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2 | AUSTIN WOMAN | JUNE 2022
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ATXWOMAN.COM | 3
CAN’T STOP, WON’T STOP BY JENNY HOFF PHOTOS BY RUDY AROCHA; ASSISTANT PHOTOGRAPHER, MARSHALL WALKER
WOMEN TRANSFORMING EACH OTHER BY KATHRYN FREEMAN
ATXWOMAN.COM | 5
June CONTENTS 16
FROM THE DESK OF Ayebee
STAFF PICKS What place in Austin brings out the kid in you?
COUNT US IN Young Women Bosses
COVER WOMAN CALLBACK Katie Fang
SEE HER WORK Gaby Deimeke
WOMAN to WATCH WATCH
ON THE MONEY When to Get a Financial Advisor
FASHION Lewk Magazine
32 KATE COX 33 JENNIFER SEIDNER , JANE AMADOR 34 KESHIA OGBURN 35 ANNA SANCHEZ
6 | AUSTIN WOMAN | JUNE 2022
I AM AUSTIN WOMAN Daisy Wright
Austin’s Best Summer Camps
SciKidz Where Sc ience & Te chnology Co nnect!
60 STEM and STEAM Camps To Choose From! • • • • • • • •
Minecraft American Doll Wizarding World Grossology Roblox LEGO Robotics Veterinary Medicine Coding
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June 18, 2022 9a.m. - 4p.m.
As we come out of the pandemic, we find that anxiety about physical, mental and financial health is at an all-time high—especially for women. We created THRIVE, a wholistic wellness event that meets women where they are, in order to support our Austin Woman community.
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8 | AUSTIN WOMAN | JUNE 2022
Distribution Hall Austin, TX
Austin Habitat for Humanity ReStores
Celebrate 30 Years of Home Improvement with a Purpose At Austin Habitat for This summer, Austin Habitat for Humanity will finish Humanity ReStores, construction on its 516th home, and that accomplishment you can support the wouldn’t be possible without those who have shopped, ever-growing need for donated or volunteered at an Austin Habitat ReStore affordable housing in over the past 30 years. Austin Habitat extends its sincere Central Texas while gratitude to the community for helping hundreds of local finding great deals families achieve their dreams of homeownership. on unique items for Visit your local ReStore in South Austin, Northwest Austin your own home. It’s or San Marcos or learn more at austinhabitat.org/restore. a win for you and for families in need in your community. This year, South Austin Northwest Austin San Marcos the stores that build homes and hope celebrate 30 years in business. In 1992, Austin Habitat for Humanity launched the nation’s first 500 W. Ben White Blvd. 13804 N. US 183 2521 S. Interstate 35 ReStore, a discount home improvement store and donation center Austin, TX 78704 Austin, TX 78750 San Marcos, TX 78666 supporting the nonprofit’s work to build strong, stable and self-reliant communities. Selling new and gently used furniture, appliances, @atxrestore @atxrestorelakecreek @smtxrestore building materials and home accessories to the public at a fraction @smtxrestore @atxrestore of the retail price, the ReStore became a local staple at its original austinhabitat.org/restore | shopaustinrestore.com location on Comal Street. In 2015, the store’s success allowed it to expand from that small, unairconditioned warehouse to its current headquarters on Ben White Boulevard and South First Street. Now, there are two additional ReStore locations in the Austin area and more than 900 across the United States. Austinites are no strangers to trendsetting! Throughout their 30-year history, Austin Habitat ReStores have seen a wide variety of unique inventory pass through their doors. The ReStores receive items not only from local residents but also from commercial donors and liquidators, so shoppers can find unique pieces during every visit, from an antique dresser to a brand-new midcentury modern couch with its tags still on. SXSW installations, hotels, film sets and even the X Games have donated to the ReStores. “It takes all of us—staff and the community—to make ReStore work,” said Kelly Outlaw, Austin Habitat for Humanity CFOO. Austin Habitat for Humanity ReStores also provide the opportunity for reusable items to receive a second life instead of heading to the landfill. With changes as simple as a fresh coat of paint or change of hardware (both of which can be found at the ReStores), every item has the potential to transform into something with a totally new look. Over the years, customers have used ReStore materials to create greenhouses, “she sheds” and other outdoor projects, in addition to interior upgrades such as new backsplash or flooring. Local businesses, including restaurants and coffeehouses, have even set up shop using ReStore building materials, furniture and decor. While the ReStores draw in many eco-conscious shoppers, green practices are also at the heart of store operations. Since 1992, Austin Habitat ReStores have diverted over 40 million pounds of reusable materials from landfills. Additionally, Austin Habitat’s corporate headquarters, which houses the Ben White ReStore, boasts an Austin Energy Green Building four-star rating. Notable green features include solar panels and reuse of 96% of the original structure, a former Chuck E. Cheese, in the renovation. “Austin was truly the perfect 30TH ANNIVERSARY place to support America’s first ReStore because of the residents’ commitment to the environment and each other,” said Phyllis Snodgrass, Austin Habitat for Humanity CEO.
ATXWOMAN.COM | 9
From simple legal matters to complex disputes, we have the experience and knowledge to handle and support you throughout the process.
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Contributors A PUBLICATION OF AW MEDIA INC.
VOLUME 20, ISSUE 10
This month, we asked our contributors: What was your wildest dream growing up?
JENNY HOFF Writer “Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop,” page 36
JEN RAMOS PERKINS
Director of Business Operations
• She worked for Germany’s public international broadcast news station Deutsche Welle.
• She walked part of the Great Wall of China.
• She jumped out of an airplane over the Australian brush.
“After considering zookeeper and first female president, my true wildest dream
was to become an international news correspondent. If you can dream it, you can
Community and Events Manager
Production Manager DONNA MITCHELL
Sales Account Executive CONTRIBUTORS
Evelyn Deal, Kathryn Freeman, Jenny Hoff, Brianna Salinas, Cy White, Daisy Wright
Writer, “Women Transforming Each Other,” Page 44 • She loves ketchup but hates tomatoes in their natural state. • She is an unashamed Swiftie. • She starts a Ph.D. program in the fall. “When I was a kid, I wanted to be Oprah--not be like her, but literally be her.”
Rudy Arocha, Ayebee, Suzanne Cordeiro, Dave Creaney, Evelyn Deal, Gaby Deimeke, Kristen McKelvie, SchooLinks, Jessica Wetterer, Cy White
BRIANNA SALINAS Writer, “Producer Prodigy,” page 16 • She hiked a dormant volcano in Hawaii.
• She made a free throw shot at the AT&T
Janaye Barbin, Evelyn Deal, Brianna Salinas, Devon Sayre
Center. • She loves true crime podcasts but hates horror movies. “As a kid I dreamed about being an architect, and I would draw out different layouts of my
AW MEDIA INC. MELINDA GARVEY
EVELYN DEAL Writer, “Through the Lens of Gaby Deimeke,” page 26 • She’s a film and digital photographer,
Austin Woman is a free monthly publication of AW Media Inc. and is available at locations throughout Austin and in Lakeway, Cedar Park, Round Rock and Pflugerville. All rights reserved. To offer feedback, email email@example.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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 512.328.2421 | 7401 West Slaughter Lane, Austin, TX 78739
mainly in fashion. • She pretty much knows every line from the movie The Outsiders. • She’s named after her great-grandmother, and there are four Evelyn Elizabeths in her family tree. “I dreamed of being many things: fashion designer, photographer, film director. I also remember taking pictures of the TV screen when I saw anything I liked.”
ATXWOMAN.COM | 11
an you believe we’re already halfway through the year? Where does the time go? As cliché as it sounds, I’m sure there are times when you look back at your life and ask that exact same question. Youth certainly has a way of making one feel immortal (even if logically you know that’s not the case). But that feeling of immortality does have the added bonus of allowing younger folks to leap headfirst Editor’s Picks into their passions. Music from June is all about the babies. women under 30 Well, the babies 30 years old and younger. The young women in these pages are unbelievably inspiring. They’re the type of women we all wanted to be when we were their age. Fearless, ambitious, ready to conquer The Lives They Left the world and all the old paradigms that by Flores sought to hold women back for centuries. Our cover woman, Sydney Weigand, is an Olympic multi-medalist in several events. She never allows the world’s limited ableist perspective on what people with special needs are capable of to stop her from being the absolute rock star she is. (Wait until you see her pictures, you’ll get it.) The Young Women’s Alliance helps to foster young entrepreneurs and like-minded individuals who are ready to take on the world. They offer them Bra-Less mentorship, a safe haven to grow into their confidence and their power. We have musical artist by Doechii Ayebee, a young woman who at 15 has already made a name for herself in Austin’s music scene (and she did it all from her bedroom). The incomparable Daisy Wright, who, like her character Janet in The Rocky Horror Show, blossomed into her womanhood and eagerly embraces every part of who she is. The four dynamic ladies of Lewk Magazine, who created Texas State University’s only fashion magazine. Let me tell you, June is an issue full of complete and utter badassery! As an older millennial, I’ve stood in support behind the generation coming up after me. Every move they make, every barrier they break down, every stigma they crash through has me “Soy Chingona” punching the air. I’m so damn proud. These young ladies make me confident about the future. by The Tiarras They are so ready to take on this world. And you know what? I’m beyond excited to see what they have in store for all of us! We’ve said it a million times at Austin Woman: The future is undeniably female! Correction: On page 44 of the May 2022 issue, “Who Am I?”: The styling information is incorrect. Styling by Parke Ballantine with Inspiration from Estilo, Nordstrom and Holi Chic. Correction: On page 49, under the subhead “The Phoenix Bull”: The title of Vasavi Kumar’s book is incorrect. The title of her book is Say it Out Loud.
