February 2020

Page 1

AUSTIN WOMAN MAGAZINE |  FEBRUARY 2020

“In diversity, there is beauty and there is strength.” –Maya Angelou


HERE’S TO THE LIFE WE LOVE.

AND THE LIVES WE CARE FOR.

At St. David’s, our goal is simple. Delivering care based on your needs. Your life is our passion. And that passion drives our purpose. The Best Is Here. stdavids.com/heartdoc


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Don’t you wanna feel better?

Having children means having questions. We’re here to help you find answers with primary, specialty and urgent care now in Austin. TexasChildrens.org/Austin © 2019 Texas Children’s Hospital. All rights reserved. ATX_2019_01


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Join your community in giving back local Amplify Austin Day March 5-6, 6pm-6pm Get involved at AmplifyATX.org Let’s keep our city thriving, and donate to the local nonproďŹ ts that address our most pressing needs.

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organic design born in Italy

At Copenhagen you’ll find the areas most unique collection of fine contemporary furniture and accessories from around the world. Our featured item is the Greenwood sideboard by Devina Nais, Italy. Artfully handcrafted from natural oak and iron. Available for immediate delivery as shown or custom order in several finishes. $3798.

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Life without fibroids is just better. Do you miss work, stay home, or feel out of control of your life because of fibroid symptoms? Is the pain, heavy bleeding, bloating, and fear of accidents just too much? It’s time for a change. Uterine fibroid embolization (UFE) is a nonsurgical, outpatient procedure that shrinks fibroids and makes symptoms disappear, so you can enjoy life free of fibroid pain and mess.

UFE for FIBROIDS

CONTACT THE EXPERTS AT ARA NOW! (512) 467-9729 ausrad.com/ufe


THE MOST POWERFUL MUSCLE IS THE ONE YOU CAN’T SEE CONNECT YOUR HEART TO YOUR WORKOUT AND START YOUR JOURNEY TO MORE LIFE.

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IF YOU ARE LOOKING FOR FIBROID RELIEF, UFE COULD BE THE TICKET. Many of us experience the pain, bloating and mess of menstrual bleeding from uterine fibroids. For some women, symptoms from fibroids can impact quality of life. Finding the right treatment for you is key. BY DR. CONNIE HSU Interventional radiologist at ARA Diagnostic Imaging

Do you have fibroid symptoms? You may notice your menstrual periods are very heavy and that you bleed longer and even between periods. Women can develop anemia from heavy menstrual blood loss and experience devastating symptoms, including extreme fatigue and weakness. Fibroids can cause pelvic pain from severe cramping or from pressure on other organs. This pressure can cause back pain, frequent urination, bloating and constipation. Some women have pain during intercourse that interferes with their intimate lives.

Q&w

Get freedom from fibroids with uterine fibroid embolization.

About 20 percent to 40 percent of women will develop symptoms related to fibroids by the age of 50.

Uterine fibroid embolization, also known as UFE, is a nonsurgical procedure for women with fibroids. It has been recognized by the American College of Gynecology to be a safe option for women who desire to keep their uterus. Very often, women end up having hysterectomies because they are not aware there are nonsurgical ways of both keeping the uterus and getting rid of fibroids. UFE is offered in both the outpatient and hospital setting. The procedure is performed with moderate sedation. We enter your circulatory system through a small nick in the wrist or the groin and guide a tiny catheter to both uterine arteries, where we deposit FDA-approved particles. These block the blood supply to all the fibroids at once, causing them to shrink with time just as they naturally would during menopause. Post-procedure, you’ll have just a small bandage on the entry point. What are fibroids? Uterine fibroids are growths in the uterine muscle cells. These are not cancerous but over time, they can grow to a large size and cause unpleasant symptoms. About 20 percent to 40 percent of women will develop symptoms related to fibroids by the age of 50. How long is recovery from UFE? With UFE, we usually ask patients to take off about a week, which is less than the necessary time off and recovery after surgical options. Plus, UFE is typically an outpatient procedure, so you get to recover in the comfort of your home.


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What is the success rate of UFE?

Is the UFE procedure safe?

The success rate for UFE is very high: 88 percent to 92 percent. Research has shown women have increased sexual function and improved quality of life after UFE. Fibroids treated with UFE do not grow back. New fibroids may emerge because of the same conditions that produced the original fibroids.

UFE has a low complication rate compared with surgical options. With surgery, there is potential injury to the bowel, ureter or bladder and the possibility of causing adhesions (scar tissue) in your abdomen, which can bring problems in the future. Some surgical patients are at risk of developing hernias at the incision sites, which is not a risk with UFE.

Is the UFE procedure painful? In this procedure, we use moderate sedation, so you will receive medication to control pain and relax you through your IV in order to have a positive experience. The first 48 hours after UFE can bring some pain and discomfort, which is managed with pain medication. The fibroids are no longer receiving blood, and this can cause cramping as they die.

For more information about uterine fibroid embolization, please visit ausrad.com/ufe or call 512.467.9729 for a consultation.


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54

ON THE COVER

FIGHTING FOR EQUITY

Photo by Rudy Arocha.

BY JENNY HOFF

60

FEATURE

BLACK IN AUSTIN BY CHANTAL RICE AND COURTNEY RUNN

Apiece Apart jumpsuit, $445; Rachel Comey shoes, $450, available at Kick Pleat, 624 N. Lamar Blvd., kickpleat.com; Greylin Collection jacket, available at Estilo, 2727 Exposition Blvd., estiloboutique.com; Vada Jewelry, available at By George, 1400 S. Congress Ave., bygeorgeaustin.com.


CONTENTS | FEBRUARY

22

18

COUNT US IN Women in Numbers

20

FROM THE DESK OF Siri Chakka and Silva Gentchev

22

GIVE BACK Patti + Ricky

24

START THE CONVO Racial Disparities in Maternal Deaths

27 TEXAS TRIPPIN’

27

52

50

Staff Picks

IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD Seaholm District

52 SEE HER WORK

Photographer and Doula Heather Gallagher

68 RECIPE REVEAL

Brioche French Toast

70 WAITING ROOM

Preventing Heart Disease

72 HER ROUTINE

Marathoner Cheryl Austin

76 ON THE MONEY

Learning Your Money Personality

78

ASK LUCY Dog Grooming 101

80

I AM AUSTIN WOMAN Tina Cannon

ATX WOMEN TO WATCH

68

42

DR. ALINA SHOLAR

43

JULIA MCCOY

44

LEE CALDWELL

45

MONICA GELINAS

46

KATHIE BOLLES

47 ASHLEY BRUECKNER, LANA MACRUM, MONIQUE MCGILLEN, KIM ROSE, YVETTE RUIZ

78 12 |  AUSTIN WOMAN |  FEBRUARY 2020

48

AMY WOLFGANG AND MICHELLE POOLE

49

JESSICA CAMPOS


CONTRIBUTORS

This month, we asked our contributors: In one word, what do you think makes a strong woman?

A PUBLICATION OF AW MEDIA INC.

VOLUME 18, ISSUE 6

DAWN WESTON

Publisher NIKI JONES

CHANTAL RICE

Creative Director

Managing Editor

JENNY HOFF Cover writer, “Fighting for Equity,” Page 54 • wrote a 250-page book in sixth grade • spent her 27th birthday covering a story at a military training center in Afghanistan

COURTNEY RUNN

• created and hosted a financial podcast for which she interviewed Tony Robbins

Assistant Editor

What makes a strong woman: resilience

SAM PITKIN

Marketing and Events Manager MONIKA KELLEY CHRISTINA RINKEN-FABIANICH REBECCA WILLIAMS

Account Executives

NIA FORD

LESLIE WILLIAMSON

Cover makeup, “Fighting for Equity,” Page 54

Sales and Production Coordinator

• once provided services for Lisa Nichols • started her own lip-care line called Zuri Maulana

CONTRIBUTORS

• loves to travel

Editorial: Brianna Caleri, Tina Cannon, Alexis Green, Jenny Hoff, Abby Hopkins, Regine Malibiran, Lucy J. Phillips, Chantal Rice, Courtney Runn, Gretchen M. Sanders, Gianni Zorrilla Art: Hakeem Adewumi, Rudy Arocha, Leandra Blei, Weston Carls, Chrissy Cowan, Graham Cumberbatch, Nia Ford, Heather Gallagher, Shane Gordon, Richard Guillory, Niko Hernandez, Dwayne Hills, Korey Howell, Mary Keating-Bruton, Cody Kinsfather, Brenda Ladd, Marsha Miller, Adam Moroz, Julie Myrtille, Tiffany Nicole, Moyo Oyelola, Gabriel C. Pérez, Lea Porche, Suzanne Pressman, Ismael Quintanilla III, Carli Rene, Julia Robinson, Courtney Runn, Greg Smith, Jeremy Teel, Madison Weakley, Carrin Welch, Jessica Wetterer

What makes a strong woman: transparency

GRETCHEN M. SANDERS Writer, “Running in 2020,” Page 72 • the late, great William Zinsser made her a better writer • served breakfast to Neil Armstrong in 2003 and interviewed fellow moonwalker Alan Bean for a story in 2018

INTERNS

Alexis Green, Abby Hopkins, Gianni Zorrilla

• swam around Manhattan Island via the East, Harlem and Hudson rivers in 2012 What makes a strong woman: curiosity

AW MEDIA INC. MELINDA GARVEY

KIP GARVEY

Co-founder/Owner

CEO/Owner

SAMANTHA STEVENS

Co-founder

ASHLEY GOOLSBY

CFO

TIFFANY NICOLE Cover hair, “Fighting for Equity,” Page 54 • lead stylist for Indique Hair for Mercedes Benz New York Fashion Week • met and talked hair with Serena Williams

Austin Woman is a free monthly publication of AW Media Inc., and is available at more than 1,000 locations throughout Austin and in Lakeway, Cedar Park, Round Rock and Pflugerville. All rights reserved. To offer feedback, email feedback@awmediainc.com. For submission information, visit atxwoman.com/jobs. No part of the magazine may be reprinted or duplicated without permission. Visit us online at atxwoman.com. Email us at info@awmediainc.com. 512.328.2421 | 3921 Steck Ave., Suite A111, Austin, TX 78759

• had a personal phone conversation with icon Grace Jones What makes a strong woman: resilience

COVER NOTES Photo by Rudy Arocha, rudyarochaphotography.com Hair by Tiffany Nicole, tiffanynicoleloves.com Makeup by Nia Ford, facebook.com/niafordmua Styled by Graham Cumberbatch, grahamcumberbatch.format.com Shot on location at Vesper, vesperaustin.com

Grammar shirt, $495, available at Altatudes, 1717 E. 12th St., altatudes.com; Vada Jewelry earrings, $890, available at By George, 1400 S. Congress Ave., bygeorgeaustin.com.


FROM THE FOUNDER

Black History Month is a time when cities throughout the United States celebrate the many contributions of black Americans. It is also a time when we take a hard look at difficult parts of our history and the impacts of institutionalized racism and legal segregation, which divided and damaged our country. In Austin, our story is no different. We have much to celebrate and plenty of challenging history to reflect upon and to grow from. The actions of our past impact our present. Today, the city of Austin is undergoing efforts to heal racial wounds and connect our community. Austin Woman wants to help lead efforts to make Austin an inclusive city that reflects the diverse experiences and the faces of Austin. We want to help share the diverse images of our energetic, thriving city and have it reflect the fabric of the people, businesses and experiences that make up our community. This issue, which is devoted largely to black women and diversity practices, is just the beginning of our own journey of growth and deliberate action on inclusion. We want every issue of Austin Woman to represent this community. We want to reflect and champion this community in the women we profile and the women who support our events and business as writers, photographers, vendors and advertisers. We want to be an engine for other organizations that are advancing women of color in this city. But commitments need accountability, and to that end, we are excited to announce we will form a council of ethnically and culturally diverse women to help us broaden our connections in our community and lend perspective to our editorial plans throughout the year. It is often quoted that “it takes a village” and we could not be prouder to work with our community to lead the way for more comprehensive coverage in all Austin media. We’re thrilled to share the story of our cover woman, Virginia Cumberbatch, as well as the stories of the many women featured here. We asked 50 local black women to share their vision for Austin in 2020 and what living in this city looks and feels like for them. We are proud to highlight their perspectives here. As you read the stories of the incredible women in this issue, I hope you’ll reflect on how you’re advocating for and supporting all women in Austin and how you can do more to lift up other women. It takes a village to build, grow and nurture an inclusive community.

Publication of Austin Woman would not be possible without the support of our monthly advertisers and sponsors, who believe in the impact we are making in the Austin community. The following businesses have stepped up their support of our efforts beyond traditional advertising and we are proud to recognize them as our partners. The team at Austin Woman is grateful for these businesses that have shown their commitment to the advancement of women in Austin and hopes you, as readers, recognize their efforts and support these businesses and all our regular advertisers.

14 |  AUSTIN WOMAN |  FEBRUARY 2020

Join the conversation @AustinWoman

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CONNECT WITH US

Swiping as a Single Mom. From ghosting and sexist comments to conversations that never go beyond the screen, dating apps aren’t for the faint of heart. Adding kids to the mix can introduce a whole new set of obstacles. In our new series Swiping as a Single Mom, we’re talking to single women living in Austin about the highs and lows of using dating apps as moms. A Day in the Life of a Female Firefighter. Native Austinite Melody Liao didn’t grow up wanting to be a firefighter. A male-dominated industry, firefighting never seemed like a career option—until her high school hosted the LBJ Fire Academy, a program designed to interest students in EMT and firefighting careers. After college, Liao wanted to serve her community and joined the Austin Fire Department. We chat with Liao about what a day in her life looks like. Project Runway Contestant Brittany Allen. Season 18 of Project Runway kicked off in December with 16 competing designers, including Austin resident Brittany Allen. Currently an adjunct professor at The Art Institute of Austin, Allen is also the founder of her namesake brand, Brittany Nicole. We get the scoop from Allen about her Project Runway experience and Austin’s growing fashion scene.

WIN THIS! KENDRA SCOTT PRESLEIGH STUD EARRINGS IN GOLD Are you looking for the perfect subtly romantic accessory for date night? Well, you’re in luck, ladies. Thanks to the lovely team at Kendra Scott, one Austin Woman reader will win a pair of Presleigh stud earrings in gold. Beautiful and meaningful, knots have been used in jewelry design to represent love and unity since antiquity. These stud earrings, which feature Kendra Scott’s take on the technique in an understated set perfect your ear stack, are an everyday reminder of the strength of love in its many forms. To enter to win, follow us on Instagram @austinwoman and stay on the lookout for the giveaway announcement. A winner will be chosen by the end of the month.

16 |  AUSTIN WOMAN |  FEBRUARY 2020

DON’T MISS Amazing Women Alliance Birthday Bash Feb. 26, 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Norris Conference Centers, 2525 W. Anderson Lane amazingwomenalliance.com/birthdaybash

Go Red for Women Luncheon Feb. 28, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. JW Marriott Austin, 110 E. Second St. goredforwomen.org

Austin Woman Spring Launch Party Date and location to come atxwoman.com/launch-parties

FOLLOW US

@austinwoman LIKE US

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@ austinwoman

Swiping as a Single Mom photo by Laura Alexandra. Melody Liao photo by Chris Wilkinson. Brittany Allen photo by Bravo Media/Joe Pugliese. Win this photo courtesy of Kendra Scott.

Can’t get enough of this issue? Check us out at atxwoman.com.


BookSpring’s 8th Annual

Storybook Heroes Awards Luncheon

May 1, 2020 • 11:30 am–1:30 pm • Westin at the Domain

Keynote address from award-winning Austin Author

Sarah Bird

Join us to ensure that every child in our community has access to a lifeline of books in their homes.

www.bookspring.org

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COUNT US IN

105 Percent While there’s certainly more room for improvement, our country’s elected officials have become increasingly diverse in the past couple decades. Between 1996 to 2010, the number of elected Latina officials in the U.S. increased by a remarkable 105 percent, totaling 1,858. And according to the Naleo Educational Fund, which works to engage Latino participation in the American political process, as of 2017, there were 2,401 Latinas serving in elected office, representing 36 percent of the total number of elected Latina officials nationwide.

