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Woman’s Way Business Awards

Austin Woman magazine has been in the business of celebrating women in our community for the past 16 years. The Woman’s Way Business Awards are our opportunity to recognize and honor the women behind innovative businesses that aid in our city’s development and progress.

We are celebrating companies that are succeeding because of the Austin women at the helm, independent of ownership. Each nomination must be either 51 percent or more woman-owned or have an Austin-based woman in an executive role with profit and loss responsibilities who’s the most senior-level employee of either the whole company or of a branch of the company. Every nominee must be making a measurable impact in her industry. Please read each category description for more specific qualifications. 

I enjoy [being a part of the Woman’s Way selection committee]immensely and look forward to women learning more and sharing more with each other. Since last year, I have deliberately changed the places I eat and seek service based on the women I have come to know through this process.

– Gigi Edwards Bryant, Selection Committee Member, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019



Starting as one of only a handful of female helicopter pilots in the United States Air Force in the early 2000s, MJ Hegar earned her Purple Heart after she was wounded while evacuating injured soldiers. When she was blocked from her next career choice in the military because of her gender, she partnered with the ACLU and other female veterans to make sure all military jobs would be open to women—especially combat positions from which they’d historically been barred.
Following her success repealing the Ground Combat Exclusion Policy, Hegar spent five years in the health-care industry, leading key projects for the largest hospital network in Central Texas. In that role, she saw how burdensome health-care costs could debilitate individuals and families.
In 2017, MJ ran for the U.S. House of Representatives in her home district outside of Austin, Texas. She challenged the status quo both in her extremely close race for Congress and by reversing the seemingly intractable stance of the military against women in combat positions. Now MJ is furthering her passion for fighting for justice by setting her sights on unaffordable prescription medications.
MJ is the author of her memoir, Shoot Like a Girl, which is being adapted by Netflix into a major motion picture. She lives in Texas with her husband and two sons.


HEALTH & WELLNESS: Better Bites Bakery, Halcyon Home, Nutritional Wisdom

PROFESSIONAL SERVICES: Firefly Consulting, Growth Acceleration Partners, Launch Marketing

PRODUCT INNOVATION: Brobe International Inc., Kikupal, TurnKey Vacation Rentals

MAKER: Austin Oddities & Entertainment, Darbie Angell, Sikara & Co.

STEM: Diligent Robotics, Double A Labs, Hello World, InLieu

SOCIAL IMPACT: Austin Angels, The Austin Socialite, Health Alliance for Austin Musicians, Seedling Mentor Program

RISING STAR: Ruffner Schoenbaum PLLC, Shohreh Davoodi Coaching, Upper Ninety

BUSINESS OF THE YEAR (UNDER $3M): Kelly Wynne Handbags, Prohibition Creamery, Sweet Ritual

BUSINESS OF THE YEAR (OVER $3M): American Campus Communities, Bumble, Quality Seafood


Maria Orozova, MODintelechy

Sheri Soltes, Service Dog Inc.

Kelly White + Julia Spann, The SAFE Alliance



SCHEDULE: Registration will open a 6 p.m. kicking off the Connecting Hour with complimentary wine and cash bars. Dinner, Keynote Conversation and the award presentation will take place from 7-9:30 p.m.

PARKING: There are multiple options for parking at the JW including valet, self-park and neighboring garages including the one located at Brazos and 2nd St. We will not comp parking. 

DRESS: Attire for the evening is business cocktail. Wear what makes you feel confident and ready to celebrate! You can see attire from last year HERE.


Tru-Skin Dermatology Health and Wellness: This business is leading the way in Austin’s ever-growing health-and-wellness industry with a product or service offering.

Cisco Professional Services: In the services industry, this business is at the top of its class, making a significant impact with the service it provides, including but not limited to marketing, event planning, PR, accounting, legal work, consulting or other professional services.

Lenovo STEM: Women represent half the workforce but are still underrepresented in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. This business stands on the principle of women supporting women and encouraging more female involvement in STEM at large. *Technology industry encompasses technology products or services, businesses that utilize a technology platform and online businesses (if the business being online only is the reason for the success of the business, rather than the good or service).

Texas Disposal Systems Social Impact: Social impact is embedded in the core values, strategies and processes by which this business operates and measures results. This business may be a nonprofit or a for-profit organization with a big idea that satisfies a social need and clearly articulated core values.

UT McComb’s School Product Innovation: Innovation and creativity are at the root of all successful businesses, and this business has proven as much with its unmatched product development. *This company has developed a product and taken it to market. This can include a tangible/physical product or a technology-based product.

Dell Maker: This business was built by a female artisan who is supporting herself with her craft and has reached a level of success that allows her to support other female artists. From jewelry and fashion to pottery and photography to music and art, this category is a celebration of all makers in all mediums.    

On the Dot Woman Rising Star (must be younger than three years old): This business is fresh on the Austin scene, but is already one to watch. During the next few years, we expect great things from this company, as it is on track to scale and become an influencer in its category.

Roger Beasley Mazda Business of the Year (Less than $3 million): From impressive fiscal success to excellent leadership, this business is making a noteworthy mark on Austin and its industry at large. A key factor defining success may include the ability for future scale, community impact and opportunity for women.

Bank of America Business of the Year (More than $3 million): From impressive fiscal success to excellent leadership, this business is making a noteworthy mark on Austin and its industry at large. A key factor defining success may include the ability for future scale, community impact and opportunity for women.

I Am Austin Woman: This woman is beloved in the Austin community for her innate ability to foster engaging and empowering conversation and inspire those around her. Throughout her lengthy career and avid community involvement, she has led with exceptional grace and finesse, her actions echoing the core mission of Austin Woman magazine. The impact she has made as a woman and for women is key.

Businesses led by women continue to drive our economy in Austin and throughout the country. Our sole mission as an organization is to support women, and we’re looking forward to our fourth year of celebrating the valuable contributions of the many inspirational women in the Austin business community.”

– Melinda Garvey, founder of Austin Woman magazine