10 Years of San Antonio Woman

Our Premier Issue


In the 10 years since we featured her on the cover of SAN ANTONIO WOMAN’s first issue, the pretty KENS TV anchorwoman became a mother for the third time, and, she says, she’s come more into her own as a woman, a professional and a mother. “You learn a lot as you get older,” she notes. One important thing she’s learned is to appreciate family and friends who have supported her through the years. “So many people help you to be who you are, and it takes some maturity to recognize that. We can’t do it alone,” says Lucero.

As a journalist, she is well aware of how much the city has changed in the last decade, with the closing and privatization of military bases, new neighborhoods springing up all around, the steady growth of the biomedical industry and the increase in green spaces. A marathoner and a fitness buff, Lucero’s delighted that our city has developed new parks, that more people are engaging in outdoor activities and that Mayor Julián Castro launched a fitness initiative. “And we have our own marathon now that’s grown to 30,000 participants,” she adds. “It’s cool that I am living through this time in San Antonio and that I get to report on it.”



“I felt very honored to have been selected for your cover story,” says Bauer, a savvy commercial real estate broker who is one of very few women specializing in large land deals. “To this day business clients tell me that they learned more about me from your article than they had ever known before. It also brought out young women who wanted to talk to me about how to get into the business. I am always happy to share what I know.”

And she knows a lot. Bauer’s ideas have literally transformed huge tracts of San Antonio and Bexar County forever. As owner and president of the Drake Commercial Group, she continues to bring together sellers, developers, builders and investors to build new master-planned communities. The latter are almost like towns in their own right, including as they do a variety of housing, retail and business sections.

Her focus is currently on the area around Texas Research Park on the West Side. “It’s the new Stone Oak,” she says. “The whole West Side is going to change dramatically.” You’d better believe her!



Just the day before we talked, KGB Texas founder and CEO, Katie Harvey had to take a day off to stay home with her sick son. So, it was only natural to start our conversation with a brief discussion of the career/ motherhood dichotomy. “Now that my boys are 8 and 10 it’s easier in a way because they are more self-sufficient but, on the other hand, with all the after-school activities and sports, it definitely takes more of our time. So, there are challenges,” she recognizes. “Fortunately, the company is in such a place to allow me the flexibility that I need to spend with my kids.”

Since 2004, KGB Texas has become the largest PR/marketing firm in town, notes the CEO, in addition to having offices in both Austin and Houston. But the ways of doing business have changed. Like the news, marketing had to adapt in the wake of the digital revolution and the social media explosion. “Today, you have to get people talking about a brand. You can’t just shout out a message at them,” she observes succinctly. “Things change quickly and we have to stay on top of the developments to figure out how to connect people (target groups, consumers) using the channels that they are using.”

And she has more news: this month KGB is moving to larger premises in the Pearl complex, the latest “in” place for creative enterprises, plus the company has started KGB Texas Health Care Solutions to offer marketing services to health care providers.



San Antonio’s eminent community and political activist continues to forge ahead with new projects and causes, although she’s no longer as active in politics as she used to be. That torch is now in the hands of her son, Joe Straus III, the speaker of the Texas House, whom she supports 100 percent. Straus and her husband, Joe Straus Jr., have three children, four grandchildren and a new great-grandson, Peter, born in February of this year.

Little Peter will likely be the beneficiary of his great-grandmother’s current efforts to help the San Antonio Children’s Museum raise funds to build a new 70,000-square-foot facility on Broadway. Straus will be hosting a fundraising party at her house in November. It will be a different house from her cliff-perched residence we visited eight years ago. It was time to downsize, she explains.

The founder of Las Casas Foundation that restored the Majestic and Empire Theatres, as well as founder of the Women’s Leadership Council of the United Way, which promotes philanthropic giving among women, Straus remains engaged with both. “The Women’s Leadership Council has grown tremendously,” she says proudly.



Bohl’s life has changed significantly since we wrote about her seven years ago. She is now a single mom of two growing daughters, with all the responsibilities and worries that that entails. “I am a mother who has her daughters’ well-being at the forefront as they navigate the crazy teen and pre-teen years,” says the co-anchor for WOAI TV’s News 4 Today. “Today’s parents have new challenges with all the social media and the possibility that outsiders could control your children. That’s a constant concern for me, to make sure that I am up on the technology so I know what’s going on. It’s a whole new set of risks.”

New technologies have also affected the news business. “We can instantly get input from viewers,” she notes. “I have an iPad on the anchor desk, and we are constantly getting feedback about events from Twitter or Facebook. It has changed the way we look for stories and the way we investigate them. News is more in the ‘now’ than ever before.”

