journal

#BESTSELF sponsors: PwC (PricewaterhouseCoopers) and Capital One

For additional sponsors, visit

Carrie Freeman Parsons, TXWF board chair, and Hattie Hill, TXWF executive in residence, held a fireside chat. They then welcomed Karen Hughes White, new TXWF president and CEO, to the stage for attendees to get to know her. White remarked, “I’m honored to work alongside our donors, partners, volunteers and staff to build strong women and a better world.”

Next, TXWF 2015 Young Leader recipient, Christa Brown-Sanford, spoke about connection with Brittany Barnett. Brown-Sanford asked attendees to support the Foundation.

After dinner, Cynt Marshall, The Dallas Mavericks CEO, introduced Deborah Roberts, award-winning ABC News correspondent and co-anchor of “20/20.”

Marshall moderated a conversation with Roberts drawing from her book, Lessons Learned and Cherished. Roberts beautifully illustrated the profound influence that teachers hold in shaping lives including Mrs. Hardy who believed in her. At Georgia, she visited the journalism department. “I found my calling. I was willing to try something outside my comfort zone.”

Roberts’ advice to becoming a leader: “Just own it. Somebody opened the door for me. I need to open it for others—interns, young producers. They’re waiting for someone to say you can do it.”

Marshall said, “I love that. It is called HASU: Hook a Sister Up!”

The awards presentation was the final part of the evening. Rosebud Nau, partner with Haynes Boone, spoke next. Brenda Jackson, selection committee co-chair, joined her to present the awards.

“For empowering resilience through programs, advocacy, and services for victims of domestic and dating violence, child abuse, sexual assault, and human trafficking, we proudly present Heather Bellino with the Maura Women Helping Women award.”

“For empowering authenticity by dedicating her talents to crafting and delivering executive coaching and leadership programs tailored for women, we award Marsha Clark with the Maura Women Helping Women Award.”

“For empowering representation by securing funding in support of women and economically disadvantaged students to gain knowledge and experience in construction engineering and safety, we recognize Dr. Adeeba Raheem, recipient of the Maura Women Helping Women Award.”

“For empowering mentorship by spearheading initiatives and collaborations that bolster the education and advancement of women of color, we proudly honor Jamila Thomas with the Maura Women Helping Women Award.”

“For empowering a spirit of service through a lifelong commitment to forging partnerships and initiatives that foster inclusive communities for everyone, we recognize Cimajie Best with the Young Leader Award.”

“For empowering wellness by normalizing the significance of well-being among Latina youth and single mothers, and navigating the acculturation process alongside mental health professionals, we recognize Hilda McClure with the Young Leader Award.”

Hattie Hill closed out the program and thanked everyone for coming. She told of the upcoming luncheon at the Omni Hotel on November 1 and the 2025 Leadership Forum & Awards Celebration on May 8.

About Texas Women’s Foundation:

As Texas Women’s Foundation (TXWF) nears its 40th year, it is clear that now more than ever is the time to elevate Texas women. By working with women, families and communities, they are building a stronger, more equitable Texas. TXWF raises funding from a broad base of donors, including individuals, foundations and corporations. These resources support more than $7.1 million in investments that advance economic security and leadership for Texas women and girls through timely research, advocacy, grants and strategic initiatives. Since inception in 1985, TXWF has invested $78.9 million in women and girls. Their 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 leadership initiatives 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 invested 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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