Recipients of Texas Women’s Foundation’s 2022 Maura Women Helping Women and Young Leader Awards will be honored April 26. The Leadership Forum & Awards Celebration (LFAC) honors leaders who have helped lift up women and girls. LFAC is presented by AT&T at the Omni Dallas Hotel.
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, are co-chairs.
Keynote Speaker Radha Agrawal
Co-founder, CEO and chief community architect of Daybreaker, Radha Agrawal is the keynote speaker. Daybreaker is a dance and wellness movement with events in dozens of cities and a global community of half a million people. They have opened for Oprah and done events for Facebook, AARP and others. Agrawal is a successful entrepreneur (co-founder of THINX and LiveItUp), author, globe-trotting speaker, DJ, inventor and investor. Her book, Belong, discusses creating meaningful communities and relationships. MTV named her as “one of 8 women who will change the world.”
“Our award recipients are amazing and inspiring, and we look forward to hearing their stories and celebrating them for their dedication to lifting up women and girls across Texas and beyond,” said Bonnie Clinton, LFAC co-chair.
Ana I. Hernandez, LFAC co-chair, added: “Our event theme is You Belong. We are thrilled to welcome Radha Agrawal, who will inspire us to create and belong to a more meaningful community.”
The event features Leadership Forums with each of the award winners discussing their leadership journey and the particular issue for women where they’ve devoted their passion and interest. The Forums will be followed by a reception and the dinner featuring Radha Agrawal.
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. This year’s award recipients are:
Patricia Rodriguez Christian (Irving) CRC Group Inc.
Rodriguez Christian is an entrepreneurial executive with more than 20 years of C-level experience at privately held CRC Group Inc., a group of family-owned companies. As CEO, she has provided leadership and direction at B2B/B2C companies in retail, restaurant, business processing outsourcing, real estate, and construction, from start-up through maturity. She is passionate about making diversity and inclusion a priority in all endeavors.
Arlene J. Ford, Ph.D. (Dallas) Equity Inquiry Project Inc.
Dr. Ford is the founder of the Equity Inquiry Project Inc. where she consults with organizations—educational institutions, nonprofits, corporations and their leaders—to build capacity around equity, inclusion and organizational change. She speaks nationally on issues of equity and inclusion, and has taught a graduate level course on equity to education leaders at Southern Methodist University. Dr. Ford is a trustee for the Dallas Museum of Art and is a director of Leadership ISD.
Thana Hickman-Simmons (Dallas) Viola’s House
Hickman-Simmons is the founder and executive director of Viola’s House. Viola’s House is an emergency placement shelter for teen mothers who have an unplanned pregnancy. Raised in a middle-class home on the south side of Chicago, she faced an unexpected pregnancy at 17. Because of her strong support system, she made the decision to keep her unborn child. Hickman-Simmons moved to Dallas in 2007. Then, in 2008, she opened Viola’s House after seeing that teen mothers often became homeless and didn’t have resources.
Patricia “Pat” Jasso (San Antonio)
Senior Planet/Retired AT&T Executive Jasso is a community outreach coordinator and trainer for Senior Planet, a national nonprofit of OATS (Older Adults Technology) targeting seniors 60+. She also taught for OASIS organization for those 50+. Previously, she worked for AT&T until 2011 and served in the Air Force Reserves for 15 years. Jasso is a board member of Brooks Development Authority, board chair for the Texas Business & Professional Women Foundation, director-at-large of Texas Business Women San Antonio and board chair for the Mitchell Lake Audubon Center Advisory Board.
Lynn McBee (Dallas) Young Women’s Preparatory Network
As a volunteer leader for more than 27 years, McBee has worked more than 45,000 hours of service for 30+ nonprofit groups. Her work has made a difference on issues like improving education, serving homeless, protecting children, fighting domestic violence and helping underserved students succeed in college. McBee has served more than eight years as CEO of Young Women’s Preparatory Network, a public-private partnership that creates STEM-focused schools of choice in an all-girls setting.
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. This year’s recipients are:
Stacy Johnson (Round Rock) Central Texas Table of Grace
After leaving an alcoholic and neglectful mother and entering the foster care system at the age of two, Johnson spent the next 14 years moving from foster home to foster home. She would dream of the day that she would open a children’s shelter to help kids like herself. In 2014, she opened Central Texas Table of Grace. It is an emergency shelter for children ages 6 to 17 in the foster care system who have nowhere else to go. Its mission is to create a loving, nurturing, homelike environment for displaced youth in the Central Texas area.
Sharareh (Sherri) Kermanshachi, Ph.D. University of Texas at Arlington
Dr. Kermanshachi is 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 where she leads post-doctorates, and Ph.D. and masters students. She has published more than 200 books, scholarly articles, conference proceedings and research reports and has conducted several research projects.
Texas Women’s Foundation
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. They include 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.
For more information about the event, please visit txwfleadership.org.