CY WHITE EDITOR
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.
12 | AUSTIN WOMAN | JUNE 2022
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Connect WITH US Can’t get enough of this issue? Check us out at atxwoman.com. Flores: Singer for the People After taking her second U.S. stage at SXSW this year, El Paso native Flores spoke with Austin Woman about music, message and her future.
Hi, How Are You On May 4, the Hi, How Are You Project (HHAY) returned with their annual fundraising concert at Austin City Limits.
Legacies Made Beautiful The Young Women’s Alliance honored five incredible women leaders during their Beautifully Made art gallery showcase.
Don’t forget to visit and subscribe to the Austin Woman YouTube channel!
WIN THIS! B.D.F.O. Teen entrepreneur Ruby Sulter is on a mission to instill confidence through clothing, inspiring young women to live “Bold, Determined, Fierce, Outstanding” lifestyles. Sustainably minded and focused on positively uplifting everybody to feel self-confident, B.D.F.O. is a brand designed with you in mind, making clothes as cool as you are. #DefineYourself This summer, B.D.F.O. is launching their official Summer Solstice collection with an event on June 23, including a fashion show, local vendors, brand interaction and so much more! B.D.F.O. Lifestyle is also kicking off this Summer Solstice by giving one Austin Woman reader a $50 gift card for the new sustainable summer collection. Enter to win by following us on Instagram @austinwoman and following B.D.F.O. @bdfolifestyle. We’ll announce the winner at the end of the month. 14 | AUSTIN WOMAN | JUNE 2022
Flores: Singer for the People (Photo by Cy White). Hi, How Are You (Photo by Roger Ho). Legacies Made Beautiful (Photo by Weston Carls)
Connect WITH US
Austin Woman @ WOMAN’S WAY
Photos by Cy White.
Austin Woman’s seventh annual Woman’s Way took place on May 12. Go to page 52 to see the winners, finalists and all the fun.
ATXWOMAN.COM | 15
From the DESK OF
Producer Prodigy Ayebee shares five things she’s learned as a young woman in the music industry. BY BRIANNA SALINAS
YOU DON’T NEED EQUIPMENT.
You can put into software any instrument you want, because the internet has all of them. You can find tons of videos on YouTube on how to produce in GarageBand, an app that comes with your iPhone. I started with my laptop and began typing [music] notes. I eventually got a microphone and an audio interface. But even without that, in this modern day and age, self-producing has become so simple that anybody can make any music they want. Production apps are so advanced and have so many different instruments and different things to play and presets. You really don’t need anything too fancy; you just need the drive to want to make [music]. EVERYONE CAN CREATE SOMETHING AMAZING.
Example: Clairo’s “Pretty Girl.” This song was produced and recorded on GarageBand. It’s one of the most popular pop songs of this decade, and she had no equipment. If Clairo can do something like that, why can’t others? Clairo is a huge inspiration for me, especially because she plays such intricate music. 16 | AUSTIN WOMAN | JUNE 2022
PRODUCTION IS NOT A PLANNED PROCESS.
When I started producing, I really thought I needed an entire outline for a song, [that] I needed to write it all down. But then I realized the songs I was making, where I was starting from scratch and just putting stuff down, those songs sounded better because I’m just going with the flow of what I think is going to sound good. Usually it does sound good, sometimes it doesn’t, but you just take it out. LEARNING TO PRODUCE MEANS YOU CAN BE A PERFECTIONIST.
I’m a perfectionist when it comes to music. I’ll spend a few hours recording one riff to make sure it sounds good. To make one song, if I get really into it, can take me three hours to just sit down and finish. Or sometimes it takes a few days. One of my songs took me a month. Some songs take me a while because they have more instruments than others. It can take a really long time because I either don’t have creative flow or I want it to be completely perfect. PRODUCTION INCREASES YOUR MUSICALITY ON EVERYTHING.
I’ve always had a passion for songwriting, but I also have always had a really big thing for trying out different instruments. I play the trumpet, the bassoon in band, the guitar, the piano, the bass and the ukulele. Knowing so many different instruments, matching them together and making actual songs that I enjoy listening to is a super dope experience. Knowing all of these different instruments has me in a good mindset of knowing music theory, knowing how to piece things together. Since I know all these different ways of playing, I can put all of that knowledge together to learn a new instrument. Especially knowing piano theory, I can play anything I want while producing, because you can play anything as long as you know how to write notes.
Photo courtesy of Ayebee.
nnabella Brown, also known as Ayebee, is a 15-year-old music producer and native Austinite. While balancing high school and being an active member of her school band, Ayebee also writes, records and produces her own music. “SXSW is super cool, just to know that there are artists performing every second of the day,” she says. “Every time I watch somebody perform live, I’m like, ‘I want to do that, I want to do that so badly.’” This year, Ayebee was able to live up to that dream and perform some of her original songs live for the first time at SXSW during a showcase for the platform EqualizeHer. Growing up in this primetime of the digital age, Ayebee has used the internet to her advantage when it comes to producing her music, which can be found on major streaming services like Spotify, Apple Music and SoundCloud. Her YouTube channel includes covers of songs and originals, showcasing her talent for playing instruments. Although she is just getting started in this industry, she has already learned a lot. When looking toward future college endeavors, Ayebee notes, “Music is the only thing that I really enjoy doing. I haven’t really found any passions for anything else besides teaching music and music production. I’m definitely going to try to major in something having to do with music.” Her natural skill, paired with her enthusiasm and passion, indicates that she will be prosperous in whatever musical avenue she pursues in the future. Ayebee shares five things she’s learned as a young woman in the music industry.
For the last 20 years we have witnessed a transformation amongst the women of Austin. Join us as we celebrate, in true Austin Woman fashion, a community filled with diversity and women empowerment. There will be personal and professional development opportunities, engaging panels, workshops and networking sessions to boost your relationships and career!
September 9, 2022 Austin, TX Austin Marriott Downtown
Sponsorship & Vendor Opportunities Available 512.328.2421 email@example.com ATXWOMAN.COM | 17
What place in Austin brings out the kid in you? At Austin Woman, we’ve never lost our sense of childlike wonder and need for some good old-fashioned fun.
CY WHITE MANAGING EDITOR
All photos courtesy of respective staff member.
One of the most magical moments I’ve had in my short time in Austin is visiting the dessert pop-up the Museum of Ice Cream. Trust me, it’s as insane as you think it is. Hidden, among the tress, a nondescript pink building sitting on a corner at The Domain. The women at the door greet you like they’re your best friends. Then when it’s your turn to step in, they simultaneously open both big ornate doors. You step into an ice cream paradise! First, go in and create your own ice cream nametag with your own ice cream name (mine was Cookie). Then…let the games begin! A ’50s-style soda shop—complete with old-school soda fountains and baristas on pink roller skates—serves, what else, ice cream. You can also add a little “sauce” to go with your dessert (wink, wink). Once you’re ready, it’s time to explore the museum. Mazes and mirrors and candy, oh my! And the ball pit….is sprinkles! Past the sprinkles and candy, more adult fun at the actual grown-up bar where they serve large cocktails and allow you to partake in some of the exclusive Museum of Ice Cream merch. Yeah, I was a squealy mess walking in to this double scoop of childhood memories.
18 | AUSTIN WOMAN | JUNE 2022
KRISNA MENIER COMMUNITY & EVENTS MANAGER
Remember a time when arcade games were single player and you had your friends riled up around you, hyping you up to beat the high score? At Kung Fu Saloon in Downtown Austin those memories come back to life. With vintage arcade games, table football and dominoes, this bar is sure to bring out the kid in you. There is Skee-Ball and life-size Jenga for you to play while you enjoy pickle shots, 24 beers on tap or a build-your-own bloody mary bar on Sundays. As an added bonus, there’s a speakeasy just beyond the red-velvet curtain that transports you back in time to the Goonies movie. Kung Fu Saloon has made all our childhood dreams come true with the hunt for OneEyed Willy’s treasure. Complete with cleverly themed cocktails and movie matching decor, you definitely want to add this to you list of things to do!
ANNE COX PRODUCTION MANAGER
I went to Pease Park last month with a few friends and truly felt like I was 11 years old again. We were there pretty late, so the playground was completely empty. I think it’s probably been years since I’ve been on a swing set! If you’ve never been before, Pease Park’s main attraction is the big bird’s nest hammock located towards the back of the park. There are string lights lit up all around it so you can look out at the Austin night sky. The hammock itself is big enough to fit around 20 people. If you haven’t been yet, check it out!