WOMEN IN NUMBERS

Women and other longunderrepresented groups are speaking out, fiercely advocating for diversity and inclusion, and effecting change in Austin and the U.S. BY GIANNI ZORRILLA ILLUSTRATIONS BY JESSICA WETTERER

5 Years For every 100 men promoted to or hired for a managerial work position, only 72 women are promoted or hired. Currently, 62 percent of management-level jobs are held by men, compared with 38 percent of these jobs held by women. And the disparity grows with each rung of the corporate ladder. However, according to Women in the Workplace, the largest study of the state of women in corporate America, an additional 1 million women could land management roles in the U.S.—and do so in the next five years—if women were hired and promoted at the same rates as their male colleagues.

20 Films It’s been a good few years for LGBTQ media representation. A report from the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation found that 18.2 percent of films released by major studios in 2018 included characters that were gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and/or queer. This translates to 20 of 110 major-studio releases and represents the second-highest percentage of inclusive films in the seven-year span of the report.

3 Women Founders The Austin Diversity & Inclusion Project was founded in 2017 by three Austin women working in the tech industry. The mission was simple: Provide leaders and emerging leaders the resources needed to promote diversity while also championing a widespread culture of inclusion in business and throughout Austin. The organization focuses its grassroots efforts on increasing awareness about such concerns as pay equity and creating more motherfriendly workplaces.

483 Certified Diversity Pros Founded in 2004, the Texas Diversity Council aims to be the premier resource for diversity best practices and leadership development in the Lone Star State. The council fosters prodiversity learning environments in businesses while helping promote growth. TXDC is part of the National Diversity Council, which launched its DiversityFirst Certification Program in 2015 with the goal of teaching leaders how to foster diversity and inclusion in the workplace. To date, the program has graduated 483 professionals throughout the country, including from Texas. 18 |  AUSTIN WOMAN | FEBRUARY 2020


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FROM THE DESK OF

It’s said it’s not wise to mix business

SIRI CHAKKA AND SILVA GENTCHEV

The founders of Reset offer some insight into building a startup and creating healthy work environments. BY ALEXIS GREEN ILLUSTRATION BY MADISON WEAKLEY

with pleasure, but Silva Gentchev and Siri Chakka prove friendship can be the perfect foundation for a successful business. Indeed, approaching business with an open mind has helped lead them to success. Sitting in a trendy restaurant one day, the friends thought, “Wouldn’t it be cool to work in a place like this?” The answer led to the development of Reset, an Austin-based startup that enables workers to swap stuffy offices for creative, comfortable settings that are far from the stale conference rooms many businesswomen are familiar with. Pairing businesses and their employees with innovative local spaces for off-site meetings, Reset, which has a core tenet to emphasize diversity and inclusion across the board, fosters a sense of community among workers while introducing local restaurants and venues to new clientele. After building Reset from the ground up in 2018, the pair really means business. However, the experience has not always been enchanted. It’s taken much hard work and dedication to grow Reset. Chakka and Gentchev share what it takes to build an inclusive company and how to thrive in the world of startups.

INCLUDE EVERYONE. “In smaller teams,” Chakka says, “make sure everyone has as a word at the table and has opportunities to interact with each other. Pick inclusive activities or conversation topics.” “More leaders need to understand what [being inclusive] looks like,” Gentchev adds. “Even if it’s small things like picking a certain activity that might not include people, those actions impact people and their ability to speak up. Team members [should] speak up on someone’s behalf who [is not] included in a conversation.”

MAKE CONNECTIONS. “The female entrepreneurial community in Austin is strong [and] very supportive,” Gentchev says. “Constantly ask for help and lean on your community, wherever you are, because you can’t really get very far without it. Then pay it forward. My personal [goal] is to build connections to help everyone succeed.”

KNOW WHO YOU’RE HIRING. “From the initial screening itself, make sure you’re building that type of culture where people are different and bring different strengths to the table but they still play as a team,” Chakka says. “Have questions that you’re asking them [be] about how they’ve interacted in teams, and learn about their past experiences, whether it is professional or not.”

REFRESH YOUR SPACE. “A change in scenery is huge in terms of boosting creativity,” Gentchev says. “Bringing people to think of new ideas in that same conference room doesn’t really work. Nobody is 100 percent focused. When you take them out of that environment and put them somewhere new, they’re engaged in the task at hand.”

BEING YOURSELF IS ENOUGH. “I’ve learned to just be more myself,” Gentchev says. “In my earlier 20s, I was always like, ‘Should I be doing this the way that male executives do this?’ It took me a long time to learn to find the culture that I want to work [in] and seek that out rather than trying to fit into this mold that I’m not going to. There’s room for everyone to be themselves.” “We’re in a room of smart people all the time,” Chakka adds. “But we are just as bright and capable. It doesn’t really matter what kind of background you come from, education or experience. Play to your strengths and find a partner or a team that complements that.” 20 |  AUSTIN WOMAN | FEBRUARY 2020


Sponsored Content

HOW TO M A K E YOU R COMMUTE SUCK LESS

BY CHELSEA BANCROFT

Check GPS every day. We all know Austin traffic is horrible. One minor accident can cause a huge delay. Check Google Maps or Waze every single day to make sure your normal route is clear. The one day I didn’t, I got caught behind an accident that delayed me more than 30 minutes. I haven’t made that mistake again!

Take a deep breath. When all else fails, take a couple deep breaths. Don’t let traffic, discourteous drivers or road rage get the best of you and ruin your day. I hope these tips help. If you have a car- or driving-related topic you’d like to know more about, send me an email and I might write about it in next month’s article.

Jam out.

Put your favorite Spotify playlist on and belt it out! Studies have shown singing, in general, produces feel-good hormones and helps reduce road rage.

Learn something new.

Don’t make your time spent in the car a waste. Listen to an audio book or podcast to learn something new­— or just purely for entertainment.

Catch up with friends and family.

Do you feel bad about not calling your mom more often? Use your commute time to call friends or family members you’ve been meaning to catch up with (hands-free, of course). It helps pass the time, and I guarantee it will make their day too.

Keep your car clean.

A car that is clean and clutter-free can help you feel less stressed and anxious, which is especially important when you’re stuck in traffic.

Add some lavender.

Photo by Shelby Sorrel.

Lavender has been shown to seriously reduce stress and anxiety. And it smells great. Keep a sachet of dried lavender in your car or get a mini essential-oil diffuser to bring along that relaxing smell on the go.

Chew gum.

This one may sound weird, but research has revealed peppermint or cinnamon gum can help increase alertness and ease frustration behind the wheel. Plus, you’ll show up to work with fresh breath. Chelsea Bancroft is the strategic-partnerships and social-media manager at Roger Beasley Mazda and a blogger at onechelofanadventure.com.


GIVE BACK

Patti + Ricky partners with Austin-based businesses to provide adaptive products for people with disabilities and health and life-phase needs. BY ABBY HOPKINS

When Alexandra Herold’s fashion-forward mother got sick with brain cancer, Herold struggled to find functional and attractive clothing for her. After searching tirelessly for a fashionable cane, Herold finally discovered a pink one with roses that would do. But the experience made her recognize there was a widespread need for adaptive products that were stylish and less institutional-looking. “I saw the power of fashion with this cane that was beautiful,” Herold says. “People would stop her and compliment her cane, and it created conversation. Prior to having the cane, because she had lost her hair, people were talking to her like she was a baby. The cane really allowed for people to treat her the way she deserved to be treated.” Herold drew inspiration from her mother, Patti Connell, from her cousin, Ricky Warga-Arias, who was born unable to walk or talk, and from her own experiences with ADHD, anxiety and dyslexia to create a marketplace for adaptive products. She says because of her familiarity with disabilities, she has always seen them differently and felt the apparel industry didn’t have sufficient options. “A lot of clothing does not work for people with disabilities,” Herold says. “Clothing, in general, doesn’t work for most people. I always have to remind myself that there didn’t used to be maternity clothing and there didn’t used to be plus-sized clothing, so we’re really hoping that adaptive clothing becomes this new category.” Herold’s company, Patti + Ricky, is an online marketplace that curates adaptive products designed by existing businesses for people with disabilities and health and life-phase needs. Popular items include stylish denim jeans for people who utilize wheelchairs, lingerie for women with breast cancer, fashionably designed arm slings and fidget jewelry for people with anxiety. “It’s important to us that our clothes are not stigmatizing,” Herold says. “They’re just beautiful clothing anyone would be proud to wear.” 22 |  AUSTIN WOMAN | FEBRUARY 2020

Alexandra Herold

Photo courtesy of Patti + Ricky.

FASHION ABLE

Patti + Ricky partners with more than 75 designers, many of whom have disabilities themselves, are loved ones of individuals with a disability or are medical professionals. Two designers, Inclusive Greetings and Abilitee Adaptive Wear, are based in Austin. Inclusive Greetings creates stationery that allows individuals to literally feel the art on the card, while Abilitee Adaptive Wear sells adaptive apparel for people with disabilities and medical needs. Julie Sanchez, co-founder of Abilitee Adaptive Wear, is a pediatric surgeon and ideated a bodysuit for patients to provide easy access to feeding tubes. The design came about after she spoke with a patient’s mother about the everyday difficulties she faced with her child’s feeding tube. “It was the first time I got to see how, as a medical community, we’ve failed to empower our patients once they’ve left the hospital, especially once they’ve left the hospital with a device,” Sanchez says. Sanchez and Co-founder Marta Elena Cortez-Neavel began researching and realized fashionable adaptive products were a huge need in the medical and apparel industries. Abilitee Adaptive Wear was born with the hopes of empowerment, inclusion and preventing unnecessary emergency hospital visits for patients. As the company has developed, the staff has continued to create more products, including ostomy covers and waistbands for abdominal support. Cortez-Neavel hopes the products can benefit different types of patients and preserve confidence and dignity. “If we can address something through clothing and creating these beautiful products, we’re hoping we can make a larger difference in their lives than just the functional value of being able to access your medical devices,” Cortez-Neavel says. “We’re showing them we’re there for them and they deserve clothing that works for them.” Despite the progress, Herold says there’s still more work to be done in terms of creating products. Her goal is to no longer need a suggestion section on her website because each person would have access to what he or she needs. “I get to help people every day with disabilities feel great and find things that make their lives easier,” Herold says. “Prior to that, I was searching for something that would allow me to help and be an ally for people with disabilities. Now I get to do that every single day.”


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ADDRESSING RACIAL DISPARITIES IN MATERNAL DEATHS

Combating systemic racism in health care requires training, community and vulnerability. BY REGINE MALIBIRAN

According to the Centers for Disease Control, approximately 700 American women die from pregnancy-related complications in the U.S. annually. Black women are at a particularly high risk: They are three times more likely to die from pregnancy-related complications than their white counterparts. With such a significant outlier and high stakes, it’s necessary to call out the root cause: systemic racism. One of the key challenges is that historically, health-care professionals have not been trained to address bias and cater their care for black patients accordingly. “As a nurse, it was not really something that I was educated to even think about in a formal setting,” shares Danica Sumpter, a clinical assistant professor at the University of Texas School of Nursing who’s focused on educating faculty and students about combating systemic racism. “I knew that racism existed based on my experiences, but it wasn’t something that we talked about a lot at home—and we certainly didn’t discuss it at work.” Lack of intentional training contributes to mistrust between patient and provider. If a provider is not intentionally questioning preconceived notions and acting accordingly, at best, patients become less likely to share their symptoms and pains. At worst, lives are lost. Nakeenya Wilson, a member of the Black Mamas Community Collective, joined the organization after a traumatic birth experience. Wilson suffered from preeclampsia, a complication in which a woman develops high blood pressure during pregnancy. According to Dr. Candice Walker, an OB-GYN at Baylor Scott & White, preeclampsia carries with it the risk of seizure and stroke. “There were a lot of complications during [my second] birth where the nursing staff were not appropriately

24 |  AUSTIN WOMAN | FEBRUARY 2020

responsive to my health needs,” Wilson shares. “The doctor told my nurse to very closely watch my blood pressure and gave her specific vitals. I remember vividly her rolling me down this long skybridge in a wheelchair. We got halfway across and she stopped, looked down and said, ‘Shoot, I forgot what the blood pressure numbers were.’ ” On the other side of the coin, identifying pregnancy-related complications in black women can be a challenge because women of color are often socialized to persist through any hardship. “We’ve been reared by other women who taught us that you don’t complain. You dig your heels in and you deal with it. We translate that into as many aspects of our life as we can,” says Dr. Crystal BerryRoberts, an OB-GYN at Austin Regional Clinic. “That hinders us from advocating more for ourselves. We think that if we complain, then we’re not the strong women that our mothers reared us to be.” Fortunately, advocacy for black women’s health has increased in the past decade, supported by both research and anecdotes. Icons like Serena Williams and Beyoncé recently opened up about their pregnancies and elevated these conversations to a national scale. Sumpter’s work at UT is a hopeful sign that future health-care professionals receive the training they need. For now, she, alongside Wilson, Berry-Roberts and Walker, strongly emphasizes the importance of community. “Women should support other women. This empowers and energizes us during those difficult moments of motherhood,” Walker says. For health-care professionals striving to provide the best care, BerryRoberts advises it starts with a basic foundation of compassion and understanding. “There has to be a clear expression of, ‘I am interested in you as a person and not just as a patient,’ ” she says. “That begins to create a level of trust.”

HOW TO START THE CONVO Do your research. Utilize word-of-mouth to find providers and consider attending preconception visits so they are with you every step of the way. Providers should conduct their research on implicit bias and resources available to them to expand their perspectives. Join a community. Organizations like the Black Mamas Community Collective are rich communities that provide catered emotional and educational support to black women and mothers. Advocate for yourself. You are the expert on your body, so don’t let anyone else tell you otherwise. For those moments when you can’t advocate for yourself, consider enlisting a doula to help. Be vulnerable. The best patient/provider relationships are rooted in shared vulnerability and trust. When you both know all the details, the provider can give the patient the best care.


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TEXAS TRIPPIN’

TRIPPIN’ ACROSS THE LONE STAR STATE The AW staff shares our favorite Texas locales. CHANTAL RICE, MANAGING EDITOR Her favorite Texas town: Port Aransas Why she loves it: “Port A is my happy place. From the beach to the adorable boutiques, the zany locals, the boat-making history, the dolphin spotting and the quirky arts scene, what’s not to love? As local music legend Patsy Jones sang, ‘That’s my island. Once you’ve been there, then you’ll know.’ ” Activities she enjoys there: “I love relaxing in my beach chair at the ocean’s edge, letting the sun soak into my skin as I watch the pelicans swoop by on their fishing rounds and hear nothing but the comforting sound of the waves crashing.”

Photo courtesy of Chantal Rice.

Her local recommendations: “For accommodations, I love the Beachcomber, a quaint seaside inn with splendid ocean views. A visit to Farley Boat Works provides a special glimpse into the history of Port A. For dining, it has to be The Phoenix (the oyster sliders are a must) or Irie’s Island Food, which serves up fish tacos on scrumptious house-made tortillas. And I never miss a chance to visit the Salty Dog Saloon for some cold beer (perfect for easing a fresh sunburn) and positively eccentric company.”

ATXWOMAN.COM |  27


DAWN WESTON, PUBLISHER Her favorite Texas town: Fredericksburg Why she loves it: “One of my favorite things to do is an overnight visit to Fredericksburg, not only for the wineries but for the culture and the food.” Activities she enjoys there: “Strolling down Main Street and exploring all the little shops. Vaudeville is a fantastic gem. It’s part interior-design shop, part restaurant. You can’t go wrong by grabbing lunch there.”

“”

There is so much beauty to behold.

