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Faces of Leadership and Advancement

Texas Women’s Foundation.
|Photography by Matthew Shelley
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Left to Right: Economic Leadership Council Co-Chairs Debra Hunter Johnson, Founder of Reciprocity Consulting Group, and Vanessa Salinas Beckstrom, Partner, PwC

Strong women. Better world. This is the driving philosophy of Texas Women’s Foundation, and the Economic Leadership Council is one powerhouse group that puts this philosophy into practice. The ELC was founded in 2014 to harness the collective power of C-suite executive women to drive advancement of  women in corporate leadership. The ELC focuses on the barriers women face: pay equity, workforce policies that support women and men at work, and recruiting and retaining a diverse workforce. The ELC is led by volunteer co-chairs Debra Hunter Johnson, founder of Reciprocity Consulting Group, and Vanessa Salinas Beckstrom, partner at PwC.  

In 2013, Texas Women’s Foundation established a leadership initiative investing in women beginning in the classroom and continuing through the corporate boardroom. The ELC was a direct result of that leadership initiative and has since developed and mentored the Women’s Leadership Institute, a program that has provided professional development equipping senior-level women managers to grow in their careers. More than 200 women have completed this program and are eligible for membership in the Women’s Leadership Council, which provides further opportunities to develop their professional networks and leadership learning. Another program resulting from the focus on leadership is the Young Women’s Initiative, equipping young women of color with leadership, philanthropy and advocacy training to amplify their voices in support of local communities. 

The Foundation invests in the pipeline of women leaders through the ELC, WLC, and Young Women’s Initiative. In turn, these women leaders support the Foundation’s statewide work that is crucial to advancing its vision of an equitable Texas for all. “Our collective group of strong and smart professional women are committed to the work at Texas Women’s Foundation,” Johnson says. “Helping girls become strong women and preparing women to lead in their lives, workplaces, and communities, make our state a better place for all.” Adds Beckstrom, “We are advocating for childcare, maternal leave, and other inclusive policies that support families by removing hidden barriers that prevent women from advancing, often to the point where they decide to leave the workforce.”

With the investment from volunteers and supporters, Texas Women’s Foundation is transforming Texas for women and girls by advancing their economic security through research, advocacy, grants, and leadership development programs. 

Campbell Centre II | 8150 North Central Expressway, Suite 110 | Dallas, Texas 75206 | 214.965.9977 | txwf.org

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