To help her deal with the multifaceted life she leads, she gets a daily dose of affirmation from a phrase taped to her bathroom mirror that says “I Can Do It All.”

Bohl commends SAN ANTONIO WOMAN “for a decade of bringing positive stories about women in our community to the forefront.”



Last year, Girl Scouts of Southwest Texas recognized Goudge’s volunteer work for the organization, describing her as “a role model for tomorrow’s leaders (who) has made significant contributions to the quality of life in the community and to society as a whole.”

A banker and a mother of four, Goudge has always found time to serve her community in leadership roles, staying with each organization for long stretches of time. In addition to Girl Scouts, she’s served the Alamo Heights ISD as a board member, has volunteered for the Junior League, United Way, the Sunshine Cottage School for the Deaf and other nonprofits. So we asked her to comment on many working women’s lament that they don’t have the time for volunteering.

“Volunteer work is energizing. The more you do for others, the more you’ll be able to do for yourself,” she says. “I have a sign by my phone that reads: ‘Volunteers don’t necessarily have the time; they just have a heart.’”



When we interviewed her in 2007, personal injury attorney Sonia Rodriguez eloquently expressed her mission on behalf of her suffering clients. “My clients are entitled to justice,” she stated. “What they need is a lawyer who advocates for them. I have to be their voice.”

She’s still provides that voice with passion and dedication as “a full equity partner” in Branton/Hall/Rodriguez/ Cruz. And she still serves as the chair of the Mayor’s Commission on the Status of Women to which she was appointed by former Mayor Phil Hardberger. But there are also new appointments and new goals. She is now one of three chairs for Mayor Castro’s SA 2020 initiative, which became a separate nonprofit about a year ago. Her excitement is palpable when she speaks of SA 2020’s vision for San Antonio that aims to improve 11 aspects of city life, from downtown development and transportation to health and fitness and family well-being.



The San Antonio-based owner of the Protocol School of Texas has become a nationally known etiquette guru who is frequently interviewed on TV and quoted in magazines and newspapers. Now specializing in corporate/business etiquette, she flies all over the country to present seminars for a variety of business clients. “My career is on fire,” is the way she puts it.

Etiquette skills are leadership skills, she says, since etiquette’s basically about appropriate behavior and how we treat other people. Almost everyone needs some fine-tuning.

Gottsman was willing to share the following three bits of advice with our readers.

Pick up the pen and use it more often; hand-written notes are very important.
Learn how to use techno gadgets in a proper manner while in the presence of others.
Update dining skills and adopt the European eating style. The latter is more efficient, less noisy and allows you to maintain eye contact with your dining mate. Good advice!



Though her husband is no longer mayor, Linda Hardberger’s life has not changed as much as she thought it would. “I thought I would return to my nice quiet life, but we are still asked to do a lot in the community,” she says. This fall, she was the honorary chair of San Pedro Playhouse’s 100th anniversary celebration gala, and she and Phil are also the honorary chairs for The Joffrey Experience, a series of ballet and ballet-related events to be presented by ARTS San Antonio this winter. Additionally, Hardberger is on the board of the new opera company that will be in residence at the Tobin Center for the Performing Arts.

Her assessment of the status of the arts in the city is positive and optimistic: “Luminaria (a project her husband initiated) is a fabulous event that spotlights San Antonio artists. We now have the Artists Foundation that gives grants to (individual) working artists. Then with the new wing at the McNay and the additions to the Witte, and new directors at both SAMA and Artpace, it all means people want to come here and work here because we are getting to be known in these fields. San Antonio has a commitment to public art, too, as can be seen along the River Walk. And how can I forget the Tobin Center?”



Mengden believes in resilience. Setbacks and losses will happen in life, but it’s crucial to know that you can learn to cope with adversity and survive. A psychologist and co-director of the Eating Disorder Center at San Antonio (EDCASA), she tries to teach that concept to her troubled clients, and she incorporates it in her own life. Diagnosed with thyroid cancer in 2006, Mengden applied herself to overcoming fear and becoming resilient, she told us back in 2008. Well, she has good news. Her last annual checkup shows that she is still cancer-free.

Meanwhile, EDCASA has moved into its own building, where it can accommodate a larger staff and serve more people afflicted with eating disorders such as bulimia, anorexia nervosa and binge eating. It’s the only place in San Antonio where adults suffering from these conditions can get sustained professional help. The results are very encouraging, especially in the cases of binge eating.

EDCASA has also initiated a middle school program called “Fat Talk” to help youngsters improve their body image.



