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In This Issue
President's Corner

March 2011 Monthly Luncheon

April 2011 Monthly Luncheon
Cinco de Mayo Social
April 29th EST Deadline
Affiliates Update
March Mini-Course Recap
April 2011 Mini-Course
Capital Area Food Bank Volunteer Night
EWTG Conference Committee News
EWTG Legislative Committee Update
Free Household Document Shredding
New and Renewed Members
Quick Links
Quarterly Scholarships
EWTG scholarships are awarded on a quarterly basis to those wanting an opportunity for professional advancement or personal growth. All interested members are encouraged to apply; financial need is not a factor. Take a moment to treat yourself to a course you have been putting off or a conference you would love to attend.
Guidelines for qualifying for a scholarship and applications are available on the EWTG website at ewtg.org. The Scholarship Committee will accept applications for this quarter until 5:00 p.m. on May 1st. 
2011 EWTG Board Meetings
The 2011 EWTG Board holds its monthly meetings at the Carver Library in Austin on the third Wednesday of each month from 5:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. The agenda for each meeting will be posted on EWTG's website by noon on the Monday before the meeting.
A summary of the board meeting minutes is also posted on the website.
Committee Volunteers Needed 
Please look over the Committee Descriptions on the EWTG website and consider becoming more active in the organization.
Participating on a committee is a great way to support EWTG, learn new skills and to meet other interesting executive women. As with so many things, "the more you give, the more you get."
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April 2011
President's Corner - April 2011 
Barrie Cogburn, President 

Carol Lauder

Time to Take Inventory
Spring is my absolute favorite time of year! Mother Nature reminds us that the cold winter weather has passed and re-growth and renewal are just around the corner. And after being cooped up in the house all winter, I can't wait to get outside and enjoy the warmer weather. As a landscape architect, it also means that it's time for a fresh start in my own garden. The days are longer, so I have extra time to spend at my favorite nurseries searching for unusual plants and dreaming about new ideas for my next project. But before I get too far along in making any decisions, I need to slow down and consider my plan. Part of the planning process is taking inventory and assessing the situation. What worked last year and what didn't? Taking time to review the plan and making changes accordingly just makes good sense.
Your EWTG Board of Directors and their respective committees are reviewing their plans so that EWTG can grow and develop in a positive direction. Last month, Vice President, Mercie Zapata and her Conference Committee kicked off their strategy for planning our annual Professional Development Conference. A major part of preparing for this premier event involves the review of evaluations from the previous year’s attendees. This important feedback is valuable to the committee as they work to develop a conference that will be a beneficial experience for all attendees. President Elect, Carolyn Fry and her Mentorship Committee are busy planning the Kickoff event for the Executive Success Teams (be sure to read more about this topic in Carolyn's article in this issue). My own experiences of participating on an Executive Success Team have added a unique dimension to my EWTG membership. My team has been meeting once a month for years now. This group of thoughtful women has offered me valuable encouragement and support through the years. Whether it's discussing a recent book or movie, or offering advice for what to do about a particular work situation, we've all grown together. This is what networking is all about! This small group support in a confidential setting is something that I look forward to each month and it's something special that I do just for me. The opportunity to participate on an Executive Success Team is one of the most valuable perks of EWTG membership. I hope that after reading Carolyn's article, you'll consider making a commitment to join a team.
Getting back to my spring gardening analogy … all gardeners know that the foundation for a successful garden is healthy soil. By adding amendments and nutrients, soils can be enriched so that they are able to produce healthier plants. Similarly, EWTG is available to offer you support and leadership opportunities so that you can develop skills that will enable you to realize your full potential. Why not let this spring be your fresh start? 
Barrie Cogburn
EWTG President
Etta Moore