NIKI JONES, CREATIVE DIRECTOR Her favorite Texas town: Marfa Why she loves it: “It feels completely different than anywhere I’ve been, from the Chihuahuan Desert landscape to the copal-scented air and the effortlessly cool vibe of the locals. Even the six-hour drive from Austin is picturesque.” Activities she enjoys there: “There are so many gems in Marfa, but my favorite thing is the Donald Judd installation at The Chinati Foundation. Whether roaming on your own to take in the foundation’s collections or taking the five-hour guided tour, there is so much beauty to behold. And, of course, no Marfa trip would be complete without an attempt to view the fabled Marfa Lights.” Her local recommendations: “To stay, Hotel Saint George. The Capri for cocktails. Do Your Thing Coffee for breakfast. Stellina for dinner. Cobra Rock for shopping.” 28 |  AUSTIN WOMAN | FEBRUARY 2020

Fredericksburg photo courtesy of Dawn Weston. Marfa photo by Carrin Welch.

Her local recommendations: “Otto’s is an amazing tiny restaurant with a thoughtful menu and attentive staff. Just next door is La Bergerie, an adorable little shop with a great wine list from the Hill Country and beyond. Plus, there are fantastic cheese plates for pairings. Off the beaten path is Urban Herbal, a local shop where they hand mix custom scents for your lotions, candles and perfumes. Hoffman Haus is an amazing bed-and-breakfast to rest your head after all the food and wine you’ve consumed. They serve warm chocolate cookies to guests and deliver a picnic basket with a delicious breakfast to your door in the morning. On your way in or out of town is Altstadt Brewery. Pop in for some authentic German beers and fish ’n’ chips or schnitzel. Some of my favorite Hill Country wineries include Becker Vineyards, Messina Hof Winery, Lost Draw Cellars, Alexander Vineyards and Southold Farm + Cellar, where the Hill Country views are outstanding.”


“” LESLIE WILLIAMSON, SALES AND PRODUCTION COORDINATOR

Spicewood photo courtesy of Leslie Williamson. Nacogdoches photo courtesy of The Fredonia Hotel.

Her favorite Texas town: Spicewood Why she loves it: “I love Spicewood because it feels as though you’re in the country, yet it’s still in close proximity to Austin. This makes it a great destination for an excursion during the day or night.” Activities she enjoys there: “I really enjoy visiting several times of year. I love to go to Spicewood Vineyards for the annual Pair it with the Claret chili cook-off. My friends run in their annual half-marathon and 10K each year as well. I also thoroughly enjoy the Demolition Derby hosted by the Spicewood Volunteer Fire Department and EMS every fall. It smells like rubber, gas and revelry!” Her local recommendations: “On the way back from these adventures, I like to stop at Angel’s Icehouse for some queso, to watch a band or to catch a game. Poodie’s Hilltop Roadhouse is sometimes my destination. I like to go see the great live music, enjoy a burger, play a little pool, dance a little bit and drink some nice cold beer on tap.”

It smells like rubber, gas and revelry!

CHRISTINA RINKEN-FABIANICH, ACCOUNT EXECUTIVE Her favorite Texas town: Nacogdoches Why she loves it: “It’s the best college town in Texas for a university size of 25,000 or less. The city of Nacogdoches is quaint and the stores and restaurants all have that small-town feel. The most amazing part is the mountain-bike trails in the tall pine trees that line the roadways, making you feel like you’re in a different state. Some of Texas’ best history is in East Texas.” Activities she enjoys there: “Visiting fishing holes, mountain biking, checking out the great golf courses.” Her local recommendations: “The Fredonia Hotel, which has many historical buildings on the property.” ATXWOMAN.COM |  29


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KEEP BEING DIFFERENT.

ORDINARY NEVER CHANGED THE WORLD.

Illustration by Jessica Wetterer.

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DEI Reports and Publications


Dear reader, We are thrilled to have this opportunity to showcase and learn from some of the most dynamic diversity, equity and inclusion leaders in the industry. The following pages are dedicated to not only helping to start important conversations within your own organization, but to arm yourself with the stats and facts we all need to truly know what it is to build an inclusive culture that fosters employee engagement, retention and advancement. When I speak to executives and employees of medium and large organizations, a recurring theme is the limited access for women and all diverse employees to build peer and mentor networks. Recent studies have shown women and men who make it to leadership and C-suite positions invariably have a strong community of people supporting them along the way. Because of this, I knew we had to do more than just tell the stories of role models; we had to build a platform that fostered those relationships in real time. With a deep passion for diversity and inclusion, an expertise in storytelling and the moxie to believe that an internal community-building platform could change the trajectory of opportunity and advancement for women and all diverse employees, On The Dot Diversity was born. On The Dot Diversity is a platform through which companies can create an internal ecosystem that connects women and all diverse employees to a network of peers and allies. Creating this platform for medium and large companies allows thousands of employees, in one fell swoop, to build the network and resources critical to advancement and success. We hope you will use this publication as a resource to ignite conversations in your own company and feel free to reach out to us for resources, services and, of course, our signature diversity software platform. We can be reached at onthedotdiversity.com. Keep being different,

Melinda Garvey Founder, On The Dot Diversity

DIVERSITY

SPECIAL FEATURE

|

onthedotdiversity.com


GENDER

Fact Versus Perception

At companies where senior leaders are 10 percent women and 90 percent men, half of men see women as being well-represented at their company.

Executive teams that are highly gender-diverse are 21 percent more likely to outperform on profitability.

Some 70 percent of women feel women are underrepresented in leadership within their company. They’re right.

RATES OF PROMOTION BETWEEN MEN AND WOMEN IN TECHNOLOGY

100 80 60 40

By 2025, millennials are predicted to make up 75 percent of the workforce.

20 0

SUPPORT STAFF

PROFESSIONALS

MANAGERS MEN

SENIOR MANAGERS

EXECUTIVES

WOMEN

WORKFORCE DEMOGRAPHICS AND DIVERSITY

2020

NON-WHITE WHITE

onthedotdiversity.com | SPECIAL FEATURE

2050

About 67 percent of job seekers said a diverse workforce is an important factor when evaluating companies and job offers.

NON-WHITE WHITE Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics; Gartner, McKinsey & Company; Mercer; Brookings; Josh Bersin; Glassdoor; Deloitte LLP; Korn Ferry; Pew Research


AN INCLUSIVE COMPANY CULTURE PAYS OFF NON-INCLUSIVE COMPANIES

INCLUSIVE COMPANIES

TWO TIMES MORE LIKELY TO MISS CRUCIAL COMPANY INNOVATIONS

1.4 TIMES MORE REVENUE

29 PERCENT LESS LIKELY TO ACHIEVE ABOVE-AVERAGE PROFITABILITY

35 PERCENT MORE LIKELY TO OUTPERFORM COMPETITORS

2 TIMES LESS CASH FLOW PER EMPLOYEE

83 PERCENT ACTIVE ENGAGEMENT FROM MILLENNIAL WORKERS (75 percent of your 2025 workforce)

SPECIAL FEATURE | onthedotdiversity.com


LYNETTE BARKSDALE

SETH SMILEY-HUMPHRIES

“By doing the right thing for people, you do the right thing for business.”

“Implicit bias may be unconscious, but each of us can consciously reduce the habit.”

Q: What are the key tenets of a strong DEI strategy in a company? What are the key benefits of implementing these strategies?

We’re not born with cognitive structures like stereotypes. We learn much of this from our parents before rhetoric is reinforced through media, culture and public institutions. We learn to assign values and characteristics to others based on classifications like age, race, ethnicity, gender and weight—even hair color. This habit leads us to make critical judgments of others based on their appearances or associations, oftentimes leading to belief systems like racism, sexism and other bigotry. Unchecked unconscious bias comes at a price, particularly for underrepresented people. As part of a study conducted by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and University of Chicago, researchers mailed 5,000 resumes in response to job ads in both The Boston Globe and the Chicago Tribune. Four resumes were sent for each job posting: two well-qualified resumes, each with a “black” and “white-sounding” name, and two lesser qualified resumes in the same manner. For resumes with so-called white-sounding names, theoretical applicants had fewer gaps in employment and higher-level skills, giving them a 30 percent greater chance of receiving a response. This was not the case for the resumes attached to the so-called “black-sounding” names. Overall, resumes associated with “white” names had a 10.1 percent chance of receiving a response, while resumes associated with “black” names only had a 6.7 percent chance. It’s not illegal to harbor stereotypes, but when cognitive bias leads to a difference in employees’ terms, conditions or privileges of employment, it counts as discrimination and qualifies as an actionable offense. Implicit bias may be unconscious, but each of us can consciously reduce the habit. By acknowledging our propensity to pass judgments unconsciously, we can own our biases and their resulting impacts. A great place to start is through the Implicit Association Test offered by Harvard University through Project Implicit. The evaluation measures the speed with which you associate concepts through words and/or pictures, indicating the strength of your neural pathways and allowing you to understand just how hard-wired your associations are. In any case, the first step in bringing these unconscious functions back to a conscious level is to practice greater self-awareness and to be more aware of your emotions, both inwardly toward yourself and outwardly toward others.

VICE PRESIDENT OF DIVERSITY AND INCLUSION GOLDMAN SACHS

A: The most important tenet of a company’s diversity and inclusion strategy is that the strategy is rooted in what is important to the business. If a business is focused on sales, knowing that the demographics of our country are shifting at a rapid pace, they may want to think about whether they have the right voices at the table and decision-makers to be able to stay relevant with their customer base. The second most important tenet is that the work is not solely driven through a human resources or diversity and inclusion team. These teams are usually the smallest teams, and if you want the work to scale, you must have leaders that are willing to carry the responsibility of implementing and holding their organization or business unit accountable. Additionally, the work can’t be held by one person because changes happen within organizations, people leave jobs. You want to ensure that the strategy is sustained. Ensuring your message aligns to your actions is pivotal. When these tenets are implemented, it is my belief that employees will trust the organization, and the company, in turn, has higher productivity. There is a sense of freedom that releases innovation and creativity when you are able to be at your best with people who push your thinking. Q: What was the spark for you that made you decide to commit your career to DEI efforts? A: I can remember clearly an example with kids on the playground when I was 5 years old and debating with other kids why we needed to treat the new kid fairly. My passion for serving and fairness is something that is part of my DNA. I remember the moment when I knew I wanted to do this work as an adult. I was running a nonprofit whose mission was to provide additional tutorial time for kids who needed extra support in school. When I started in my career about 15 years ago, working for Target, we were already talking about diversity and inclusion and forming councils around this work. I haven’t turned back since then. I would say my commitment has only gotten stronger, and even though this work is hard, I have evidence through some of the teams that I have led that focusing on DEI makes a difference. By doing the right thing for people, you do the right thing for business.

onthedotdiversity.com | SPECIAL FEATURE

DIRECTOR OF GLOBAL DIVERSITY AND INCLUSION LENOVO


CLARISSA FUSELIER

SHARON BROGDON

OPERATIONS MANAGER, DEI ADVOCATE BAZAARVOICE

HEAD OF DIVERSITY AND INCLUSION RETAILMENOT

“The worst thing you can do is not take action but claim to have the DEI culture.”

“Achieving true, sustainable change requires more than just the persistent work of a relative few individuals.”

Q: What can companies do to attract diverse candidates? A: I suggest companies truly embrace inclusion as part of their workplace culture DNA. It’s a mindset, which means it’s often a new behavior and a new way of prioritizing your business. You have to go all in and be accountable. A mission statement on inclusion is a great start, but educating your leadership and talent team on how to be inclusive galvanizes your approach. Review your hiring practices and your performance-review processes to prevent bias from flourishing in your company. The worst thing you can do is not take action but claim to have the DEI culture. With more than 60 percent of employees saying inclusion is important in their job-seeking choices, lip service is a surefire way to waste your cost-per-hire budget because that talent will often leave once they realize the truth. Q: What are some of the top DEI initiatives that every company can—and should—implement? Why? A: I’m a big fan of employee resource groups. It gives employees a space to connect and support each other. Companies should also audit their hiring and retention policies and procedures to ensure they are not being exclusive and/ or biased. Remember, meritocracy is often a cover where biases can hide. Putting this inclusive focus on policies and procedures makes for a systemic culture change, one that is foundational, not just aspirational. Q: What are some of the pitfalls that companies inadvertently step into in the DEI space? How can they avoid some of these missteps? A: Some companies may believe this is just a trend or fad and therefore believe DEI doesn’t require ongoing work. Diversity and inclusion work is not a set-it-and-forget-it kind of thing because your workplace culture isn’t. Don’t focus on the metrics so much that you forget the employees behind the numbers. This isn’t a quota game. It’s about keeping your company thriving with stellar, supported talent where their uniqueness is valued. Sometimes initiatives forget the intersectionality or overlap of gender, race and sexual-orientation marginalization. We tend to think of just one or the other. If you fail to recognize the disparities of those employees who identify with more than one, your programs will exclude them.

The diversity and inclusion landscape has changed and I have seen progress in the last 10 years. There is greater awareness and acceptance of the business case for diversity and inclusion. With progress, particularly in the technology industry, I still see a significant lack of people of color and women in senior levels and positions of influence and decision-making. One might think after so much time, we should be further ahead. I agree. It has long been said this is a marathon, not a sprint. Achieving true, sustainable change requires more than just the persistent work of a relative few individuals. It requires the effort and dedication of each and every one of us. Community engagement and education are important strategic focus areas for all RetailMeNot’s employee resource groups. Leveraging that lens, each ERG strives to deliver programs and activities that educate and engage both our employees and local communities. In early 2019, our LGBTQA+ ERG created a Trans Healthcare panel experience moderated by the ERG lead and featuring members from The Kind Clinic, Out Youth and University of Texas School of Nursing. The panel covered a history of health-care services for individuals contemplating or undergoing gender transition, discussed the challenges of access to care and offered resources, opportunities for allies and guidance for how to navigate identified challenges. The ERG is partnering with our Parents ERG to host an event this year for parents of children navigating their sexual and gender identities. What I love about RetailMeNot ERGs is they were created by our employees, for our employees and based on our employees’ specific needs. Ensuring our remote employees feel included was important early in our company’s diversity and inclusion journey. This led to the creation of our Connect ERG, focused on creating community and cultivating an experience of belonging for remote employees. With remote workers becoming more of the norm, their inclusion is a consistent thread through our strategy.

