Newsflash

TEW names recipients of Women on Move Awards

Texas Executive Women has named 10 Houston area woman as recipients of its prestigious Women on the Move Awards.

Honorees for 2012 include Loretta Cross, managing partner, Grant Thornton LLP; Kimberly Denney, partner, Newport Board Group LLC; Suzan Deison, president and founder, Greater Houston Women’s Chamber of Commerce; Susan Distefano, CEO, Memorial Hermann Children's Hospital; Laura Gibson, founding partner, Ogden, Gibson, Broocks, Longoria & Hall, LLP; Joanie Y. Hare, M.D., partner, Houston Perinatal Associates; Minerva Perez McEnelly, executive producer and partner; Latina Voices; Nan Morris, director, Midstream Business Development, GoM Deep BP; Janis Schmees, executive director; Harris County Sports Authority, and Hallie Vanderhider, president and COO, Black Stone Minerals Company, LP.

The Women on the Move Program, created in 1985, has recognized some of the most successful women in the Houston area since it began. The women are chosen by a strict selection committee for their contributions in their chosen fields and their dedication to community service.

“It is truly an honor to be selected as a Woman on the Move,” said 2012 Woman on the Move Luncheon Chair Irene Helsinger, who was a 2009 Woman on the Move.

The women will be recognized at a luncheon Thursday, Nov. 1 at the Hilton Americas.The luncheon benefits the TEW scholarship fund which helps mentor and educate young women. Details on ticket purchases and sponsorship opportunities can be found at http://tewhouston.org.

Ensemble Theatre celebrating its 35th season!

The Ensemble Theatre celebrates its 35th anniversary season this year, marking a long journey from the original location on to its current home at 3535 Main Street.  

The Ensemble Theatre is the oldest African-American theatre in the southwest and one of the only professional theatres in the south dedicated to the production of works portraying the African-American experience. 

“We have been celebrating our anniversary all year long,” said Janette Cosley, executive director of The Ensemble. “We are so grateful for being able to sustain in this community for the past 35 years and to have reached such a diverse group of people.”

The theatre held a reunion this year, where long-time contributors and past artists came back to the old space on 1010 Tuam. In that humble place where it all began, more than 50 people reconnected, shared memories and gave thanks to the ancestors of the theatre. Doves were released for the event, and African drummers followed the procession on the 10-block journey to the new location on Main Street. 

The late George Hawkins founded the Ensemble Theatre in 1976. Hawkins worked for the an oil company in Houston as an accountant and did some modeling on the side. Realizing he wasn’t getting opportunities to grow as an artist, he decided to start The Ensemble theatre. In the formative years, the theatre operated as a touring company based out of the trunk of Hawkin’s car. 

The woman behind the curtains is Eileen J. Morris, the Ensemble Theatre’s artistic director. Morris worked closely with the theatre’s founder from 1982 until his death in 1990.  

“George was warm and very personable. He could get you to do anything for him,” said Morris. “He was very good at what  he did — as a director, playwright and as an actor. Working with him helped us understand why we had to make sure we always present the best art and really believe in what we are presenting. The attributes George instilled in all of us who worked under him are part of what carries us today. We stand on his shoulders and the shoulders of those who have gone on before us, in order to continue making great art.”

The Ensemble Theatre produces six main stage shows per season and operates two auxiliary programs. It reaches over 60,000 people annually.

The Performing Arts Education Program provides educational workshops, artist-in-residence experiences and live performances for students both off-site and at the theatre. 

The Young Performers Program offers spring and summer training for youth ages six to 17. Additionally, the theatre boasts a new young professionals group called Act One, which organizes pre-show networking mixers, private meet-and-greets with the cast and a poetry slam.  

According to Cosley, there has been a significant increase in ticket sales and subscribers this year compared to seasons past.

“We still have a lot of potential for growth. Midtown is becoming more residential, so we will be drawing audiences from neighborhoods closer to the theatre,” said Cosley.