Anne Cox photo by Ashley Nava-Monteros.
Growing up, my parents would always take my brother and me to Zilker Park. Whether that was for the Kite Festival, picnics or rides on the Zilker Zephyr. I remember running around and chasing my brother around the park. My mom would also pack us lunches, and we would sit on the big green picnic tables under the trees. Afterward, my dad would let me sit on his shoulders as we walked back to the car. There’s just something about sitting on the grass, eating with your hands and dogs walking around leisurely that’s reminiscent of being a kid again. Whenever I find myself at Zilker Park for Blues on the Green, ACL or just another weekend picnic, I am still reminded of these times from my childhood.
ATXWOMAN.COM | 19
Count US IN
Young Women Bosses
With a steadily rising rate of young women between the ages of 18 to 35 launching businesses, the future is undoubtedly female. BY EVELYN DEAL ILLUSTRATIONS BY JESSICA WETTERER
Only 2.4% of entrepreneurial women are under the age of 25. That percentage grows to 13.1% when talking about entrepreneurial women between the ages of 25 to 34. Women aged 35 to 44 make up a total of 17.7% of entrepreneurial women.
According to the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor 2018/2019 report, there was a 4% increase in women entrepreneurs aged 25 to 34 from 2018 to 2019. Women entrepreneurs in the age group 18 to 24 rose from 13% to 15% in 2018 and 2019.
20 | AUSTIN WOMAN | JUNE 2022
Many in the 2017 class of the Forbes Under 30 are young women who have started woman-focused endeavors. One such young woman, Joanne Yuan, joined Cowboy Ventures as an associate partner. “Yuan joined the $95 million-raised VC fund in January 2015 after working 30 hours per week for the female-centric firm while still a full-time student at the Stanford Graduate School of Business,” reports Forbes. Further, she founded the investment committee of the Women’s Building, the first woman-owned and operated community center in the country, which serves 20,000 women and families every year.
According to a study conducted by Jenifer Kuadli of LegalJobs, 30% of women entrepreneurs are younger than 40.
Women under 30 are also making waves in the medtech industry. In 2016, Nicole Moskowitz (26) and Jessica Traver (25) co-founded IntuiTap Medical, a company that’s “looking to streamline the spinal tap process.” According to Forbes, “They use imaging technology, pressure sensors and predictive analytics to make the procedure more accurate and pleasant for patients.”
ATXWOMAN.COM | 21
Cover Woman CALLBACK
Entrepreneurship is a Lifestyle Katie Fang discusses SchooLinks and life updates since being on the cover of Austin Woman in 2016. BY BRIANNA SALINAS
t was six years ago, in June of 2016, when Katie Fang first adorned the cover of Austin Woman. Since then, she’s worked nonstop to elevate the technology and accessibility of SchooLinks. During this time she also got married, had two children and saw her team through the ever-changing world of working through a pandemic. When she last spoke to Austin Woman in 2016, Fang was doing everything in her power to champion her mission of creating a website that helps students find their footing in the field of higher education. When asked what a day in her life looks like now, Fang smiles and sighs while looking at her calendar. “There are no gaps.” Between copious amounts of emails, meetings, getting her kids ready for the day and everything in between, she leads her team in staying on track and “laser-focused” on their targets. Depending on the time of year, Fang is still on the move, sometimes traveling “every two to three days.” Due to Fang’s hard work and the work of her team at SchooLinks, there has been much progress for the company. Six years ago, the SchooLinks platform was direct-to-consumer, but now it has grown into an enterprise that works directly with school districts and government agencies. Another change in their business model is acknowledging that college is no longer the “end all, be all goal” for a lot of students due to familial or financial circumstances. Many businesses are partnering with schools to teach desirable skills to perform different job functions. Fang sees this as a great way to level the playing field,
22 | AUSTIN WOMAN | JUNE 2022
K-12 plays a super important role in this career navigation process. Students need to receive real-world advice through internships and job opportunities so that there isn’t a disconnect between theoretical knowledge and real-world opportunities. —Katie Fang
Photos courtesy of SchooLinks.
“preparing the mindset and skill set to reach that final goal” of one’s ideal career. “K-12 plays a super important role in this career navigation process,” she explains. “Students need to receive realworld advice through internships and job opportunities so that there isn’t a disconnect between theoretical knowledge and realworld opportunities.” Looking at what is next for SchooLinks, Fang is excited to create personalized paths for students on the platform. Her concern for equity amongst the new generations of students and workers propels her forward. “There are so many students who have raw talent, and they’re not able to shine because of external constraints they didn’t impose on themselves,” she says. “How can we remove barriers for these students to really succeed in life and level their playing field? One way is to show them what’s out there and also to connect them to the opportunities, democratizing the access to information. “It’s not that the opportunities are not there,” she insists. “It’s more [that] they’re not aware of these opportunities being possible to them. How do we break that barrier? It is about a ton of education at a district level and making sure that our counselors aren’t a little biased. You only know what you know, and you don’t know what you don’t know. So, how do we expand their horizons and make sure that they are exposed to these opportunities?” Fang wants to go beyond faculty and staff within the schools and bring in heads of businesses to mediate these connections and display the type of future these students hope to have. Fang’s first child was born right before the pandemic hit, when SchooLinks was still a small company. During this time, she forewent maternity leave in order to make sure that her business could stay afloat. “I delivered on Sunday and went back to work on Monday,” she recalls. “It was scary. I was not going to tell my entire team, ‘Peace out, I’m going to take a maternity leave, and you guys figure out the ambiguity and shutdown situation.’” She acknowledges that maternity leave is something that she fully supports in order to enjoy precious moments with one’s newborns. However, as a CEO and founder, she made it a priority to not let the fear of losing their jobs reach her team. “We did not furlough anybody, we did not cut anybody’s paycheck,” she says. “We persisted and doubled our growth that year.” When asked about what advice she has for entrepreneurs who are starting out, Fang states, “I see a lot of people thinking too much, and not acting enough. My advice to people has always been [to ask]: ‘Have you actually done anything? Just do it.’” Fang urges those who are on the brink of their journey to dive in. “Before being scared of this or that, do you have any valid points to be scared about? If you haven’t really tried to validate your hypothesis…you’re not really jeopardizing anything.” ATXWOMAN.COM | 23
Congratulations to our KS WELI 2022 Graduates! The Kendra Scott Women’s Entrepreneurial Leadership Institute (KS WELI) at the University of Texas at Austin will strengthen the next generation of courageous, creative women leaders who will change the world - in business and beyond. Our goal is to increase the number of women-owned and women-led businesses. These inspiring women to the right have cultivated an impact on the foundation of the KS WELI. Their dedication to empowering women to lead showcases how they will be the next generation of courageous and creative change leaders. Learn more about the KS WELI community through resources, events, and programs dedicated to empowering women leaders at https://kswelinstitute.utexas.edu/ Follow us on social media @kswelinstitute 24 | AUSTIN WOMAN | JUNE 2022
Management Information Systems and Economics
Master of Science in Technology Commercialization
Advertising, Media & Analytics Concentration
Journalism and Entrepreneurship
BHP, Finance and Math
Empowering Women to Lead. Encouraging the World to Follow. ATXWOMAN.COM | 25
See Her WORK
Through the Lens of Gaby Deimeke Photographer Gaby Deimeke strives to live her life like a badass woman.
or many of us, life is gradually becoming more normal. Shopping centers are more crowded; people can dine in at restaurants. Significantly, one of Austinites’ most crucial activities has returned: concerts. People highly anticipate going to these shows given the paperweight of COVID-19 putting a halt to live events in recent years. With the Austin City Limits festival lineup just released, music lovers are gearing up with hydration packs, sunglasses and sunscreen. But one woman is getting prepared for the festival a little differently. All Gaby Deimeke needs is her camera and her keen eye for photography. Deimeke comes from humble origins. Growing up on a farm in Auxvasse, Missouri, Deimeke first picked up a
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camera at 12 years old. “I was hooked from there. I [later] went to college at Webster University in St. Louis to study photography and fine art. I received a master’s in fashion photography from London College of Fashion in England,” Deimeke recalls. She moved to New York City and began to hustle to establish her name as a photographer. After many years of hard work, she ended up in Austin. It was here that she was able to truly nurture her calling. “I got into concert photography and realized that’s what I wanted to pursue,” she explains. “I moved to Austin almost two years ago, in the middle of the pandemic, to continue my music photography career.” She sees her work as a way to “capture the personality of the person,” rather than just snapping a photo. “I like to get creative with it and learn about my subject so I can photograph them in a unique and interesting
Photos by Gaby Deimeke.