Life is always dynamic for City Manager Sheryl Sculley. When we profiled her in 2009, she was working, among other things, on the execution of the 2007 bond program that aimed to take care of streets, drainage problems and other nonglamorous must-dos, in addition to a couple of libraries, a fire station and some park improvements. True to her reputation, she now proudly reports that 98 percent of the projects have been completed at $47 million under budget. “We are now embarking on the 2012 $596 million (bond) program,” she notes, the largest in San Antonio’s history, with $70 million dedicated for downtown improvements, including the renovation of the HemisFair complex.

“We continue to focus on financial management,” she adds. “The city had its AAA rating (by Standard & Poor’s Rating Service) reaffirmed recently; the 2013 budget is balanced, and we maintain financial reserves.” And here is more good news. The city manager hopes to stay on the job after her current contract expires at the end of 2013.



Civil engineering firm Bain Medina Bain has been on the San Antonio Business Journal’s list of Best Places to Work in San Antonio multiple times, rising to the No. 2 spot in the medium-size company category in 2010. What better tribute can an employer get? President/CEO Pamela Bain is understandably proud of it. “Since we are a family-owned business, we cultivate a family atmosphere, professional but comfortable, so people feel at ease,” she explains. “Our employees are real people, not just employees, and we all care for each other. We give a lot of moral support to employees who are going through a difficult time in their life, and we listen to their concerns.”

Though not an engineer herself, Bain has successfully run the firm since the early ‘90s and was inducted into the Women’s Hall of Fame in the business category in 2009. Her advice to other CEOs: Take time to listen to your employees, and try to make the work environment stress-free. It’s good for business.



What Barrera and Accion Texas do can be best described as “changing lives,” as she herself put it back in 2009. By awarding modest loans to small businesses or business startups, the nonprofit Accion has been enabling budding entrepreneurs to realize their dreams — and in the process improve the economy — since 1994. Because they deal with each borrower on a more personal level and provide guidance, their default rate is only about 5 percent. A former nun, Barrera has been the moving force behind the entire effort, which has turned Accion into the nation’s largest microlender.

She’s entered the halls of power, including sitting on the board of the San Antonio Branch of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas.

Under her leadership, Accion has expanded its reach to eight states in the past few years with a total of 20 local offices, in addition to increasing the span of its loans, which now range from $500 to $250,000. At least half go to women, who are better at repaying them than men.

In this time of high unemployment, Barrera points to an amazing research result produced by the Association for Economic Opportunity: “Their study found that if one in three small businesses were to hire just one employee, we would eliminate the unemployment in the United States.” We hope employers will take note.



Dr. Ruth Berggren has a lot of news to share with us even though it’s been less than three years since we profiled her. Passionate about her work, the director of the Center for Medical Humanities and Ethics at UTHSC is happy to report that activities have grown, especially in the areas of community service learning and global health education. More medical school faculty members are choosing to devote part of their time to the ethics programs. Among them is Dr. Andrew Muck, assistant professor of emergency medicine, who has also become the director of the new clinic for refugees, which didn’t exist two years ago. Up to 1,000 refugees from countries such as Iraq, Congo, Nepal and Myanmar arrive in San Antonio every year, says Berggren. At the clinic, medical and nursing students help refugee families with both acute care and referral needs. Other budding doctors work throughout the local community in free student-run clinics or travel to far-away countries to learn and assist with medical care there.

“No other medical school has a program quite like ours,” notes the doctor. “Our center focuses on ethics in action, not just theoretical principles. We believe in teaching our students principles of ethics that will allow them to deal with ethical dilemmas in a practical way.” She sees access to care as a major ethical issue that’s closely related to social justice. “When a human being is suffering, there’s no room for politics or partisanship. We want doctors of the future to focus on that and be in the position to relieve human suffering.”



The president of HEB’s San Antonio Food & Drug Division puts her life philosophy into practice every day. “I want to make the world a little better and make each day count,” says the busy executive, who oversees more than 200 stores, stretching from the border to Burleson near Fort Worth, where the recently opened store was named Outstanding Business of the Year by the Chamber of Commerce. One way Wade and H-E-B are living up to making the world “a little better” is the company’s new emphasis on health and fitness, both for their employees and the customers. Wade is especially proud of the Slim Down ShowDown contest launched this year that enrolled 25 overweight people who collectively lost 957 pounds in the course of 16 weeks. The winner, who lost 47 pounds, was rewarded with a $10,000 check. The contest is open to the public state-wide. “We are also looking at all departments and how we can offer healthier choices,” notes Wade.

On a personal front, she’s gained a new son-in-law and two grandchildren and will be staying close to children on another level as a board member of Teach for America, an organization that sends high-achieving college graduates to teach — mostly hard sciences — in impoverished school districts.

