Blog Archives

Jimmy Elizabeth Westcott

Jimmy Westcott, wife of businessman entrepreneur, Carl H. Westcott, is the mother of two sons, Court, a graduate of Vanderbilt University with an MBA from SMU and Chart, a 2007 graduate of Vanderbilt University who received his law degree from SMU in May,2011.  Court and his wife, Kameron, also a graduate of SMU, 17 month old daughter, Hilton, and Chart all live in Dallas.

Jimmy is a Summa Cum Laude Graduate of Mississippi College where she was elected to Pi Alpha Theta , history honor society and Pi Gamma Mu, political science honor society.  She continued graduate study in history, political science and jewelry design. She is the owner of Jayhawk Design and the creative director of

A long time community volunteer, Jimmy recently served as Honorary Co-Chair of the 2012 WINGS New Friends New Life Luncheon.  Her deepest concerns are for the women and children of our country that suffer daily from abuse of all kinds.  Her activities and awards include the following:

  • -First woman Chairman of the Board of The Boys and Girls Club of Greater Dallas
  • -Chairman of the Board of Dallas Children’s Advocacy Center.
    Member of the Crystal Charity Ball.
  • -Past Chairman of the Family Gateway Advisory Board.
  • -Recipient of the Pi Beta Phi Unsung Angel Award.
  • -Past Chairman of the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation National Awards Luncheon.
  • -Member of the President’s Advisory Council of the Dallas Center for the Performing Arts Foundation.
  • -Trustee of Southwestern Medical Foundation and is on the Children’s Health Services of Texas Board of Children’s Medical Center Foundation.
  • -Served on the United Way Executive Committee and the United Way Board.
  • -Served on the Boards of Greenhill School, The Child Care Group, and the Dallas Arboretum, The Center for Brain Health, and the Dallas Symphony.
  • -Co-Chairman of the Alexis de Tocqueville Society and was presented The United Way Above & Beyond Award.
  • -Received the Dallas for Children Children’s Champion Award.
  • -Co-Chair of the Center for Non Profit Management’s first annual awards dinner.
  • -Served as Chair for StageFest, the Dallas Center for the Performing Arts Community Gala and Co-Chair of the Dallas Symphony Gala.
  • -Founder of the Texas Stampede La Riata.
  • -Appointed by Governor Rick Perry to the Governor’s Commission for Women.  For that Commission she chaired The Domestic Violence Committee.
  • -Co-chair of the Genesis Mother’s Day Luncheon.
  • -Appointed to serve on the state Crime Victim’s Institute Advisory Council and on the state Crime Victim’s Service Advisory Council.
  • -Organized a toy drive, which resulted in a personal delivery of 9000 toys to Fort Hood’s Santa’s Workshop for the children of soldiers stationed at or deployed from Ft. Hood.

Through the Westcott Foundation, Mr. and Mrs. Westcott established the Dr. Eugene B. Tragus Chair in Molecular Cardiology at the UT Southwestern Medical Center in 1993.  They also contributed the funds for the new soccer field at Southern Methodist University known as the “Westcott Field.”  They have served as Honorary Co-Chairmen of the Dallas Heart Ball, the  AMFAR Concert and the Dallas County Heritage Society Old City Park “Circus in the Park.”  They hosted the Westcott Pro-Am benefiting the Northern Texas PGA Junior Golf Foundation and Inner City Youth.  The Junior Golf Foundation’s mission is to introduce the game of golf to children of all ages and socioeconomic backgrounds by providing instruction by PGA golf professionals, playing opportunities and by administering a scholarship program.  Mr. Westcott established a chair in honor of his wife named the Jimmy Elizabeth Westcott Distinguished Chair in Pediatric Neurology.  The Westcotts also enjoy funding college scholarships for at-risk youths.