Developing Leaders at an Early Age

March 23, 2011
By: Bobbe Walker
Etta Moore, Chief Executive Officer for Girl Scouts of Central Texas, spoke at the March luncheon. Ms. Moore directs the work of 85 staff serving 46 Central Texas counties and manages a budget of $7 million. As a single mother, she enjoys hosting students from other countries, traveling and spending time with her family and especially her four grandchildren. 
Ms. Moore explained that today's Girl Scouting isn't your mother's Girl Scouts or even your grandmother's Girl Scouts. Girl Scouts started in 1912 when Juliette Gordon Low brought the idea to girls in Savannah, Georgia. At that time, it was unheard of for girls to go camping or to play basketball. Modesty required the girls to have arms and legs completely covered. The first uniforms met those requirements.
Ms. Moore asked the audience what words came to mind when Girl Scouts were mentioned. The three main words were camping, cookies and crafts. Though these same elements can be found in modern Girl Scouting experiences, there are other ways for girls to be involved.
Some girls are delving into technology and may be only involved in this one aspect of Girl Scouting. Ms. Moore spoke of the accomplishments of local girls in robotic competitions. In past years, girls have been given instruction and tasked with making robots that display skills associated with basketball and soccer. Some girls are only involved in the travel opportunities. And for most girls, there is the conventional troop program.
Almost 100 years later, the Girl Scout movement is trying to keep up with the needs of girls in this present day. There are programs for girls whose parents are incarcerated and there are also programs for girls who are incarcerated, meeting the special needs of girls in these circumstances.
Ms. Moore gave the members and guests at the luncheon an opportunity to sign up for more information on ways to get more involved with the Girl Scout movement. She also provided informative flyers and a DVD to all those in attendance.
The EWTG Board provided Girl Scout cookies as a way to get into the spirit of the topic. If you missed this luncheon, you missed a great speaker, and a great time of networking, fellowship, and cookies!
Dr. Barbara P. Mink

Austin Community College: A Valuable and Growing Resource in Central Texas 

April 27, 2011

By: Bobbe Walker
Dr. Barbara P. Mink is the Chair of the Board of Trustees for Austin Community College. She was first elected to the Board of Trustees in 2000 and has served in many positions. Additionally, Dr. Mink has also served two terms on the Board of Directors of the ACC Foundation.
Since 1978, Dr. Mink has been a professor in the School of Human and Organization Development (HOD) at the Fielding Graduate University in Santa Barbara, CA. She teaches and supervises doctoral students in the areas of organizational theories, management and leadership systems, and learning and motivation. Previously, Dr. Mink served as the Dean (1997-2001) of the HOD Program. Dr. Mink also served a three-year term on the Board of Trustees of the Fielding Graduate University where she was a member of the Board Executive Committee and was Chair, Board Committee on Diversity and Social Justice. Currently, Dr. Mink is a lecturer in the Department of Educational Administration at The University of Texas at Austin.
Dr. Mink has over thirty-five years of international consulting experience in the areas of leadership development and the design and implementation of organizational change. Her diverse experience involves working with clients in the fields of manufacturing, health care, education, government, communications technology, and banking.
Dr. Mink's honors include being elected to Pi Mu Epsilon (mathematics honorary) and the Board of Directors of the Human Resource Planning Society. She has been listed in Outstanding Educators of America, Who’s Who in American Women, and Who's Who in the South and Southwest. She served on the Board of Trustees of the Texas Association of Community College Trustees and Administrators (TACCTA). In addition, she has been President of TACCTA and was a member of the Leadership Texas Class of 2008. She is currently on the Board of Directors of Envision Central Texas.
To add to her success, Dr. Mink has also won poetry and creative writing awards in Texas writing competitions and is currently the President of her northeast Austin neighborhood association.
Click here to reserve your place and join EWTG members for a wonderful buffet lunch with Dr. Mink. The cost for EWTG members is $20 for a hot entrée, sides, bread, dessert, coffee and tea. The cost for non-members is $25. The luncheon will be held at the Austin Woman’s Club, 708 San Antonio Street. Ample free parking is available behind the club on Nueces between 7th and 8th streets.

Cinco de Mayo Social
May 5, 2011

By:  Jennifer Buaas


Hold onto your sombreros we're throwing a !!!!!

