Congratulations to all of our 2022 Woman’s Way Business Award finalists! Don’t forget to celebrate with us in person on May 12 at the Austin Marriott Downtown. You can purchase tickets below!

Amy Cartwright – Independence Brewing Co.

Little did Amy Cartwright know that taking a job at the Bitter End Brewpub in 1996 to pay her way through her degree program at the University of Texas Austin would lead to a lifelong pursuit for the perfect IPA. While initially her career was in Austin’s early dot com years, her passion for cultivating relationships and sharing beers—a tangible, enjoyable, non-vaporware creation—led to the origin of Independence Brewing. While Austin has changed substantially since 2004, her relationships with fans and fellow businesses has only grown stronger. For Cartwright, these relationships are what make running a business worthwhile.

Amy Hageman – Texas Tiny Pools

Amy Hageman grew up having family in the construction industry. After working for commercial real estate firms for over a decade, her own challenging yard led to the creation of Texas Tiny Pools. As the woman owner of a construction company, She is at the forefront of changing the way pools are delivered. Her energy and creative ideas bring the uniqueness of Tiny Pools to every project we build. In what little free time she has these days, Hageman is a long-distance runner.

Anne Drane – Sawa Sawa Collection

“‘We make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give.'” -Sir Winston Churchill.

I make a living in property management. I make a life as the co-founder and CEO of Sawa Sawa Collection.”

Anne Drane has a background in business administration, finance, accounting, real estate and property management. She
worked under contract with the City of Austin as an administrative specialist and the State of Texas as an accounting auditor. She’s worked in hospitality as an auditor for a boutique hotel and a luxury resort. She works as an assistant commercial property manager for

Drane has a bachelor’s degree in finance. She has post-graduate coursework in international human rights, contract law, creativity innovation and change, social impact strategy, strategic social media marketing, grant writing and crowdfunding. Drane also has real estate appraisal training, a real estate license and a FitWel certificate.

Drane is a mother, a wife, a sister and a daughter. She lives in Austin with her 5-year-old daughter, Haley, and her husband, Walter. If she had time for hobbies, they would include being outdoors, horses, painting and designing. She loves spending time with my family and cooking for the people she loves.

Asha Creary – Crave Counseling

Asha M. Creary is the founder & CEO of Crave Counseling. She is originally from the Dallas Metroplex area of Oak Cliff and transitioned to Austin in 2017. Creary has a Master of Education degree in school counseling, Bachelor of Science degree in university studies and an Associate of Science in liberal
studies. She has spent the last 10 years in education, providing volunteer support, interacting with the community and sending care packages to our service members.

Creary currently does public speaking, small-business mentoring, professional counseling, is an active board member of Hearts2Heal and serves as TCA Senator of Capitol of Texas Counseling Association. Her clients would say that she is down-to-earth and easy to talk to. In her free time, she enjoys traveling, reading and learning new things. She lives every day by reminding herself to be a blessing to everyone she comes in contact with.

Beth Heyer – Babysitting Connection

“Hi, I’m Beth, a happily married mom to a 5- and a 7-year-old. I spent the bulk of my career as a recruiter and trainer at an amazing family-owned business. After I had my son, I spent four years being a stay-at-home mom, which is where my passion for moms began. I’ve helped run several moms clubs and grown an amazing network of moms in both Ohio and Texas. When I realized I was ready to get back to work, I knew it had to be my own business and something I was passionate about. Creating Babysitting Connection was the perfect decision. I am now able to help parents every single day. It brings me so, so, so much joy to hear a mom so how thankful she is for our business.”

Cassaundra Melgar-C’De Baca – F7 Group Foundation

Air Force Veteran, 2014/2017 TXARNG Spouse of the Year, Cassaundra Melgar-C’De Baca started her nonprofit 12 years ago. Since then, she has helped tens of thousands of female vets and family members through direct assistance, business boot camps, retreats, resources, testifying on multiple occasions at Senate hearings on veteran affairs, health and human services. You name it.

She helped start the first city commission on veteran affairs in Texas and served as the board chair. She’s responsible for initiating multiple city, county and state proclamations on behalf of veterans and family members.

Melgar-C’De Baca has been recognized as RISE Global’s Social Entrepreneur of the Year and Inc 500: Special Military Delegate. She was on the United Nations Foundation Classy Award’s leadership council for social progress, veteran services and was the first female White House Champion of Change. As a means to better serve her community, she is going back to get another masters degree in integrated agriculture so she can teach others to not only grow their own food, but to help heal the earth in the process.

