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2018 Women of Distinction

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Girl Scouts of Central Texas celebrates seven of Austin’s most inspirational leaders. 

By Lauren Jones, Photo courtesy of Hannah Bruno of Girl Scouts of Central Texas

For more than 20 years, Girl Scouts of Central Texas has honored Austin women who are at the backbone of the city’s business, cultural and societal development, the innovators, risk-takers and entrepreneurs who have made Austin what it is today. Past winners include former Austin Woman cover women Gigi Edwards Bryant, Ingrid Vanderveldt and Lisa Copeland. In addition to this year’s five honorees, the Girl Scouts will honor True Wealth Ventures, founded by Kerry Rupp and Sara Brand, with its Workplace of the Year distinction. The Women of Distinction Luncheon will take place April 26 at the AT&T Executive Education and Conference Center.

To celebrate the 2018 Women of Distinction, AW asked the Girl Scouts to share the impact this year’s honorees have had in the Austin community.

Alexis Jones

Alexis Jones, former AW cover woman, is the founder of I Am That Girl, a nonprofit giving girls the tools they need to lead with compassion, confidence and self-love. She’s also the founder of ProtectHer, a program geared toward collegiate athletes that aims to revolutionize sexual-assault education and redefine manhood. Jones is also an author, thought leader and motivational speaker, and was named one of AOL’s Makers, along with Oprah Winfrey, Hillary Clinton, Ellen DeGeneres and Sheryl Sandberg.

Nora Comstock

Nora Comstock is the founder of business-consultancy firm Comstock Connections and the national and international founder of Las Comadres para las Americas, a nonprofit organization working to build community among Latina women. Comstock is also a  member of the Austin Community College District Board of Trustees and a 2012 inductee to the Texas Women’s Hall of Fame. Comstock believes in the power of education to transform young people’s lives and is dedicated to promoting social justice and access to education.

Denise Davis

Denise Davis has nearly two decades of experience working in the Texas Legislature and is the founding partner of Davis Kaufman PLLC. She is the former Texas House of Representatives deputy parliamentarian, ex chief of staff for Texas House of Representatives Speaker Joe Straus and ex general counsel to Lieutenant Governor Bill Ratliff. Davis is a lobbyist and is consistently ranked as one of Texas’ most powerful.

Laura Wolf

Laura Wolf is the executive director of Court Appointed Special Advocates of Travis County, an organization that protects the city’s abused and neglected children. Prior to her work with CASA, Wolf developed a merger between the Austin Rape Crisis Center and the Center for Battered Women to create SafePlace, an organization offering 24/7 services to those affected by sexual and domestic violence. Wolf is also the former president of the Austin Junior League and the recipient of two national awards from CASA Inc.

Amy Shaw Thomas

Amy Shaw Thomas is the vice chancellor of academic and health affairs and an executive officer with the University of Texas System, providing counsel on legislative, public-policy and health initiatives affecting the UT System. She is also a board member of the Downtown Austin Alliance, the Texas Methodist Foundation, an active member of the Austin Area Research Organization and an advocate for inclusion, diversity and meritocracy.

 

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