Aggie Women 2014 Leadership Conference

On October 3, 2014, Women’s Former Student Network offered another outstanding educational and inspirational opportunity at the second annual Aggie Women’s Leadership Conference. Each speaker shared their successes as defined by the choices that they have made and how we shape the course of our lives choice by choice.

Dr. Karan Watson, Provost and Executive Vice President, shared that it is our responsibility and choice to determine our own attitudes. Attitude is the one thing that no one can take away. We have the freedom of choice to determine our attitudes.

Keynote speaker Marsha Clark shared that women have a responsibility and accountability to help each other and support one another. She gave an extensive and interesting overview of how women make choices versus men; how important it is to know what “tools we have in our toolkits” (gifts) and that great leaders know what tool to use when. You can learn much more from her book Choose! The Role Choice Plays in Shaping Women’s Lives.

A diverse and passionate panel of Aggie women graduates and faculty shared their choices in life with the subsequent challenges, new opportunities, and blessings they experienced. Panelists were Melissa Reich ’00 (Deputy Montgomery County Constable and former FBI agent), Kristi Scales ’89 (Sideline reporter for the Dallas Cowboys), Susan Treat ’87 (Wife, Mother, Homemaker/homeschooler and former paralegal), and Katherine Banks (Vice Chancellor for Engineering for the TAMU system and Dean of the Dwight Look College of Engineering at TAMU).

Closing the conference was award-winning editor, writer, interviewer and on-camera talent Ceslie Armstrong. Through her animated stories, she shared her own choices that led to her success.

Chancellor Sharp shared at the awards luncheon a historical perspective of women at Texas A&M University as well as a vision of what is still to come. The Women’s Leadership Conference is an incubator of the future dynasty of women at Texas A&M University. Join the cause at

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Outstanding Alumnae of Texas A&M University Receive 2014 Women’s Legacy Award 

The Women Former Students’ Network established the Women’s Legacy Award to recognize the extraordinary contribution that women make to the life of Texas A&M University and the world around us.  This award is presented annually to women who exemplify the core values of the university: Integrity, Leadership, Loyalty, Respect, and Selfless Service and who serve as an inspiration to future generations of Aggie women.

Join the WFSN as we present these awards at our annual event and conference on October 3, 2014 at the Annenberg Presidential Conference Center.  To learn more about this event and to register visit

Congratulations to the 2014 Legacy Award Recipients:

MerrillMerrill Bonarrigo ‘75 is a wife, mother, grandmother and co-founder of Messina Hof Wine Cellars, Inc.; Messina Hof Hospitality Management LLC, and founder of Designer Events Company. She has continued her service to Texas A&M through the development of an internship program with the TAMU Parks and Recreation department that continues today to mentor students in the hospitality industry. As a guest lecturer Merrill teaches about the Texas wine industry and success in business. At Messina Hof she hosts a monthly 1st Thursday gathering for Aggie Women to connect and provide support, encouragement and mentoring for Aggie Women of all ages.  She believes strongly in giving back to the communities that have supported and encouraged her.  She has served on boards of Women Former Students’ Network and many other charitable and professional organizations.


KGibson2Kathleen Gibson ’81 joined Southwestern Medical Foundation as President and CEO, after serving in numerous leadership positions at both Citibank and Bank of America.  Kathleen has remained active at Texas A&M, currently serving as Chair of the Board of The Association of Former Students.  A recipient of the Tyrus R. Timm Honor Registry Award, she serves on the Advisory Council for the Center for International Business Studies and the Mays Business School Development Council.  She is a member of Charter 100 and International Women’s Forum–Dallas and has been recognized as a ‘Top 25 Industry Leader in Women in Business’ by the Dallas Business Journal and by the Profiles in Diversity Journal in the 10th Annual Women Worth Watching edition.




© Clem Spalding 210-862-0843

Elaine Mendoza ‘87 is founder, President, and CEO of Conceptual MindWorks, Inc. (CMI), a biotechnology and medical informatics company located in San Antonio, Texas.  Elaine has demonstrated her commitment to Texas A&M and higher education by continued service on the Board of Regents of the Texas A&M University System, appointed by Governor Rick Perry in 2011, where she is Chair of the Committee on Academic and Student Affairs.  She has received the Outstanding Alumni Award from the Dwight Look College of Engineering at Texas A&M and the ATHENA Leadership Award from the North San Antonio Chamber.  Elaine has been involved in community initiatives and has served on many task forces and committees revolving around the expansion of educational opportunities, health care, and economic growth both locally and nationally.


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Defining Success by the Choices I Make

Success is defined differently by each person & we redefine success throughout life.   The achievement of success is the result of the choices we make. Choices are minute by minute and are the result of our core values. In order to achieve success we must define our core values – what is essential versus non-essential in our lives. These core values become the filters through which we make our choices. The younger we begin defining and applying these filters, the easier it is to make decisions and the more successful you will be.

There are many authorities in life and some of them can demand conflicting actions. It is important to prioritize those authorities in order to know which demand is of higher priority. For example, my faith taught me that everything is possible, nothing is impossible. This filter in my life has caused me to avoid the word “can’t” and has been an essential in my success at Texas A&M University as well as in business. Because of this belief, a key core value that it instilled in me is perseverance. When I need to make choices in regard to my business, perseverance is always one of the filters that I apply.

This is a tool to help you identify what your target successes are and what core values you need in order to achieve that success.   This is a quick and easy template that I have used to help me define my priorities as well as my core values.

Know your authority priorities – choose 3 to start

Know how you define success in your relationship with each of these authorities

Know the core values you need in order to achieve that success


  1. Who are your authorities? List 3




  1. Define what success looks like for you under each authority ( Keep it clean, keep it lean)

Example: In the beginning Successful Business meant for me being profitable; now it is making budget, fulfillment of the mission statement and the CEO vision statement.

      Authority                                What does this success look like?

3. My essentials for success/ core values needed

Example: Essentials for success in Work: Profitable & good neighbor     Core values needed: Perseverance (continued steady belief or efforts, withstanding discouragement or difficulty; persistence), Integrity (adherence to moral principles/honesty), Just (merciful/fair)

Authority        Essentials for Success          Core Values                 Definition of Value

This is just one tool in making choices. Join Aggie Women at the Women’s Former Student Network Leadership Conference on October 3, 2014, to learn more about Defining Success by the Choices We Make. For more information,

See you there!



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Congratulations to Cindy Taylor ’84

Congratulations to Cindy Taylor ’84, recipient of the 2014 McLane Leadership in Business Award.


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