Banner Brunch Award and Scholarship Ceremony
Saturday April 4
10:00am – 2:00pm
Black and White Brunch Attire
What do you wish you had known 20 years ago? What is your vision for the next 20 years? Join Women Communicators of Austin as we honor some of the finest professional communicators, trailblazers, rabble rousers and just-doers in Austin. We’ll look back at the past, focus on the present and turn our lens on the future, in black and white.
Liz Carpenter Lifetime Achievement Award
“Her name in synonymous with advertising in Texas, and for women who’ve grown their careers in Austin, Gay Gaddis is a role model for what’s possible when you’re called to live a creative life.”
Gay Gaddis is the founder of T3, an innovative digital and marketing agency that rose to national prominence under her leadership for more than 30 years. An active spokesperson, artist, and writer, Gaddis is the celebrated author of “Cowgirl Power: How to Kick Ass in Business & Life”, a regular contributor to Forbes and part of Fortune’s Powerful Women Insider Network.
She has received numerous awards, including Fast Company’s “Top 25 Women Business Builders,” Inc. Magazine’s “Top 10 Entrepreneurs of the Year,” and C200’s Luminary Award for Entrepreneurial Excellence. Gaddis is the first female Chairman of the Texas Business Leadership Council, former Chairman of The Committee of 200 (C200), immediate past board member for Monotype Imaging Holdings, Inc. and is on the Board of Directors of the Texas Cultural Trust and the Texas Exes.
As an artist, Gaddis’ bold and vibrant paintings have been shown in several prestigious galleries and Texas Monthly named her one of the “Top Ten Artists to Collect Now.” Gaddis and her husband own and operate the Double Heart Ranch in the Texas Hill Country, which houses their most recent endeavor, Fossil Ridge Creative Center, a retreat venue for thinking, creativity, and collaboration.
Outstanding Austin Communicator
“She’s known for training people around the globe, being interviewed on local and national news, leading statewide campaigns, and yet she is deeply rooted in the Austin community and is a friend to many. She’s through and through a class act – from the personal to the professional and back around again.”
Jenifer Sarver, principal of Sarver Strategies, has more than two decades of experience in media relations, crisis communications, speech writing, and presentation skills training. She is passionate about community engagement, promoting and advancing women, and helping young people define and pursue their passion. She holds a master’s degree from American University in Washington, D.C. and a pair of bachelor’s degrees from UT Austin.
She is the national board chair of the Women’s Public Leadership Network. She is on the Advisory Councils of the Moody College of Communication and the Annette Strauss Institute for Civic Life. She was a member of Leadership Austin and the Texas Lyceum, a Presidential Leadership Scholar, and a fellow of the inaugural class of the Civil Society Fellowship. Jenifer ran in the 2018 Republican Primary to represent Texas’ 21st Congressional District in the U.S. Congress.
Renée Peterson Trudeau
“I dare say that there’s not been a WCA board for the last 25 years without at least one — and usually more — woman whose life and career was shaped by the work and wisdom of Renee Trudeau. She honored the power of conversation and connection years before the idea of “conversation and community” meant how we connected with each other online.”
Renée Peterson Trudeau is an internationally recognized life balance coach, speaker, and author. Her clients include Fortune 500 companies, nonprofit organizations, and leadership teams. Renée has been facilitating transformational programs for women for more than 25 years. She’s on the faculty at the prestigious Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health, 1440 Multiversity, Esalen Institute, and Omega Institute.
A sought-after life balance expert, Renée’s work has been featured in The New York Times, US News and World Report, Good Housekeeping, Spirituality & Health, and more. The author of “The Mother’s Guide to Self-Renewal: How to Reclaim, Rejuvenate and Re-Balance Your Life” and two other titles, Renée and her team have certified 400+ women leaders in more than 10 countries around the world to lead Personal Renewal Groups based on her pioneering curriculum.
Gladys Whitley Hearst Oustanding Member Award
“LuAnn epitomizes WCA membership, always there, sharing her wisdom, quietly supporting and working hard behind the scenes. She’s been consistently involved for two decades, never wavering.”