Dawn Foster – D. Foster Marketing

Dawn Foster is an unapologetic marketing and brand nerd who looks at the world through a marketing lens. Reading shapes and colors before words and reading beyond the message to see what is really being said. For more than 10 years, she has worked with and lead both large and small marketing teams. By partnering with C-suite operations, marketing, information technology and financial officers to build brands and marketing strategies across the United States, she has fostered a community of business owners, all with the goal of growing their business.

Dorothy Lawrence – Dorothy Butler Law Firm

Dorothy Lawrence is the owner-founder of Dorothy Butler Law Firm, a boutique all-woman law firm in Dripping Springs, Texas. Born and Raised in Louisiana, Lawrence practices across state lines but has made a name for herself in Texas. With both a Juris Doctorate and master’s degree in tax law, she focuses on all aspects legal and fiscal: bankruptcy, debtor defense and tax law.

The Super Lawyers Association has honored Lawrence as a Rising Star every year since 2016, an honor bestowed upon fewer than 2.5% of lawyers. In the span of only 10 years, Lawrence has grown a firm she started on her dining room table to a multi-office cross-disciplined force. The firm has four other attorneys who focus on most other areas of law: family law, business transactions, real estate, personal injury and estate planning. When not lawyering, she is a professional musician who performs with Broadway Across America productions and other talents, such as Bernadette Peters.

Jessica Stanley & Amy Arnold – Card My Yard

Amy Arnold is a wife, mother to three children, native Texan and lover of all things light, bright and happy. She finds joy in being creative, having projects and making people smile. Arnold attended Baylor University and studied education. Now she enjoys staying at home with her children and running a family-friendly business that serves others in our community.

Jessica Stanley is a graduate of the University of Texas in Austin, and loves everything about the Texas Longhorns. She has a heart for their church, community and giving back. Stanley loves Card My Yard because it gives her the ability to work as a family, building their business and spreading joy around the United States.

Katherine Heim – Revolution Bookkeepers

Katie Heim comes from several generations of small-business owners and entrepreneurs. She grew up in Houston, Texas, and moved to Austin in 2010, bringing Revolutions Bookkeepers with her. Heim built up Revolutions, eventually rebranding as REV ATX. She found her passion for serving queer, gender nonbinary and BIPOC as a safe and respectful space to bring their accounting projects. Heim has made strides in working with even the smallest of self-employed individuals to feed their passion for what they do and help them achieve growth. She hopes to continue to serve the Austin community for years to come and to retire in the Texas Hill Country.

Krista Bergeron – Austin Simply Fit

“I was raised all over Utah, moving almost every grade of school, including a short time in Las Vegas in high school. Moving all the time taught me about being adaptable, seeing different perspectives and learning how to succeed in various environments. It taught me to be resilient and brave, less afraid of the unknown. I was involved in student government and played softball and volleyball through school. But I didn’t start
strength training seriously until much later after having kids.

I graduated from the University of Utah with a degree in sociology and social work and was also enrolled in a National Student Exchange program and attended classes at Georgia State University. While in school, I always knew my passion was helping people and serving my community.

After nine years in the business world, I took a pause to have my two kids. It was then that I realized sports and fitness had always been my joy. I decided to return to what made me the happiest. Personal training combined my love of working with people and improving their well-being through fitness and community. I’m very fortunate every day to be doing what I love for a living.”

Krista Sampson – Argument-Driven Inquiry

Krista Sampson began her career as an elementary teacher in 2000. She taught in high-need schools in Washington state and Arizona before becoming the business manager for Tools for Science Educators, LLC in 2008. She served in this role until 2014. Sampson then founded Argument-Driven Inquiry,
LLC in 2014. She’s currently the chief executive officer of the company. She is responsible for the commercialization of all educational products and services that the company creates and offers to school districts and teachers. Also she developed the company’s revenue-generation strategy.

Sampson is responsible for creating sales and marketing strategies for the company each year. Argument-Driven Inquiry, LLC, as a result, has increased gross revenue and has seen profit every year without any outside investments. She is now overseeing the development of an all-new, and proprietary, browser-based educational application that will enable K-12 teachers to provide rigorous and equitable instruction in science, mathematics and engineering both in-person and remotely. This new application is called the ADI Learning Hub, which successfully launched July 1, 2021.