SPECIAL FEATURE | onthedotdiversity.com



ATX

WOMEN to WATCH Our pages are full of stories of Austin’s most engaging, empowering and successful women, and this section is specially designed to provide you access to even more incredible role models and success stories. Be part of this amazing group and share your story with thousands of women. Contact us at sales@awmediainc.com or call 512.328.2421 for more information. PHOTOS BY TAYLOR PRINSEN

SPECIAL PROMOTION | ATXWOMAN.COM |

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WOMAN to WATCH

D R. A L I N A S H O L A R

OWNER OF SKIN SCIENCE SOUL

A

n unparalleled medical background with a girl’s girl relatability and true connection is what Dr. Alina Sholar is known for in her long career as a plastic surgeon. Sholar is the owner, CEO and chief operations officer of Serenity Medical Centers physical-medicine and physical-therapy clinics in Austin and San Antonio, Sage Practice Solutions medical practice consulting company and Skin Science Soul in Austin. Sholar was certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery in 2008. Not only is she leading the way for women in business and medicine, her Skin Science Soul is a woman’s ultimate resource for staying beautiful, strong and sexy in the 30s, 40s and beyond. She offers Austin’s only SkinRx biometric skin analysis and DNA-based customized skin-care products, plus the regenerative stem-cell therapy face-lift, a no-downtime treatment to reverse and slow the aging of the skin that’s at the cutting edge of science and skin-care technology. Skin Science Soul is a place of connection where you’ll always feel like you belong and you’ll leave with the best skin (and feeling) of your life. skinsciencesoul.com

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WOMAN to WATCH

JULIA MCCOY

FOUNDER OF EXPRESS WRITERS

C

ontent marketer, author and entrepreneur Julia McCoy knows what it means to get back up and keep going. In 2011, at the age of 19, she dropped out of college to pursue her passion for writing, discovering an entire world of freelance writing and content marketing. Just three months after plunging in, she started her own business, Express Writers. Six years later, after she forged through failures to reap her successes, McCoy’s business grew to 90 people on staff and seven figures in annual revenue. After writing two books, McCoy was also named by Forbes as a thought leader in content marketing. Today, she tells the other side of her story in her new memoir, Woman Rising: A True Story, including how she grew up in her father’s cult, escaped in the middle of the night after starting her business, married the man of her dreams and found ultimate happiness and success. expresswriters.com

SPECIAL PROMOTION | ATXWOMAN.COM |

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WOMAN to WATCH

LEE CALDWELL

OWNER OF SPECIAL RESPONSE SECURIT Y

O

wning and operating a security-guard business, Special Response Security, was extremely challenging for Lee Caldwell in the beginning stages. Many times, she questioned whether this was the right industry for her and how she was going to make a struggling business thrive. She had to wear many hats, from conducting guard work to administrative duties, sales and marketing. One skill she learned that helped catapult her business was digital marketing. Learning how to position her business online and provide potential clients with value that other guard companies weren’t giving helped grow her business exponentially. Because of this, she now owns a digital-marketing company and a credit-restoration consulting business, noting women can never have too many income streams. Her love is her security-guard company but she sincerely enjoys helping entrepreneurs develop marketing strategies to maximize their online sales and teaching people the importance of financial literacy. srsaustin.com

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ATXWOMAN.COM


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WOMAN to WATCH

MONICA GELINAS

FOUNDER OF NE W SE ASON NE W VISION LIFE COACHING

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onica Gelinas is the founder of New Season New Vision Life Coaching, co-founder of Flourish Lifestyles, a speaker, author and certified practitioner in both positive psychology and self-compassion. Her book, Savor the Day, an interactive journal to inspire gratitude, was published in 2016. She has experience working with people navigating life transitions and coaching them to move forward and embrace a flourishing life. Gelinas shares her powerful story: the desolating struggle with infertility, the shocking divorce factor and her life as a single mom raising quadruplets. The challenges, the surprises, the drama, the heartache, her miraculous courage and ability to survive and surpass make for a dynamite message and incite her passion to empower others. If you have lost hope, feel stuck, are in the midst of a life transition or wondering whether you can go from languishing to flourishing, Gelinas’ practical tools, workshops and wellness retreats provide an opportunity for healing, growth, hope and a chance to thrive. newseasonnewvision.com

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K AT H I E B O L L E S

P S Y C H I A T R I C M E N T A L- H E A LT H N U R S E P R A C T I T I O N E R

kathiebolles.com

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Photo by Korey Howell.

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athie Bolles is a psychiatric nurse practitioner and mental-health coach. Having suffered from depression and anxiety, she was led to study “treatment-resistant” depression and anxiety. “Some patients are fortunate enough to find a medication that works right away. Yet many are treatmentresistant, like me,” she says. Today, she is launching a psychiatric program called The Treatment Triad that utilizes brain waves, DNA and her expertise to help patients with depression and anxiety. At Mynd Works, the mission is to minimize your frustrations from trial and error and find the medication that works the first time. Bolles received her master’s degree in nursing from the University of Texas in Arlington and trained as a coach through Coach University. She also received a master’s degree in counseling psychology from Our Lady of the Lake University in San Antonio. Her priorities include faith, family and friends. Bolles is a dog lover and volunteers to help adolescents.


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ASHLEY BRUECKNER, L ANA MACRUM , M O N IQUE M CG I LLEN , K I M ROSE , Y VE T TE RU IZ THE WOMEN OF JPMORGAN CHASE

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Morgan Chase has long focused on the empowerment and advancement of female employees through its Women on the Move program. Building on that track record, JPMorgan Chase is now reaching externally to also focus on female clients, customers and the communities where representatives of the organization live and work. With roots in thousands of local communities and more than 250,000 employees (50 percent of whom are women), JPMorgan Chase is increasing its commitment to the success of women and girls in Austin and around the globe. The women pictured are just a few of the many women at JPMorgan Chase in Austin making a difference in our community. jpmorganchase.com/wotm

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AMY WOLFGANG AND MICHELLE POOLE CO-FOUNDERS OF COACHING 4 GOOD

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my Wolfgang and Michelle Poole are leadership coaches and co-founders of Coaching 4 Good, an Austin-based company that’s making a global impact by empowering diversity in organizations. Their innovative and human-centered approach to leadership development utilizes the latest behavioralscience research and tools to create measurable results, leading to profound transformation at the individual, organizational and social scale. Whether working with individuals or groups, C4G is committed to increasing the deep insight at the leadership level that results in lasting behavioral change. It’s these newly empowered mindsets that set the tone to create the safe, inclusive cultures in which all voices are heard, diversity thrives and the resulting innovation fosters more growth—and goodness—for all. They have taken hundreds of leaders through their innovative programs that measurably empower diversity, from startups to global Fortune 50 organizations. coaching4good.com

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JESSICA CAMPOS

F O U N D E R O F M A R K E T I N G F O R G R E AT N E S S

Photo by Jerrell Trulove.

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ore than a decade ago, Jessica Campos experienced near devastation when her successful law practice was wiped out in the mortgage meltdown in Puerto Rico. She took life into her own hands and moved out of Puerto Rico to start from scratch, starting an online business. Campos started Marketing for Greatness to help clients strengthen their brand name and grow their profits. Using her background as an accountant and a lawyer, she specialized in forensic marketing and unlocked the secrets of growing a brand online, growing a successful community of more than 4,000 professionals and entrepreneurs in Austin organically. Today, she is known for her local networking events and workshops, leads retreats and mastermind events for her business accelerator program, and when she’s not marketing for greatness, she’s taking care of her four kids and two dogs. She’s currently preparing to release her new book, Born to Be Younicorn. marketingforgreatness.com

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IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD

Brett Ishida’s work keeps

DANCING TO A DOWNTOWN TUNE

Ishida Dance Company Founder Brett Ishida shines a spotlight on her favorite venues in the Seaholm District. BY CHANTAL RICE

her on her toes. The classicballet-trained dance authority became enamored with the craft as a little girl while growing up in California and trained tirelessly, eventually becoming so adept that she accepted positions as a lauded performer with companies such as the Boston Ballet, the Oregon Ballet Theatre and Les Grands Ballets Canadiens. Ishida’s love of dance led to an accomplished career touring the world as a sought-after choreographer. But despite her success, Ishida wanted more, earning a bachelor’s degree in literature then a master’s degree in

Montessori education. With a focus on performing-arts education, her Montessori teaching career took her from California to Greece. Ultimately, she settled in Austin, and in the spring of 2019, she brought her two loves—dance and education—together with the founding of Ishida, her local contemporary dance company, which also aims to serve diverse adult and at-risk youth populations with free educational dancemovement workshops. A resident of the Seaholm District in downtown Austin, Ishida shares her favorite neighborhood spots and why they’re special to her.

WATERLOO RECORDS 600A N. Lamar Blvd. “As [I am] an avid music fan of almost any genre, Waterloo Records is a musical oasis for me with extremely knowledgeable and helpful staff. Along with its extensive collections of music and films, musicians frequent the store to play live, which is always a treat.”

LA CONDESA 404A W. Second St. “La Condesa has been crafting thoughtful, high-quality dishes since before Austin had a food scene. It’s welcoming and lively, and I love taking visitors there. It’s quintessential Austin.”

JUAN PELOTA CAFÉ “Juan Pelota is an industrial cafe inside a bike shop with spacious community tables and a friendly Austin vibe. It’s a place where I enjoy drinking chai or smoothies and conducting morning meetings.”

TRUE FOOD KITCHEN 222 West Ave., suite HR100 “True Food dishes are always delicious and healthy. I enjoy its vibrant and congenial atmosphere.” 50 |  AUSTIN WOMAN | FEBRUARY 2020

Photo by Niko Hernandez.

400 Nueces St. (inside Mellow Johnny’s Bike Shop)


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Photo by Niko Hernandez.


SEE HER WORK

Photographer and doula Heather Gallagher documents life’s most significant events. BY GIANNI ZORRILLA

Photographing people doing their thing is Heather Gallagher’s thing, and she’s darn good at it. Gallagher, an Austin-based photographer, is what she calls a “full-spectrum photojournalist.” “I consider real life as art and see so many everyday interactions as worthy of being documented,” Gallagher says. This is how she fell into her niche of capturing life in all its phases, including major life milestones ranging from pregnancy and postpartum to parenting and even divorce and health diagnoses. Nearly 10 years ago, Gallagher was asked to witness a friend’s home birth in New York City. She ended up documenting the birth on film, which turned out to be one of her most moving life experiences—aside from the birth of her own son. “The rest is history,” Gallagher says.

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documenting both ends of the spectrum, it’s my hope to show people how much more alike we are than different.” Gallagher is also a full-spectrum doula, providing emotional support to families in events of preconception, birth, abortion, miscarriage, adoption and end of life. This role, along with motherhood, has taken the meaning of her work to an elevated level. “Becoming a mother gave me the fire to finally start charging my worth for my work,” Gallagher says. “I no longer have the time or flexibility to charge next to nothing for my valuable services because every moment working is time away from my family, and that time is precious. I’m setting a good example for my son, my industry and working moms.” Whether photographing the birth of a child, first steps, graduation or an engagement, Gallagher continues to discover her own voice in telling the stories of others. “I feel so fortunate to be doing exactly what I feel like I was meant to do in this life,” Gallagher says. “To be of service to people during their most vulnerable moments is an incredible privilege and I’m honored to continue on this path.”

Heather Gallagher Left photo by Heather Gallagher. Right photo courtesy of Heather Gallagher.

FROM BIRTH TO DEATH

Today, the majority of her work is in the realms of birth and family photography. Gallagher came to photography in a very personal way. Born into a multicultural and multilingual family, communication was a household struggle that stifled deeper connection. It was especially difficult with her mother, who is deaf and a Chinese immigrant. Much trial and error led Gallagher to realize taking Polaroids was an effective way of letting her mother know her whereabouts and what she was doing. “When this proved to work, I saw photography as a powerful tool for instant and clear communication, something I had been searching for my whole adolescence,” Gallagher says. Once she was hooked on the art form, she began challenging herself to capture more of life’s treasured moments through her photography, focusing much of her work now on the journey from birth to death. “Everyone is born and everyone dies,” she says. “Birth is always celebrated and death is often something people don’t want to talk about or acknowledge. Both are inevitable, though. And through


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Photo by Heather Gallagher.


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FIGHTING FOR

EQUITY Virginia Cumberbatch discusses social justice, Austin’s growing divide and how she’s advocating for equity one neighbor at a time. BY JENNY HOFF PHOTOS BY RUDY AROCHA HAIR BY TIFFANY NICOLE | MAKEUP BY NIA FORD STYLED BY GRAHAM CUMBERBATCH SHOT ON LOCATION AT VESPER

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irginia Cumberbatch is on a mission to teach Austinites the art of good neighboring. And she practices what she preaches. Perched on a chair outside her cozy, stylishly decorated East Austin bungalow is a chalkboard sign that reads, “Welcome, y’all!” It’s both a greeting and a reassurance to longtime residents of this historically lower-income neighborhood that she’s not here to displace them but to connect with them in a way neighbors should. The first step: walking down the sidewalk and knocking on a door. “Part of the reason I moved here is that I didn’t want to let this entire neighborhood be taken over by people who don’t look like me,” Cumberbatch says as she pours a cup of tea for both herself and her guest, ensuring a sense of welcoming and warmth in her home. “I wanted to live on a street where I could literally walk over and know my neighbor. Two doors down from me is Ms. Baker, who is 92 years old, and two doors that way is Mr. Johnson, who worked at the first integrated restaurant. That was important to me to be in a community surrounded by my elders and be in a community that reflected diversity.”

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It’s a diversity Cumberbatch didn’t experience growing up in the Allandale neighborhood in West Austin and attending private schools with her brothers and sister, often as the only African American children in the class. That may be partly due to Austin’s history of segregating neighborhoods, starting in the 1870s, when “Freedmen Towns” were displaced in order to build MoPac Expressway, and culminating in 1928 with a City of Austin Master Plan creating a segregated “Negro District,” compelling most of the city’s black residents to move to East Austin. “The deed on our house still said negros couldn’t live in our neighborhood,” Cumberbatch says. When she moved back to Austin after finishing an undergraduate degree in history and sociology with a focus on race and social constructs in the Americas at Williams College in Massachusetts, Cumberbatch made it her mission to make more friends of color. “I was trying to find my place in a city that I had always called home, but it was a city that I realized in my adulthood wasn’t really built for me,” Cumberbatch says. “I just happened to be born into a family with the resources to navigate the system.” Before she knew it, she was spearheading an Urban League Young Professionals chapter that had died out years before. “I sent out emails to every black person I knew at the time and said, basically, ‘Not only are we not connected, but there is no pipeline for us to enter leadership,’ ” she recalls. “We had a conference room that was supposed to fit 20 people and, instead, 60 people showed up. All of it was out of self-preservation.” Self-preservation is a skill Cumberbatch acquired early in life and it’s one that’s helped her persevere and even thrive in the wake of obstacles and heartbreak, like when she was cut from her collegiate soccer team due to a previous injury. “When she’s disappointed in something, she doesn’t stay down. She shifts the energy from a door that’s closed to one that is open,” says her brother Graham Cumberbatch. “She channeled that energy and focus into, I believe, training to become a community leader.” With soccer off the table, Virginia Cumberbatch took to writing and fell in love with storytelling as a means to both inspire and influence people, as well as effect change. She founded a faith-centric magazine in college and honed her oratory skills. When she graduated, she returned to her hometown to work with Hahn Public Communications, where she says she got an intimate look at how Austin operates through the major companies and nonprofits she worked with. Between her work, the Urban League and the various nonprofit boards she sat on, Virginia Cumberbatch was a firsthand witness to her native city’s boomtown success, but she says she’s also witnessed a divide that’s only growing. “I think Austin is in the midst of its reckoning,” she says. “It’s the most economically segregated city in the country.” According to a study conducted by the Institute for Urban Policy Research and Analysis at the University of Texas, longtime East Austin residents, mostly black and Latino, are moving in droves outside the city and into neighboring towns like Round Rock, Texas, mainly due to skyrocketing housing prices and overall affordability issues, along with a desire for better schools and a sense of no longer being welcome in a part of town they’ve called home for generations.

“”

Virginia Cumberbatch is ready to welcome them back. One way to do that, she believes, is for local media and community leaders to do more to recognize Austinites of color who are serving the community. As a member of the Mayor’s Task Force on Institutional Racism and Systemic Inequities; recipient of the 2016 Anti-Defamation League of Austin Social Justice Award and the 2018 Austin Under 40 Award for Government, Policy and Civic Engagement; chair of the Waterloo Greenway Community Engagement Committee and a founding board member of Six Square: Austin’s Black Cultural District, Virginia Cumberbatch feels she has become a go-to interview for Austin media, a position she would prefer to hand off to other people of color who have been fighting for social justice in Austin for decades. “When I was leading the Urban League of Young Professionals, we would get last-minute emails requesting someone in our community to be part of a top 10 list or an award nomination,” she says. “It always felt like we were an afterthought. It hasn’t changed.” Virginia Cumberbatch says her work isn’t about gaining notoriety or moving up in her career. She believes fighting for equity is a calling from God. “I lean on seeking wisdom from God in the moments where I could be easily pushed into the direction of something that just feels good,” she says. “My faith is the centerpiece. My job might change, my passions might change, my resources might change, but that’s pivoting around my purpose and calling.” And she is also calling on church leaders to join the cause. As a member of a prominent Austin family and the daughter of two pastors (her father is also a well-known lawyer), Virginia Cumberbatch chose her church with as much serious forethought as she chose her home, wanting to make sure it was operating by the principles she believes Christianity demands. “The church should be ground zero on the work with equity and justice,” she says. The church she chose, Vox Veniae, acts as a community center Saturdays and a house of worship each Sunday. Faith, community activism and giving back are all legacies Virginia Cumberbatch says she inherited from her family. Her grandparents were also pastors and community leaders on the West and East coasts, where her parents are originally from, and it’s a lesson her parents instilled in her from birth. “There is a scripture that says, ‘To he who much is given, the same is expected,’ ” says Pastor Jennifer Cumberbatch, Virginia Cumberbatch’s mother. “Our family has been blessed with education, with platforms and a faith that has been fixed on God’s provision for vision. I think it’s just out of gratitude that we give back.” Virginia Cumberbatch feels she can give back the most through telling stories of people she believes have been marginalized. After leaving the public-relations world, she opted to stay in Austin and obtain a master’s degree in public affairs from the University of Texas’ LBJ School of Public Affairs. While studying and working on staff, she co-authored the book As We Saw It: The Story of Integration at The University of Texas at Austin, which recounts the experiences of the first black students admitted to UT between the 1950s and 1970s.