Leslie Ward

Leslie Ward, Sr. Vice President External Affairs AT&T Texas, is responsible for developing and executing strategies impacting AT&T’s participation in the Texas political process.  Her responsibilities include state legislative policy and initiatives for Texas, development of legislative and political strategy, as well as the management of the AT&T Texas PAC.  Ms. Ward was appointed to her current position in 2008 having previously served in numerous legislative and regulatory positions within AT&T. She has been ranked as one of the top corporate lobbyist in Texas since the inception of the ranking system by Capitol Inside.

Ms. Ward joined SBC (now AT&T) in 1998 following ten years in the Government Relations division of Sprint.

Ms. Ward holds a BA in Political Science having attended Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas and St. Edward’s University in Austin, Texas.   In addition, Ms. Ward completed work in Corporate Community Relations at Boston College.

Ms. Ward currently serves on the Board of the Texas Taxpayers Association, the Texas Conservation Coalition Research Institute Board, the Long Center for the Performing Arts, and was recently elected to serve on the Board of the Texas Cultural Trust.  She is on the Selection Committee of the Texas Medal of Arts and is a sustaining member of the Austin Junior League.  Ms. Ward was appointed and served on the Texas Supreme Court Emergency Preparedness Task Force, and previously served on the Board of the National Foundation for Women Legislators.

She resides in Austin, Texas with her husband Don. They have two children.

Kate Perez

Kate Perez is an experienced marketing professional focused on technology products and services. Currently she serves as a global marketing manager for Cisco’s Datacenter and Virtualization organization, managing a variety of demand generation and marketing communications for Cisco’s Unified Computing server line. Previously, she spent 8 years at Dell in a variety of marketing roles, including global product launch campaigns, customer acquisition strategy, partner marketing and global brand campaigns. She is a graduate of the University of Texas with a B.A. in Economics and an M.B.A. from the McCombs School of Business.

In addition to her professional experience, she gives back to the community through a variety of organizations. Her focus is empowering women in business and technology, supporting arts organizations and building strong communities through leadership and development of individuals and organizations.  Kate is a board member of Ballet Austin and chaired Ballet Austin’s annual fundraiser Fete*ish in 2014. She is also the current president of the Symphony BATS Board of Directors and was the inaugural chair of The Blanton Museum’s Art on the Edge event. She and her husband serve on the Ice Ball committee for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Texas for the past two years. She also is part of the Advisory Board of the Texas Conference for Women and is a Next Generation Project Fellow with the LBJ School of Public Affairs.  Kate is a graduate of Leadership Austin’s Essential Class of 2013 and Emerge Class of 2009 and has previously been involved in organizations including Leadership Austin, Explore Austin, The Young Women’s Alliance Board of Directors, Association of Women Communicators, and Greenlights 501 Council.

Neissa Brown Springmann

Neissa Brown Springmann is the founder and CEO of iGnite Your Life.  In 2000, Neissa received a B.S. degree in Kinesiology from the University of Texas where she began a career in the health, wellness and fitness industry.  Soon after Neissa moved to New York City to pursue a career in television.  Following her stint in New York, Neissa moved back to Austin and opened a non-competitive gymnastics business in Round Rock, Tx, where she continued to work in the fitness field.  Realizing she was not fulfilling her divine calling, she sold her gymnastics business and in 2006, she founded iGnite Your Life.   Neissa is passionate about inspiring women to honor their temple through physical, spiritual and mental nourishment and discovery so they can reach their greatest potential and live their best life.

Patricia A. Shipton

Patricia A. Shipton served as a member of Governor Rick Perry’s senior staff from January 2001 to September 2004.  Ms. Shipton was the first Hispanic and the first woman to hold the post of Director of Legislative Affairs in the Governor’s Office.  As Legislative Director she was Governor Perry’s chief liaison to the Texas Senate, the Texas House of Representatives, Lt. Governor’s Office and the Speaker’s Office.   In addition, Ms. Shipton worked closely with the Mexican-American Legislative Caucus, the Black Caucus, the House and Senate Republican Caucuses, the House and Senate Democratic Caucuses and the House Rural Caucus.   As Legislative Director, Ms. Shipton was responsible for securing passage of Governor Perry’s legislative initiatives including the Trans-Texas Corridor, the Texas Grants II Program, a Border Telemedicine Project, Master Math and Master Science Teaching Programs, Government Re-Organization Act, a Model Sea Water Desalination Project, Medical Liability Reform, the Texas Enterprise Fund and balanced budgets.