Laura Bruce – Mi Casa Es Tu Casa®

Laura Bruce, founder and director of Mi Casa Es Tu Casa, was born and raised in Venezuela surrounded by music and lived in different countries through her life. After a very traumatic childhood that was filled with emotional negligence and abuse, Bruce decided to study clinical psychology in an attempt to understand the human mind and help others through
challenging experiences like her own.

In 2010 she graduated third in her class from the Universidad Arturo Michelena with a degree in clinical psychology and was the lead researcher of a study linking psychological traits and diseases in an international medical journal from Universidad de Carabobo.

Her path to creating Mi Casa Es Tu Casa began with the birth of her son. She created the kind of program that she wasn’t able to find for him, seeking to foster childhood bilingualism, development and especially parenting support so no children have to go through what she did growing up. While she is known in the Austin community for her music, her joy and her ease with children, it’s her deep interest and commitment to providing parents a safe place to learn essential parenting skills, what drives her to continue expanding and reaching more families every day.

Lisa Jauregui – BK Beauty

Lisa Jauregui is founder and CEO of BK Beauty. Before launching the brand in 2019, Jauregui had been a content creator, makeup artist and educator uploading videos to YouTube. Her passion for teaching women makeup in an easy and practical way started to build a community around the world of people who were looking
for real-life wearable beauty looks that didn’t require a ton of steps or products.

A pure passion project grew into a world-wide community of viewers and inspired her to develop BK Beauty. A mom to two girls, Brooklyn and Kate, she wanted her brand to align with a message of teaching their generation that true beauty isn’t found in filtered social media posts, but instead found within. Inner beauty. True Beauty is found in how you treat others and yourself. “BK” was inspired by this mission to teach Brooklyn + Kate (BK) that true Beauty is Kindness (BK). A second-generation Austinite, Jauregui is passionate about giving back to this city and community she is so proud to be part of.

Lourdes Zuniga – Financial Health Pathway

Lourdes G. Zuñiga is an award-winning social impact leader, Presidential Leadership Scholar 2022, recognized as one of the most influential women in Central Texas by the Austin Business Journal, recipient of the President’s Volunteer Service gold medal and the Austin Area Urban League Founder’s award among various other accolades. Zuñiga is currently the executive director at Financial Health Pathways and recently graduated from the LBJ Women Campaign School’s inaugural class, where she was selected because of her work as an influential leader and strategist.

Maija Kreishman – Michael Hsu Office of Architecture

Maija Kreishman, AIA, is principal at Michael Hsu Office of Architecture (MHOA), where she has been a critical member of the firm since 2007. In addition to managing a broad range of architecture and interior projects, she oversees strategic visioning, studio culture, operations, marketing and business
development. She is leading MHOA’s recent growth into Denver, as well as in Houston, where the firm established a second office in 2019.

Kreishman’s passion for food and travel has shaped her design perspective and developed in her a penchant for hospitality design. Prioritizing experience, her design approach seeks to engage and connect the user to a space by prompting a response to interiors, materials and furnishings.

She holds a Bachelor of Science in Architecture from the University of Virginia and a master’s in architecture from the University of Texas at Austin, where she has also served as a guest lecturer. Kreishman’s notable projects include Montrose Collective, MKT, South Congress Hotel and Heights Mercantile,
among many others nationwide.

Maureen Brown – Mosie Baby

Maureen Brown and her husband, Marc, launched Mosie Baby in 2016 after their own difficult journey to conceive their first child led them to a diagnosis of unexplained infertility. They simply wanted an alternative way to try to conceive at home prior to spending thousands at a doctor’s office with no guarantees. When they couldn’t find it, they decided to make it. And that’s how Mosie was born. (Pun fully intended!) The Mosie syringe helped Maureen and Marc conceive their second child in the comfort of their own home. Since then, Maureen and the Mosie Baby team have helped thousands start their families on their own terms with a safe, simple, affordable way to inseminate at home while also retaining intimacy in the process.

Michelle Schuler – Time Insurance Agency

An Austin native, Michelle Schuler is taking the helm at her family’s independent insurance agency alongside her sisters. With a fresh perspective on people’s needs and a lifelong education in the business, she’s modernizing insurance without sacrificing client care. Outside of work, she’s walking her doodle, Noodle, and supporting local causes like Muny Conservancy.