Please join us on May 5th as we celebrate Cinco de Mayo in EWTG style.


Date: Thursday, May 5th, 2011

Time: 6 pm – 8 pm

Location:  Nuevo Leon (East 6th Street) – back room of restaurant


In a casual and fun environment, come learn what EWTG is all about and how you can get more involved in the organization through programs, events, and committees. Don’t forget to bring a guest so you can enjoy several added incentives if they become an EWTG member at the event.


Member/Prospective Member Incentives include:

  • If your guest joins at the event, you will receive a $5 voucher towards a monthly luncheon
  • If your guest joins at the event, your name will be entered in a drawing for a free monthly luncheon
  • Your guest joins at the event, they will receive a $10 discount on their membership dues

EWTG will provide appetizers and non-alcoholic beverages.  A cash bar will also be available.      



April 29th is the Deadline
To Sign Up for 2011 Executive Success Teams!

By: Carolyn J. Fry
Executive Success Teams are the major component of EWTG’s group mentoring program. Teams are groups of five to seven women who meet regularly to learn with and from each other in an open, relaxed, and confidential environment while developing and expanding their EWTG network. Team members commit to meeting throughout the year to support each other in personal and professional development.
New team members and current team members wishing to broaden their EWTG network by moving to a new team must complete a profile form found on the EWTG website. Teams will be created using responses in your profile for:   1) Geographical Preference for Meeting Location; 2) Professional Development vs. Social Support Activity; and, 3) Special Interest Teams.
Please contact the Mentorship Committee at preselect@ewtg.org if you have any questions regarding Executive Success Teams. Mentorship Committee: Alta Alexander, Carolyn J. Fry, Dee McIlroy, Debbie Mitchell, Tammy Sturm.


We're On Our Way to San Antonio

EWTG Affiliates Update April 2011

By: Audrey Selden
From the Alamo to the Riverwalk to the Institute for Texan Cultures and beyond, we’re looking for a few good women. EWTG plans to re-launch an Affiliate in the San Antonio area and needs your support. If you know of a person interested in professional development and leadership, send her our way. The EWTG Bylaws allow affiliates to be established in cities outside of the Austin area. The general requirements include 10 current EWTG members, approval from the EWTG Board, and at least two meetings conducted in 2011. If you are interested in helping us build an Affiliate in San Antonio, please send your contact information to Audrey Selden, EWTG Affiliates Director, at affiliates@ewtg.org
Dallas had a fantastic turnout for its Organizing 101 seminar with more than 40 attendees. The Dallas Affiliate April charitable project will craft Easter baskets for a local charity. Houston will meet on April 11. Brazos Valley plans a charitable event for its April 27 meeting. New and renewing members are encouraged to participate. Please continue to visit the Affiliates web pages for additional details: www.ewtg.org. 
Whether you work in the Brazos Valley, Dallas, Houston, San Antonio, or a surrounding community, we invite you to join EWTG.


 March Mini Course Recap
Jennifer Lava:  Can Your Really Make Your Workplace Less Stressful?

By: Denice Bettencourt
Can you really make your workspace less stressful? Jennifer Lava, our March 9 mini-course speaker and professional organizer, told us that organized people save time and money as well as reduce stress and frustration. We all know this but sometimes we need help with our organizing skills. Jennifer gave us helpful hints, examples, and resources on how to become better organized. She concentrated on three areas: managing time, taming workspace, and supercharging e-mail communication.
Manage Your Time
  • Use a planner to record appointments and tasks; use only one system whether it is a paper-based calendar or notebook, a computer software program, or a smart phone; carry it with you
  • Allocate at least one hour of uninterrupted time each day to tackle projects and action items; be consistent
  • Work on the toughest tasks and the most important ones when you have the highest energy
  • Break large tasks into smaller tasks and schedule the smaller tasks into your day with your planner
Tame Your Workspace
  • Keep only the supplies you need on your desktop
  • Create a paper flow system for incoming documents; set up stations and keep like items and tasks together; have a “home” for everything and label it
  • Use an in-box for items that haven’t been reviewed; keep in-box near the end of your desk and clear it once a day
  • Set aside ten minutes at the end of each day to tidy up desktop
Supercharge Your E-mail Communication
  • Create quality e-mail (fewer and better); be clear about response; include specifics with deadline; keep message concise; include contact information
  • Set boundaries since e-mails are big time wasters; limit immediate response; if message is urgent, call
  • Process e-mail responses twice daily or in small bursts; don’t open e-mail first thing in morning; read subject lines for importance
  • Use filters to sort e-mail; turn off computer alerts; unsubscribe from e-mails you don’t need
Resources and Websites
Do you have ideas for interesting topics for monthly mini-courses? Do you know people who would be good speakers? Do you want to learn about arranging speakers and event planning? If so, the Mini-Course Committee needs your help. If you are interested in working with the committee, please contact Denice Bettencourt at denice.bettencourt@txdot.gov.