Patrons have enjoyed new facility upgrades this season due to a $400,000 grant from the Houston Endowment for the Arts. Included are new paint, carpeting, bathroom renovations, resurfaced cabinets and new, modern seats in the main stage theatre. All make it easy to forget the theatre’s building was formerly a car dealership. Also, an art collection now adorns the walls, courtesy of donations from Lloyd Gite and Friends. 

Previously, Board President Emeritus Audrey Lawson led the campaign for The Ensemble’s $4.5 million building renovations that were completed in 1997. This has been the first building upgrade since then. 

Spectra Energy, which has supported the theatre for nearly 30 years, recently donated $20,000 in recognition of Kathy Anderson, wife of former Spectra Energy Chairman of the Board and Director Paul Anderson. The Andersons had been long-time individual supporters of the theatre. 

This season’s line up featured Lotto: Experience the Dream, Cinderella, The Ballad of Emmett Till, Cuttin’ Up, King Hedley II, and Sanctified

This year, The Ensemble has the unique distinction of being one of the  few theatre companies in the country to complete August Wilson’s Ten Play Cycle. And, with the inclusion of King Hedley II, Morris becomes the only woman to have directed eight of Wilson’s 10 plays. 

“Our mission calls for us to help preserve African-American expression, but that does not mean that our performances are only for African-American audiences. The stories are universal,” said Cosley. “We want people who represent the entire Houston population to come here. The ‘E’ in Ensemble is for everyone.”

Bethany Redd is a senior majoring in journalism at the Valenti School of Communications at the University of Houston. She is also an intern at Houston Woman Magazine.

Just the Assistant: Meetings - A to Z

Like you, I have attended my fair share of meetings. Unlike you, I am the official authority on meeting rules of behavior. To ensure you enjoy the remainder of the meetings in your life, I have compiled an A to Z list of meeting policies that should be implemented by the entire country, starting today.

Attendance is optional. But, it’s your job to make sure you know what took place in the meeting. If not, and later I hear you ranting about something you don’t know anything about because you weren’t at the meeting, I’ll smack you. I’ll do it.

Bra straps. Keep ‘em covered. Very distracting.

Cigarettes. Do not smoke just prior to the meeting starting. I don’t care if you popped a breath mint. That just means your breath smells like smoky breath mints.

Drinking. The missing link to livelier meetings.

Enjoy yourself! Kidding. It’s a meeting; push through it.

Frustration. An appropriate display of frustration during a meeting is rubbing your hands through your hair, just along the scalp, combined with a groan of sorts. An inappropriate display of frustration is using the F-word and throwing down your pencil.

Got a nifty ring tone that plays a hip, Native American tune? Silence it.

Hard time with punctuality? Fine, but you may not make any comments during the meeting in case your comment has already been covered. You are not exempt by saying, “You may have already gone over this, but. . .” It’s the price you pay, tardy-pants.

Interrupting. It will not be tolerated.

Jokes. Fine, but they better be funny.

Knitting. What’s the deal with everyone knitting these days? It’s charming on front porches, but don’t knit during meetings, for crying out loud.

Leather should not be worn if you choose to disregard Rule C.

Meeting running longer than it should because of someone’s nonsensical ramblings? Gather your things and whisper, “Sorry, got to get back to work!” That’ll shut the rambler right up.

Noises from the stomach. Happens to everyone. It is the other meeting attendees’ responsibility to scoot their chairs around a bit and fake cough in order to create noise to mask the rumbles. Just plain courtesy, folks.

Openers. Appropriate meeting openers: current work-out regimens, funny pet stories. Inappropriate openers: past stomach virus recaps, sad animal stories. 

Pee breaks. always welcomed. Facilitators, take note.

Quit changing the subject.

Responses. A proper response to an announcement is a thoughtful head nod. An improper response is a discussion about the fallacies of thought that went into making said announcement. 

Speakerphone meeting? Great. Stop clicking your pen beside the speaker or I’m going to snap it in half.

Texting. Do it one more time, and I’m going to throw this chair at you.

Unless you’d fancy being despised for the rest of your life, start and end meetings on time.

Vendors. You’re welcome to attend, but you better bring good food.While you may have a specific question for the facilitator about your unique project/role/lunch/divorce/home remodel, a group meeting is not the place to bring it up.