Naijean Bernard – Jeany’s Caribbean Elixirs

Naijean Bernard, Ph.D., is a psychologist turned beverage entrepreneur. She is best known for successfully
launching Jeany’s Caribbean Elixirs, a premium beverage brand focusing on Caribbean-inspired flavors influenced by her immigrant background. Bernard has been featured in local news media such as the Austin Statesman, Austin Chronicle and Fox 7 News Austin, along with cultural travel blogs such as
Travel Noire. Her beverages can be found at local farmers markets and at some of Austin’s hippest and trendiest restaurants, hotels and coffeehouses.

Natalie Armendariz – Funsize

Before co-founding Funsize, Natalie Armendariz held senior positions at FJORD and R/GA NY, where she was responsible for designing some of the earliest smartphone solutions for influential companies such as Verizon, Citibank, AT&T, Flickr, Formula 1 and the NFL. As one of the first professional mobile product designers of the smartphone age, Armendariz is a published designer who is respected for her approach and passion for nurturing the client and employee experience.

Rose Smith – Black Women In Business

Rose Smith is a multifaceted individual who has a substantial resume, an affluent amount of experience and a record of trailblazing and leadership in the State of Texas. She specializes in leadership, team building, marketing and turning passion into profit. Smith has a drive to educate and empower all women.

After spending decades as a leader in corporate America, she realized the need for a platform to help Black women in business excel. So, it was her desire to provide an atmosphere that helped Black women reach their next level through education and empowerment, while creating a sisterhood filled with the support they needed and deserved.

Smith is an author, publisher, business coach and motivational speaker. Her long and distinguished career has spanned over a decade and has had a major impact in the Austin community. She was blessed with access to the resources she needed to achieve her life goals and made it her mission to provide that access to others in a progressive, modern way. Her willingness to take risks, be innovative and embrace change has provided her the opportunity to serve as a role model and touch the lives of those connected to her.

Salwa Khan – Cubbiekit

Salwa Khan, a former business strategist and finance professional, is a mother of two based out of Austin. After realizing how time-consuming and wasteful shopping for babies was, she set out on a mission to recreate the consumption model for babies.

Sarah Evans – Well Aware

Well Aware funds and implements lifesaving water systems to drive economic development and empower communities in East Africa. After 12 years of doing this work, Well Aware maintains a 100% success rate across all of our water systems, where the industry average is 40%. Our strong focus on and success in water system sustainability gave birth to our new for-profit subsidiary, Well Beyond. This new company has developed an app for beneficiaries to maintain and fix their water systems on their own, decreasing time without water and funding needed for repairs. Evans leads Well Beyond, a company garnering international attention as the next big thing in the water sector.

Sarah Puil – Drink BOXT, LLC

Sarah Puil is the founder of BOXT, a venture-backed, female-led and WOC-founded Austin Startup to Watch that’s changing the way we all enjoy a glass of fine wine at home. Puil believes first in people and connecting them through a shared experience. She also believes in delivering a glass her customers know they are going to love every single time.

She is passionate about removing the barriers to enjoying fine wine and teaching people how to talk about what they like without all the winespeak. Her goal is making a fine wine that’s easy to get, easy to drink and easy to share. As a first-generation American, Puil comes from a line of entrepreneurs. Her grandparents owned a successful hardware store in Cuba, where her father worked until immigrating to the U.S. in the ’70s.

Puil is following in their footsteps while breaking barriers in the world of VC funding for female and WOC founders, who currently only receive 2.7% and .64%, respectively, of potential venture capital. She bases her company’s intentional culture around diversity, mentorship and paying it forward.

Sheri Soltes – Service Dogs, Inc.

Sheri Soltes founded Service Dogs, Inc. in 1988 on the concept of using dogs rescued from animal shelters. An honors graduate from both the University of Texas School of Law and the University of Texas Plan II Honors undergraduate program, she left her law practice to devote full-time to building Service Dogs, Inc. Under her guidance, Service Dogs, Inc. has led the industry in combining the use of all rescue dogs with positive reinforcement training methodology.

As chair of the Assistance Dogs International North America Legislative and Advocacy Committee, Soltes worked with the Department of Transportation to revise the Air Carrier Access Act. The new rules, effective this year, make air travel safer for disabled passengers with legitimate service dogs. She is now working with the airline industry to increase accessibility of flight registration for disabled passengers. She’s also working with various Texas airports on their accommodations for service dogs.