A native of Laredo, Texas, Ms. Shipton is a 1983 graduate of the University of Texas at Austin, earning a BA in English and Psychology.  Ms. Shipton worked as a legislative staffer for a number of years, and as a government affairs consultant prior to joining the Governor’s Office.

In September 2004 Ms. Shipton returned to the private sector as a government affairs consultant.


Julie Shannan

Julie Shannan has created, launched and managed some of the most innovative and effective informal education programs for girls, parents and teachers. Ms. Shannan is a recipient of the prestigious “Austin Under 40” Award for leadership in Youth and Education. She currently serves on the Texas Girls Collaborative Project Leadership Council, serves on the Women Shaping Texas Advisory Committee for the Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum, a member of NASA Human Health and Performance Center, and is an advisory board member for SciGirls, a PBS show for girls and science.

Ms. Shannan graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a bachelors in Biology and has developed nationally recognized science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) programs that have been funded by Oprah’s Angel Network, the Texas Education Agency and the National Science Foundation. Ms. Shannan’s passion for science and math drive her to constantly create cutting edge programs that spark girls’ intellect and creativity while engaging the Central Texas community in the process.

Karen Kenney Reagan

MariBen Ramsey

MariBen Ramsey is Vice President and General Counsel of the Austin Community Foundation.  She graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a B.B.A. in Accounting and received her law degree from the University of Texas School of Law. After 12 years practicing corporate/securities law and serving as partner at an Austin law firm, she joined the staff of the Austin Community Foundation.

MariBen has served on numerous boards of non-profit organizations at the local, state, national and international level. She brings not only her legal expertise to these organizations but also her abilities to problem solve, build partnerships and lead others to creative solutions.   MariBen advises a variety of non-profit organizations – from startups to well established agencies – in governance and board development, strategic planning and fundraising.  She also counsels individuals, families and businesses in their philanthropic giving.

MariBen is an active community volunteer and has received many recognitions and awards, among them the Austin Business Journal’s Women of Influence in 2011, the Junior League of Austin’s Community Service Award and Volunteer Extraordinaire Award and the Travis County Women’s Lawyer Award for Community Service.  Her favorite recognitions are the “Best Unsung Behind-the-Scenester” from the Austin Chronicle in 2011 and the Association of Fundraising Professionals Special Recognition award at the 2011 Philanthropy Day, where she was named “Austin’s Best Friend.”



Milla Perry Jones

Milla Perry Jones is vice president of government affairs for United Surgical Partners International.  USPI owns and operates over 200 healthcare facilities in 26 states, of those 50 ambulatory surgery centers and 7 surgical specialty hospitals are in Texas. In her role with USPI, Jones passionately advocates at both the state and national level for physician ownership of healthcare facilities.

Following graduation from Texas Tech University, Ms Jones completed a dietetic internship at Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas and became the Director of Food Services for Hendrick Medical Center in Abilene, Texas in 1970.  Jones returned to Dallas and Baylor in the mid 80s where over the course of 20 years she became a senior fund raising officer for Baylor Health Care System Foundation.

Jones is a board member of the Texas Ambulatory Surgery Center Society and Physician Hospitals of America, a founding member of the Texas Physician Owned Hospital Association , and the conference chair and charity event founder of Ambulatory Surgery Centers of America.  She is also a board member of Dallas Summer Musicals, Inc., Texas Horse Park, and Texas Cultural Trust.  She sits on the advisory boards for Cattle Barons, Frost Bank of Texas, and Southwest Transplant Alliance.

Jones holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Texas Tech University.

Lisa Perini

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