April 13 Mini-Course
Rebecca Brindley
Out of Control or Managed Conflict?

By: Denice Bettencourt

How do you deal with conflict in the workplace? We all experience it; it is how we handle it that matters. The ability to manage conflict is critical in the workplace. Conflict can be costly and time-consuming. In this mini-course, we will discuss how to manage conflict constructively in the workplace in a way that inspires positive changes.

Rebecca Brindley is a community volunteer working with Communities in Schools, GEN Austin, Texas Silver-Haired Legislature and other organizations. She is a former educator for special needs children, the former president of the Temple ISD Board of Trustees, and a former director of a non-profit school. She is a graduate of Leadership Texas and the Texas Association of School Boards leadership program. She holds certifications in Mediation and DISC Assessment

For additional information, you can contact Rebecca by e-mail at rmbrindley@gmail.com.

The mini-course begins at 11:30 AM and the program begins at noon, ending promptly at 1 PM. The mini-course will be at the Carver Branch Library, 1161 Angelina, eight blocks east of I-35 just off East 11th Street.   EWTG will provide terrific pizza, loads of fresh green salad, dessert and drinks for $10 (or no charge if you bring your own lunch). RSVP to insure you get both a chair and lunch.

Something worth remembering, especially in tight budget times: EWTG mini-courses and luncheons can count toward state employees’ annual training hours. Where else can you have a catered meal with friends and learn about something new, all while fulfilling a job requirement?


    Volunteer Night at the Capital Area Food Bank


By: Paula Griffin
The EWTG Community Service Committee would like to say a big “Thank You” to all of the EWTG members who volunteered for our first community service project for 2011 at the Capital Area Food Bank. Volunteers cut up boxes, washed cans, and sorted food as it rapidly came down a conveyor belt. (Think Lucy and Ethel in the candy factory!)  Together, the volunteers processed 6,125 pounds of food, which equals 4,900 meals. Participants had a busy, fun-filled evening and a good night’s sleep was promised and hopefully delivered!


