Community Advisory Board
Community Advisory Board
Within the central Texas area there are many organizations and individuals that seek to promote gender equity and to understand and improve the lives of women, girls, and families. We applaud their efforts and endeavor to provide scholarly support for their work. Our Community Advisory Board includes representatives from business, the arts, and education that are involved in such efforts. We work with these distinguished community leaders to plan programs and workshops that allow our faculty and students to learn from the experience of community members and that provide scholarly support to groups seeking to understand and advance the position of women and girls. We will also seek the board's assistance in our development efforts, so that we can achieve financial security for our programs.
Linda Aaker learned early in life in Texas that if you made good grades and were polite, you could get away with otherwise outrageous behavior, including protesting the Vietnam War, hitchhiking through Europe, trekking in the Himalayas, branding cattle, and becoming a pilot and a mother. After attending The University of Texas Law School, she joined the Texas Attorney General’s Office (1974-83), where she wrote the opinion holding that women did not have to assume their husband’s surnames upon marriage. Eventually she became Chief of the Antitrust Division where she negotiated the settlement of the largest state antitrust civil penalties lawsuit in the United States at that time. Linda left public service to become a partner in the Austin firm of Bickerstaff, Heath, Smiley, Pollan, Kever & McDaniel (1983- 2000). President Clinton appointed Linda to the Council of the National Endowment for the Humanities where she served from 2000-05. In addition to her book, A Woman’s Odyssey: Journals 1976-92 she has published numerous articles in the Washington Post. She has served on various boards involving women’s issues, and currently is on the board of The Center for Public Policy Priorities in Austin, Texas.
Nancy Baker Jones
A founder and current president of the Ruthe Winegarten Memorial Foundation for Texas Women’s History, she is a historian, writer, editor, and educator with professional experience in nonprofit, corporate, and academic settings. Her focus for decades has been on educational and social equity. She earned the Ph.D. in American Civilization from the University of Texas at Austin, has published essays, videos, and poetry, is co-author (with Winegarten) of Capitol Women, a history of women in the Texas Legislature that won the Liz Carpenter Award, and she is an alumna of Leadership Texas.
Founding president of the Ruthe Winegarten Foundation for Texas Women’s History*, Nancy Baker Jones is an independent historian with professional experience in nonprofit, corporate and academic settings. She earned the Ph.D. in American Civilization from UT Austin and has published essays, videos, and poetry. She is co-author (with Winegarten) of “Capitol Women,” a history of women in the Texas Legislature that won the Liz Carpenter Award; an alumna of Leadership Texas; and a general editor of the Texas A&M University Press book series, “Women in Texas History." *Responsible for “Texas Women’s History Moments” (90 sec.) on KUT during March, Women’s History Month. See www.womenintexashistory.org
Perla Cavazos is from San Benito, Texas, in the Rio Grande Valley. She has lived in Austin for 16 years. She received her BA from Stanford University and an MPAff from the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas. Perla was a Policy Analyst at Texas Legal Services Center and previously worked in the Texas Senate. In 2009, she was a candidate for the Place 1 City Council position. Although she was not elected, she continues to be an active force within the city. Perla serves on the Mayor’s Community Cabinet and the Imagine Austin Citizen’s Advisory Task Force. Perla also serves on the boards of Planned Parenthood and LUPE Arte. She is a founding member of FuturoFund and volunteers with GENaustin. Perla is past president of the Austin Women’s Political Caucus and has served on the city’s Planning Commission, Commission for Women, and Resource Management Commission. Perla is currently the Legislative Director for State Senator Sylvia Garcia from Houston.
An Attorney and Community Leader, Lulu Flores is Partner at Hendler Lyons Flores. She currently serves on the Austin Arts Commission and the Austin YMCA Metro board. She is the past-President of the National Women’s Political Caucus and the NWPC-Texas, past-President and board member of Mexic-Arte Museum, a former board member of Leadership Austin. She has held the positions of Legislative Director for the State Bar of Texas, Assistant Director of Governmental Affairs at the Texas Railroad Commission and Legislative Director for the Mexican American Bar Association of Texas.
A nonfiction writer for young readers, Cynthia Levinson has been a community activist with the Austin Interfaith Alliance and the Breast Cancer Resource Center and is a member of Impact Austin. She does alumnae outreach for Wellesley College. She holds degrees from Wellesley and Harvard University and also attended the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs. A former teacher and educational policy consultant and researcher, Cynthia writes nonfiction about diversity for young readers.
When she was just 26 years old, Rachel Muir launched Girlstart, a non-profit organization to empower girls in math, science, engineering and technology in the living room of her apartment with $500 and a credit card. She’s raised over 10 million dollars and has been featured on Oprah, CNN, the Today show. Most recently Ms. Muir was recruited to lead the Mothers’ Milk Bank at Austin. In less than a year she doubled the budget from $850k to almost 1.7 million, raised more than $500,000 to create a world-class milk.
Mary Sanger has had a professional career in community organizing and electoral politics. As a program specialist with the Environmental Defense Fund, her work focused on growth and development issues, water and farm bill policies. She is the co-author of a number of publications, including “Texas Environmental Almanac” and “Fair Warning: Global Warming and the Lone Star State.” Sanger is the founder and was project leader for the Hill Country Roundtable, a 17-county initiative to protect the natural resources and heritage of this unique ecological region of Texas. She managed two successful campaigns for statewide officeholders. As an appointee of Gov. Ann Richards, she served on the Texas Housing and Community Development Board, and on the boards of Women and Their Work, Texas Low Income Housing Information Service; and Hancock Neighborhood Association. She served on the Board of the Hill Country Alliance and currently serves on the advisory board. Sanger received a master’s degree in social work from UT Austin.
Nancy Scanlan is a professional, award-winning photographer and longtime community leader. In addition to her work with Save Our Springs Alliance in Austin, she is a board member of KMFA, Austin's classical radio station; the Texas Photographic Society, and the Advisory Councils of the UT Austin Department of Theater and Dance, and the Harry Ransom Center.
Judge Bea Ann Smith
Bea Ann Smith has been a trained mediator for 20 years and served as a justice on the Third District Court of Appeals in Texas for 16 years. Since retiring from the court, she has served as a mediator, arbitrator, and appellate consultant to lawyers. She also is the first Texas judge to serve as president of the National Association of Women Judges. She serves on the faculty of the Dwight M. Opperman Institute of Judicial Administration for new state and federal appellate judges at NYU School of Law every summer and is an adjunct professor at the UT Austin School of Law. She is a recipient of the Women Lawyers Association’s Outstanding Achievement Award..
VP, Diversified Communication Engineering, Inc. (DCE), a consulting engineering firm. In 1986 she co-founded Global Information Technologies, Inc. (Global), the Managing Partner for Corridor Television, L.L.P. During the past 20 plus years, Global has owned and operated numerous communication companies that were developed and sold to companies such as Sprint, NexTel and Argyle Television.
Principal of Garza Independence High School in AISD since 2008.Garza Independence High School, which opened in January of 1998, is a public school of choice for any student with 10 or more credits who has completed two full years of high school and who wishes to earn a high school diploma.