I think Austin is in the midst of its reckoning.

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“” VIRGINIA CUMBERBATCH: EQUITY RISING Austin Woman: Many companies have made significant strides to diversify their workforce. What do you think still needs to be done? Virginia Cumberbatch: In my assessment of how I’ve seen it function, I think we’ve stopped at the diversity and inclusion piece but we haven’t addressed equity. The system itself is developed in a way that meets the needs in all of that diversity. Diversity and inclusion can be set by the entity in power. America, as it functions, the norm is set at the experience of whiteness. Diversity is just who is in the room. Inclusion is actually asking everyone in the room to participate at the table. Equity is when everyone gets a chance to build the table.

I wanted to live on a street where I could literally walk over and know my neighbor.

AW: What would equity look like to you in Austin? VC: I think housing is one of the clearest barometers of equity. How people are living and where they are living is a clear indication of who is valued in the city. Before, the East was not valued, but the West was valued. In the latter part of the decade, we’ve said, “Your value is based on your visibility.” If we keep moving in the direction we’re moving into now, the only people visible will be wealthy and mostly white. Equitable housing would be moving in the right direction. AW: What’s a good place to start? VC: What I would like to see shift would be Austin’s acknowledgement of past pain and trauma as a city—it’s not even well-documented—to know the people who built that community out of nothing when they were forced to move here. [We need] more transparency about the history of our city and acknowledging our pain. It amazes me in America how we are so quick to talk about what another country has done wrong but we won’t even say the word “slavery.” AW: What do you think Austin media needs to do to better reflect the whole Austin community? VC: Media is supposed to reflect and interrogate the space it represents, particularly in a city that considers itself liberal and progressive, but we know that is not the lived experience of everyone in this city. In five years, I want the image of Austin to no longer read as the white millennial but reflect the multifaceted beauty, boldness and brilliance of people of color and women of color because we are Austin. We are Austin women and we should be seen, recognized and celebrated as such.

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Leslie Blair, executive director of communications for UT’s Division of Diversity and Community Engagement, and co-author of the book, says it was a project that was a long time in the making and one Virginia Cumberbatch was meant to complete. “She is someone who can blend her faith, her values and her vision into her everyday life, and she does it without being judgmental of other people,” Blair says. “Even though there is a 30-year difference between Virginia and I, she really is just a role model in so many ways.” After completing her master’s degree, Virginia Cumberbatch took the role of director of equity and community advocacy for UT’s Division of Diversity and Community Engagement. In her role, she interviews, tells the stories of and engages with community

members from diverse backgrounds and builds a relationship between them and the university. UT gets vital information that helps with research through the lived experiences of Austinites and works on issues such as affordable housing and access to resources. Virginia Cumberbatch says it took time to build trust with a community that is wary of the 40 Acres. “I had two things against me: I felt that as part of the University of Texas, people didn’t trust me at first. And the second one was I was 27 years old when I started,” she says. “I was young for a director doing that work, going into spaces with people who had been doing this work as long as I had been alive.” One step in building trust was getting off

AUSTIN WOMEN WHO INSPIRE VIRGINIA CUMBERBATCH Top row standing, left to right: Yvonne Adams (director of equity and inclusion at St. Stephen’s Episcopal School), Denisha Jenkins (founder and CEO of Kardia Advisory Group), Savannah L. Barker (director of strategic programs at Notley Ventures), Terri Broussard Williams (founder of Movement Maker Tribe) Top row sitting, left to right: Regine Malibiran (co-founder of Collective Blue and Missfits Productions), Paulina Artieda (executive director at The New Philanthropists), Kristina Gonzalez Sander (founder of In Bold Company and co-founder of Missfits Productions)

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campus and creating an office in East Austin, one that would feel more welcoming to the people the organization is trying to reach. It’s a little more neighborly, you could say. “We envisioned this unit as the ‘front porch’ of our university, inviting folks into what is often a huge, intimidating and previously unwelcoming campus home,’’ says Suchitra Gururaj, assistant vice president for community engagement and economic development, and Virginia Cumberbatch’s boss. “The goal for the unit was to create time and space in the community for collaborative work with the people of UT toward pursuing solutions to complex community issues.” The division will soon move to a new building off Navasota Street built by John S. Chase, the first black student to graduate

Middle row sitting, left to right: LaVonne Mason (CEO of Etiquette Authority), Yasmine Smith (managing partner at Smith & Mendoza; vice president at People United for Mobility Action; and commissioner for board of adjustment at Austin Area Urban League), Meme Styles (founder of Measure) Bottom row sitting, left to right: Chloe Quakenbush (awards and grants programmer for South By Southwest), Riley Blanks (owner and photographer at Woke Beauty), Virginia Cumberbatch, Shaleiah Fox (founder and board president of Fresh Chefs Society), Emlyn Lee (founder of BRAVE Communities)


from UT’s School of Architecture and the first licensed black architect in Texas. Virginia Cumberbatch recognizes that being part of a major institution, especially one with a checkered past when it comes to race relations, is in some way at odds with her activist nature. Instead of fighting to tear down a system, she is trying to change it from within. But she hasn’t given up on activism. In 2018, she co-founded the nonprofit Rosa Rebellion, along with civil-rights lawyer Meagan Harding, as a resource for women of color to change the current system through creative output: writing, media and film. “Storytelling is a form of disruption,” Virginia Cumberbatch says. “I think elevating people’s stories is a form of protest.” In 2019, the duo launched Rebel + Rest, a full-day event at South By Southwest during which they worked with activists on handling mental-health issues that could arise from their work. What amazed Virginia Cumberbatch was the outpouring of support she received from the community, from people donating their houses for speakers to stay to giving R+R a day at a festival that has thousands of organizations competing for time and space. “Meagan and I joke that one of the most surprising and joyous things to come from Rosa Rebellion is the rise of the woke white woman,” she says with a laugh. “It’s fellow agitators saying, ‘I have a platform. Use it. I’m not going to let the burden rest on you.’ ” For Virginia Cumberbatch, it was a welcome revelation to find other Austinites believing in the importance of being a good neighbor. “Neighboring takes listening, empathy, understanding and love,” she wrote in a recent article for propelwomen.org. “There are people in our community who have been disenfranchised, brutalized and marginalized who could use a neighbor to speak up for them, support them, love them. … So, the question I pose to us now…: What part will you play in the art of neighboring?”

VESPER Vesper means an evening prayer or rest. In the rush of today’s culture, Vesper aims to create a space where people slow down, chat with friends and neighbors, and create out of who they truly are. Vesper shares a partnership with Inside Books Project and Brown State of Mind and welcomes both private and community events. Income generated from private-event rentals supports Vesper’s capacity to provide affordable space to groups that offer free programming to the community. This means renting at Vesper provides both an elegant space to the renter and for future local community events. vesperaustin.com

Page 54: Acne Studios jacket, $1,550; Vada Jewelry bracelet, available at By George, 1400 S. Congress Ave., bygeorgeaustin.com; Issey Miyake dress, $1,610, available at Kick Pleat, 624 N. Lamar Blvd., kickpleat.com. Page 57: Acler gingham top, $360, available at Altatudes, 1717 E. 12th St., altatudes.com; Tibi pants, $375, Rosetta Getty shoes, $690, available at Kick Pleat, 624 N. Lamar Blvd, kickpleat.com; jewelry by Vada Jewelry, available at By George, 1400 S. Congress Ave., bygeorgeaustin.com. Page 58: Amanda Uprichard top, $172, available at Estilo, 2727 Exposition Blvd., estiloboutique.com; vintage Levi jeans, $98, available at Passport Vintage, 2217 S. First St., passportvintage.com; initial necklace by Vada Jewelry, available at By George, 1400 S. Congress Ave., bygeorgeaustin.com. This page: Dra top, $133; Dra skirt, $147; Alias Mae boots, $280, available at Estilo, 2727 Exposition Blvd., estiloboutique.com; Vada Jewelry bracelets, available at By George, 1400 S. Congress Ave., bygeorgeaustin.com.

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AKINA ADDERLEY

MÉLAT

LISA B. THOMPSON

ANGELA BROWN

ANGELA M. WARD

GIGI EDWARDS BRYANT

APRIL KAYGANICH

BECCA MATIMBA

CHARLOTTE MOORE

COURTNEY ROBINSON

DAINA BERRY

DAWN OKORO

DE J. LOZADA

FATÍMA MANN

JACKIE VENSON

HOPE GREEN

IFFY IBEKWE

JALEESA MCCREARY

TAM HAWKINS

CHINA SMITH

GEORGIA L. JOHNSON

KANEISHA GRAYSON

MILLI HAWKINS

KELENNE BLAKE-FALLON

ANDREA HOLMAN

LAMANDA BALLARD

MARIA BROWN-SPENCE

MARSHA STEPHANSON

MAYA SMART

ALTA Y. ALEXANDER

MÉLISSA PENG

MEME STYLES

MICHELLE WASHINGTON

RILEY BLANKS

NINA MEANS

RAASIN MCINTOSH

ROSE SMITH

RUTHIE FOSTER

SARAH ENOUEN

SHERI A. MARSHALL

SHERYL COLE

SUSAN SEAY

KEFFRELYN D. BROWN

JOI CHEVALIER

KATHLEEN MCELROY

KATHY BURRELL

TERRY P. MITCHELL

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JUDGE YVONNE MICHELLE WILLIAMS


BLACK IN AUSTIN

Fifty female powerhouses: what it means to be a black woman in Austin. BY CHANTAL RICE AND COURTNEY RUNN

Judge Yvonne Michelle Williams

Dawn Okoro

Justice of the Peace, Precinct 1, Travis County

Artist

Working as a justice of the peace in Travis County since 2011 and practicing law since 1982 has afforded Judge Yvonne Michelle Williams a unique perspective on the black community in Austin, criminal-justice reform, fair and affordable housing and education issues. She is dedicated to continuing to dispense justice through her third term, which expires at the end of 2022. But for Williams, justice isn’t served unless it’s paired with a significant portion of grace. “As a judge, [I am] sworn to impartiality as [I] mete out justice,” she says. “We also have a certain amount of discretion— what I call grace—which we all dispense at one time or another. Whenever I can apply grace in my courtroom, I do, no matter the [person’s] race, sexual orientation, sex, socioeconomic status, religion.” Though her position, she has made a positive impact on the problem of truancy among local school districts and applied a compassionate approach to disrupting the so-called school-toprison pipeline, providing families with support and tools on how to navigate this phenomenon. “I [also] feel especially good about being able to marry same-sex couples since the U.S. Supreme Court gave them that right across the country,” she says. “Seeing the joy felt by these couples and their families has been truly rewarding.”

Dawn Okoro started her career with a passion for fashion illustration, photography and design. And with a bachelor’s degree in psychology with a minor in fashion design from the University of Texas—and a law degree from Texas Southern University—she was on track to take on any number of industries. Luckily for art lovers, Okoro chose a creative medium for her career and has been thriving ever since, dazzling viewers with her eye-catching painting, video and fashion projects. Her recent solo exhibition, Punk Noir, a series of large-scale paintings featuring black people who have what Okoro calls “a punk spirit,” showed at the Carver Museum in 2018. The show was so successful that it became a touring exhibition, visiting Seattle, San Antonio and Dallas, where the show is currently on view. “I have work on view at the South Dallas Cultural Center; the Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts in Grand Rapids, Mich.; and the San Antonio Central Library,” she says. “I am going to spend this year creating lots of new work and hopefully put on another solo show in Austin soon.”

Angela M. Ward Administrative Supervisor of Race and Equity for the Austin Independent School District Founder and CEO of 2Ward Equity Consulting

Angela M. Ward’s daily work centers on equity and inclusion. Ward has accomplished much in her career, including leading the launch of AISD’s focus on cultural proficiency and inclusiveness. “A major part of this work was to become a No Place for Hate district, which we attained. And [we] have maintained the designation as the largest No Place for Hate school district in the United States for the last six years,” she says. “Our office is leading cutting-edge research and implementation of restorative practices in the field of education.” Ward works to connect with her education colleagues both locally and nationally to collaboratively build spaces to expand knowledge of equity in education. “My passion is and has always been to achieve educational equity for black and brown students,” she says. “I am currently engaged in a research project aimed at eliminating disproportionality and disparities in discipline practice in education.”

Tam Hawkins CEO and President of the Greater Austin Black Chamber of Commerce

Tam Hawkins’ zeal for volunteering and civic engagement— combined with her background in sales and marketing and real-estate development—and her breadth of experience in both the corporate and entrepreneurial spheres make her the ideal person to lead the Greater Austin Black Chamber of Commerce. She has ensured the chamber continues to highlight the work of black entrepreneurs in Central Texas, all while pushing for a more equitable community. “One of our most important themes is to encourage the area to search for ways to diversify spending, create opportunities for all to flourish,” Hawkins says. “I’m proud that our team created so many wonderful programs but my favorite one is the Taste of Black Austin, a photography and food history event that explores entrepreneurship through rich culture and connection,” she says. Next up for Hawkins: launching a new business.

Photos by Hakeem Adewumi, Art X Photography, Riley Blanks Photography, Leandra Blei, Weston Carls, Eric Coleman Photography, Shane Gordon, Richard Guillory, Madeline Harper Photography, Hey Sista, Dwayne Hills, Korey Howell, Mary Keating-Bruton, Cody Kinsfather, Brenda Ladd, Marsha Miller, Adam Moroz, Stephanie Ortiz Photography, Moyo Oyelola, Gabriel C. Pérez, Polsphoto, Lea Porche, Suzanne Pressman, Ismael Quintanilla III, Julia Robinson, Courtney Runn, Greg Smith and Jeremy Teel. Other photos courtesy of respective women.

ATXWOMAN.COM |  61


Q

Austin is one of the largest growing cities that has a dwindling black community. In light of that, what’s your vision for Austin in 2020 and how can the city be more supportive of its black community?