LuAnn Glowacz is the founder and president of WordCove, LLC. She spends her days ghostwriting and editing for some of the best CEOs and businesses in the U.S. From staffing to health insurance to artificial intelligence to tax issues to building supplies, she’s written about it all in her 20+ years in communications. She’s also a longtime member of WCA. She was first introduced to the group as a Get Smart speaker. She then spent several years volunteering and, eventually, co-chairing Freelance Austin. She’s currently finishing her second term on the WCA Board as VP of Career Services, moderating Careers Over Coffee South, and serving as a WCA Mentor. LuAnn counts becoming a WCA member a pivotal career move. The colleagues and connections she’s found through WCA have been a constant source of support, referrals, and friendship over the years.
Gene Barnwell Waugh Mentor Award
“Val is committed to building a leadership pipeline of young people of color across our communities in Texas and at the ballot box. Teaching young people leadership, advocacy, and organizing skills is one of the most important types of mentoring.”
Val Benavidez is the chief program officer for the Texas Freedom Network. She oversees programmatic efforts focused on issue advocacy, grassroots organizing, legislative, and electoral campaigns. These programs center around building power and leadership with young people of color and faith communities to create a truly reflective democracy in the state. Val has worked for numerous non-profit advocacy organizations, including the Texas Immigrant and Refugee Coalition, League of Young Voters, Generational Alliance, as well as serving as executive director of ProTex: Network for a Progressive Texas. Val currently chairs the Board of Directors for the Workers Defense Project.
She is the proud daughter and granddaughter of Mexican immigrants, farmworkers, railroad builders, and all-around rabble-rousers.
Anne Durrum Robinson Creative Initiative Award
“Both honorees push the edges. They are gutsy and inventive.
They speak to the essence of what this award is about.”
Becky Bullard, Kristen Gynn, and Ashley Cheng
“The Rouser’s use of new media engages an audience of young people delivered in a way that appeals to them—with humor, directness, visual social media components and grit.”
Rouser is a creative civic engagement company co-founded by three Austin women determined to turn the political tide in Texas: Ashley Cheng, Becky Bullard, and Kristen Gunn.
With backgrounds in advertising, marketing, TV production, event production, and public relations for some of the world’s biggest brands, they left the corporate world in September of 2018 to start Rouser, where they use their communications savvy to inspire Texans to civic action. They produce social media content, creative events, videos, and ballot guides, but the cornerstone of their efforts is The Rabble podcast. The Rabble is a weekly helping of Texas politics with a healthy dose of humor and a side of this-is-how-you-get-stuff-done. In their first year, The Rabble was a top-three finalist for “Best Local Podcast” in the Austin Chronicle readers poll. And in 2019, the Travis County Democratic Party named Rouser “Organization of the Year” for their work bringing new faces into state and local politics.
Weird Homes Tour
David J. Neff and Chelle Neff
“May we all dream that our creative initiatives have the inspiration, reach and impact as the Weird Homes Tour. This speaks to me because they create both physical experiences and a mediated ones — and they all contribute to our understanding and experience of art, community and home.”
David J. Neff and Chelle Neff, creators of the Weird Homes Tour, share a love for interesting design, architecture, and all things weird and whimsical. Both are noted Austin entrepreneurs. Chelle founded Urban Betty Salon and has run the business for the last 15 years. David is a well-known nonprofit founder, and ecommerce and marketing expert. Design, architecture, and building bizarre things brought them together and are the driving forces catapulting their Weird Homes Tour into cities across America.
In addition to a coffee-table book, David and Chelle are also showcasing the wonderfully weird people behind their amazing homes via a new podcast produced by Statesman Media. The Weird Homes Tours have also provided another way for the duo to give back, as each tour invests a percentage of its sales into local affordable housing nonprofits.
“In dozens of hours of working sessions this board year, I’ve come to know Jenevieve as someone I always want on my team – amazingly smart, focused on the goal, funny and fun to be around. I’m so grateful that she signed up for another term as treasurer after this challenging year!”
Jenevive Andersen is a media accounts manager at West End Marketing + Media and serves as Treasurer of WCA. Previously she was a media producer and social media manager for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in public relations from Texas State University.