DFW News Articles

Dallas Women’s Foundation Honors Six Women for Leadership and Service Impacting the Lives of Women and Girls

April 19 Awards Dinner Features Keynote Speaker Nina Tassler


Dallas Women’s Foundation has announced the recipients of its 2018 Maura Women Helping Women and Young Leader Awards, recognizing leaders who have positively impacted the lives of women and girls in the North Texas area. Award recipients will be honored at the Leadership Forum & Awards Dinner, presented by AT&T, on April 19, 2018, at the Dallas Omni Hotel. The dinner, co-chaired by Effie Booker-Dennison and Janice Sharry, will include a presentation of Maura Awards to four outstanding women leaders, and Young Leader Awards, presented by Capital One, to two exceptional women under the age of 40.


The event’s keynote speaker is Nina Tassler, former president and chairwoman of CBS Entertainment and the highest profile Latina in network television. She is also the author of What I Told My Daughter: Lessons from Leaders on Raising the Next Generation of Empowered Women. Her appearance is sponsored in part by the Catherine M. Coughlin Endowment for Women’s Leadership at Dallas Women’s Foundation.


“It is a great honor for Dallas Women’s Foundation to recognize six extraordinary leaders whose example and service to women and girls are literally awe-inspiring.  Our Maura Award recipients have dedicated their lives to creating opportunities and pathways for other women to follow; and our Young Leader Award recipients are demonstrating the impact of the next generation of women leaders in their own fields and beyond,” said Roslyn Dawson Thompson, Dallas Women’s Foundation president and chief executive officer. “We are also very pleased to welcome Nina Tassler as our keynote speaker. She not only achieved the highest ranks in the entertainment industry, but worked throughout her career to balance the scales for women in corporate leadership and in programming.”


Maura Women Helping Women Awards:

For 39 years, the Maura Women Helping Women Award has honored courageous women and men who have catalyzed change for women and girls in North Texas. The 2018 Maura recipients will join the esteemed company of more than 200 previous honorees.  They are:


Arcilia C. Acosta

A first-generation college student, Acosta graduated from Texas Tech University and took over her father’s small business, CARCON Industries and Construction, with a vision of transforming it to meet the growth in Texas. She serves as president and CEO of CARCON Industries, a full-service construction firm based in Dallas with offices in Houston, Corpus Christi and Midland. She is also founder and CEO of STL Engineers, a geotechnical engineering and construction materials testing firm in Dallas. Acosta has more than 20 years of experience providing construction and program management for industrial, transportation, civil, educational and highway construction projects. Through her active involvement with the National and Regional Hispanic Contractors Association, the Dallas Citizens Council, bank and energy company boards, her work as Governor Greg Abbott’s appointee to the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, Acosta has transformed the construction industry, a mainly male-dominated industry. She also serves as a mentor to many women, and is helping build a college to career pipeline with industry leaders and universities that will serve as a national model.


Jocelyn D. Kidd, DDS

Following in her father’s footsteps, Dr. Kidd is an outstanding dentist who provides dental care to countless individuals in the Dallas community. She has held key positions with the National Dental Association, Texas Dental Association and Dallas County Dental Society, and served as a mentor in the American Association of Women Dentists Mentoring Program-Baylor College of Dentistry and in the Student National Dental Association. When she was president of The Links, Incorporated Dallas (TX) Chapter, she led efforts to establish the chapter’s Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics (STEAM) Academy for girls to learn more about these career paths, along with healthy lifestyles and community service. As a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., she has provided leadership, mentorship, dental screenings and oral health education at the Delta Sigma Theta World Family Days. As Dr. Kidd is a STEAM professional herself; she speaks to many young women who find it inspiring to see a mentor who resembles them.


