Get to know our Women in Business Awards Class of 2021 – Dallas Business Journal – Dallas Business Journal

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The Dallas Business Journal honored 25 of North Texas’ top leaders as part of its 14th annual Women in Business Awards, held on Tuesday, August 24.
Click on the slideshow above for photos of all 25 honorees and links to their stories.
The women were honored at a luncheon at the Fairmont Dallas. The honorees received their award and then gave brief remarks to the crowd about the best career advice they have ever received.
Click on the slideshow below for highlights from the event and photos of the honorees with the awards.
Below are summaries of the 25 honorees that were read at the event and their names, titles, and the companies they work for.
Purvi Patel Albers, Partner, Haynes and Boone
Purvi joined Haynes and Boone in 1999 as its first dedicated trademark lawyer and has helped build the practice into one of the largest in the country. Go ahead and ask Alexa about her because she helped trademark that name and many others with her client, the world’s largest Internet retailer.
Kathleen Beathard, VP Strategic Communications, Medical City Healthcare
Kathleen is charged with strategic communication for the local health care giant, especially challenging over the past year. She said learning to co-exist with COVID – or other medical crises — while continuing to care for all patients and emergencies may result in lasting changes for both. Kathleen was not able to attend the event today but provided the video above.
Yasmin Bhatia, CEO, Uplift Education
As CEO of a network of 46 college-prep public charter schools in DFW, Yasmin said she makes schools safe, joyful, and purposeful. In the future, Yasmin said the pandemic reaffirmed how critical it is for Uplift to have strong partnerships with families.
Heather Capps, Founder & President & CEO, HCK2 Marketing + Communication
While COVID created challenges, she also learned that grit, determination, and grace are more important in tough times and that she will never take certain luxuries for granted again. She also took her challenges on the road during the pandemic in her new RV!
Marisa Carona, SVP, Chief Growth Officer, Wingstop Restaurants
Marisa said selling wings (and now thighs) — and lots of them — during the pandemic required unlocking the power of technology and forming better digital relationships with Wingstop’s customers. She’s excited about the growth of her company and the promotion she got just last week!
Chalon N. Clark, Partner, Husch Blackwell
What did you do during the pandemic? Chalon not only continued her work as a trial lawyer practicing commercial litigation but a few other things: she had her third baby, finally wrote the book that’s been on her mind for years. Oh, she also started an interior design business. Color us impressed!
Marsha L. Clark, Founder & Owner, Marsha Clark and Associates
Marsha spent the first half of her career in the corporate world and spent the second half delivering women’s leadership and executive development services. She’s excited about publishing the first of three books based on her programs, as well as a weekly podcast with an emphasis on teaching.
Pat Currie, President, Hospital & Clinics, Baylor Scott & White Health
While Pat has been with Baylor Scott & White Health since its merger, she finally moved to Dallas — the week before COVID-19 started to take off. While the pandemic has created incredible challenges for Texas’ largest non-for-profit health, the move has allowed her to spend weekends with her grandchildren. Pat was not able to attend the event today, and we accept the award on her behalf.
Laura Rea Dickey, CEO, Dickey’s Barbecue Restaurants
Laura came up through the IT side before taking over as CEO in 2017, and that emphasis helped the company make the digital shifts it needed that helped it thrive during the pandemic. International growth is on the menu too. In fact, she flew back from opening restaurants in Europe for this event!
Ashleigh L. Everett, VP & Deputy General Counsel, Hunt Oil Company
Ashleigh, who supports the Hunt Oil Company in its activities in the US and Peru, said the biggest lesson of the pandemic was not to sweat the small stuff. Before COVID, international travel was a big part of her job, but she has enjoyed the time to be present as a mom to her two young daughters!
Melissa R. Fisher, President & Owner, Rise Residential Construction
Melissa said she serves as quarterback for Rise, which develops, builds and manages affordable multifamily housing. That could range from meeting with investors one day and fire marshalls the next. For 2021, that means helping with the company’s hiring frenzy to keep up with demand.
