Girls Inc. Announces the 2008 Recipients of She Knows Where She’s Going Awards, to be presented at the 20th Annual Awards Luncheon, April 1, 2008
DALLAS, TX – Girls Incorporated of Metropolitan Dallas (Girls Inc.) today announced the exceptional award recipients who will be recognized at the 20th Annual She Knows Where She’s Going Awards Luncheon, Tuesday, April 1, 2008 at noon at the Hilton Anatole Hotel. “Girls Inc. is deeply honored to have the opportunity to recognize our remarkable recipients who serve as outstanding advocates and role models for women and girls,” said Carol V. François, Ed.D., board chair of Girls Inc. and president of François Consulting Services, Inc. “We celebrate their dedication and their spirit.”
Barbara Lord Watkins, community volunteer and President Emerita, Parkland Foundation will chair the April 1st luncheon and celebration honoring five outstanding women with the She Knows Where She’s Going Award. These women will be recognized for overcoming obstacles to reach their goals as well as having made significant contributions to the Dallas community and serve as role models for girls and women. The She Knows Where She’s Going Award was established in 1987 and has recognized 65 honorees since the program was launched. In addition, Girls Inc. will present the Girls Champion Award to an organization that has made significant contributions to increasing the personal or professional growth of girls or women in the Dallas community. The Girls Champion recipient demonstrates an ongoing commitment to developing, supporting or expanding opportunities for girls and women to positively impact their futures. Girls Inc. has awarded seven Girls Champion Awards since its creation in 2001.
The recipients of the 2008 She Knows Where She’s Going Awards are:
Carmen Garcia, Director of Community Affairs – State Fair of Texas: Carmen Garcia is the director of community affairs for the State Fair of Texas. Her road to success has included raising two sons alone and earning a college degree against the odds. She was determined to provide for her children and therefore worked full-time during the day and part-time in the evening. Carmen’s inspiration for higher education came from her former employer, ARCO, which provided much of her tuition and from her sons who were attending college at the same time as their mother. With uncommon determination, she completed her degree in six years and became the first in her family to receive a college degree. This marked the beginning of her great career.
Her dedication to the issues affecting girls and young women are evident in her long time involvement with the Hispanic Women’s Network of Texas (HWNT). In her role as a member and later Chair of the Dallas chapter, she co-chaired and sponsored the Little Girls Christmas Party. This annual event, in its 20th year, sponsors girls ranging in ages of five to thirteen. They receive gifts of clothing, toys and school supplies provided by HWNT members and learn traditional Mexican Christmas customs.
Another program very close to Carmen’s heart is HWNT’s Education Series. During four weekend sessions, Dallas ISD Hispanic high school girls meet professional Hispanic women, learn about higher education options, learn etiquette skills and a select group earn scholarships. Her constant message to young girls is to stay in school and go on to higher education. She tells them to take an educational path that is achievable, find the resources to help them achieve it and connect with a mentor for guidance and
inspiration. During the 21st Annual State Conference held in Dallas, Carmen led her team and included young Latinas from various universities, exposing them to behind the scenes coordination of a statewide conference.
Carmen has never forgotten her roots and the struggles in her path to success and believes her duty is to give back. She is a tireless contributor of talent and time to the Dallas community. She sits on the boards of the Dallas Arboretum, the Greater Dallas Planning Council, the Hispanic Women’s Network of Texas, the African American Museum and Texas Association of Mexican American Chambers of Commerce (TAMACC).
Anne Motsenbocker, Dallas Region President – JPMorgan Chase
Anne Motsenbocker is the Dallas Region President of JPMorgan Chase, the state’s largest financial institution. Anne has been actively involved in the Dallas community for a number of years. While on the board of The Women’s Center of Dallas, Anne chaired the Maura Award for two years and served on the board for seven years. As president of the board for the YWCA of Metropolitan Dallas, Anne was able to direct the agency to have a greater focus on the needs of lower-income women in the Metroplex. Their areas of focus shifted to financial literacy, women’s health issues and childcare, just to name a few. Today, the YWCA serves more than 5,000 women in the Metroplex and her effort have helped them make a strong impact on the lives of the women they serve.
Jennifer Bong (Vinh Tuong) Nguyen, President – DFW Asian American Citizens Council
Jennifer Bong (Vinh Tuong) Nguyen was born and raised in South Viet Nam, in the Ben-Tre province. While still in high school, Jennifer was among the first few young women registered in the after-school program at the American officer compound. French was the only language taught besides Vietnamese; the English language was very limited in the school curriculum. Despite her parent’s wishes, she continued to learn as much as she could. Her dream was to one day be the leading Asian woman fighting for equal opportunity, women’s rights and to be the best war reporter.
While working at the Bien Hoa Air Force Base, she met and married a young F5E fighter pilot of the South Vietnamese Air Force, Lt. Colonel Tuong (Thomas) Nguyen. They have been married for 40 years and have three daughters, a son and 11 grandchildren. On April 24, 1975, Jennifer managed to escape with her four children, without their father, and was among the thousands of refugees who escaped during the Fall of Saigon in order to get away from the bombs and mine fields where casualties increased daily.
Mary Lois Hudson Sweatt, Owner/Director Mary Lois School of Dance, Inc.
Mary Lois Hudson Sweatt’s long list of accomplishments and achievements began with being the first black student from a segregated high school in the deep south to receive a scholarship to Mill College in Oakland, California. She graduated in 1960 with a bachelor of arts in dance and music. Mary earned a masters of arts in modern dance in 1962. She was the first black to serve on the faculty of Hockaday School and Ursuline Academy. Mary Lois was featured in the “High Profile” section of the Dallas Morning News in 1982 and was a resource specialist and lecturer for Black Liturgical Dance at SMU.
As the owner and director of the Mary Lois School of Dance, she taught many girls and young women that discipline was critical in order to master the intricacies of dance. Over 1,000 students, in grades preschool through high school were mentored by Mary Lois and learned the important life skill of being well rounded by requiring them to study ballet, tap, jazz, primitive and modern dance techniques. She helped students’ develop dance skills, poise and self-confidence required to perform in venues throughout the Dallas
Dr. Mary Ellen Weber, Vice President for Government Affairs – UT Southwestern Medical Center
Dr. Mary Ellen Weber has excelled in a highly-diverse career—a research scientist, as a NASA astronaut, and most recently, as vice president for Government Affairs and Policy at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center. Focusing on analytical approaches to legislative issues and strategic communications, she is responsible for over $170 million in annual appropriations.
Previously, Dr. Weber was a NASA Astronaut for ten years and is the veteran of two space shuttle flights. In 2000, she flew aboard the Space Shuttle Atlantis on mission STS-101, a pioneering and critical construction mission for the International Space Station. She also flew in 1995 on mission STS-70, launching a $200 million communications satellite into earth orbit. She is among the youngest astronauts ever to venture in space, having traveled 297 earth orbits and 7.8 million miles. In addition to her experience in the Astronaut Corps in mission operations and development, she held key positions in building businesses from space research, in strategic communications and in program oversight. She is the recipient of the NASA Exceptional Service Medal.
Despite inauspicious beginnings, she has always been determined to excel and experience life. Supporting herself throughout college and graduate school, she received her B.S. degree with honors in chemical engineering from Purdue, a Ph.D. in physical chemistry from Berkeley, and later an M.B.A. from SMU. In total, she has published eight scientific papers and received one patent.