Texas Celebrates Women Leaders with Virtual Awards and Forum

The Texas Women’s Foundation’s long-held tradition of honoring leaders in women’s philanthropy continues. Their virtual Leadership Forum and Awards Celebration will be held on April 29th. Amongst the recognitions, the Maura Women Helping Women Award and the Young Leader Award are highlighted.

texas women's foundation
Diana Mao, President of Nomi Network, a recipient of a leadership award from the Texas Women’s Foundation. (Image Credit: Diana Mao)

As the Maura Award enters its 42nd year, the five recipients are those who have adapted their own leadership roles to further the progression of women and girls in various innovative ways. With over 200 past Maura Award recipients, these women are now part of a bold and fearless group who have taken it upon themselves to make life better for women and girls in Texas, and around the world. The Young Leader Award spotlights two women who have broken glass ceilings in their own fields and industries, demonstrating the way forward towards a more gender-balanced society.  

A Time for Honoring the Bold History of the Texas Women’s Foundation

This award ceremony is representative of the Texas Women’s Foundation as a whole. Their goal of “transforming Texas for women and girls” focuses on the multi-faceted nature of bettering society for its female population. Texas Women’s Foundation and its donors have dedicated $57 million to research, advocacy, community-based programs, and economic support since its founding in 1985.

With their effects being felt on both the grassroots and policy levels, this foundation is a pioneer in applying a gender lens to all aspects of their work. Emboldening women and recognizing progress achieved outside of their own foundation are what make the Texas Women’s Foundation so inspiring in its approaches.

Roslyn Dawson Thompson, Texas Women’s Foundation President and CEO states, “We are excited to celebrate the remarkable achievements and inspiring stories of our Maura and Young Leader award recipients, who truly are agents of powerful and positive change for women and girls in Texas and beyond.” It takes an army to go from “surviving to thriving,” and their Leadership Forum & Awards Celebration demonstrates this notion perfectly.

The Texas Women Leading the Way

Each woman noted below is listed beside her professional title for a reason beyond organization. “While 52% of all professional jobs are held by women, only 14.6% of executive positions are held by women,” explains the Texas Women’s Foundation. These titles scream proudly of not only each individual’s accomplishments, but the long overdue and now growing march of women to the top.

The Leadership Forum and Awards Celebration Co-Chairs are Jana Etheridge, Senior Vice President, Chief of Staff and Customer Office, Financial Services at Capital One, and Hattie Hill, President and CEO of T.D. Jakes Foundation. These two women, akin to their award-winning partners, are trailblazers in their own right. To read their full bios, feel free to visit the Texas Women’s Foundation website.

The ceremony will start with keynote speaker, Adriana Gascoigne, Founder and CEO of Girls in Tech. Girls in Tech is a non-profit based in San Francisco with chapters in 32 countries. They are dedicated to flipping the script on women in tech through training, resources, support, and as they say, “most importantly, community.” Her notable recognitions include the Singular University Impact Fellow Scholarship, being named CNET’s one of 20 top Latinos in technology, and the 2018 Pioneer Leadership Award winner.

The Maura Award Winners Fighting for Women

The Maura Award recipients include Trisha Cunningham, President and CEO of the North Texas Food Bank; Jin-Ya Huang, artist and founder of Break Bread, Break Borders; Rani Puranik, Co-Owner and Global CFO of Worldwide Oilfield Machine; Judy Treviño, Executive Director of CCVI Ministries, Inc.; and Cheryl Polote Williamson, CEO and Founder of Williamson Media Group, LLC and Cheryl Polote Williamson, LLC.

These extraordinary women have all attacked gender inequity in revolutionary ways, whether that’s through their companies, art, writing, NGOs, charities, and everything in-between. Detailed bios about each woman and their contributions are located on the Texas Women’s Foundation website.

The Young Women Leaders Making a Difference

The Young Leader Award recipients include Diana Mao, President of Nomi Network, and Kim Roxie, Founder and CEO of LAMIK Beauty. Diana is fighting to end human trafficking and slavery while providing economic backing and support for survivors. Kim created a beauty line specifically for multicultural women and broke barriers becoming the youngest African-American woman to sell her products in a department store. More information on these exceptional women can also be found on the Texas Women’s Foundation website.

All of the award recipients are leaders for and with women and the different approaches and sectors these women employ are what make the Leadership Forum and Awards Celebration so encouraging. Inequity is being tackled from all the angles it needs to be. Finally, little steps are turning into giant leaps.   

Joining in on the Discussion

After the awards and keynote speech, attendees are encouraged to join the Leadership Forums led by the recipients themselves. Each group will have the chance to discuss the recipient’s work after listening to their philanthropic journeys. After the event, the Texas Women’s Foundation will also be initiating their new podcast series, Gender Matters™. To kick off the new series sponsored by Kimberly-Clark Corp., interviews with the award recipients will be made available.  

The celebration itself is virtual, as to keep mindful of COVID restrictions and is proudly presented by AT&T. It begins at 10:00 AM on Thursday, April 29th and all are welcome to join. Tickets are being sold for $42 to give a respectful nod to the Maura Award’s 42nd anniversary.


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Author: Abigail DelVecchio

Abigail DelVecchio, MSc, is a freelance copywriter and writer focusing on women's mental health and the sociocultural contexts that affect their well-being.

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