BY EVELYN DEAL
way that also feels like them,” she says. A fan of color, Deimeke’s bold contrasting hues tend to highlight the artist in astonishing glory. Her work showcases household names like Lizzo, Ed Sheeran and Shawn Mendes. “I also just never get tired of shooting,” she admits. “There’s always a new idea, or I see something online that sparks an interest, or another person I want to photograph. I find that the more I shoot, the more inspired I am.” Her visually stunning imagery makes one feel as if time has stood still, if even for a split second. In contrast to the portraits in her portfolio, Gaby Deimeke is, in fact, always on the go. Having just recently shot at the 2022 Met Gala, she finds herself eager to continue doing what she loves. “I started the Badass Womens Series (#BadassWomenATX) to have a solid foundation of other female business owners that could give me advice,” she says. The Badass Women ATX project consists of 50 portraits of women business owners. Presented at SoCo Modern Art Gallery, Deimeke created a space for creative networking and inspiration for likeminded, ambitious females. “I’m also a member of Young Women’s Alliance, which is based in Austin and is a great networking group for women,” she adds. “It’s really important for me to build a network of strong women and to always be working toward empowering female business owners. It’s something I’m super passionate about.” ATXWOMAN.COM | 27
I can make a living doing what I love, and that feels so empowering. I say this all the time and it’s cheesy but true: follow your dreams. —Gaby Deimeke
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Despite her success, Deimeke has faced many challenges as a woman in an artistic field. “I think there are some big issues for women in the music industry because it tends to be male dominated, especially concert photography.” Navigating through an industry that is predominantly male leads to a lot of inequity for women. “I’ve been in photo pits where security says, ‘Sorry, you can’t go in here,’ or a bunch of guys in a recording studio making jokes about women, and I’m the only woman there. I think there’s definitely a lot of room for improvement.” However, there is no stopping Gaby Deimeke’s grit and strong work ethic. Though she has created profound success in her career, she continues to strive for more. “I have lots of career and personal goals I’d still like to accomplish. I want to tour internationally; I want to photograph Taylor Swift; I want to be published in Rolling Stone; I want to travel to Asia; I want to eventually become fluent in Spanish. Right now I’m just along for the ride and seeing where this thing goes!” With a professional origin story that includes taking friends’ senior photos for $50 and handing out business cards on New York subways, Deimeke’s years of devotion to her craft have truly paid off. “I can make a living doing what I love, and that feels so empowering. I say this all the time and it’s cheesy but true: follow your dreams.”
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On the MONEY
When to Get a Financial Advisor Who to look for and when to do it. BY JENNY HOFF
et’s face it, not everyone has time to become a financial expert and do the research needed to make good decisions with their financial planning, investments and budgets. A financial advisor can help. You don’t need to be drowning in cash to hire a financial advisor, but you should have some sort of savings or assets to make it worth your while. A great time to hire a financial planner is when you have a bit of a savings and don’t know how to invest it, or you’re at a crossroads financially. You may be considering a career switch and want to plan a budget accordingly, or perhaps you’re planning to have children and want to get your current assets invested, or you’re engaged and want to make sure you and your partner have a financial plan going forward. You may even just be a few years into your professional life and want to make sure you are on the right track to meet your goals. It’s never too early or too late to get expert financial advice, and typically people with financial planners earn more through investments than those who go it alone. WHAT YOU SHOULD LOOK FOR
Financial planning is life planning. A good financial planner will ask you a series of in-depth questions to understand your risk tolerance, your goals for the future, your plans if you want to have children, how much you expect to have in retirement, which values dictate your decisions and more. It’s an opportunity to do more than discuss your money; it’s a chance to think about what you want your life to be like in five, 10 and 20 years. But not all financial advisors operate or charge in a similar way. The best kind of financial advisor is a fiduciary, an advisor sworn to act and advise in your best interest, not in the best interest of their bottom line. It’s also worth considering hiring an advisor who is paid by the hour rather than one who takes a cut from your earnings. While 30 | AUSTIN WOMAN | JUNE 2022
an hourly rate of $150 to $300 might seem expensive, in the long run it could save you a lot of money compared to a fee of, say, 1% taken from your earnings every year. When you pay hourly, you know they are advising based on the best investments for your situation (rather than those who pay managers a higher fee). WHERE TO FIND A FIDUCIARY
When you start your search for a fiduciary, it helps to ask for referrals from friends and family. If you don’t know anyone who has a financial advisor, then use online reviews as a starting point. But beware; some firms have been known to hire people to leave reviews on Google and Yelp in order to up their rankings. Going through a reputable firm, like the Kinder Institute, is a great way to ensure the advisor you hire follows a strict set of rules. Or if you’re a Dave Ramsay fan, ramseysolutions.com has a list of trusted advisors. Before you hire anyone, however, you should do your research to make sure they are a fiduciary. Ask in-depth questions about their pricing and make sure their strategies align with your values as well. Don’t be afraid to interview multiple people to find the right fit for you. After doctors, financial advisors are the professionals who will most intimately be connected with your life and financial health, so you should make sure you trust and like the person you hire.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or call 512.328.2421 for more information.
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WOMAN to WATCH
K AT E C OX
S A I L P O I N T | E N G I N E E R I N G M A N A G E R , P L AT F O R M U I ate Cox is an engineering manager at SailPoint, supporting the platform UI team. SailPoint is a leading provider of identity management and governance solutions. Cox started her career in system engineering roles for U.S. government contracts. During her work with the public sector, she identified a gap in UI/UX capabilities on software engineering teams and revectored her career toward front-end software development. As she moved into leadership roles, she leveraged her multidisciplinary experience to build effective, high-trust teams. Cox is also committed to supporting other women in STEM, working with teammates at SailPoint to build a professional support community called “Women in Product.” linkedin.com/in/kaitlin-cox
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Photo by Romina Olson.
WOMAN to WATCH
J E N N I F E R S E I D N E R VICE PRESIDENT OF PEOPLE J A N E A M A D O R M A N A G I N G PA R T N E R | T O R C H Y ’ S TA C O S
Photo by Romina Olson.
orchy’s Tacos was founded over 15 years ago in Austin with a mission to create something new and different that emphasized unique flavor and high-quality ingredients, all made from scratch. At the helm of the business sit Jennifer Seidner, vice president of people, and Jane Amador, managing partner of the brand’s 100th location, who are on a mission to positively impact the service industry by developing and elevating women leaders within the company. Seidner works closely with Torchy’s HQ to oversee the brand’s people and cultural development strategy, while Amador works in the field to deliver exceptional customer service to guests, all while inspiring her team to pursue growth and leadership opportunities within the company. Both leaders are passionate about investing in its people by expanding opportunities for women leaders, driving culture through diversity and fostering connection through commitment in values. torchystacos.com
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WOMAN to WATCH
HALCYON HOME | REGIONAL DIRECTOR, HOME CARE DIVISION eshia Ogburn is the regional director of Halcyon Home’s home care division, managing multiple sites with the goal of opening the home care office in Waco, Texas, in the latter part of 2022. She found her passion for assisting seniors while spending many nights by her mother’s side in a skilled nursing facility. Her mother instilled compassion and care in her and taught her the value of listening to others. Ogburn began her health care journey at 18 years old as a certified nursing assistant and later attended specialty training to achieve her medical assistant certification. She has worked in direct care roles as well as leadership roles, including a regional role with a national assisted living network and her current regional role with Halcyon Home. She embodies the Halcyon Home’s core values through her focus on communication, connection, collaboration and care for staff and clients. “Through inspiring others, I hope to show them they can achieve any dream through hard work and dedication without fear of obstacles that might come their way.” halcyonhome.com
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Photo by Romina Olson.
WOMAN to WATCH
T E X A S C A P I TA L B A N K | S E N I O R V I C E P R E S I D E N T MIDDLE MARKET BANKING TEAM LEAD
Photo by Kayla Davis.
nna Sanchez is the senior vice president and team lead in Middle Market Banking at Texas Capital Bank. As a native Austinite, she has seen the explosive economic growth that drives her passion to support burgeoning Austin-area businesses. Sanchez has spent her entire 30-plus-year banking career entirely in Austin. She not only focuses her attention on serving her clients but also serving her community. She holds various leadership roles in area nonprofits that support the LGBTQIA+ community, education, economic development and diversity in leadership. Leadership is her passion. As a leader and mentor, she strives to create an inclusive environment that consistently values the ideas and the work of those around her. She believes that building trustworthy relationships, treating all people with respect and recognizing diverse perspectives is the key to her success. texascapitalbank.com
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can’t stop, Won’t Stop
Special Olympics Ambassador Sydney Weigand lives without inhibition. BY JENNY HOFF PHOTOS BY RUDY AROCHA; ASSISTANT PHOTOGRAPHER, MARSHALL WALKER STYLING BY PARKE BALLANTINE WITH INSPIRATION FROM NORDSTROM HAIR AND MAKEUP BY ALICIA BELLER SHOT ON LOCATION AT SAN JACINTO HALL AT UT AUSTIN
ydney Weigand has a superpower. She can detect a person’s pain or joy from across a crowded room. In fact, she’ll cross that room to give the person in need a hug, even if she’s never met them in her life. “She doesn’t worry about it if someone is going to laugh at her; she has no inhibitions,” says her older brother, 28-year-old Colby Weigand, who works in film production. “She just does what she thinks she needs to do.” Colby recounts a recent experience at their church in North Austin when Sydney noticed a woman sitting on a bench outside, looking sad. “She said, ‘I think that person needs a hug,’ and went straight to her. You could see how grateful the lady was, just to have received this kindness. That’s the effect Sydney has on a lot of people.” Her father, Michael Weigand, says empathy has been a gift Sydney’s possessed since childhood. “Even when she was little, she would always go up to someone and say something good,” he recalls. “She would walk away, and they would stand taller, feeling better.” When Sydney was born 24 years ago, few people spoke about the special abilities a child with Down syndrome could possess, how incredibly full lives they could lead when given the chance to flourish. For most parents, a Down syndrome diagnosis means a lifetime of caretaking and a fear of how strangers will treat their child.