A native of Oklahoma, Wade loves life in the Alamo City and appreciates the many women leaders in the community. “And your magazine has helped by giving visibility to these women and to the causes that women care about,” she says.



Chavez called us from Phoenix, Ariz., where she was visiting the local Girl Scouts council, to talk about the high-profile turn that her career has taken since she left San Antonio a year ago. After turning around the declining membership in the Girl Scouts of Southwest Texas by responding to the needs and interests of today’s girls, she was tapped to lead the national organization headquartered in New York City. A former Girl Scout herself, the new CEO says she and her Texas team have “contemporized the programming” to continue to live up to the organization’s 100-year-old mission to “build girls of courage, confidence and character who make the world a better place.”

Earlier this year, Chavez launched a major new initiative called ToGetHerThere, essentially a huge advocacy and fundraising effort to achieve parity in leadership between men and women across all sectors of society within a single generation. She’s now visiting the regional councils and talking to civic organizations and the media about the campaign that aims to raise $1 billion for the cause. And she has taken her message to Capitol Hill, too. “We want all organizations, governmental, philanthropic, nonprofits, to advocate for girls,” she says. “The message is resonating across the country.”



It seems like every family in America is touched by cancer in some fashion, and breast cancer remains a threat most feared by women. So we asked Dr. Paromita Datta, medical director of the Aurora Breast Care Clinic, to list some things that our readers may not know about the disease. Her answers:

1. Women with higher breast tissue density are at greater risk of developing breast cancer; 2. Vitamin D deficiency is also related to higher risks; 3. Soy products increase your chances to get ill; and 4. A baby aspirin a day has been shown to be preventive.

An annual mammogram is fine for most healthy women, but those with a family history of breast cancers or those who are survivors themselves should have an MRI scan. Exposure to chest radiation and carrying certain breast cancer genes are also good reasons to have an MRI, she says. The Aurora Clinic has the only MRI machine in town especially designed for breast imaging.

She wants all cancer patients and families to know that Aurora will be starting a patient support group soon with doctors and staff present to answer questions.



Just a couple of months after her profile appeared in the magazine, Cisneros’ husband, former long-time Mayor Henry Cisneros, was diagnosed with prostate cancer. So naturally our first question is about his health and about her own state of mind. “Henry is doing real well,” she tells us. “He’s been through 45 radiation treatments and is now in a holding pattern; he’ll be rechecked in a month or two. Never missed a day of work! We remain strong. We are onto the next thing.”

The next thing for her is her new involvement with the San Antonio Women’s Hall of Fame, where she’s now second VP in charge of membership. The nonprofit gives scholarships to women returning to school and recognizes local women who have made a substantial contribution in 15 different fields. She was herself inducted into SAWHF during her stint as a councilwoman.

As the unpaid president of American Sunrise, Cisneros continues to work hard to raise funds for the organization that provides after-school educational programs for children and classes for their parents as well.



Back in 2003, SAN ANTONIO WOMAN profiled Clarissa Davis-Wrightsil at a historic moment for women’s basketball in the city and the country. The former basketball Olympian had been hired by Spurs Sports & Entertainment to spearhead the effort to bring a women’s pro team to the Alamo City. Named the Silver Stars, that team launched its inaugural season that year with a Memorial Day game at the then-SBC Center.

Fast forward 10 seasons, and look at the Stars today. Though it has yet to become WNBA’s No 1, the current team has scored many, many wins and qualified for the playoffs for six consecutive seasons, including 2012. This represents the third-longest postseason streak in the WNBA, after Seattle (nine) and Indiana (eight). Our July/August cover girl, guard Becky Hammon, is a team leader, a six-time All-Star and one of the Top 15 players in WNBA history. And she’s an Olympian, too, though she played for the Russian Olympic team, not the American. What makes these achievements even more remarkable is that she is only 5 feet 6 inches tall in a world of 6-plus-footers. “I have had to rely on my brain. I am going against bigger and faster people, elite athletes, so I had to become a student of the game and be creative,” says the fearless Hammon.

Go, Silver Stars, Go!



Opening a bakery isn’t exactly top news, but when a Hollywood personality who is married to rising movie star heartthrob Armie Hammer returns to the city of her birth to bake cupcakes and pies … well, people get interested. Chambers has thrown her heart and energy into the Bird Bakery, and San Antonians are responding in kind. And for a good reason — the goodies are a big cut above the competition.

One bit she confided to us during the interview concerned the bird feeder she installed outside the door. When a certain cardinal comes by to peck, she feels like it’s the spirit of her grandmother coming by to say hi. Grandma ran a catering business in Alamo Heights for years, and most recipes originated in her kitchen. We like that sense of history and family loyalty around here!

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