Xanax. Taking some prior to meetings may be appropriate in special circumstances. Xanax plus wine? Not so much.

Your therapist. She appreciates it when you bring your major life traumas to her. Your co-workers do not.

Zip your lips while the boss is talking (unless, that is, it’s time to implement rule M).

Christina Ledbetter is a free-lance writer in Houston and regular columnist for Houston Woman Magazine. She also writes at JustTheAssistant.com.

Deer Park grad pursuing career as playwright

Amy Gijsbers Van Wijk, a 2010 graduate of Deer Park High School, has a passion for writing plays. She discovered this passion at a college event in which participants were asked to write a play within a 24-hour period. After penning that play and seeing it performed, she was hooked. Gijsbers Van Wijk is now a sophomore majoring in Theatrical Authorship Studies at Macaulay Honors College in New York City. Her courses consist of playwriting, drama and theatre history and technical theatre training. Her path to playwriting started with a simple search on Zinch.org.

This website helps students match their grade point average, interests, type of school, etc, to colleges and universities which contact them based on their information. Macaulay Honors College fit Gijsbers Van Wijk’s educational needs and gave her a full undergraduate tuition scholarship and a Macaulay Opportunities Fund grant of $7,500 to attend. 

She is currently interning as an apprentice playwright and production intern at Wide-Eyed Theatre Productions, a New York City-based collective of artists dedicated to the pursuit of excellence in risk-taking, relevant theatre. She has also tutored at 826NYC, a non-profit created by Dave Eggers, working with K-12 students.

Volunteering for 826NYC, she said, made her more conscious of children and fed her passion for social-change theatre.

“I like to focus on things that, to be frank, make people uncomfortable. I work with realism and surrealism — though lately I’m gravitating more towards surrealism. I tend to focus, mainly, on issues of gender identity and sexuality in American culture. I like to provide a voice to complicated, uncomfortable issues like sexuality, race, stereotypes of men and women, and there's usually some kind of violence involved — mental, physical, or emotional,” she said.

Gijsbers Van Wijk is now working on her first full-length play, Second Skin. She is also working with a professor to extend a 13-page play she wrote for class. 

Annette Santos is an intern at Houston Woman Magazine. She is majoring in journalism at the Valenti School of Journalism at the University of Houston.

Deer Park grad pursuing career as playwright

Amy Gijsbers Van Wijk, a 2010 graduate of Deer Park High School, has a passion for writing plays. She discovered this passion at a college event in which participants were asked to write a play within a 24-hour period. After penning that play and seeing it performed, she was hooked. Gijsbers Van Wijk is now a sophomore majoring in Theatrical Authorship Studies at Macaulay Honors College in New York City. Her courses consist of playwriting, drama and theatre history and technical theatre training. Her path to playwriting started with a simple search on Zinch.org.

This website helps students match their grade point average, interests, type of school, etc, to colleges and universities which contact them based on their information. Macaulay Honors College fit Gijsbers Van Wijk’s educational needs and gave her a full undergraduate tuition scholarship and a Macaulay Opportunities Fund grant of $7,500 to attend. 

She is currently interning as an apprentice playwright and production intern at Wide-Eyed Theatre Productions, a New York City-based collective of artists dedicated to the pursuit of excellence in risk-taking, relevant theatre. She has also tutored at 826NYC, a non-profit created by Dave Eggers, working with K-12 students.

Volunteering for 826NYC, she said, made her more conscious of children and fed her passion for social-change theatre.

“I like to focus on things that, to be frank, make people uncomfortable. I work with realism and surrealism — though lately I’m gravitating more towards surrealism. I tend to focus, mainly, on issues of gender identity and sexuality in American culture. I like to provide a voice to complicated, uncomfortable issues like sexuality, race, stereotypes of men and women, and there's usually some kind of violence involved — mental, physical, or emotional,” she said.

Gijsbers Van Wijk is now working on her first full-length play, Second Skin. She is also working with a professor to extend a 13-page play she wrote for class. 

Annette Santos is an intern at Houston Woman Magazine. She is majoring in journalism at the Valenti School of Journalism at the University of Houston.
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