“There is a myth that there is a singular black community in Austin. That is a false narrative. There is a community of black Central Texans that are comprised of native Austinites and Central Texans whose families have been here for over 150 years. … Black residents choose not to live at the city’s core for a variety of reasons: because it does not have activities that appeal to them, because it is very expensive, because it may not be family-oriented. It is not near our places of worship. Our dining preferences are not there. Our shopping preferences are not there. The growth of black residents to our suburbs doesn’t seem to be any different than other communities in Austin. I don’t think it’s dwindling—or worse, departure. It’s just [black people are going] to the affordable, accessible suburbs.” – Joi Chevalier, CEO of The Cook’s Nook and Food+Cultures at The Cook’s Nook

“Venues can be more mindful and intentional about booking diverse acts. … There [is] a plethora of dynamic, talented, amazing black artists in this town, and venues need to make sure they are doing the work to keep their listings diverse. It’s better for the venue. It’s better for our image as the Live Music Capital of the World. And it’s better for young people to see that diverse lineups of bands are expected and normal. Representation matters. That applies to press, awards, etc. The black talent in this town is copious.” – Akina Adderley, Vocalist, Songwriter, Bandleader, Educator and Music Director at Griffin School

“I first moved to Austin in 1999. There has never been a large black community presence in Austin, and I feel it has really shrunk over the last two decades. That being said, Austin has always been a very accepting city for me. As a multirace woman of color, I have never felt out of place here. I see Austin really growing into a healthy city, and that excites me. More and more Austinites are taking the time to learn about what they put in their bodies, where things are sourced from and how to find the healthiest available options. Austin can keep this trend going and ensure that it carries over into the black community by continuing to be an open and welcoming city.” – Sarah Enouen, Owner of Truly Well

“” “The heart of the matter isn’t how ‘the city’ can better support ‘its black community,’ but how conscious and committed individual Austinites can defend, encourage, employ and champion the real-life black people in their midst. To make a difference, concerned citizens have to become aware of and address the educational inequity, housing discrimination, civic exclusion and health disparities in their immediate vicinity. Individuals must treat injustice as a personal problem, not as an amorphous systemic or institutional problem for others to sort out. … I heard Julie Todaro, the dean of library services at Austin Community College and past president of the American Library Association, speak about diversity in terms of four Ps: presence, policy, practice and perception. I think that’s a good place for people to start. Ask yourself what black people are present in your life in Austin at work and beyond. What policies, practices or perceptions encourage or impede their presence and success? Most people have been swimming in bias, prejudice and discrimination so long that they don’t recognize any of it when they see it. … When individuals champion social justice however they can and wherever they are, they build the understanding and skills they need to advance the larger strategic work that results in citywide impact. Engagement—even small, isolated action—is better than the nothing most people do.” – Maya Smart, Writer and Literacy Advocate

62 |  AUSTIN WOMAN |  FEBRUARY 2020

Engagement—even small, isolated action—is better than the nothing most people do. — Maya Smart

“My vision for Austin in 2020 is for our city to go through a period of enlightenment in which the majority population embraces the ideals of true equity and equality for all, which are not the same things as mere inclusion. Inclusion is just a start. People can be included and still be marginalized by ideas and beliefs that have the opposite effect of perpetuating exclusion. Instead, my hope for Austin at the start of this new decade is to recognize that the city will be stronger when everyone has the same opportunities to thrive and to succeed. But that requires intentionality.” – De Juana “De J.” Lozada, Founder of Soul Popped Gourmet Popcorn and Soul Made Holdings

“It’s no longer enough to just talk about being progressive and inclusive, but time to put those words into action. That inclusivity starts with leadership and the community being comfortable enough to have courageous conversations. It’s important that we recognize and embrace our cultural differences.” – Kathy Burrell, Senior Vice President of Business Banking for Bank of America


“My vision for Austin in 2020 is a blustering mecca of intellect and advanced technological capabilities to address the many and varied challenges common to cities that have grown at the rapid rate exhibited by the Austin metroplex area, such as...improving the educational systems of our schools such that every child is afforded an equitable education that prepares them to become productive citizens [and finding] common ground between law enforcement and the minority communities by ensuring…diversity training and opportunities for all trainees to spend a certain amount of time learning, observing and interacting with citizens in all sectors of Austin.” – Georgia Leggett Johnson, President of the Austin Chapter of The Links

“Gentrification, high tax rates and minimal job opportunities at lead levels have played a big role in the deficiency. … It is important to have a community of friends to keep you motivated in a climate as such, so creating a way to unify and meet each other is extremely important. … Finding and creating job opportunities as well as supporting and teaching how to create sustainable small businesses for people of color is a valuable way to help rev up the population.” – Terry P. Mitchell, Serial Entrepreneur

“”

Was I simply part of a check box to say, ‘We are now a diverse organization?’ —Marsha Stephanson

“As an African American female and veteran of the United States armed forces, I have seen racism, discrimination from a vantage point that white Americans do not. I have worked for companies where I was the only black individual and it made me question: Besides my experience, was the color of my skin a leading factor in me getting the job? Was I simply part of a check box to say, ‘We are now a diverse organization?’ … Inclusion forces one to allow all workers equal participation in leadership, promotions and advancement opportunities. … It also means sharing money, and that’s where I believe the big disconnect exists. People seem to think that there is a limited amount of financial resources reserved only for the majority.” – Marsha Stephanson, Founder and CEO of Cater to Mom

“I’m very proud to be a part of a generation that lived to see East Austin in its historic glory. It’s easy to be homesick for the place I knew filled with generations of tradition, a celebration of African American and Latino culture. East Austin was a place of proud working-class families and vibrant neighborhoods filled with community gathering places like barbershops, salons, churches, Sam’s BBQ, Victory Grill, the Piggly Wiggly and the pride of East Austin: L.C. Anderson Yellow Jackets (the state’s best marching band). … East Austin lives in the DNA of the people. Some argue the loss of community has buried hopes of advancement, but seeds have been planted and the next generation of the East Austin black community will thrive in 2020.” – Michelle Washington, Fashion Stylist

MORE BLACK AUSTIN WOMEN POWERHOUSES •R uthie Foster, award-winning blues artist and vocal force

“One way to be supportive of the black community is to buy black. … It would be an overwhelmingly fantastic blessing to have a day/week/month dedicated to folks committed to patronizing blackowned businesses, be that a storefront like Altatudes or a maker or restaurant like Hoover’s or Big Easy or connecting with black service-run businesses. The only way our business will remain in business is if everyone patronizes us.” – Alta Y. Alexander, Owner of Altatudes

“The number of black attorneys is very low in Austin, as well as nationally. When I decided to delve into estate planning, I could count the number of black estateplanning attorneys in Austin on one hand. I really am not sure what the solution is, but mentorship and encouraging others to join the profession is what I do to contribute.” – Iffy Ibekwe, Principal Lawyer at Ibekwe Law

•S haron Brogdon, head of diversity and inclusion at RetailMeNot •S anya Richards-Ross, gold-medal-winning track-and-field Olympic athlete, entrepreneur and philanthropist •J uanita Budd, general manager of the Brushy Creek Municipal Utility District •C olette Pierce Burnette, president and CEO of Huston-Tillotson University •Y olanda Conyers, chief diversity officer at Lenovo • Kelenne Blake-Fallon, founder of ColorReel

“We must be committed to deep investments in affordable housing. One of the reasons we are losing our black population is because folks are just being priced out of living here. … We also need to invest deeply in our public schools, especially those in the East Side with historically heavy minority populations. These schools went without investments in the students, teachers and classrooms for far too long, and now we are reaping what we sowed. I am hopeful that we have started to turn things around locally, but unfortunately, for the families that have already had to move on, it is too late.” – Sheryl Cole, State Representative

•C ourtney Holland, professional ballet dancer with Ballet Austin • Paola Mathé, founder of Fanm Djanm • Jehmu Greene, political analyst • Ada-Renee Johnson, diversity, equity and inclusion business partner at Google

ATXWOMAN.COM |  63


Q

How can your particular industry improve on equity and inclusion issues?

“The nonprofit sector can improve on the theme of equity by ensuring the city of Austin and all other sponsors, corporations, developers that all nonprofits that are actively serving our community are fully funded and provided a space to operate, which will, in turn, strengthen the platform to serve the people. Inclusion builds a culture of belonging by actively inviting the contribution and participation of all people. Dare to collaborate and work together with someone or an organization with a different race, ethnic background, gender or sexual orientation. There’s power when unity and diversity come together to inspire and build community. As we serve through beautification projects, we can’t help but notice that right now, more than ever in our city, people, communities, businesses are being displaced. Are there not resources available to stop this? Or is this the fate we are forced to except for our city? It is my belief that equity and inclusion is only possible in an environment built on respect and dignity, not disregard and displacement.” – Raasin McIntosh, Founder and Director of Raasin in the Sun

“”

I feel like the terms ‘equity’ and ‘inclusion’ are being exploited and overused.

“Support starts with spending time and dollars with black business owners and organizations that already exist in the city and in supporting emerging black companies and brands because we recognize the value they provide in the greater Austin community. In terms of personal experiences, I definitely faced a bit of hardship while launching my dance brand here in Austin. When I arrived, I was disappointed to find that there were virtually no Caribbean dance classes in Austin and limited Afrobeat classes. Having spent a lot of time in New York City and Los Angeles, I had access to several top choreographers who were of Caribbean and African decent and wanted to come teach in Austin (one was even Beyoncé’s choreographer). Despite this fact, I was not able to rally any support from the local established dance studios in Austin and I was even told, ‘Those classes don’t work here in Austin,’ from a pretty reputable studio. … I eventually was able to put on over 40 dance events in Austin in 2019, but I self-funded the whole experience, and despite reaching out consistently to local media outlets, we rarely received any support for what we were trying to do.” – Mélissa Peng, CEO of Curly Executive Brands

“I feel like the terms ‘equity’ and ‘inclusion’ are being exploited and overused. These terms are being used without the actual work of inclusion being enacted. Equity and inclusion are not just photos of people who look different than one another; it’s a way of thinking. An inclusive environment is one that transparently paves the way for all. Equity becomes visible when industry leaders take an unbiased approach to hiring, finding suppliers and checking in with their existing teams to ensure every voice is being heard.” – Hope Green, Owner of Emojis Grilled Cheese Truck

—Hope Green

“Church, unfortunately, can display cultural and racial division week to week. My hope and the hope of The Austin Stone is that our congregations would reflect the communities represented in our city. We ask for and seek out minority leadership and encourage people with varying ethnic backgrounds to see our church as a welcoming place where their heritage and voice have value.” – Jaleesa McCreary, Worship Leader at The Austin Stone Community Church

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“As a theater artist, I’d like to see more theaters move beyond having a token show each season that includes a play by an African American, Latinx or an Asian playwright. Also, it would be wonderful if not all the playwrights whose works are touted are under 40 years old. This is an issue I see not only in Austin but [is] a national issue. In 2017, The Vortex did three world premieres by black women playwrights, including my first world premiere in the city. That kind of programming allowed audiences to see that there is no monolithic African American story, theatrical style or identity. This season, the Signature Theatre in New York is producing plays by three African American women, an Asian American woman and a white man. I’d like to see more theater seasons where diverse offerings are the norm instead of a notable exception.” – Lisa B. Thompson, Playwright and Professor of African and African Diaspora Studies at the University of Texas

“I am incredibly grateful to work in the ecosystem of social justice. As a nonprofit founder, I’ve received so much support. I also understand that so many nonprofit founders that look like me struggle to get the funding needed to operationalize, carry out and sustain the great work. I’d love to see more Austin companies give to nonprofit organizations that are led by black and brown people. Secondly, there are not enough people of color serving on nonprofit boards. That’s problematic because so many nonprofit organizations serve people whose experience should be represented through its directors. I think improvement can start here too. There is an amazing organization called The New Philanthropists that matches nonprofits with people of color who are ready to serve.” – Meme Styles, President of Measure


“When I became an author and public speaker on raising an intentional family, I almost quit before I could even really get started. Anytime I looked at the authors of popular books, speakers at conferences and trusted voices on media appearances, I almost never saw moms that look like me. But thanks to dear friends and an encouraging husband, I see now that I offer an opportunity for event planners, media agencies and conference organizers to diversify their platforms.” – Susan Seay, Host of the Mentor 4 Moms podcast

“I was once denied an opening slot for a well-known Austin musician because, and I quote, ‘I can’t have two black female soul singers on the same lineup.’ It’s that mentality that needs to be snuffed out in Austin if we’re going to cultivate a culture of inclusivity and diversity.” – Jackie Venson, Musician

“”

There are not enough people of color serving on nonprofit boards. — Meme Styles

“Journalism has got to do a better job of including more voices and reporting the world from different perspectives. We’ve got to question everything, especially if we see people of color, like the first Austin bombing victim, being dismissed by authorities.” – Kathleen McElroy, Director of the School of Journalism at the Moody College of Communication at the University of Texas

“To say that Austin has a race issue in music would be misleading, however I do believe that the Austin Music Awards being around for 30 years and finally getting an R&B category this year says a lot about people in this city not recognizing genre and seeing race as the default categorizer. I’ve been nominated as a hip-hop artist before but absolutely did not promote it, as that is not my seat to fill. It’s not my genre just because I make ‘urban’ music. If someone were to do their homework on various sounds, it would be very apparent. And that’s my concern: Who’s in the room that cares to show that special attention to applying diversity appropriately?” – Mélat, Musician

“Equity and inclusion in the fashion industry has been a sore spot for a long time. In the recent years, I’ve seen more designers offering more sizes. They are showing their products on a range of models by ethnicity and age as well. As a minority in the industry, I have had my fair share of challenging interactions with people who did not understand or respect my background or culture, but my experience is not uncommon. I am always hopeful that a greater level of understanding of people who are different from one another will foster a greater sense of community.” – Nina Means, Director of the Austin Community College Fashion Incubator

“I think that the best way that the hair industry can improve when it comes to being treated equal and being included is, for one, expanding the education for students enrolled in cosmetology programs. Now there are more and more people taking notice that natural hair/curls/ waves are here, have always been here and are here to stay, but it still isn’t being put front and center in these schools. The books and curriculum need to be amended to have experts come in and show these students how to work with hair [that’s] other than straight.” – April Kayganich, Owner of The Curl Whisperer

“I don’t think the film and arts lack diversity but there’s a heavy lack of minority women and teaming together to continue making great stories. I remember working on set on a Robert Rodriguez film and the cast and crew were incredible, but as I got to talking to them, only about 10 percent were Austin locals. I noticed we outsource great talent and workers instead of utilizing the already talented natives in our city.” – Becca Matimba, Photographer

“Last year, after modeling for a local brand, I received images from the photographer. I was sent originals and Photoshopped versions. In the edits, blatantly, my skin was made lighter and my arm thinner. My body and my skin, both of which I own, were modified to present someone whiter, perpetuating the notion that those characteristics are more attractive to viewers. My being was manipulated to persuade an audience to buy the product I held in my hand. The edits screamed, ‘Your beauty isn’t good enough. Your blackness isn’t welcome here unless it fits our mold.’ This scenario is no different than early color film, which was designed with light skin as the ideal standard. Some called it ‘willful obliviousness.’ Progress will be marked by the majority’s will to recognize the bias and injustice that’s perpetuated in our society—no matter how unintentional it might be.” – Riley Blanks, Founder of Woke Beauty ATXWOMAN.COM |  65


Q

What does it mean to you to be an Austin woman?

“[Being an Austin woman] shows empowerment. An Austin woman [is one] whose business is thriving in this economy. It shows that entrepreneur dreams can come true when you empower the change within.” – Sheri A. Marshall, CEO and Owner of Umoveit-WeCleanit Commercial Janitorial and Best Choice Mobile Notary

“Being an Austin woman means authentically showing up as oneself personally and professionally rather than trying to fit into a mold of what others think she should be. An Austin woman claims a space for herself in this exciting, rapidly growing city and doesn’t look to others to give her permission to start something, make her voice heard or share her work with the world.” – Kaneisha Grayson, Founder and CEO of The Art of Applying

Q

What’s something you’re really proud of accomplishing in your career in Austin?