           EWTG Conference Committee News

By: Mercie Zapata
The EWTG 25th Annual conference planning is underway, and we would love to have your help. If you are looking for an exciting way to contribute to our organization, join a conference committee. Each one has a unique purpose and importance that, combined, make for a successful conference. The committee functions are described below. Within each description is listed the chairwoman to email to get started on another successful conference year.
The Conference Program Committee secures workshop presenters for the conference and ensures that their presentation requirements are met. If this is the team for you, please contact Grace Nobles (grace_nobles@yahoo.com).
The Facilities Committee coordinates the logistical requirements for the conference, including coordination with the conference site hotel to ensure appropriate facility support for all aspects of the conference. This is an excellent opportunity to showcase your talent for attention to detail, so if this sounds like your team, contact Mary Castleberry (mary.castleberry@hhsc.state.tx.us).
The Silent Auction Committee coordinates donations and collects the items sold at the conference’s silent auction. This team solicits contributions throughout the year from a wide variety of sources for sale at this very popular conference event. If you are at ease when communicating with others about the benefits of our organization, contact Gerda Sessions (gerda.sessions@gmail.com).
The Exhibits Committee finds exhibitors for the conference that match the EWTG goals and vision. At the same time, this team ensures that each exhibitor is satisfied with their experience at our conference. Please contact Laura Johannsen (lpjohannsen@yahoo.com).
The Registration Committee handles the registration on the day of the conference, but that’s just the visible part. This team does so much more to provide a seamless experience for attendees. Major responsibilities of this committee include conference brochure development and printing. Attention to detail is very important on this team, so share your skills in this area by contacting Melinda Eppler (mindy.eppler@gmail.com).
The Evaluation Committee develops the evaluation criteria, collects the evaluation information from the conference and tabulates it for delivery to the conference stakeholders (speakers, workshop presenters, exhibitors, etc.). This team helps us improve the conference each year through careful structuring of survey questions, and then analyzing evaluation data. Learn more and join in by contacting Liza Willmore (liza.willmore@gmail.com).
The Resolutions Committee develops the certificates of appreciation for the conference stakeholders (speakers, workshop presenters, exhibitors, silent auction donors, etc.) Learn more and join in by contacting Mercie Zapata (merciezapata@hotmail.com).
All of these teams play an integral role in the success of the conference. Join us now or get more information about any committee by contacting the committee chair of the team you would like to join. You are also welcome to contact me directly: Mercie Zapata at (512) 297.7696 or merciezapata@hotmail.com.
Let’s make the 25th Annual Professional Development Conference for 2011 the best ever!


   EWTG Legislative Committee Update

By: Denise Pittard
Every EWTG member knows this is one of the most challenging legislative sessions ever experienced in Texas. Each of you are most likely aware of the bills impacting your specific agency so the EWTG Legislative Committee is focusing on the bills that have an impact on all state employees and retirees.   The primary areas that are of interest include the budget for our benefits and the retirement system administered by the Employees Retirement System (ERS). 
House of Representatives
The introduced budget version in the House, House Bill 1, presented a $591 million or 19% shortfall to the current health benefits in the ERS Group Benefits Program. ERS indicated that this level of funding would require two options.
  • State premium contribution levels would have to be reduced from 100% for employees to 80%; and 50% for dependent coverage to 40%.
  • The other alternative would require the plan to establish large medical deductibles, around $3400 per participant per year.
Changes were made by the House Appropriations Committee and a substitute version was voted out of committee on March 16. Public copies had not been posted by our newsletter deadline but according to the Texas Public Employees Association (TPEA) a non-union, non-partisan professional association, the House Appropriations substitute would require:
  • State premium contribution levels to be reduced from 100% for employees to 90%; and the 50% dependent coverage would not change but a $1500 medical deductible per year would be required for all participants.
On the Senate side, the Senate Finance committee has broken into working groups to delve deeper into the senate’s version of the budget, Senate Bill 1. Currently, SB 1 is very similar to the introduced version of House Bill 1 regarding ERS.
Next Steps
The final recommendations regarding the ERS budget will be decided in a conference committee comprised of members of the House and Senate.  
House of Representatives
House Bill 1 has a shortfall of $31 billion or 16.6 percent reduction from current retirement budget levels. To adjust for the deficit, HB 1 lowers the state paid retirement contribution rate from its current 6.95% to the constitutional minimum level of 6%. Because of changes in state law last session, the employee contribution rate would also drop to 6 percent. Reductions in combined contribution rates will further delay returning the retirement fund to actuarial soundness, which is necessary to allow for future benefit increases for ERS retirees. The fund is currently at 83% and must be at 100% for increases.
Regarding the retirement system, Senate Bill 1 is identical to House Bill 1.
There are numerous bills that have been filed that are of interest. Courtesy of the Texas Public Employees Association (TPEA), below are some that may be of interest to the majority of state employees and retirees. Due to the volume not all bills can be listed. As other bills move through the process, they may be listed in future updates.
  • House Bill 2720 – If passed this bill would allow a state agency with approval from its governing board, to require a state employee to participate in an involuntary furlough. 
  • House Bill 2954 – If passed this bill would eliminate longevity pay for state employees and authorize a new merit pay for some employees. Temporary and return-to-work employees who retired on or after June 1, 2011 would not be eligible for merit pay.
  • House Bill 3168 - If passed this bill would eliminate longevity pay for state employees and authorize a new merit pay for some employees. Temporary and return-to-work employees who retired on or after June 1, 2011 would not be eligible for merit pay. This bill would also put some limits on HR staffing and would require agreements be entered into for those serving in upper management positions. The agreements would address agency goals, strategic aims, performance measures and targets.
Health Benefits
  •  House Bill 3373 – If passed this bill would limit the amount of the state premium contribution for an employee’s spouse who is in the ERS health plan if the spouse is eligible to participate in another plan.
  • House Bill 1974 – If passed this bill would require new employees (hired 9-1-2012) who are eligible to participate in a public retirement system to enroll in a defined contribution retirement plan (401k) instead of a defined benefit plan (pension). It would allow current employees covered under a defined benefit plan to move to the new defined contribution plan.
  • House Bill 2506 – If passed this bill would require new employees (hired 9-1-2012) who are eligible to participate in ERS or TRS to enroll in a defined contribution retirement plan (401k) instead of a defined benefit plan (pension). It would allow current employees covered under a defined benefit plan to move to the new defined contribution plan.
  • House Bill 2731 – If passed this bill would prevent pension spiking regarding calculations for the ERS retirement benefits.
  • House Bill 3100 – If passed this bill would remove the requirement for the ERS state retirement contribution to be equal to the percentage of the employee contribution.
Return-To Work Retirees
House Bill 1303, House Bill 2451, and House Bill 3081– These bills are all related to return-to-work retiree issues.


