2021 Maura Women Helping Women and Young Leaders Awards Co-Chairs Jana Etheridge and Hattie Hill are putting a special polish on the Texas Women’s Foundation celebration. The virtual event on Thursday, April 29, will be $42 to attend in honor of the annual fundraiser’s 42nd anniversary presented by AT&T.
Interestingly, the keynote speaker will be Girls in Tech Founder/CEO and “Tech Boss Lady” author Adriana Gascoigne, who was just a toddler when the Maura event kicked off recognizing leaders who have positively impacted the lives of women and girls. Over the decades the advancement of women in leadership roles has risen, thanks to the support and example provided by Adriana and the Maura Award presentations and recipients.
But Adriana’s rise to success had many challenges. Her career plan was in the tech industry at a time when it was largely male dominated, and too often sexual harassment was a problem. She told Ethan Baron of Bay Area News Group about those early days: “There was a lot of confusion in my head on what I should do and how it would affect not only my current job but my entire career. A lot of times I wouldn’t say anything. I didn’t want to be seen as ‘weak’ … or that I’m complaining or a tattle-tail. I spoke up about two of the incidents and there were formal apologies written, but we’re in California — it could’ve been a lot worse.”
It was in 2007 when she found herself the only woman in a technology firm and started the nonprofit Girls In Tech. Her purpose was to eliminate the gender gap in the tech industry. Today Girls in Tech has more than 60,000 members in 50+ chapters around the world.
According to Texas Women’s Foundation President/CEO Roslyn Dawson Thompson, “We are eager to hear from Adriana Gascoigne, who has made it her mission to create a global network of support for women in technology and who totally lives up to her book’s title, ‘Tech Boss Lady.’ ”
Adriana’s hard work has also resulted in her being named “one of the 20 most influential Latinos in technology,” as well as receiving the Pioneer Leadership Award at the Silicon Valley Latino Leadership Summit.
In describing herself, Adriana says, “I’m Mexican, Japanese and Basque — I’m quite the mutt with three different ethnicities that are quite different from each other.”
Following Adriana’s talk at 10 a.m., supported in part by the Catherine M. Coughlin Endowment for Women’s Leadership at Texas Women’s Foundation, event attendees will select and join one of the breakout Leadership Forums at 10:50 a.m. featuring the five 2021 Maura Women Helping Women Awardees and two Young Leader Awardees, who include the following:
2021 Maura Women Helping Women
- Trisha Cunningham of North Texas Food Bank – Servant Leader and Champion of Eliminating Hunger in North Texas
- Jin-Ya Huang of Break Bread, Break Borders (BBB) — Artist and Impact Innovator for Immigrant Women
- Revati “Rani” Puranik, Woldwide Oilfield Machine (WOM) – Intrapreneur and Global Change Agent for Young women
- Judy Trevino of CCVI Ministries Inc. — Charity Leaders and Advocate for Women’s Financial Empowerment
- Cheryl Polote Williamson of Soul Reborn — Filmmaker, Author, Speaker and Entrepreneurial Activator
- Diana Mao of Nomi Network — Global Crusader and Protector Against Human Trafficking
- Kim Roxie of LAMIK Beauty — Entrepreneur and Catalyst for WOC Founders
The discussions will have the awardees discussing “key issues and their own pathways to leadership,” with guests also interacting and participating.
Thanks to videotaping, the forums will be available for viewing within 24 hours. There will also be the launch of “Gender Matters™ “sponsored by Kimberly-Clark, which will “feature in-depth interviews with each award recipient.”
For a detailed description of the seven awardees, follow the jump:
Maura Women Helping Women Awardees
- Trisha Cunningham is president and CEO of the North Texas Food Bank (NTFB), a $200 million nonprofit leading the fight against hunger in North Texas. She and her team of 200 employees and thousands of volunteers worked with more than 200 partners in their feeding network to provide access to 97 million meals last fiscal year. Prior to NTFB, she served as Chief Citizenship Officer at Texas Instruments to build stronger communities globally. Some of her recent awards include being named as a Dallas Business Journal’s 2020 Women in Business honoree and 2020 Most Inspiring Leader, D CEO’s Dallas 500 Most Influential Business Leaders in 2019 and 2020, Dallas Regional Chamber’s Leadership Dallas 2019 Distinguished Alumni and Junior League of Collin County’s 2019 Nonprofit Executive of the Year. When she is not nourishing her neighbors, she serves on numerous nonprofit boards, engages in civic opportunities and spends time with her family.