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Even when she was little, she “When doctors diagnosed her with Down syndrome at 4 days old, we were devastated,” recounts her would always go up to someone mother, Delanie Weigand. “We didn’t know better. and say something good. We had always envisioned having this brown-haired, She would walk away, ponytailed athletic daughter, and suddenly we thought that couldn’t be her future. But she has exceeded every and they would stand taller, expectation we ever had and more.” feeling better. Sydney has not only won more than 200 medals in various Special Olympics sports competitions, but she —Michael Weigand, Sydney's father is also a certified global messenger, a certified health messenger and athlete leader for Special Olympics Texas. She has given speeches about the benefits of the organization in front of governors, senators, NFL players, the Kennedy-Shriver family and more. A huge fan of musical theater (her current favorite is Hamilton), Sydney has even more ambitions for the future. “I want to be an actress or singer,” says Sydney. “I like music and dancing.” And why not? She’s already had roles in national commercials, acted in plays, has an agent in California and has now graced the cover of a magazine. These aren’t her parents’ initiatives; these are Sydney’s dreams she accomplishes every day. “She will achieve what you set out for her to do,” says Delanie. “A lot of people underestimate her. Our goal is to make sure she is not underestimated.” Sydney Weigand’s bedroom is a perfect snapshot of the young woman she has become, in no small part due to her parents’ determination to make sure she could realize all her talents and skills. Hundreds of gold and silver medals hang from her window, celebrating her tenacity to compete in swimming, powerlifting, tennis, basketball, gymnastics, bowling and track and field. Pictures of the Jonas Brothers and Niall Horan from One Direction adorn her closet, personally signed and dedicated to Sydney. A colorful bedspread covers her bed, and the words “Live as though heaven is on earth, dance as though no one is watching, sing as though no one can hear you, love as though you’ve never been hurt” accent the walls. “Those words are Sydney,” says Delanie, as she looks around the room with a smile on her face. “That’s the way she lives her life.” But perhaps the most “Sydney” part of her room is the poster board filled with photos of her bright smiling face, arms wrapped around her brothers, her parents, her friends, fellow athletes. It’s a menagerie of a life filled with beautiful moments and experiences: acting in a school play, dribbling a basketball, competing in a swim meet, shaking hands with her favorite celebrities, speaking at a conference full of politicians. “We always say Sydney’s never met a stranger,” says Michael, as Sydney takes his hand tenderly into her own. “Even at a hockey game, the bartenders know her by name and will make her a Shirley Temple, which they normally don’t serve, but they will for Sydney. When they see her, they light up.” Just 60 years ago, Sydney’s life could have been very different, as children born with her special needs were often discriminated against and even housed in “inhumane institutions, where they were deprived of education, healthcare and even plumbing,” according to the Global Down Syndrome Foundation. It wasn’t until the Special Olympics started gaining steam and integrating children of all abilities did public perception start to change.
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In the early 1960s, Eunice Kennedy Shriver started that movement when she founded Camp Shriver, with 36 children and 24 counselors—students recruited from high schools and colleges— to give kids with intellectual disabilities a chance to participate in summer camp. Established camps wouldn’t accept special needs kids for fear they would be “unteachable” and “belligerent,” but Camp Shriver proved otherwise. It turned out kids with disabilities had the same desires as any other child: to have fun, interact and play with each other. Today, the Special Olympics supports over 5 million athletes worldwide. With 1 million coaches and volunteers, the organization puts on more than 100,000 competitions each year, including 32 Olympic-type sports through programs in more than 170 countries. The organization not only provides athletic opportunities for people, but is a main source of social interaction and one of the biggest providers of health care services to special needs athletes. A huge part of the organization’s success in changing the quality of life for athletes is its Unified Champion Schools program, which works with schools across the country to create integrated training programs for athletes of all abilities. This is accomplished by bringing together students with and without intellectual disabilities to create accepting school environments, utilizing three interconnected components: Special Olympics Unified Sports, inclusive youth leadership and whole school engagement. It gives kids with and without disabilities a chance to interact in a fun way and create lasting friendships that change all kids’ lives for the better. It’s the kind of program Sydney got to participate in as a student in Round Rock ISD. “What I have found is, especially in sport, their participation and their attitude while they are competing is really pure,” says Jan Sartain, Sydney’s longtime coach who has known her since she was just 3 years old. “They are there for the pure joy and excitement of competing, of giving their best and doing their best.” Sartain is the former lead teacher for the adaptive physical education program and Special Olympics coordinator for Round Rock ISD. Though she has coached
hundreds of students throughout her career, Sydney sticks out to her as someone strong and determined to give whatever it takes. “When she comes, she’s committed to practice, she’s committed to put the work in, she has a great attitude. You know you can always depend on her.” It’s that determination that earned Sydney a spot as a representative of Texas at the Special Olympics USA Games in Seattle in 2018. With 7,000 other athletes over a period of four days, Sydney took the national stage and showed what she was made of.
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She’s done a lot of things because she says yes to things that come her way. I think that’s a lesson she’s taught all of us. —Michael Weigand, Sydney's father
“She also won a date with the Jonas Brothers,” laughs her mom. “She was the top fundraiser for the games and got a chance to meet them that morning, go to their concert that evening and then waltz past the VIP line for a meet-and-greet afterward. She’s taken us to some pretty amazing places.” Sydney is passionate about health, and as a health ambassador for the Special Olympics, she recently created a video with Colby on good eating habits and how to shop smart at the supermarket. “There are definitely times where with certain lines she can struggle a little, but that’s the same for every actor,” he says. “We have big actors who struggle with certain lines. She did great.” While Sydney currently has a job in administration at the U.S. Money Reserve, she’s an entertainer at heart. Just take a look at her Instagram and TikTok feeds and you’ll see Sydney singing into a microphone at a packed stadium or singing in her car, reciting every word to her favorite songs. “She’s done a lot of things because she says yes to things that come her way,” Michael says. “I think that’s a lesson she’s taught all of us.” THE IMPORTANCE OF CONNECTION
Much like most of our social media feeds, Sydney’s doesn’t show the loneliness and toll the COVID-19 pandemic took on her as she was suddenly isolated from her friends and community when the world shut down. Though she had her family, who would take her to empty movie theaters just for an outing during the pandemic months, she was unable to see all the friends she connected with regularly during the Special Olympic games. The burden that isolation had on the special needs community was especially severe, given there were few other independent outlets for them to connect with friends. For two years, she was separated from her boyfriend, Brennan—who lives in Dallas and is also a Special Olympics athlete—her best friend Hayley, as well as the activities that make up her life. Because Sydney feels so deeply, she also felt the pain others around her were experiencing, and her family was careful to limit exposure to sad news going on around the country and world. “The pandemic was really difficult,” says Michael. “She didn’t like to see people sick or be alone. There were no Special Olympics, no real activities.” “It was very sad,” echoes Sydney, her usual smile fading. In February of this year, Sydney finally got a chance to reunite with her friends for the first time in two years and compete once again in the Special Olympics Texas Winter Games, which were held in Bee Cave—a small city just west of Austin. She was thrilled to show off her muscles in powerlifting (she can bench press 75 pounds; her deadlift max is 145 pounds), where she won yet another gold medal to add to her wall. “I feel happy,” she says, recognizing her medal achievement. “They look cool there.”
