I am deeply honored, at this pivotal moment in history, to join the inspiring team of changemakers at the Texas Women’s Foundation. I consider it a sincere privilege to take on the leadership role of this extraordinary organization and to continue the critically important work of my incredible predecessor who did so much to lay the foundations for change.
There is a legacy of service in my family, and I proudly walk the path created by the strong women in my life who blazed the trail starting with my mother and all the way back to my great-great-grandmother. , Maria Buckner Stokes, who graduated from the Hampton Institute in 1890. Her daughter, my great-grandmother, Julia Bertha Stokes, graduated in 1918, and my parents, Suzanne Wilson and Thurmond Woodard, graduated in 1970. When I crossed that stage, I became the fourth generation to graduate from Hampton University. Also, my grandfather, Lt. Col. Theodore Wilson, was an Airman from Tuskegee. I have many of his memories, including his wings, notes and flight manuals, which are a constant reminder of the courage it takes to pursue the unimaginable. Service, education and the fight for opportunity are literally in my DNA.
My cumulative experiences over the past 25 years and throughout my life have converged to prepare me to face this moment with courage. My childhood included frequent moves. I have spent a lot of time abroad, which has instilled in me an appreciation for the beauty of diversity and fueled my passion for creating communities that celebrate difference as a unifying force, which uplifts all members. Likewise, my career has focused on advocacy on issues ranging from domestic violence and sexual assault to child hunger and foster care reform. It only reinforced my desire to make a real, lasting difference for women and children – and why the mission of the Texas Women’s Foundation is so near and dear to my heart. Joining an organization founded in 1985 by 19 incredible founders from all walks of life who came together to create a needed movement that has become a powerful force for change is testament to the legacy that I cherish so deeply. I am part of a community with a strong Board of Directors and volunteers who share the same vision: to invest in strong women so that we can build a strong world.
Working to improve the circumstances surrounding the issues and people you care about can be difficult. In times of significant adversity such as the past few years, however, we must not tire of the journey, but rather remember that now is the time to dig and deepen conversations at the intersection of race, sex and intrinsic value in society. Now is the time to stay the course – and we will do it together. Together, let’s continue to elevate and amplify the opportunities available to women and children in the great state of Texas. Together, we will find ways to authentically engage across differences and prioritize lasting strategies that unlock progress on racial and gender equality. Together, we will work to reform our social, educational, political and economic structures to create a more equitable and inclusive society for all. Together we will stay the course and set the world on fire.
Join us on this journey: www.txwf.org