Soltes has mentored assistance dog programs around the world including in Australia, Japan, Spain and Chile. She has been a featured speaker at many conferences and institutions in the United States, Spain and Chile. Her articles on the legal rights of assistance dog users have been published by Assistance Dogs International, the International Association of Assistance Dog Partners and Leader Dogs for the Blind. She drafted the 1995 revisions for Texas’ Assistance Dog accessibility statute.

Sugar Tennon – Pink Sugar Treats and Eats

Sugar Tennon is a self-taught baker that has transformed one failure into a profitable, fast-growing bakery brand that is uniquely more than cake. She has been featured on local television, accoladed web series and national television to show off her learned baking skills. She’s also founded a first-of-its-kind academy to teach and instruct young would-be bakers how to make money using the Texas Cottage Law and building their own bakery brands.

Tania Leskovar-Owens – Foster Angels of Central Texas

Born in Argentina and a graduate of UT Austin, Tania Leskovar-Owens has been working in the nonprofit sector for over 13 years. She brings strong operational, fundraising, financial, events and volunteer management experience. She worked at Susan G. Komen Austin, the University of Texas at Austin and for the past six years has served as the executive director of Foster Angels of Central Texas. Under Leskovar-Owens’ leadership, Foster Angels has consistently grown and expanded programming that has impacted thousands of children.

Prior to moving into the nonprofit sector, she got her undergraduate degree in advertising at the UT Austin and went on to work at GSD&M and Bromley Communications. Her passion for the nonprofit sector expands beyond her daily work. She is an active member of the Junior League of Austin, where she currently serves as the president-elect. She’s also currently in the Leadership Austin Essentials 42 cohort.

She enjoys traveling, food, outdoors and spending time with her husband, Matt, three boys—Tomas, Nicolas and Santiago—and new puppy, Leo.

TK Tunchez – Las Ofrendas

TK Tunchez is a self-identified queer, femme, Latinx maker and entrepreneur. Her life mission is to bring joy and laughter in all she does while helping other marginalized community members take up space and secure the financial, self-empowerment bag!

Tunchez’s background is in nonprofit and youth program management. Las Ofrendas has successfully pivoted to a five-star e-commmerce platform since COVID began. In addition to being the creative force behind Las Ofrendas, Tunchez is the founder and director of Frida Friday ATX, Austin’s only monthly intentionally intersectional BIPOC/ WoC market and cultural space. Frida Friday ATX has a network of over 250+ rotating artists and has been running monthly events since 2017, successfully pivoting to a virtual platform during COVID.

Tunchez is the founder and creative behind FUEGO ATX, Austin’s first monthly QPOC dance party (currently on hiatus). In 2019 she founded and curated Corazon Sagrado, a physical retail space that showcased the work of BIPOC and emerging artists. Since 2017, her Austin-based organizing efforts have generated over $250,000+ directly toward the local Austin creative community.

Most recently, her work has been highlighted in Austin Woman, The Chronicle, Austin American-Statesman and across all the Austin news channels. She has been committed to social, racial justice and poor people’s rights since she began organizing as a homeless teen mama at 16.

Traci Pirri – Hope For The Journey

Traci W. Pirri, LCSW-S, EMDR-CIT, has been working with trauma (particularly sexual trauma) in the mental health world since 2001. She spent 18 years in Raleigh, NC, where she worked in a variety of community mental health settings, as well as starting her own private practice. After moving back home to
Austin in 2015, she expanded her private practice and eventually founded Hope For The Journey, a group practice in Round Rock, in 2019. While maintaining a small caseload herself, she has expanded Hope For The Journey into Austin and soon-to-be San Antonio, while also providing online services for people all over Texas. She has presented locally and nationally, is a board-approved supervisor, EMDR Certified and working toward her EMDR consultant/trainer status.

Vanessa Newton – Colors of Austin Counseling

Vanessa Newton is a licensed therapist, Latina and bilingual native Texan who believes in the power of healing. Born and raised in the Rio Grande Valley, she is a first-generation American woman, mother and wife. She has spent over a decade working with teens, survivors of trauma, LatinX women and communities of color. Her training in EMDR and the curriculum of Brené Brown has helped transform the way clients heal.

Newton is the founder of Colors of Austin Counseling, a social justice-oriented group practice that offers varied mental health services in the Central Texas area. Her practice is founded on values of access, courage and equity. she is also the founder of Brave & Well and is passionate about helping other healers and practitioners launch a private practice or grow their practice through business consultation, leadership coaching and business-based workshops.


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