“I truly feel that anything is possible in Austin with networking, dedication and a strong business mindset. My proudest moment in Austin was incorporating Hearts 2 Heal in May 2018. This organization was started after losing my partner, Farrin Hawkins, to cancer, in 2018 and dedicated to my grandmother, Anna Marie Brown, who lost her battle with cancer in 2012. We provide mental-health and bereavement resources through peer support, advocacy and education. In just a short period of time, I have had the opportunity to share my story at various events, conferences and discussions in the hopes of decreasing the stigma around mental health, grief and loss.” – Maria Brown-Spence, Founder and CEO of Hearts 2 Heal and Program Manager for Entrepreneurs Foundation 66 |  AUSTIN WOMAN |  FEBRUARY 2020

“Being a woman of the African diaspora in Austin means that my voice may not be heard, the hard work I’ve put into the community will go unnoticed and men will most likely be deemed thought leaders and experts for a topic that you have years of experience [with], a graduate degree and references for being a contributing intellectual force on the topic. Being a woman of the African diaspora in Austin can be lonely, isolating, tokenizing and inspiring. … Being a woman in Austin has reminded me that Malcolm X did not lie when he said that black women were the most disrespected women in the United States. Austin permeates that disrespect while simultaneously masquerading in a progressive mask with a KKK tunic. Austin is one of the most beautiful cities to have to endure the impacts of microaggressions and racism.” – Fatíma Mann, Director of the Community Advocacy and Healing Project

“To identify as an Austin woman means a number of things. It means that I have settled and have a city to reference as home, which is special for someone who was raised in a military family. The way intersectionality manifests for me is that I have difficulty separating my racial identity from my gender identity, so when I think of being a woman in Austin, I think of what it means to be a black woman in Austin. For me, it means that I have a unique perspective on a city I love that does not always feel like it loves me. It also means my family finds notable challenge in raising our children in a community that reflects their racial background, which can be frustrating and isolating. Despite these challenges, it means that I have privilege to live in a city where many are working to overturn long-standing systemic racial oppression. It means that because my family is part of a local church community, we feel a responsibility to challenge the ways that racism, sexism and prejudice have been enabled by the church and work toward a city that truly embraces and advocates for all of God’s people. It also means I have access to great opportunities in the way of education, sunshine, music and food. Being in Austin is home to me and I am so grateful to have the opportunities I do to impact change.” – Andrea Holman, Associate Professor of Psychology at Huston-Tillotson University

“Without a doubt, I am most proud of the formation of my nonprofit, the Black Bodies Project. Through it, I was able to direct and produce a feature-length documentary called Black Bodies in which 16 black Austinites speak candidly about what it means to exist each day in their black bodies. I launched season one of Brainstorm Black, a weekly web interview series introducing viewers to members of the community who are actively working to improve the quality of life for black Austinites. Lastly, and perhaps the project of which I’m most proud, I produced a portrait book called Benevolence in Black, which honors—through portraits and essays—30 remarkably benevolent black individuals.” – Charlotte Moore, Founder of Black Bodies Project

“The Equity Space! This year, the Excellence and Advancement Foundation, in partnership with Events Unleashed and Jelani Consulting, hosted the first Equity Space. This convening brought five industries—business, education, nonprofit, health care and government—together to celebrate equity warriors in our community and discuss how we can create and improve social and racial equity locally, regionally and nationally. We are looking forward to the second Equity Space in September 2020.” – Courtney Robinson, Founder and CEO of the Excellence and Advancement Foundation

“Since moving to Austin in 2016, I’ve been able to build and grow a nonprofit that has served over 100,000 people across this nation. Flo Code is a leading support organization in the Texas community, donating over 415,000 menstrual products to nonprofits, shelters, schools and natural-disaster victims. My nonprofit works to advance the common good by focusing on health, education and social injustice in our community. Also [we’re] striving to educate, bring awareness to and end the stigma of menstruation in our society.” – Lamanda Ballard, Founder and Executive Director of Flo Code


Q Q

What do the women featured here mean to you?

“These women are among a group of women in Austin that have worked, lived and championed change in the diversity and inclusion space. They are from corporate and nonprofit arenas. They fully understand that to be a leader, they must earn respect and be willing to do as much as they expect someone else to do. There is an innate fear and faith that fuels their passion for creating, sharing and forging better pathways for women because their path has not always been easy or accepted. Every woman has felt a subtle nudge that there’s ‘a best life’ for her that she is living or seeking.” – Gigi Edwards Bryant, Community Volunteer and Founder of Write To Me Foundation

What’s next for you?

“I have several projects underway. I co-founded and co-direct the Center for Innovation in Race, Teaching and Curriculum at UT-Austin. In fall 2019, my spouse and colleague, Dr. Anthony Brown, and colleague Dr. Daina Ramey Berry launched the Teaching Texas Slavery website (teachingtxslavery.education.utexas.edu) and a teacher workshop to support teachers in teaching about race and slavery in the U.S. and Texas. I am working on a curriculum project to help parents, like myself, engage in productive dialogues around race, and a book on how to become a culturally responsive and race-conscious educator, professional and citizen. I am also engaged in several community projects to promote voter participation and civic education.” – Keffrelyn D. Brown, Professor and University Distinguished Teaching Professor of Cultural Studies in Education at the University of Texas

“I want to continue working with the graduate school to transform and improve graduate-student life at the University of Texas, to continue publishing books on slavery and African American history and to develop a digital platform that houses the stories of the enslaved. My latest book, A Black Women’s History of the United States, will be released this month, and I recently started working on my next book, The Myths of Slavery, which will be published in 2021. I am also working with colleagues in education to support K-12 educators as they incorporate slavery and race in the pre-college curriculum.” – Daina Ramey Berry, Oliver H. Radkey Regents Professor of History and Associate Dean of Graduate Education Transformation at the University of Texas

“My entire career has been based in Austin. My community has embraced me and, like most people of color, I have had many experiences of covert and overt racism. These experiences have led me to my next phase as founder of Woke Families, a program dedicated to bringing attention to the effects of implicit bias and white privilege to black communities and how to change it.” – China Smith, Founding Executive Director of Ballet Afrique and Woke Families

Rose Smith

Angela Brown

Milli Hawkins

Founder and CEO of Black Women in Business

Social Strategist at GSD&M

CFO at P. Terry’s Burger Stand

Chicken sandwiches dominated the summer of 2019. One viral tweet from Popeyes drove America to its fast-food chain and competitors to the drawing board. Angela Brown, a social-media strategist at GSD&M, is the reason you probably ate a chicken sandwich this summer. “We got to see a whole cultural phenomenon unfold in real time, and it was absolutely wild,” she says. Still early in her advertising career, Brown has already seen the potential power of her industry and its faults. “I want our agencies and clients to truly look at a variety of creators and understand not only their temporary impact on a campaign but also the brand longevity they can have,” she says. “Too often, creators all look the same and that usually means they all have similar body types and are, for the most part, white. But we’ve seen time and time again that creators from underrepresented communities frequently create massive waves online, but they aren’t trusted, supported, valued or invested in as much as their counterparts.”

As P. Terry’s Burger Stand’s first female chief financial officer, Milli Hawkins is preparing the local chain for expansion while keeping Austinites happy. “Patrick and Kathy [Terry] have established meaningful values for this company since they started taking orders for Austinites and visitors 15 years ago,” she says. “What makes Austin special for all? Brands like this one, no doubt.” Hawkins has seen the city change in her nearly 15 years here but the spark of creativity and energy she’s always found here hasn’t left. “A lot for the better has happened,” she says. “Sure, a lot has gone away or revamped its way into something different and new. And yes, there’s still plenty to be discussed as we try to protect the cultural core of the city. But I’m here for it.”

Rose Smith founded Black Women in Business in 2014 and has since expanded her movement of “self-confidence, sisterhood and success” to eight other Texas cities. As a fierce advocate for the black community and women in business, she also started Austin Black Business Week, the Black Women in Business Scholarship Fund and the Teen Entrepreneurs Advanced Mentoring Program. Her community service is extensive and her desire to promote and sustain local black business knows no bounds. “For me, being an Austin woman means I have the opportunity to help build platforms for other women to stand on,” Smith says. “It is the expectation of my ancestors that I live each day with purpose and passion. Living any other way is simply time wasted. In a city where competition and replication can run rampant, I strive to stay true to who I was raised to be.”

To read more, visit atxwoman.com. ATXWOMAN.COM |  67


RECIPE REVEAL

A TOAST TO JULIE MYRTILLE

After moving to Austin in 2016

The celebrated pastry chef shares her recipe for brioche French toast. BY COURTNEY RUNN

and selling her food at farmers markets, Parisian chef Julie Myrtille opened her namesake bakery in December. From the classics—croissants, quiche, macarons—to seasonal flavors, Myrtille’s pastries are a welcome addition to Springdale General. Here, she shares her recipe for brioche French toast with mascarpone Chantilly cream, perfect for an indulgent breakfast or Valentine’s Day treat.

BRIOCHE FRENCH TOAST WITH MASCARPONE CHANTILLY CREAM Ingredients for Toast

Directions for Toast

2 cups milk

1. If using vanilla bean, scrape the seeds of the split vanilla bean and infuse the vanilla bean in the milk. Set aside.

1/2 cup sugar 1 vanilla bean or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 1 teaspoon cinnamon 1 brioche from Julie Myrtille or 8 slices bread or toast

Ingredients for Mascarpone Chantilly Cream 1 1/2 cups heavy cream (36 percent or more milk fat) 2 cups mascarpone 1/4 cup powdered sugar 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions for Mascarpone Chantilly Cream 1. Mix the cold heavy cream, mascarpone, vanilla extract and sugar. 2. B eat the mix firmly with a mixer. 3. K eep the mix refrigerated until ready to use.

68 |  AUSTIN WOMAN |  FEBRUARY 2020

2. C ut 3/4-inch-thick slices of brioche. 3. I n a mixing bowl, whisk the sugar and eggs until pale and thick. 4. If using vanilla extract, add the extract and cinnamon and stir. 5. Pour the milk into the egg-sugar mixture and whisk until smooth. 6. S oak the slices in the batter to imbibe them, then drain the soaked slices on a rack. 7. Butter a pan and grill the soaked slices of brioche on medium heat until they’re a golden caramel color. Flip them and grill the other side. 8. S erve the French toast hot and top it with a scoop of ice cream, mascarpone Chantilly cream, berries and sea-salt caramel from Julie Myrtille.

Photo by Mackenzie Smith Kelley.

2 eggs


ATXWOMAN.COM |  69

Photo of Julie Myrtille by Carli Rene. Photo of toast by Julie Myrtille.


WAITING ROOM

FOLLOW YOUR HEART

BY BRIANNA CALERI

According to The American Heart Association, when men and women have heart attacks, they usually feel the same symptoms but report them with different words. Even in the medical field, our social divisions can shape our experiences more than our physical differences. Research from the American Heart Association notes between 2013 and 2016, nearly 45 percent of women older than 20 had some form of cardiovascular disease. In 2016, women represented 49 percent of deaths caused by cardiovascular disease, making it the leading killer of women, more than cancer, accidents and diabetes combined. Heart disease is especially threatening for women of color. Non-Hispanic black women show the highest occurrence rates of stroke, high blood pressure and heart failure. Although Hispanic women fare better in most categories, they live with the highest risk of diabetes, a major determinant of heart health, and it’s nearly double that of white women.

Lashawnda Walker

70 |  AUSTIN WOMAN |  FEBRUARY 2020

Dr. Caitlin Giesler, director of the Seton Heart Institute Women’s Heart Center, says she doesn’t think there’s a genetic reason women of color suffer greater odds of heart complications. The vast majority of heart-disease studies have been focused on white men, leaving women—and especially women of color—dramatically underrepresented. That research doesn’t consider issues such as pregnancy or how women metabolize medications—or even include these concerns as part of the research. That’s why Giesler’s practice focuses on tailoring diagnostic and treatment practices to women’s needs. During her final year of medical school for cardiology, her father died of a heart attack. Giesler and her sister started wondering about their own heath and began to realize prevention information wasn’t geared toward them. Since prevention is key in heart disease, leaving women out of conversations can needlessly cost them their lives. At only 37 years old, Lashawnda Walker wasn’t prepared to have a heart attack. She ate healthy and exercised. But she had an extensive family history of heart disease, and she started having episodes of low heart rates ending in fainting. One day, while alone in the garage, Walker felt the world crushing in on her. Pain shot up her arm, her jaw ached and her chest constricted. Anticipating a fall, she made sure to drop safely to the floor and called for her son. By the time the hospital started running tests, her heart rate had dropped to the 20s. Her doctors told her she’d had a non-ST elevation myocardial infarction. Three years later, Walker has a pacemaker—and a mission. She’s active on social media, posting about her experience, keeping up with other survivors and following medical accounts for education and advice. “There is no age limit on heart disease,” Walker likes to say. Even on the garage floor, Walker, frightened and alone, could only wonder whether she was having a heart attack. Giesler chalks this up to “confusing messaging” that puts disproportionate emphasis on gendered experience, even though heart attacks usually feel the same for men and women. If describing symptoms is tough for fluent English speakers, it’s even harder for Latina patients who struggle with the language. One of the recurring themes in the AHA’s efforts to spread awareness is providing materials in both English and Spanish that the public can access without a computer. Most important, says Jamie Barrett, AHA Austin’s community impact director, are social barriers like finding a relatable doctor, overcoming white-coat syndrome and rewriting cultural stigmas about responding to pain and illness with medication. Most clinics have navigators that can help a patient find, say, a black female doctor, or one who can provide care in Spanish. (The next step as a community is to enable more black and Hispanic women to rise in the medical field.) Getting women to go to the doctor works best organically from within the community. Barrett reminds minority women, especially in lower-income households, that mothers can only care for their families when they’re healthy and cared for themselves. She also encourages people to distribute information in community gathering places, like at church or child-care centers. “You want to get care from somebody who understands you,” Barrett says. “And no one’s going to understand that better than a fellow woman.”

Photo courtesy of Lashawnda Walker.

Heart disease is the No. 1 killer of women. But it’s preventable. Knowing your risk and tracking your stats can keep you safe.


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HER ROUTINE

RUNNING IN 2020

Marathoner Cheryl Austin logs miles and dollars for the visually impaired. BY GRETCHEN M. SANDERS

In 2017, the Austin Marathon introduced a division for visually impaired runners. A year later, Cheryl Austin entered the race as a lowvision athlete. Five hours and 35 minutes later, she finished first in her class among visually impaired female runners. She was also the top fundraiser for an Austin Marathon charity that year. Austin, who works at the Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired, was born with oculocutaneous albinism, a condition that affects pigmentation of the skin, hair and eyes. She suffers decreased visual acuity, a diminished ability to see detail clearly, and she doesn’t see well at a distance. She can read a newspaper if she holds it close to her face, but she cannot drive. She can run without a guide, but she must fiercely protect her sensitive eyes and skin from the sun. Though Austin had run marathons before, including the Boston Marathon in 2010, she felt especially elated heading into the 2018 Austin race. With no fundraising experience, she’d led a team that raised $33,500 for All Blind Children of Texas, a charity that funds learning projects for visually impaired kids. “Most projects are not big asks, maybe teachers needing a couple hundred dollars,” she says. “It’s amazing what they can do with the money.” Today, Austin, 47, stays fit mostly by power walking, but she remains an advocate for blind and low-vision students and athletes. When the Austin Marathon kicks off at 7 a.m. Feb. 16, she will be wholeheartedly cheering the visually impaired runners braving the hilly course. Here’s how this visionary goes the distance. 72 |  AUSTIN WOMAN |  FEBRUARY 2020

THE A.M.:

“I wake up at 7-ish most mornings. I like to quickly dress in my workout clothes and get out there for a walk or run before I do anything else.” THE WORKOUT:

“I don’t make many training adjustments because of my vision. I probably watch the ground more than the average runner, and I follow the Jeff Galloway method of running, which alternates running and walking. The pattern I typically follow is a 1-minute run followed by a 30-second walk. I repeat those intervals for the entire marathon. The idea behind this method is that if athletes maintain general fitness and do a weekly long run-walk, then it should be enough to get them through a marathon. I trained with Run Austin Galloway for the 2018 Austin Marathon. We did long workouts on Sundays and then at least two 30- to 45-minute runwalks on our own each week. On other days, I’d go to LA Fitness to ride the exercise bike, row or swim. Now that I’m not training for a marathon, I’m trying to walk or run for 45 minutes, or 3 miles, every day of the week. If I miss my chance to exercise in the morning, I’ll walk the 3 miles home from work.” THE DIET:

“I’m a registered dietician. I believe in an all-inclusive diet. I find that restricting, if successful, is only successful for a limited time. I take a well-rounded approach to eating—whole grains, lean meats, fresh fruits and veggies—regardless of whether I’m training for a marathon. I like my occasional treats. I love wine and beer and trying new restaurants. I believe in fueling my body throughout the day with little snacks versus having three big meals. The major difference in my diet when I’m training for a race is that I eat more because I’m burning so many calories.” THE GEAR:

“I have to cover myself in sunscreen when I run. I use Coppertone Sport with SPF 50, which stays on even when I sweat. If I have the opportunity, I will reapply my sunscreen during a race by asking a spectator I know to carry a bottle and meet me on the course. I need sunglasses when it’s sunny, but oddly, I don’t wear a hat. My trademark is to wear a bandana around my head. I wear Brooks Launch Running Shoes and a Garmin Forerunner, which beeps at preset intervals to tell me when to walk or run.” THE MOTIVATION:

“Running the Austin Marathon was about helping visually impaired kids. It was about having an experience beyond myself. I continue to exercise today for my overall emotional health. It’s a natural antidepressant.” THE MINDSET:

“I’ll feel better when I’m finished.” THE P.M.:

“I work until 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday and take the bus home if I don’t walk. My husband will have dinner ready when I arrive. We eat together and watch television, usually with my best friend, Lola, a Lhasa apso, sitting on my lap.”