- Jin-Ya Huang is a social impact, community development and creative innovator with a focus on the intersection of equity, design and social justice work. She is the founder of Break Bread, Break Borders, a culinary training social enterprise that economically empowers refugee women from war-torn countries through the storytelling of cooking, food and culture. An acclaimed interdisciplinary artist, she creates work that examines her Asian identity and diasporic immigrant experience. Huang is also an accomplished, published writer and public speaker. With an eye towards new approaches to entrepreneurship, empowering women and improving race relations, she serves on multiple advisory boards and is a member of Texas Women’s Foundation’s Orchid Giving Circle. Huang is highly regarded for her ability to bring communities and people of all backgrounds together and has a reputation as a bridge builder. She is a current fellow of PLS, the Presidential Leadership Scholars Program.
- Rani Puranik thrives at leading innovation, empowering others and inspiring collaboration. A motivational speaker and a certified Master Coach in Leadership Development, she is passionate about mentoring the next generation of leaders. She also serves as the executive director of the Puranik Foundation, the corporate social responsibility arm of WOM, representing three generations of women committed to education, wellness and sustainability. Founded by her mother and now managed by her eldest daughter, the Puranik Foundation operates a residential school in India called Vision International Learning Center. Puranik was named a “Top Leading Women in Energy” by the Houston Business Journal and Business Woman of the Year by the Indo-American Chamber of Commerce of Greater Houston. She is finishing her first book, “7 Letters to My Daughters,” slated for release later this year.
- Judy Treviño serves as the executive director for CCVI Ministries, Inc., an international nonprofit organization sponsored by the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word. The San Antonio native is most proud of being a first-generation college graduate with a bachelor’s and master’s degrees and is currently pursuing her doctoral degree. Treviño was appointed by the Governor of Texas to the Prepaid Higher Education Tuition Board, and the San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg appointed her to the City of San Antonio’s Audit Committee. She is active on several boards and was recently elected to the Texas Business and Professional Women’s Foundation board. She graduated from the San Antonio Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Latina Leadership Institute and participated in Leadership San Antonio Class 41. She has presented to the Latina Leadership Institute and the Boardroom Project that educates women in running for public office or serving on a board.
- Cheryl Polote Williamson is a nationally acclaimed, multi best-selling author, award-winning filmmaker and executive producer, transformational speaker and success coach, as well as a global leader who has successfully ushered 438 men and women into thriving entrepreneurships. Williamson, CEO and founder of Williamson Media Group, LLC, and Cheryl Polote Williamson, LLC, where her knowledge, expertise and resources connect others to their purpose, is a highly sought-after influencer and business leader. She is founder and CEO of Soul Reborn, a 501(c)(3) non-profit charitable organization that has supported more than 4,500 disenfranchised, under-served and previously incarcerated women through lectures, classes, summits and conferences on leadership, entrepreneurship, money management, etiquette, storytelling and philanthropy. Williamson spearheaded Soul Reborn serving over 10,000 frontline and essential workers and children and families in need from March through December 2020 during the global pandemic. Williamson tours nationally motivating audiences. She has received multiple national and international media features and mentions and several awards for her leadership capabilities.
Young Leader Awardees
- Diana Mao is an abolitionist with a mission to eradicate human trafficking in her lifetime. She actively champions for change, and her visionary skillsets have urged Nomi Network forward into enormous growth and success. Nomi Network combats human trafficking by creating pathways to safe employment, empowering women and girls to break cycles of slavery in their families and communities. She is a 2015 Presidential Leadership Scholar, New York Academy of Medicine Fellow, and co-chaired the Nexus Human Trafficking Modern Day Slavery Work Group from 2013-2019. She served on the Public-Private Partnership Advisory Council to End Human Trafficking to advise Federal agencies and Congress on how to strengthen programs for survivors of trafficking. She received the 2018 Pioneer Award from Asian Americans for Equality and 2018 Recent Alumni Impact Award from New York University. She travels extensively to raise awareness and funds for Nomi Network and to build partnerships to fight human trafficking.
- Kim Roxie is the founder and CEO of LAMIK Beauty, a clean beauty brand that caters to multicultural women. After opening her own shop at age 21 with a $500 investment, she ran that store for 14 years and was the youngest African-American woman to have her products carried in a major department store. In 2019, Roxie pivoted her business and launched LAMIK as an e-commerce beauty company. In 2020, she secured a partnership with an augmented reality company to launch a tech-enabled website that allows consumers to digitally try on cosmetics. She has received numerous awards including the Barack Obama Lifetime Achievement Award for Community Service, one of the Houston Business Journal’s “40 under 40,” one of the American Business Journal’s Most Influential Young Executives and “one of the 30 Black Stars” by Face2Face Africa. The City of Houston formally named June 23rd as Kim Roxie day in her honor.