Romelia H. Flores, IBM Distinguished Engineer & Master Inventor, IBM
Romelia’s lifetime of amazing work has given her not one but two distinguished titles for IBM. She is up to 76 patents now, with even more on the way. While many of them are special to her, she said ones that are near and dear to her heart are the six she made with her daughter — who made the mistake of telling Romelia she didn’t have enough stuff to do when interning at IBM.
Tasha Leilani Grinnell, Vice President, Neiman Marcus Group
Tasha said 2020 was all about being nimble and flexible. She joined Neiman in March 2020, which meant she used her legal skills to guide the company through COVID and a subsequent reorganization, followed by successfully navigating it through bankruptcy. In 2021 she threw interim lead counsel into the mix.
Lisa Hanlon-Knight, CEO & Chairman, Teltech Group
Lisa founded Teltech in 1999, and the Native American and women-owned business has grown a great deal since. She’s excited about the telecom-centric company’s work helping bridge the digital divide in rural and Native American communities and the opportunities it can provide these often-underserved communities.
Allison Hubbard, Principal & COO, GFF
Allison joined GFF in 1997 as a temporary receptionist and said she’s worn about every other hat at the design firm since, including her rise to Chief Operating Officer. She said she’s thankful for the struggles in her career because she would have never learned her strengths without them.
Sophia Johnson, President, ABI
Sophia has built ABI into the largest female African-American-owned ad agency in Texas with high-profile clients like DFW Airport and projects like marketing the 2020 Census in Dallas County. She said the lessons learned include having the courage to lead, being afraid to fail and being OK with someone doubting and learning to prove them wrong.
Jill Louis, Dallas Office Managing Partner, Perkins Coie
In addition to developing the Texas market for her firm, Jill said she is excited that Perkins Coie is establishing itself with real community impact. Her notable achievements in 2020 include starting a podcast that tackles the most relevant social issues of the day. Oh, she also helped her good friend Kamala Harris become vice president of the United States.
April Martin, Corporate Affairs Manager, Kroger — Dallas Division, The Kroger Co.
April said she learned a lot about herself during the pandemic. She already had experience working in a fast-paced environment but in the last year found a way to be more nimble and find a seemingly impossible balance of patience while also operating urgency simultaneously.
Dev Rastogi, Vice President & Dallas Executive, AECOM
Dev said viewing infrastructure projects through an equity lens will reshape her industry. Topics like resiliency and sustainability are also more important and have changed the way AECOM conducts business. Speaking of business, the firm announced it was moving its headquarters from California to DFW last week!
Joanna Ridgway, Managing Director & Head of Southwest Region Mid-Corporate Banking, Santander Bank
Joanna said the pandemic highlighted how important childcare and other flexible policies are to retain, support and develop women and men in the workplace. And as a new mother in 2020, she learned firsthand the value of consistent care and the value of paid time off to recover and bond with her baby.
VR Small, CEO, Veteran Women’s Enterprise Center
The VWEC has a mission to empower entrepreneur women associated with the military to scale for success, and VR is tasked with growing and expanding that mission. That means expanding to more cities to help the small businesses that she says are the “secret sauce” that keeps communities unique.
Marissa Solis, Sr. VP Portfolio Marketing & Media, Frito-Lay North America
Marissa said travel was a huge part of her work before COVID. She said the pandemic allowed her to not only reclaim her mornings but also spend more time with her 16-year-old daughter at a critical stage of life, something Marissa said she will always cherish.
Michele Wheeler, President & COO, Jackson Shaw
Michele says industrial real estate is here to stay because we all got used to receiving multiple Amazon boxes a day during the pandemic. That’s great for her company, which works heavily in the sector. Personally, Michele said the pandemic let her spend more time in Colorado fly fishing and hiking.
Amy Yates, Head of Human Resources, Capital One
Amy says COVID has helped accelerate its transformation into a technology-oriented business, which will tremendously change its path in the future. For some fall 2020 color, Amy and her family took off for Maine and an opportunity not possible without the pandemic.
Ashley Zumwalt-Forbes, Co-founder & President, Black Mountain Metals
Being co-founder and president of the private natural resources operating company meant Ashley spent about 70 percent of her time in Australia. COVID changed that, and Ashley said the blessing was spending time with her husband — they haven’t lived in the same place since high school in 2008!
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