Leadership Texas is a 32-year-old running program to develop women leaders in the US. Leadership Texas consistently provides exceptional opportunities that enhance participants’ value to their organizations and fields of interest. Each year, the series of interactive, expert-led sessions are crafted to expand each woman’s understanding of the interconnectedness of the myriad of issues, dynamics and cultures that propel the state, nation and globe.
Some 3,000 women are graduates of the statewide program, competitively chosen from a wide field of applicants to reflect the unique diversity of personal and professional backgrounds of the society as a whole.
Next year the statewide program returns to El Paso and more than 80 women leaders from Texas will visit the city. The theme for 2015 is the future of the community.
Every year, the leadership development program takes women to four different Texas cities to learn about other communities and network with other influential women.
“We want to go in and see what is working in communities across Texas, what is replicable and scalable, because the problems and opportunities that El Paso has are very similar to other cities in Texas,” Leadership Texas’ CEO O’Keefe-Mathis said.
El Paso is leading the state in many areas. One of those areas is water conservation and participants will tour El Paso’s Kay Bailey Hutchison Desalination plant.
Over the years, 220 El Paso women have been active in the program. Some of them include former mayor Suzie Azar, engineer and volunteer Linda Troncoso and Center Against Family Violence executive director Stephanie Karr. Serving on this year’s national board is Selina Solis, an assistant federal public defender in El Paso. Sandra Braham, CEO of El Paso YWCA, participated in the program in 2009.
O’Keefe-Mathis mentioned that the reason there are an especially large number of women in leadership positions in El Paso is because of the city’s frontier roots.
“I think it is that frontier culture of El Paso that has created strong people, period, and especially women,” she said.