Good Guys Gala
Saturday, August 10th from 7:00-9:00 P.M., the National Women's Political Caucus will hold the Good Guy Awards Gala. The ceremony honors five “Good Guys” and three “Good Corporations,” all of whom have consistently been powerful allies for women. The honorees are: Texas Representative Lon Burnam, Texas Senator Rodney Ellis, CEO of UST Global Sajan Pillai, former Texas Representative Mark Strama, Texas Senator Kirk Watson, Google, the James B. Nutter Company, and Southwest Airlines. The women’s movement is made far stronger with the help of our allies, so help us thank these phenomenal honorees for their support! Senator Leticia Van de Putte will keynote, so come join our celebration!
Lon Burnam has served as a Texas State Representative since 1997. His legislative work focuses on public education, anti-discrimination, civil rights, fair taxation, and consumer issues. Burnam has received numerous recognitions for his impressive tenure in the Texas House, including the Texas Sierra Club “New Leadership for the Environment” award, the Texas Committee on Natural Resources “Millennium Conservation Award,” and being named “Best Public Official” by the Fort Worth Weekly. He has shown support for Texas women, especially through his vocal opposition to recent Texas anti-choice legislation. In an op-ed published July 8th, 2013, Burnam defended women’s reproductive rights by writing that the bill was a “divisive and unconstitutional assault on women’s rights over their bodies.” Burnam also showed powerful support for gay and lesbian rights in February, 2013 when he introduced a bill to allow same-sex marriage in Texas.
Rodney Ellis is a Texas State Senator who has consistently demonstrated a commitment to women’s rights. Ellis was first elected to the Texas Senate in 1990, and has earned praise as a leader on economic development, education, civil rights, responsible environmental policy, tax cuts for the middle class, and criminal justice issues. In recent debates over abortion legislation in Texas and in earlier legislative battles for women’s rights, Ellis has consistently stood with women. For example, speaking out against anti-choice legislation in Texas, Ellis wrote that “Texas women deserve better,” and criticized the legislation as “an unprecedented, unreasonable and unconscionable attack on women's health.” Ellis is also the founder of the Texas Legislative Internship program, and he serves on the University of Texas School of Law Foundation Board, the Council on Foreign Relations, the Rainbow PUSH Coalition Board of Directors, and the board of the Barbara Jordan Freedom Foundation. He also chairs the Board of Directors for the Innocence Project, Inc. of New York, and co-chairs the Commission to Engage African Americans on Energy, Climate, and the Environment.
Sajan Pillai is the Chief Executive Officer of UST, a global IT service provider. Prior to working for UST, he served as co-founder of Softek Systems in India as well as an engineer in one of India’s top three consulting services companies. He also architected and managed several large software systems for MCI Telecommunications in the United States and subsequently held senior management positions in Tanning Systems, a US-based software solutions company. Pillai has a strong commitment to giving back, and stands as UST’s champion of integrity and corporate social responsibility. He serves on the boards of three nonprofit organizations: the California Science Center, the Global Virus Network, and Centro Fox in Mexico. Pillai is also specifically committed to helping women, and is working with UST to empower Saudi women by offering them technology training, with the goal of helping 30,000 women become employable.
Mark Strama is a former Texas State Representative and recently transitioned to work as the head of Google Fiber in Austin. Strama got his political start by working as a staffer on former Governor Ann Richards’ campaign, and later serving as chief of staff to Texas Senator Rodney Ellis. Strama was first elected to the Texas House in 2004, and subsequently served five terms. Strama has been a great ally to women throughout his political career: his candidacy was endorsed by NWPC – Texas, he has a strong voting record on women’s issues, and he has spoken out against recent Texas anti-choice legislation.
Kirk Watson is a Texas State Senator and is chair of the Texas Senate Democratic Caucus. Watson has served in the Texas Senate since 2007, and prior to being elected Senator he was elected mayor of Austin in 1997. Watson has been recognized by Texas Monthly Magazine as one of “Texas’ 10 Best Legislators” in 2009 and as “Legislative Rookie of the Year” in 2007. Watson has passed bills designed to make the state more open and honest about its budget, improve electronic recycling programs, and increase awareness about sexting and alcohol poisoning. He is also an ally for women: speaking against Texas anti-choice legislation, Watson said, “We want to do whatever we can for women in this state,” and he also later moved to overturn a ruling designed to end Senator Wendy Davis’s famous filibuster.
Google is a multinational corporation that provides internet-related services and products. While it began over a decade ago as just a search engine, the company has since expanded to include Gmail, Google Chrome, Android, and more. It is now the most visited website in the world. Google has a strong culture of philanthropy, giving out millions of dollars in grants annually and encouraging employees to volunteer over 50,000 hours.
The James B. Nutter Company is a privately owned mortgage banking firm headquartered in Kansas City, Missouri, and is one of the oldest and largest such firms in the country. The company is known for its philanthropy, historic preservation, and efforts to promote racial equality and diversity, supporting countless important causes, and has been a particularly strong ally for women’s rights. Jim Nutter has been a powerful advocate for the Equal Rights Amendment, donating $1,000 to the ERA campaign every year from 1972 to 1982 and convincing numerous Missouri Senators to vote to ratify the ERA. Mr. Nutter Sr. has now continued to show his support for women by becoming one of the first donors to contribute to the new NWPC foundation.
Southwest Airlines is one of the largest airlines in the country and has often been recognized for its community service and diversity efforts. Earlier this year, Southwest Vice President of Diversity and Inclusion, Ellen Torbert, was honored with the Rosa Parks Diversity Leadership Award, given by the Women’s Transportation Seminar San Francisco Bay Area. Southwest partners with nonprofit organizations that focus on ways to celebrate women’s accomplishments, and has provided complimentary travel to African American women participating in a year-long educational and mentoring program led by the National African American Women's Leadership Institute. Throughout 2013, the airline is also holding numerous events designed to honor and reach out to women and to foster diversity.
|August 10th, 2013 7:00 PM through 9:00 PM|
Hilton Garden Inn- Downtown
500 N Interstate 35
Austin, TX 78701