LOCATION: SAN JACINTO HALL San Jacinto Hall sits at the southwest corner of 21st and San Jacinto Street, tucked away from the bustle of inner campus but across the street from the Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium. The hall, built in 2000, accommodates nearly 900 students in rooms with private bathrooms, study lounges on every floor and is home to the popular Cypress Bend Cafe. San Jacinto has many indoor and outdoor community spaces for residents to hang out, promoting a welcoming and social environment. 309 E. 21st St. • housing.utexas.edu/housing/residence-halls/residence-hall-locations/san-jacinto-hall
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All people need connection and a sense of purpose; that holds equally true for those with intellectual disabilities. It’s crucial for good health, both physical and mental. It was only in 1975 when the federal government passed a law ensuring all children, regardless of ability level, have access to free education. Since then, the number of children born with Down syndrome who go on to live full lives with friends, jobs and sometimes even independent homes, has steadily increased. Being a part of the Special Olympics increases the chances immensely of a longer, healthier and more fulfilling life. But there is still work to do. “It is an ongoing charge for everyone: for families, for the education system, for the business world to continue to open their eyes and open their arms to look at every individual for who they are,” says Sartain. “Every person has something they can contribute to this world.” Sydney’s not necessarily out to be a role model, but she is becoming one through her continuous engagement in educating the public about the importance of organizations like the Special Olympics and through using social media to showcase her life—just like any budding influencer. The feedback she gets is almost always positive and encouraging. “I feel good about our future, the way the young people treat each other,” says Delanie. “I think it’s come a long way since I was growing up. You walk away feeling the world is a good place.” NOT A PUSHOVER
One of Delanie’s earliest memories of Sydney’s diagnosis was a nurse telling her Sydney’s condition would ensure “she wouldn’t have an aggressive bone in her body.” What was meant as encouragement sounded like a curse to Delanie, who feared her daughter wouldn’t be able to stand up for herself against a potentially cruel world. Two days later, when they tried to give her feeding tubes, Delanie says she watched baby Sydney fight back with all her might—and her proud mama heart soared. “Women used to be told they couldn’t run marathons because they’re too dainty,” says Delanie, with a wry smile. “It’s the same thing. She is more capable than they realize.” Growing up with two brothers—older brother Colby and younger brother Jaden, 21, who is a student at Texas Tech—Sydney knows how to stand up for herself. “I
She inspires me to get up and do one small thing, and that small thing can lead to a lot of other things in your day. —Colby Weigand, Sydney's brother
remembered when we were 10 and 12 years old, wrestling on her bed in her room. I was a decent size, and she flings me across the room,” laughs Jaden. “She’s a lot stronger than you think. That’s the moral of the story.” When asked what he thinks Sydney could do in the future, he responds, “I feel like she’ll say yes to anything that comes up; she’ll do it and enjoy it. I can see her continuing in the Special Olympics and becoming an ambassador and advocate for it. Inspiring other kids to do things that she’s done. I can see her getting into acting if the opportunities come up. I think the better question would be to say what couldn’t she do in her future?” Sydney’s current interest is learning how to drive and living on her own again (as she did when she attended the University of Texas). Her boyfriend is interested in getting married, but that would likely require her to move to the Dallas region, away from her close-knit family. “I think people have a tendency to be very focused on material things and monetary things, but the definition of what a good day is and what a happy life looks like isn’t centered on how much money you have,” says Michael. “She’s probably never going to be an attorney or neurosurgeon, but she’s going to have a big impact on the people around her.” For now, Sydney seems to be using her superpowers to inspire those around her to be more open, to take more chances and to spread more love. Her willingness to try anything, to dance when she feels the urge, to hug a stranger or friend when they need it, to compliment spontaneously with no expectation in return, to feel and express joy every day, is creating more impact than she could imagine. “She lives her life the way she wants to live,” says Colby. “She’s done more in her life than I think any of us have. She inspires me to get up and do one small thing, and that small thing can lead to a lot of other things in your day. She embodies that in her life, to always keep moving and keep trying without inhibition.”
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Women Transforming each other The future is female, but for the members of the Young Women's Alliance, the future is now. BY KATHRYN FREEMAN
hen I graduated from law school and was thrust into the real world, like many twenty-somethings, I had no idea what it meant to be a working professional. Following in the footsteps of my peers, I turned to Google for guidance. This is how I found the Young Women’s Alliance (YWA). Now as a late thirty-something, I can confidently say that YWA helped make me the professional and leader I am today. Carol Thompson founded the Young Women’s Alliance in 1993 in her living room with 20 women who wanted to network and trade business development strategies. Today, YWA’s mission is to “build a community that supports, empowers and connects women.” The organization focuses on four areas to achieve its mission: service, leadership, education and networking. The breadth of the organization helps many women find their place professionally and socially. Growing from 20 women in 1993 to 582 women in 2022, YWA has launched many Austin women, from marketing associates to chief marketing officers, entrepreneurs, state government employees and Austin City council people for District 2. Even for women who have not yet reached the pinnacle of their careers, YWA is a place where they can learn to fight imposter syndrome, cultivate leadership skills, raise money for scholarships and build community. Austin is the fastest growing metro area in the U.S., with 37,000 people moving to the city a year, so finding footing as a young female leader can feel both daunting and urgent. Creating the networks needed for personal and professional development can be difficult under normal circumstances, but at the height of the pandemic, it was near impossible.
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This was the case for Eunice Park, who moved to Austin from San Francisco a few months before the pandemic hit and like many of us spent 2020 stuck inside her apartment. “[YWA] helped me get out of my shell,” she says. “I [needed] to be part of the Austin community.” Park joined in 2021 as part of the “new year, new me” crowd but quickly found her place serving, first as the vice president of membership, then the next year serving as the vice president of strategic planning. Young women in the workforce face many barriers: sexism, sexual harassment, discrimination. Add being the primary caregivers to children or aging parents, and this means women are consistently underrepresented at every level of corporate America. According to a report by McKinsey and leanin.org, fewer women are hired than men into entry-level positions even though women are 57% of recent college graduates. The disparities increase at every ensuing career milestone—women are only 20% of C-suite leaders, and for women of color the numbers are even more abysmal as they only account for 1 in 30 C-suite leaders. There are systemic barriers to gender parity in corporate America, but YWA helps female leaders acquire skills and networks usually closed off to women who rely solely on their employers.
Photo by Gaby Deimeke.
Leah Christensen President-elect
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Fabiana Meléndez Ruiz Public relations chair
But YWA is changing the confidence calculus for many young female leaders by giving them opportunities to lead high-profile projects, like the Austin Under 40 awards. Lauren Kaufman, finance professional and the current YWA president, says, “Leading YWA gave me the confidence to know that I can and will be a CEO one day.” Some young women need the confidence to remember that “perfect” is not a legitimate job qualification. YWA has helped many former and current members ask for more—money, mentorship, time off and responsibility. Vice President of Development Brianna Fuller says, “[YWA] helped me overcome any feelings of self-doubt, or imposter syndrome…[it] allowed me the room to grow comfortable in taking up space as a leader among our 500+ members.” When imposter syndrome deceives so many young women into thinking they do not belong or do not have what it takes, YWA helps remind the future of Austin what is true about themselves. YWA has changed how young women think about themselves and their careers. They are no longer passive participants in the workplace. If they want more responsibility, they ask for it. If they want to be challenged and grow in their careers, they can leave a place where they are not thriving. Ruiz learned a similar lesson. “YWA has really pushed me to develop as a leader, both in my industry and overall. First, I had to decide to leave a job that I loved to continue growing as a leader and a professional. I was matched with an official mentor who provided guidance and advice.” Ruiz offers this same advice to fellow young leaders. “Don’t be afraid to fail. Failure is essential to growth,
Photo by Kristen McKelvie.
Park says YWA gave her the opportunity to grow in skills that she has not had an opportunity to explore in professional life yet. “I am really interested in strategic planning, but I haven’t necessarily had as many opportunities to [pursue it].” Fabiana Meléndez Ruiz, a public relations professional, agrees that YWA provides women the opportunity to stretch their professional skills. “[As public relations chair] YWA is my client,” she says. “I was on the hook for developing and executing the program pro bono while providing counsel to the organization.” While these women are strengthening their resumes for future career developments, they are ready to lead now, and YWA is providing them with the opportunity. Young female professionals are sometimes denied the same opportunities YWA makes available to them. According to Pew Research, women are more likely to be treated as incompetent at work and passed over for important assignments, while also less likely to receive support from senior leaders. In addition to providing the space to grow personally and professionally through leadership projects that might be otherwise out of reach, YWA offers support through mentorship and networking. President-elect Leah Christensen wanted to move from the construction industry to the tech industry, but a YWAfacilitated connection helped her walk through previously closed doors. “[They] were a true advocate for me and made sure I had the opportunity to show my value to the company,” she shares. Christensen is not alone; YWA members and mentors are known to help transform glass ceilings into open doors. A Wednesday-night YWA speaker series transformed how I approach my career. I had let fear and perfectionism keep me from going for more and was stuck. During that speaker series, attendants learned a startling fact: Women only apply for promotions when they meet 100% of the qualifications while men will apply when they meet 60%. According to The New York Times bestselling book The Confidence Code, the confidence gap between men and women in corporate environments is one of the factors that hamper women’s ability to “lean in.” Authors Katty Kay and Claire Shipman write, “Underqualified and underprepared men do not think twice about leaning in; [in contrast] overqualified and overprepared women still hold back.”
Photo by Gaby Deimeke.
Eunice Park Vice President of Strategic Planning
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Lauren Kaufman President
like they are only a success once they have achieved their personal and professional goals—when they are the CEO, CMO or an elected official. But the women of YWA have so much to offer Austin right now. It is inspiring to watch a young woman with a fear of public speaking get up and speak at the Austin Under 40 awards, or a woman who is not in a STEM field gives hours of her time to GirlStart because she knows it is important for young girls to know the STEM field is for them. These small steps forward are shaping our future leaders in imperceptible but important ways.
The Young Women’s Alliance is a community of women transforming each other, our city and their futures, one networking party, one volunteer event, one golf lesson at a time. Find out more about how you can get involved with the Young Women's Alliance at youngwomensalliance.org.