Free Household Document Shredding

By: Denice Bettencourt
With the increased awareness of identity theft, it is more important than ever to carefully dispose of personal records such as credit card statements and checking account records. The Association of Records Managers and Administrators and the City of Austin Solid Waste Services are sponsoring a free "Shred Day." Mark your calendar for this event!
Date: Saturday, April 16
Time: 8:00 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
Location: Austin High School Parking Lot
Households can bring up to five boxes of paper records for shredding. Mobile shredding trucks will be on site to shred all materials. Please make sure your records are paper only (no hard plastics, no plastic bags, electronic media or three-ring binders) and are not wet. In lieu of a fee, monetary donations will be accepted for the Capital Area Food Bank.
For more details regarding the free household shredding, e-mail mailto:jannette.goodall@ci.austin.tx.us or call 512-974-9045.

EWTG Welcomes New and Renewing Members!

New Members
Mary Beth O'Hanlon, Grant Thornton
Colette Beckett, Office of the Attorney General
Lisa Mutchler, Texas Engineering Extension Service
Kenya Johnson, Texas Department of State Health Services
Joeanna Mastracchio, TxDPS

Renewing Members
Kay Arnold  Retired
Joanne E. Holshouser, Teacher Retirement System of Texas
Susan Johnson McClure, Health and Human Services Commission
Cynthia Hale, Retired
Carol Lauder, Comptroller of Public Accounts
Debbie Munoz, Texas Municipal Retirement System
Idalia Salazar, Texas Department of Insurance
Genoveva Minjares, Texas Treasury Safekeeping Trust Company
Gail Parrigin-Clark, The Texas A&M University System Health Science Center
Susan Raney, Texas Health & Human Services Commission
Mary Gerdes, Teacher Retirement System of Texas
Karin Darnell, Texas Department of Motor Vehicles
Brenda Stovall, Department of Aging and Disability Services
Pollett Jones-Reasonover, Health and Human Services Commission
Marlo King, Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services
Ashley Schweickart, TX Dept. of Housing & Community Affairs
Sarah Hall, Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts
Valerie Onyett, MAXIMUS
Bonnie Cone, Texas Board of Nursing