ATXWOMAN.COM |  73

Photo by Chrissy Cowan.


GREAT SEX DOESN’T HAVE TO STOP What defines perfect sex? Well, we can say you won’t necessarily find it in an erotic fiction novel or a Hollywood sex scene because there is no right or wrong way to enjoy sex. Your sex life and how you find pleasure are unique to you, and that might not fit into the facade society paints for us. And hey, that’s OK! But what if you consistently can’t reach orgasm or you experience pain during intercourse or you know something just isn’t right when you’re trying to get in the mood? Don’t ignore what your mind and body are telling you when it comes to sex; something bigger may actually be going on. From a biological framework, the stages of sex can be broadly thought of as the arousal phase, plateau phase,

orgasm phase and resolution phase. The inability of a woman to fully experience some or all of the various physical stages the body normally experiences during sex in a healthy and pleasurable way can be defined as sexual dysfunction. Female sexual dysfunction is quite common, affecting about one in every five women. It can take many forms and can have numerous causes. Doctor of physical therapy Uchenna Ossai and nurse practitioner Kita Laird of the UT Health Austin Women’s Health Institute explain defining the causes of sexual dysfunction aren’t as clear-cut as we may think they are. “Many patients assume their inability to engage in or enjoy sex is exclusively related to their hormones. Yes, that may be


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a cause, but usually, it’s not just one thing,” Ossai says. “There may be other factors involved, including anatomical issues such as pelvic-floor dysfunction, as well as psychological, sociocultural and interpersonal.” As unique as your sex life is to you, your treatment plan for sexual dysfunction should also be just as individualized. Laird and Ossai explain looking at a patient as a whole person allows them to develop a care plan that meets each patient’s specific needs. “For some women, it’s about managing the underlying conditions, such as pelvic pain or prolapse, and for others, it’s managing the daily mental and emotional stresses of life and understanding their own sexual needs and pleasures,” Ossai explains. So, if you’re reading this and thinking, “Dang, this is me,”

well, first things first: Don’t beat yourself up about it! “Many women come into the office feeling very defeated about their inability to please their partners and enjoy sex, and our job is to normalize it for them,” Ossai says. “We tell our patients that this problem is common because it is. It happens to people of all genders, and we can help you fix it.” Second, go see your doctor. Whether it’s your primary-care doctor or your women’s health specialist, your health-care providers can help you understand the causes of your sexual dysfunction and the best ways to address them. For an appointment or more information about UT Health Austin, call 833.882.2737.


ON THE MONEY

LEARN YOUR MONEY LANGUAGE

Understanding your money personality can save your relationship. BY JENNY HOFF

You’ve likely heard about love languages, but you may not know much about money personalities. They could save your relationship. Financial issues are often listed as a top reason for divorce, and it doesn’t always come down to one person spending too much. Just like knowing a love language can help you show love in a way your spouse appreciates, knowing each other’s money personalities can help you communicate better and create a financial plan that works for both people. A healthy understanding of your money personalities can lead to fewer fights about money and more financial fidelity, such as not spending money or taking out credit cards on the sly without letting your better half know. Financial planners and authors of the book The 5 Money Personalities: Speaking the Same Love and Money Language, Bethany and Scott Palmer, say knowing money personalities is just as important for financially stable couples as those who are still finding their financial footing. “It doesn’t matter if you make $30,000 a year or $3 million a year. Couples are arguing about money all over the place and it’s because they view money differently. Money impacts just about every decision that we make, whether we like it or not,” Bethany Palmer says. 76 |  AUSTIN WOMAN |  FEBRUARY 2020

According to data the Palmers collected from interviewing their clients and having thousands of people take their assessments, each person has a primary and secondary money personality, and they believe it’s something everybody is born with. It’s not changeable, but it’s learnable. They believe couples who learn their own and their partner’s money personalities can much better understand actions and decisions with less judgment. The five money personalities the Palmers identified are: • the saver. This person not only wants to save money himself or herself, but wants others to save as well. • the spender. This person likes to spend money on himself or herself and also give gifts to others. • the risk taker. This personality encompasses the entrepreneurs of the world, those who always have a new idea they want to bring to fruition. • the security seeker. This person needs to have a plan in place at all times. • the flyer. This person flies by the seat of his or her pants when it comes to money. Money is not a primary thought; relationships are. Savers and security seekers are on one side of the spectrum, while spenders and risk takers are on the other. While many people have opposing primary and secondary personalities (a saver/spender is someone who wants to save money but loves giving gifts), the real clash comes when a person is partnered with someone on the other side of the spectrum. The Palmers say to overcome those clashes, couples should make a concerted effort to connect and communicate to avoid major fights and misunderstandings. Their three recommendations are:

Couples should make a concerted effort to connect and communicate to avoid major fights and misunderstandings. 1. m oney dump. This is an annual chat in which you “dump” everything on the table regarding your thoughts and feelings about your money situation. It should be done in a loving, honest and positive way. 2. money huddle. This is a monthly meeting in which you discuss your needs and dreams. Financial planning is done separately. 3. fighting fair. When in an argument, a person uses tools to fight in a way that doesn’t inflict permanent damage on the relationship or attack the other person’s character. It should concern the topic at hand and be kept civil and respectful. By understanding your underlying personalities, why and how you make decisions and keeping the discourse honest, open, continual and civil, you can bring more romance to your relationship year-round. It’s 2020, so make it the year you get more clarity about what drives your money decisions and how you can keep financial fights at bay. If you’re interested in taking the assessment, check out themoneycouple.com.

GETTING YOUR FINANCES IN ORDER IN 2020: FEBRUARY TASK Check your credit score and credit report. You can keep tabs on your credit score for free through a site like creditkarma.com, but you should also check your credit report once a year through annualcreditreport.com. Make sure you recognize all the accounts under your name and dispute anything that seems suspicious.


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THE POWER OF

BOUDOIR PHOTOGRAPHY Perhaps you’re thinking of booking a Valentine’s Day boudoir photo shoot. Photographer Taylor Prinsen answers all your questions. How did you get started in boudoir photography? Throughout high school and college, I struggled with disordered eating patterns and my relationship with my body. A breakthrough came when I decided to do a boudoir session for myself to really solidify my love and respect for my body. It was such an empowering experience that I decided to start offering boudoir to some past clients as “test shoots.” My clients not only loved the images, but the experience. And from there, it’s truly grown exponentially. I think women are waiting for a moment where they can finally be free and confident in their bodies, and I am simply giving them the space to do that. What type of women are these shoots for? Boudoir is for any woman interested in documenting this season of her life and gaining some confidence. I have so many different types of boudoir clients: brides-to-be; moms six months postpartum; young, single women feeling great about themselves; women in their 60s! I mean it: truly anyone. What if a woman is really nervous because she doesn’t like her body very much and doesn’t feel comfortable in front of the camera? Very few women are naturally comfortable in front of the camera, and even fewer are completely confident with their bodies. But this is a step to release that shame or insecurity. I also send every client a questionnaire pre-shoot asking if they have any areas they’re less comfortable with or triggers I should know about. I want these women to feel comfortable and safe— and the Champagne, chocolate and music all help too! How is this experience empowering to women? These have become some of my favorite sessions to shoot because I also come away feeling incredibly empowered. Boudoir is an opportunity to take our bodies back from the scrutiny of society and proclaim that we are worthy and beautiful just as we are. It’s also a way to start letting go of all the sexual stigmas we deal with and just be able to be, well, really dang sexy! Women have been tucking our sexuality away for so long, feeling ashamed of it. And guess what? We don’t need to. It’s 2020! We need more of this and a boudoir session can be a great starting place for reclaiming the narrative. As a photographer, how do you make the experience comfortable for women? I’m an incredibly relational person. I am still very close friends with many of clients, so I think the answer to this question is really: I am just myself. I am vulnerable and honest about my own struggles and insecurities in person with clients and on social-media platforms. I am all about the real real: the raw, the authentic, the true. Of course, I edit my photos, but they will look like you, which is great, because you’re hot! I stay focused on doing the best work for my clients and making them feel like the most important person in the world for the duration of our session. Book your photo shoot any time of the year with Taylor Prinsen by emailing taylorprinsen@gmail.com or visiting taylorprinsenphotography.com.

“Boudoir is an opportunity to take our bodies back from the scrutiny of society and proclaim that we are worthy and beautiful just as we are.”


ASK LUCY

ALL WASHED UP

Dog Grooming 101: tips for even the stinkiest soap dodgers. BY LUCY J. PHILLIPS

Dear Lucy, I know my human loves me, but she recently mentioned I’m not smelling my best. I disagree, of course, since I can still smell yesterday’s mud between my paws. I can tell a bath is coming soon, and I even heard her calling a groomer to ask about clipping my nails. I think baths are cold and scary, and the thought of pointy objects makes me hide under the bed with my tail between my legs. Could you share any grooming tips to reduce stress for me? ~Yasmin the Yorkie

While I always feel empathy toward the various quandaries of our readers, I have never related to a letter more than yours. This plea touched me to my puppy core, especially since I currently smell like a mix between old gym socks, corn chips and freshly mowed grass. I worked hard for this combination, but I hear the bath running even as I dictate this response. Just because my human decides to clean up after her workout (such a waste), why should I follow suit? And don’t get me started on nails. Since my nails often wear themselves down with a lot of outdoor playtime, I manage to go long periods without needing a clip. Then, just when my talons start making that wonderful tapping noise on the kitchen tiles, my human clips them down again! Nevertheless, I know she appreciates the ability to snuggle with me without getting stinky or scratched. In the spirit of you getting more snuggles too, here are some things I have learned that may help you survive the grooming ordeal. BATH-TIME TRICKS

A lot of humans opt to bathe their dogs outside, which can be helpful to reduce indoor splashes, but it’s hard to resist a roll around in the grass immediately afterward. My human chooses to bathe me in the tub, using a bucket to rinse me off. We’ve found placing a towel or mat down prevents slips. And while I hide in the closet when I know what’s coming, a good treat or ball is usually enough to tempt me out. Once the soap suds up, I will confess, I feel like I’m getting a spa treatment—and I like it—even if I pretend to hate it the whole time so I can get more treats.

NAIL-TRIMMING HOW-TO

According to Pet Assure, a network of veterinarians in the United States, Puerto Rico and Canada, regular nail clipping is essential to prevent painful paw injuries and even infection. Without proper care, some dogs even struggle to place their full weight on their paws, which can result in sore legs and overall discomfort. While researching the types of clippers available for home grooming, my human reached out to the helpful team at Tomlinson’s Feed, which has been a favorite local pet store since 1946. The shop offers healthy pet products and team members who are trained in animal nutrition and health. They were very helpful in pointing us to the right clippers. We learned there are three different options: 1. There are traditional scissor clippers, which look like garden shears but with a curved edge. The benefit here is a little extra force, which is ideal for larger breeds, but there’s less guidance on how far to cut the nail, so be prepared to troubleshoot. 2. The affectionately named guillotine clippers are not as scary as they sound. These provide a guiding hole to insert the nail and gently squeeze. They are great if you don’t mind dividing the nail-trimming process into several smaller increments. 3. A third option is a grinding tool, essentially a doggie nail file that’s ideal for thicker nails or if you are still scared of clippers. The process can take a little longer and you may need additional training to adjust to the vibrating sensation. In general, I’ve learned my human can coax me into almost any grooming routine with the right tone of voice and some extra treats. With clipping, a good place to start is gradually getting comfortable with someone holding your paw. Once that is established, your human can introduce the clipper of choice. I find when I’m allowed to smell it first (followed by a timely treat), I am much more amenable to the next step in the process. And, of course, encouraging words and pets are key throughout the process. I really am a good girl, which is especially nice to hear during these trying times. Good luck and happy grooming! Puppy love,

Lucy

If you have a dog-related question for Lucy, reach out and follow her on Instagram @asklucydog.

78 |  AUSTIN WOMAN |  FEBRUARY 2020

Lucy photo courtesy of Hannah J. Phillips.

Dear Yasmin,


SELFLESS

HUMBLE PASSIONATE When it comes to nurses, it’s easy to put our feelings into words. From Jan. 20 to March 2, nominate an Austin-area nurse for Recognizing Nurses, an annual celebration honoring nurses of Austin, Texas on May 7, 2020, at the JW Marriot.

NOMINATE YOUR NURSE TODAY AT RECOGNIZINGNURSES.COM.

LAW OFFICE OF JANET MCCULLAR, P.C. Complex Divorce and Custody 512.342.9933 | jmccullarlaw.com

WE WA N T TO H E A R F RO M YOU! PA RT I C I PAT E I N O UR AU ST I N WO MAN R E A D E R S U RV E Y FO R YO U R CH A N C E TO W I N A P R I Z E PAC K O F G OO D I ES F R O M O U R PA RT N E R S !

We’ll send out the survey to all our e-newsletter subscribers mid-February so stay tuned!

H e a d to at xwo ma n.com to sign up for our newsletters!


I AM AUSTIN WOMAN

CAPITOL VOWS

The leader of the Austin LGBT Chamber of Commerce shares why the state capitol building is her most cherished Austin landmark.

S

ept. 23, 2017, we became the first LGBT couple married in the Texas Capitol with Austin Mayor Steve Adler as the officiant. We chose the capitol building because it is a perfect intersection of what I do for a living as the executive director of Texas’ oldest and largest LGBT chamber of commerce. The juxtaposition of a GOPled state house coupled with the liberal mayor of Austin as the officiant of a gay wedding just seemed too perfect to pass up! Advocacy is so important to me personally and professionally. Educating elected officials and the community at large about issues that impact the lives of fellow Texans is so very important to me. I spend my waking hours working to achieve equality and inclusion by promoting economic prosperity in our communities, specifically around strengthening LGBT and allied businesses.

Her: Tina Cannon Her occupation: Executive director of the Austin LGBT Chamber of Commerce How long she’s called Austin home: 27 years Her favorite Austin landmark: Texas Capitol

Tina Cannon is the executive director of the Austin LGBT Chamber of Commerce. Previously, she served as the vice president of government relations with the Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce. Cannon also served as a senior policy analyst for the City of Austin. Prior to her work in politics, Cannon was a seasoned entrepreneur, having spent many years in the Austin startup space. Cannon served as an entrepreneur-in-residence for Texas State University and was a guest blogger for cbsnews.com. She has been a featured presenter at various technology events. Cannon graduated from Texas State University with a bachelor’s degree in accounting.

Photo courtesy of Casey Chapman-Ross Photography.

Tina Cannon and Christi Grider

80 |  AUSTIN WOMAN |  FEBRUARY 2020


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AUSTIN WOMAN MAGAZINE |  FEBRUARY 2020

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