Photo by Dave Creaney.
and it’s a very human experience. Without failure there is no learning, pivoting, reframing and challenging of your own mindset and biases. Once you remove that fear, there’s a lot of freedom in reframing your own mindset and focusing on what you think success is.” It is amazing how many of their members share similar advice for their peers. “Go for it,” Christensen encourages. “Show up and always be open to learning new things. The small things can lead to a big impact.” Says Kaufman, “Do the things that scare you. [YWA] helped me realize that in order to have the life I wanted, I was going to have to push myself to get out of my comfort zone.” The world needs more unafraid female leaders. The women of YWA are women to watch, but they are not waiting to make their mark on Austin. They are making their mark now. Since 2011, YWA has awarded almost $200,000 to young women in and around Austin for college scholarships and has awarded over $50,000 in grants to organizations powering the next generation of female leaders like Girls Empowerment Network and GirlStart. The women of YWA recognize that Austin is changing and like any good leader, they are preparing now to meet the opportunity. According to the 2020 census, Austin is now a majority-minority city, and future leaders need to be prepared to lead both today’s workforce and the workforce of the future. Last year, disheartened by the lack of ethnic and racial diversity in the organization—even as the leadership has diversified over the last few years, the organization remains 67% white—the leaders decided to create a Diversity, Equity and Belonging (DEB) plan to address the disparity. “YWA has served as a place that facilitates networking opportunities and supports Austin’s next generation of women leaders,” says Ruiz. “It was time to elevate and expand on that impact from a diversity and inclusion lens to improve representation at all levels.” Kaufman sees the value of diverse perspectives when it comes to her future as a CEO. “YWA has exposed me to working with all different types of backgrounds, industries, skill sets and personalities. I think about ‘managing’ people in a completely different way than I used to and try to create a culture where people feel safe to bring their true selves and where differences are celebrated.” Being named “a leader to watch” can make one feel
Photo by Gaby Deimeke.
Brianna Fuller Vice President of Development
ATXWOMAN.COM | 49
WOMAN'S WAY BUSINESS AWARDS
May 12, 2022
Photos courtesy of Joi Conti and Morgan Knight.
Austin Woman Magazine and the wonderful women of Austin came together on May 12 to celebrate women who are challenging outdated structures, envisioning new models and laying the foundations for an inclusive, authentically expressed and innovative city. Congratulations to all of the winners and finalists!
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ATXWOMAN.COM | 55
Sandestin, Florida is your 2022 SANDestination By: Marika Flatt
Texans flock to the panhandle of Florida for many reasons:
• It’s drivable, approximately 12-14 hours from Central Texas. (Beware of the speed traps on I-10 and I-12 through Louisiana!) • This area has some of the most beautiful beaches of white sand and clear blue water you’ll find, not only in the U.S. but the world. • The 30A area has a huge fan club in the Lone Star State for good reason—15 unique beach communities with easy access to the beach and varying price ranges.
Sandestin is the very first of the 30A lineup, just down the road from Destin and around the corner from the popular towns of Seaside and Watercolor. Sandestin is a coastal village, which the locals call “campus,” with everything you need: from a grocery (put in your online order at Publix ahead of your arrival), to plenty of restaurants, trails and really anything you need to vacay all day.
Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort comprises the bulk of this seaside town. Here you’ll find loads of choices for accommodation, from hotels to condos to homes. Check out Osprey Pointe for a spacious condo option. Just inside the gates of the community, Osprey Pointe has five buildings, each with four floors of condos, overlooking the bay on one side and a pool on the other. Within the three-bedroom option, you’ll enjoy an open floor plan with full kitchen, living room, washer/dryer and a spacious patio. The main bedroom is large and in charge with a cavernous ensuite bathroom; there’s a room with two single beds and its own bathroom and another bedroom with a queen that uses the third guest bathroom. Enjoy time at Sandestin’s Marina Bar & Grill for a chill vibe, mostly outdoor seating overlooking the yacht-filled marina. Locals line up along the popular bar, so reservations are recommended. Settle in with a La Crema chardonnay and order hearty apps like nachos or grouper fish dip. Entrees include a relaxed menu featuring a fried grouper sandwich, hamburger and a daily special, such as tomato bisque soup with a grilled cheese sandwich. You’ll really soak up the community’s coastal living here. Whether you stay at Sandestin’s posh Hotel Effie or not, you can enjoy a full day of vacay here. Book a treatment at the luxurious Spa Lilliana. Indulge in the Spa Lilliana massage (60/90 min; $170/225) for a truly customized treatment. Whether you’re looking for aromatherapy relaxation or a therapeutic sports massage, that table is for you. Make time to relax and read in their quiet room with loungers you won’t want to leave. Before your eventual departure, head to the top floor to enjoy a drink at Ara, which offers a brightly designed indoor bar and outdoor rooftop pool (said to be the best spot in Sandestin on a gorgeous bluebird day). From specialty cocktails to frozen strawberry margaritas and bloody marys, you’ll soak in the reason you escaped to Florida. When you’re ready for a delicious dinner, head back downstairs to the first floor’s Ovide restaurant, with all the charm and class Sandestin exudes. Settle in with a bottle of bold red (Es Okay from Mendocino County is a delight) while you enjoy a sharable starter such as the flavorful burrata (small but mighty), chargrilled octopus or roasted gulf oysters. (Make sure you get your fill of Gulf seafood while you can.) For your main, enjoy each savory bite of the lobster risotto, a creamy mix of Maine lobster with pecorino, or a pan-roasted snapper nestled on a Thai chili emulsion. The sharable sides include a healthy grilled broccolini or wild mushrooms, or an indulgent bowl of rice grits with smoked ham. (Be forewarned. You might want to try one of each of these sharable side dishes.) Within Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort, you have access to complimentary bikes and kayaks (rented at the Village of Baytowne Wharf), a fitness center and miles and miles of jogging trails.
Photo courtesy of Texas Lifestyle and Travel Magazine.
Across the Emerald Coast Parkway from Sandestin Resort sits the Hilton Sandestin, right on the beach. With two outdoor pools, an indoor pool and hot tubs both in and out, this pool deck that leads to the pure white sand is all you need for a day of beach bummin’. Reserve chairs and an umbrella, or grab a chaise lounge on the pool deck overlooking the beach, for a sunny day escape. Wander up to Barefoot’s Grill at midday to get your fill of fried grouper tacos, a burger with fries or a leaner salad for swimsuit season. As a lavish add-on to your day, book a service at the world-class Serenity by the sea Spa, steps away from the beach. Take your pick from a massive menu of treatment choices and build several extra hours into your experience to enjoy their steam room, dry sauna and indoor jacuzzi. (Make sure you push the waterfall button!) There are two relaxation lounges: one bright and airy (and a bit loud) and another tucked away in a dark corner, perfect for reading a juicy novel in peace. To crank up the craic (an Irish term for fun), order lunch to be delivered: a wood-fired margherita pizza, a cobb salad or burrata, paired with a low-sugar Kim Crawford sauvignon blanc. (Because we’re there for our health!)
As a Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort guest, you will receive complimentary unlimited health club access for adults and a four-hour bicycle rental daily for two. Also included are one hour of kayaking (seasonal), one hour of boogie board (seasonal) and one hour of tennis courts each day per unit (after 11 a.m.). Registered guests are entitled to resort transportation to and from designated stops. Download the app for the resort tram schedule and live map.
Sandestin Sidebar Suggestions
Breakfast: • Another Broken Egg Cafe • Sunset Bay Cafe Suggested morning activities: • Beach trip • Floating waterpark • Kayak/boogie board/paddle board Lunch: • Hammerhead’s Bar & Grille • Roberto’s Pizzeria • Sunset Bay Cafe • The Drunken Goat Saloon • The Village Door Suggested afternoon activities: • Explore Village of Baytowne Wharf • Afternoon bicycle ride (call 850.267.6363 to arrange for bike pickup/drop-off) • Afternoon snack for the sweet tooth at Moo La-La Ice Cream & Desserts or Tony Larue’s
The Good Ol’’Days Never Had It This Good
Marika Flatt, named Outstanding Austin Communicator 2021, is the travel editor of Texas Lifestyle Magazine. She can be seen on TV shows across Texas offering travel tips, in addition to her long-running “Weekend Trip Tip” on NPR’s Texas Standard.