Dr. Cynthia Mickens Ross

Dr. Mickens Ross is a captivating speaker, teacher, coach and author. She offers words of wisdom that are thought-provoking and life-changing. Dr. Mickens Ross has authored and teaches a 12-week spiritual and personal development course entitled, Path~Way to Purpose®. Her program helps individuals discover their natural gifts, talents and abilities. Since its inception in 2002, she has led hundreds of young and mature women through the course, as her purpose is to help them discover and activate the greatness within themselves. Last year, Dr. Mickens Ross released her first book, Path~Way to Purpose Stories of Victory. She serves as director of community relations and external affairs at Methodist Charlton Medical Center, and is the senior pastor of Path~Way to Life Center of Hope Church in Hutchins, Texas. She is also founder and CEO of Cynthia Mickens Ministries, Inc. and the Path~Way to Purpose® Residential Housing program that provides free, safe and supportive housing for women and children along with other services.


Gail Turner 

Gail Turner is a civic-minded leader and a member of several nonprofit organizations that serve the needs of women. She is a founding member of New Friends New Life (NFNL) that serves women and children who have been victimized by trafficking. She served as board chair for two critically defining years, and she has met with and counseled many women to leave that lifestyle. She has worked with NFNL successfully to lobby the Texas Legislature on laws that help victims of human trafficking. Turner also serves on the board of Shelter Ministries, which is comprised of Austin Street Shelter, which assists 400 homeless each night, and Genesis Women’s Shelter and Outreach. This position is demanding and challenging as the board serves two robust and complicated nonprofits together. As “First Lady of SMU,” married to SMU President Dr. Gerald Turner, she serves on the boards of the Meadows School of the Arts and the Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education & Human Development. She is a role model for young women and helps shape education for women through her Simmons role and through her background as an educator.



Young Leader Award, presented by Capital One:


Vanessa Bouché, Ph.D.

Vanessa Bouché, Ph.D., is an assistant professor of Political Science at Texas Christian University. She has been a principal investigator on several federally-funded human trafficking projects from the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Agency for International Development. She has developed databases of human trafficking prosecutions in the U.S. and India (HumanTraffickingData.org and India.HumanTraffickingData.org); conducted public opinion research on human trafficking in the U.S., Moldova and Albania; and designed and deployed trauma informed surveys with survivors of human trafficking in the U.S. and Honduras. She also spent a significant amount of time interviewing convicted traffickers in federal prisons.  Dr. Bouché consults for a variety of organizations, including the National Opinion Research Center, Thorn and the McCain Institute. She has been an invited speaker and serves on the board of directors of Traffick911 and Arcadia. Although she has published her research in a variety of scholarly outlets, she is most passionate about inspiring others in the pursuit of empathy, understanding and justice.  She teaches a class on human trafficking in the U.S. and a study abroad on transnational human trafficking in India.


Brooke López

A recent graduate of the University of Texas at Dallas with a bachelor’s of science in public affairs and a minor in geography, López, 21, has been interested in politics and government from an early age.  She currently serves IGNITE National as a program facilitator and is a representative on its National Communications Advisory Council. At 15, she worked with her local congresswoman to propose a state bill, and at 16, she founded the nonprofit “Student of Change.” At 18, she was the youngest person to run for Wylie City Council. At age 19, she was the youngest woman and first Latina to be appointed as a boards and commissions officer for the City of Wylie. After losing the campaign, she channeled her energy into founding the Lone Star Parity Project, a nonpartisan online publication dedicated to sharing research and stories of women in politics with the goal of bringing parity to Texas politics. She serves as a role model for many young women, including the high school ones she meets with weekly to discuss policy and politics. In 2017, she received the prestigious Gold Presidential Volunteer Service award. López plans to attend law school in fall 2018.


For those interested in purchasing tickets to the dinner, which start at $350, or a sponsorship, visit www.dallaswomensfdn.org/lfad.


About Dallas Women’s Foundation:

Dallas Women’s Foundation is the largest regional women’s fund in the world. It is a trusted leader in advancing positive social and economic change for women and girls. The Foundation was built on the belief that when you invest in a woman, there is a ripple effect that benefits her family, her community and her world. Dallas Women’s Foundation has researched, funded and demonstrated the ripple effect since 1985 in North Texas, granting more than $37.6 million since inception and over $4.5 million annually to help create opportunities and solve issues for women and girls. With the support of its donors, the Foundation unlocks resources to improve education and quality of life, give voice to issues affecting women and girls, and cultivate women leaders for the future. For more information, visit www.DallasWomensFdn.org, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or Instagram.

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