About Women Communicators of Austin

Dating back to 1929, Women Communicators of Austin (WCA) is one of the largest and most diverse professional communications organizations in Austin.

Our membership includes more than 250 women (and a few men!) who believe that building a strong community of support for women in the industry benefits us all. Our members cover the full range of communications functions from journalism, marketing, public relations, content strategy, graphic design, internal communications, and more.

Our Mission

We create meaningful connections among communicators in Austin that accelerate careers, develop leaders, and foster friendships. 

Our Vision

To be the source that Austin communicators seek for community, leadership, and professional development.

Our Core Values

Career exploration – taking opportunities to try new things, ask questions, and meet mentors in different areas.

Career enhancement – capturing leadership opportunities and building value in the communications profession.

Career acceleration – finding fresh ideas and spurring skill development.

From the WCA bylaws (revised 2014), the purposes of this organization shall be:
To unite members for the purpose of
promoting 
the advancement and ongoing education of women in communications fields;
to work for the First Amendment rights and responsibilities of communicators;
to recognize distinguished professional achievement;
to promote 
high professional standards throughout the communications industry;
to mentor and support communications 
students;
and to undertake other charitable activities.

WCA is 501(c)(3) organization. Since 1989, WCA has awarded more than $60,000 in scholarships to students in the field of communications.

Donations made to WCA are tax-deductible. For more information, contact development@wcaustin.org.

Learn more about our organization by joining our email list, attending events and volunteering.

Our History

Women Communicators of Austin (WCA) has a rich heritage dating back to September 1929. The organization was established by women initiated into the campus chapter of Theta Sigma Phi at The University of Texas at Austin. Theta Sigma Phi had been founded back in 1919 by women journalism students in Washington state, with other chapters forming across the country. Our chapter later split into a student and a professional chapter (as students graduated) and in those early years, the alumnae gathered at two meetings each month for professional programs and to exchange information.

At our inception, we were guided by the following principles: to promote the advancement of women in all fields of communications, to work for the First Amendment rights and responsibilities of communicators, to recognize distinguished professional achievements and to promote high professional standards throughout the communications industry.

In the 1960s, Theta Sigma Phi chapters became more involved in public policy and social issues, especially discriminatory salary practices and lack of advancement opportunities for women. In 1972, they voted to change the name to Women in Communications International (WICI). That same year, the organization passed a resolution calling for more affirmative action to increase the number of female college journalism professors and to remove discriminatory practices impeding promotion in academic ranks.

The national office was located in Austin from the 1960s until the 1980s and was run by Executive Secretary Jo Caldwell Meyer; our scholarship program is named in her honor. In 1980, the national office moved to the Washington, D.C. area to monitor legislation and represent the views of the organization to Congress and various Washington publics. The organization also established the Vanguard Award to recognize positive, non-stereotypical portrayals of women in advertising and heighten the general awareness of factors that enhance the image and status of women.

In 1990, WICI voiced support for the Family and Medical Leave Act and the Civil Rights Act. In 1993, the organization partnered with Capital Cities/ABC., Inc. on the national “Stop Sexual Harassment” campaign.

In 1996, WICI went bankrupt and the national organization reorganized under a new name – The Association for Women in Communications (AWC). Because of the uncertainty with the national organization, the local Austin board voted to incorporate independently.

That same year, board member Kelly Headrick worked with an attorney to establish our organization as a 501(c)(3) charitable nonprofit under a separate charter. The purpose of this move was specifically to protect the Austin organization by reducing its dependency on the national organization and to ensure that our organization could continue to operate if the national organization failed. With this move, we became an independent nonprofit corporation, working in affiliation with the national organization.

As the city of Austin grew in size and prominence, so did our organization. In fact, it became the largest chapter of the national AWC organization, producing more programming than the national organization. After much research and consideration, the Austin leadership determined that it would be better able to serve the needs of its members with complete autonomy. Therefore, in March 2013, the affiliation between what had been the Austin chapter of AWC and the national organization was discontinued, and Women Communicators of Austin (WCA) was born.

Today, WCA is one of the largest and most diverse all-volunteer professional communications organizations in the city. Our membership includes more than two hundred members from a wide variety of communication roles.

We continue our long tradition of supporting professional communicators across all disciplines through professional development and education, mentoring the next generation of communicators, creating a supportive community, and bestowing annual professional honors and undergraduate scholarships. The future is brighter than ever.

Support our tradition by joining or renewing your membership today!