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You’ve Got the Lewk
The women behind Texas State University’s first fashion magazine saw a need in the industry and created a safe space for other creators to fill it. BY CY WHITE
t’s not every day someone wakes up and decides, “You know what? I’m gonna create my own fashion magazine.” Nevermind that it’ll be the first of its kind, there will be no financial support from any major organizations and it will ultimately have to be built from scratch. But that’s exactly what Gabriella Garcia did when she got the idea for Lewk Magazine, Texas State University’s first and only fashion magazine. The cofounder, co-Editor-in-Chief and recently turned senior then called up her friend, co-founder and self-professed mama of the group, Amaya Aztecatl, and they put their plan into action. “I kind of felt like I was in this lost place,” Aztecatl reveals. “I didn’t really have anywhere to go, I didn’t have a community of people. We were both sort of lone wolves in this. I just switched my major, we didn’t know anybody in fashion and Gabby and I were basically going in as transfer students. So she was like, ‘Let’s start a magazine or a blog or something.’ She sent me this magazine from UT called Spark. I looked at it and was like, ‘Well, this is kind of badass, but we can do better.’” From there, Garcia and Aztecatl submitted their paperwork and recruited models, photographers, any creative who needed an outlet for expression. When it was time to bring on a third executive member, Aztecatl’s choice was as easy as flipping through the pages of her beloved Vogue magazine. “Sydney [Bynes] is a model, right?” she says with enthusiasm. “We had a textiles class together, and she comes walking in like she’s Tyra, Naomi. I’m like, ‘Who is this glowing queen? I must be friends with her.’” The group erupts in laughter. Aztecatl speaks like a fashion fangirl, but this fangirl had a vision,
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Amaya Aztecatl (left) and Sydney Bynes
Photos courtesy of Evelyn Deal.
Let’s amplify those voices that aren’t being amplified. Let’s talk about those conversations that are being pushed under the rug. Yeah, we’re a fashion magazine, but we’re a fashion magazine that’s putting the mirror in your face. —Amaya Aztecatl
and she wanted Bynes, Lewk’s managing editor and fashion coordinator, on board. “I guess she got the courage to talk to me,” Bynes says. “She was like, ‘I have this really big secret, [and] I want you to be a part of it.’ And I was like, ‘Okay I want new friends, and maybe this will be something worthwhile.’ So we met, and from there, it just started going crazy with the amount of ideas and the amount of inspiration that we had.” Don’t mistake their enthusiasm for precociousness. These young women are on a very grown mission to disrupt the publications dedicated to the fashion industry’s seemingly evergreen social influence. While Aztecatl proclaims her love for names like Harper’s Bazaar, Elle and, of course, Vogue (“I’m Carrie Bradshaw, always looking at Vogue. That’s literally my Bible”), she’s not your typical fan, praying at their gilded altars. “The one thing I don’t like is,” she says, “yeah, they have diversity, but they have diversity on their terms.” Just like that, some of her adoration dims. “I remember when we were talking about applying to the magazine, and we were referring to makeup and hair artists. I literally paused the meeting and said, ‘We’re going to
have a talk. If you do not submit an application with all colors of the rainbow, then we’re not even going to look at it because it’s not fair to me, it’s not fair to Sydney, it’s not fair to our models.’” It takes some serious guts to challenge veritable giants. But these women are incredibly intentional about ensuring they put the fashion publishing industry to task for its selective inclusivity and inability to see beyond its own antiquated biases. “Looking at the industry and doing the polar opposite of that is sort of our motto,” Aztecatl says. “Let’s amplify those voices that aren’t being amplified. Let’s talk about those conversations that are being pushed under the rug. Yeah, we’re a fashion magazine, but we’re a fashion magazine that’s putting the mirror in your face.” The young women of Lewk are well aware that their presence on campus is quite the anomaly. “Being three young girls that go to college and [are] starting the first ever [fashion] magazine at our campus, it was honestly overwhelming a little bit because all eyes are on us,” Bynes says. If you have the wherewithal to name your magazine Lewk, you must have some inclination that’s exactly what you’re going to get. Especially as the first publication of its kind on campus. Despite their idealism, however, these young women ultimately just wanted a space where creatives could feel they belonged. Each of them attests to the fact that Texas State University felt a bit like a ghost town to those desperate for a community of kindred spirits. “I transferred in the middle of a pandemic as a second-semester sophomore,”
The biggest thing for me is encouraging younger women of color to go out there and trailblaze. —Amaya Aztecatl
Evelyn Deal, Lewk’s creative director, reveals. “Honestly, all I saw when I came to campus was sorority, frat life,” she continues. “I was like, ‘Oh no, I just don’t fit in. I made a mistake.’ Seeing [Lewk] blossom into something huge has been so great for me personally, but I know there are other people who are in the same boat that I was in. I just want this to be a huge thing for creatives and collaboration, to provide students who are likeminded with opportunities.” Garcia and Aztecatl, in particular, take their place in TSU’s history very seriously. The optics of three women of color beginning a one-of-a-kind publication at their school is not lost on them. “I’ve always wanted it to be
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woman-led because I just think that it’s very important, especially in today’s age, to show diversity,” Garcia says. “I didn’t want it to look like just a regular magazine you pick up at Barnes & Noble. I wanted it to show that we’re different, to show that we’re not like what people are gonna think we are like just by hearing the name.” Garcia, Aztecatl, Bynes and Deal make a formidable unit. These young women have created something exemplary, an example to those who come after them of resilience and the determination to fearlessly follow your passion, whatever it is. “The biggest thing for me is encouraging younger women of color to go out there and trailblaze,” says Aztecatl. “Be the Kamala Harris; be who you are. Go out there and trailblaze. You don’t need to be a part of a bigger company. Make your own company. Do your own thing.” Visit atxwoman.com for the interview in its entirety.
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Stage actress Daisy Wright blooms into who she truly is on-stage and off. BY DAISY WRIGHT
eep Austin Weird. We’ve heard it so many times: plastered on mugs and T-shirts, bumper stickers and coasters; touted by tourists on their Instagram captions as they hit up the Austin sights. In my opinion, this phrase personiﬁes the special spirit of this unique city. There is a freedom here, a fearlessness, devoted to expressing yourself entirely. I see it in the wild and colorful murals that decorate the city. I see it in the whimsical music festivals, concerts and events that bring such life and vivacity to the streets each weekend. I see it in the free spirits and drum circles at Eeyore’s Birthday Party each year, in the handmade trinkets for sale in the weekly Farmer’s Markets. I see it in the vibrant vintage shops, and funky food trucks, and even the uniquely shaped buildings that make up our beautiful Austin skyline. Life here is unexpected, unique and, well…weird. In the very best sense of the word. Though it sounds cliche, this oft-repeated slogan is something much more precious and profound to me. It is an anthem, a way of life, a state of being that inspires one to embrace the little quirks and uniqueness of their own being and share it with the world around them. This little phrase gives me the sense that it is okay, in fact necessary, to celebrate all of who you are and to share that with the world. When I moved here with my (native-Austinite) husband from New York in 2019, I soon felt the conﬁnes of my own self-image begin to blur and expand with exposure to the vast openmindedness of this beautiful city. I began to dress more vibrantly and in tune with my personality without fear of judgment. I let myself oﬀ the hook a bit, allowing myself to enjoy and savor life a bit more. I began to take more risks and do more things just for the fun of it. I went hiking in the Greenbelt. I ate way more queso. I went topless. I gave into my weirdness. I learned to celebrate it, and I believe that this unfolding is the very thing that led me to my most recent success. I had the incredible pleasure of getting to perform in ZACH Theatre’s recent production of The Rocky Horror Show. Based on the 1975 movie, and adapted and expanded to match the enthusiasm of today’s audiences, it was an absolute party that I got to take part in throwing every night. In the show, I played Janet Weiss: a young and innocent, newly engaged woman. She is wide-eyed and naive, a soon-to-be happily married housewife, blissfully unaware of the world and the truth of her own humanity. Throughout the show, you follow Janet and Brad as they enter Frankenfurter’s castle and progress through their wild evening. You watch as their defenses get stripped down to the bare minimum…as do their clothes.
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To me, being an Austin Woman means embracing and celebrating the weirdest parts of yourself and sharing them with the world each day. Because, why not? —Daisy Wright
That fateful night, Janet faces heartbreak and comes face-to-face with her own demanding desires. She ultimately gives in to her passions and the experience forever changes her. The things she kept hidden to “ﬁt in,” the quirks and desires that she kept under wraps, were forced to come out. In the end, she realized she needed to embrace and celebrate all of herself, even the raw, gritty, dirty, sexy parts, in order to reach her true potential. It is equal parts freeing and heartbreaking to see that her newfound experience expands her mind and her persona so much that inevitably, she can no longer ﬁt it into the tiny pretty box of “’50s housewife” that society had demanded she reside in. Though after what she went through, I don’t think she’d want to go back into that box anyway. In the rich, lavish, over-the-top ﬁnale of the show, Janet sings, “I feel released, bad times deceased. My conﬁdence has increased, reality is here. The game has been disbanded. My mind has been expanded.” Janet has been untamed, and she can never go back to the girl she once was. It was an absolute joy to take on this wild, wacky and incredible journey each night. Through Janet, I was able to discover and underline the awakening I’ve felt in my own life. Just like Janet, I’ve had to put the most vulnerable and unique parts of myself on display, and in doing so, I’ve found a new level of conﬁdence and empowerment not just on stage, but in my everyday life. I learned that embracing your weirdness can lead to a much more exciting, fulﬁlling and, dare I say, “pleasurable” life. To me, being an Austin Woman means embracing and celebrating the weirdest parts of yourself and sharing them with the world each day. Because, why not?
Photo by Suzanne Cordeiro.
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