Tracy Faulkner 2018

'Evolving Eve' Tracy Faulkner
Overcoming childhood trauma can lead a person in one of two directions: she might live a life of depression and no self-confidence, or she might emerge as a stronger, more resilient person. Tracy Faulkner chose the second path and evolved into a compassionate, active philanthropist whose passion is helping others.

That’s why Houston Woman Magazine honored her with its 2018 Evolving Eve Award at the 12th Annual Nominate HER Awards Luncheon, held August 22 at the Junior League of Houston. She was nominated for this special recognition by Dana Kervin, a good friend.

Abused by her stepfather for five years, Faulkner worked hard to find a way out. She graduated from high school in Chicago a year early, at 16, then worked two jobs so she could rent an apartment and leave home when she turned 17.

While supporting herself, she attended Prairie State College where she was recruited at 19 to work for Amoco. There, she was rapidly promoted from secretary to regulatory analyst. Later, she worked for Lloyds of London. At 25, she started her own company specializing in corporate coordination. She then ran a court-reporting firm, followed by a transition to hospitality. She served as the president of the National Concierge Association, Chicago Chapter, for five years before moving to Houston.

By then, she had proven she could be self-sufficient and thrive, and this helps drive her determination and devotion to help other women and children out of their own bad situations.

Today, she volunteers with Crime Stoppers of Houston, Communities in Schools and is a founding member of The Houston 20, a group advocating for the end of sex trafficking and the sex trade in Houston.

Faulkner willingly and openly shares her personal story of sexual abuse in hopes it might help people identify similar situations and prevent traumatic acts from happening to others.

“I decided long ago, what happened to me as a child will never define me as an adult,” she said.

There is little time for dwelling on the past, as Faulkner has a busy schedule. She is also a founder of Empower Pediatric Therapy, auction co-chair for Houston Achievement Place, vice chairman of the KNOW-Autism Foundation, event co-chair for Children at Risk’s Spring Party, luncheon raffle chair and ambassador for The I-Write Literacy Organization, advisory board member of Houston PetSet and chairman of the board of Houston Children Give Back.

Faulkner said she never wants to be the kind of philanthropist whose involvement is just about writing a check. Her charitable work is very hands-on, and she is both passionate and fearless about it. The work she does for The I-Write Literacy Organization takes her into some of Houston’s most underserved neighborhoods where she helps children learn to read and write in multiple schools a week.

She met her husband, Harry, seven years ago at a Leukemia & Lymphoma Society event, and the pairing was perfect. He’s equally committed to philanthropy. Together, they are raising her son, Robby, from a previous marriage, and are teaching him the value of charitable work. It’s what they do together as a family; it’s their family philosophy, she said.

Much of their volunteerism and philanthropy benefits women and children: The Women’s Home, Houston Area Women's Center, Houston Achievement Place, CYCLE and Big Brothers/Big Sisters.

Since Houston is the number-one hub in the country for sex trafficking, Faulkner makes it her priority to work with organizations like Children at Risk. The group’s mission is to serve as a catalyst for change to improve the quality of life for children through strategic research, public policy analysis, education, collaboration, and advocacy. It focuses on education, health and nutrition, parenting education and fighting sex trafficking.

In Texas, more than 35,000 children attend public schools within 1,000 feet of a suspected illegal massage parlor business, and nearly a million children attend school within a mile of one. These businesses act as fronts for human trafficking and sexual exploitation, sometimes preying on innocent children.

“My mission right now is educating young ladies and children to realize those risks really exist,” Faulkner said. “It’s not just something they read about. It’s something happening here!”

In the fall of 2019, she will be leading a group with Children at Risk on a 20-day, 10-country tour to study sex trafficking in parts of the world where it is most prevalent, in conjunction with the filming of a documentary to help raise awareness internationally.

Receiving the Evolving Eve Award was both a surprise and an honor, Faulkner said.

“I truly care about the underdogs and children,” she said. “But, I do things not to receive an award, but so others can be rewarded.”

Deborah Quinn Hensel is a freelance journalist and staff reporter for Houston Woman Magazine. 
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