Of all the Zooms we’ve attended over the last several months, one is a standout for members of the El Paso Women’s Fund board. It was the evening of Aug. 24 when we met with the fall 2020 recipients of our scholarship program to talk about the super power of resilience in an increasingly complicated world. Our guest speaker, Nicole Ferrini, the chief resilience officer for the City of El Paso, encouraged persistence and confidence in goal setting.
“Don’t wait to be ‘qualified,’ to be certified,” before taking on new challenges, she told the group. Too frequently women hesitate to put themselves forward for positions they are capable of, but may think they need outside approval to pursue. Participants then shared their own stories of resilience in smaller breakout groups and learned more about how to face adversity with hope. We talked of facing obstacles like illness, childcare issues, mental health and more.
While the scholarships are modest and by no means cover all the costs of education and childcare recipients need, WFEP board members learned that even a little bit of aid meant a lot when it is coming from women encouraging other women. Twenty four applicants received scholarships from the Womens Fund of El Paso in amounts ranging from $250 to $1,500. In all, WFEP awarded $16,400 in scholarships for the fall semester to help cover financial gaps in their pursuit of college degrees or technical training. “It means so much that the El Paso Women’s fund is investing in my success,’ one participant said. Many attendees said they feel special to be part of an organization where women are empowering other women and look forward to the day when they can give back to the community themselves.
Board members chose a theme of resilience for the online meeting in response to the added pressures affecting us all with the coronavirus pandemic. Of course, if you read our blog post to get to know some of our scholarship recipients you’ll see that they are already fiercely determined to complete their education and bring a better life to themselves and their families. Now they move forward knowing the board members of the El Paso Women’s Fund, along with all of our dedicated donors and volunteers, are cheering them on to the finish line.
We are happy to welcome the four newest board members to the Women’s Fund of El Paso family: Michelle Luevano, Maria Garvin, Jackie Butler and Cheri Dorsey. These women have excelled as community leaders within their respective fields and we know they will bring great energy and ideas to the organization. Learn more about them below:
Michelle Luevano is an Outreach Analyst with the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas-El Paso. She uses her knowledge, communication skills, and connections in the community to communicate the mission, vision, and critical work of the Federal Reserve. She works to provide first hand feedback from businesses across various industry’s to the Federal Reserve to help guide decisions regarding the economy and monetary policy.
Prior to joining the Federal Bank of Dallas – El Paso, Michelle was the Project Director for the Minority Women’s Enterprise Diversity Center (MWEDC), the Hispanic Chamber’s newest technical assistance center, and maintained her role as the Chamber’s Advocacy Director. She created programing aimed at empowering minority owned women across the country to embrace their true economic potential through starting and growing their businesses.
Michelle graduated from Santa Clara University in June of 2012 with a B.S. of Political Science and earned her Masters of Business Administration from the University of Texas at El Paso in 2014. In addition to her role on the Women’s Fund of El Paso Board of Directors, she also currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Center Against Sexual and Family Violence (CASFV).
Maria Garvin currently serves as the Assistant Chief Financial Officer (ACFO) at Las Palmas Del Sol Healthcare in El Paso, Texas, a part of HCA Healthcare/St. David’s Healthcare Partnership. She is an energetic business professional with over 18 years of experience and a proven record of professional growth. She joined the HCA Healthcare/St. David’s Healthcare Partnership family in Austin, Texas, in 2002 as a staff accountant. Her drive and expertise provided opportunities to serve in other positions, including Financial Analyst, Accounting Manager and Controller. In 2018, she became the ACFO at Las Palmas Del Sol Healthcare.
Maria completed her Masters of Business Administration from St. Edward’s University in Austin, Texas, in 2006, where she graduated with honors and received a nomination for the Presidential Scholar Award.
One of Maria’s top passions is giving back to her community by volunteering. She has volunteered with various causes and organizations, including the American Heart Association, Salvation Army, Humane Society, Meals on Wheels, Faith in Action, and Austin City Limits Music Festival, to name a few. In recognition of her commitment to community, Maria received The President’s Youth Service Award signed by former President Clinton in 1995 in recognition of outstanding community service. Maria enjoys making jewelry, running and lounging by the pool and continues to follow her passion for volunteering and giving back to the community.
Jackie Butler is the Senior Director of Operations at the Medical Center of the Americas (MCA) Foundation. Prior to joining the MCA Foundation, Jackie served as the vice president of government relations at the Greater El Paso Chamber of Commerce, where she was responsible for managing the chamber's advocacy and legislative efforts. She also planned and executed large events for the business community, as well as community and economic development initiatives such as intercity visits to San Diego, California and Nashville, Tennessee.
In her current role, Jackie manages the MCA’s marketing and outreach efforts, workforce development initiatives, manages events, and oversees grants development efforts. She also serves as Director, U.S. for BIO El Paso-Juarez, a non-profit organization representing the regional medical device manufacturing industry. Jackie’s passion is finding and creating opportunities for El Paso’s growth in the areas of healthcare, innovation, advanced manufacturing, and medtech.
Jackie is a native of El Paso and holds an MBA, summa cum laude, from the University of Texas at El Paso. She received her undergraduate degree in political science from Vassar College.
Jackie values community service and currently serves as a Commissioner for the El Paso County Emergency Services District #2.
Cheri Dorsey is the Commercial Security Sales Manager for Johnson Controls, Rio Grande and Las Vegas regions. She manages a team of account executives developing safety and security solutions for local businesses throughout New Mexico, West Texas and Southern Nevada to include video surveillance, intrusion detection and fire alarm monitoring.
Cheri grew up in El Paso and graduated from UTEP with an MBA in General Management and a BS in Chemistry. She previously worked for El Paso Water Utilities and Levi Strauss, and later moved into sales.
Cheri is married and has four cats she loves dearly. She loves shopping, likes to collect Catrinas and enjoys estate sales. Cheri studies wine regions for varietals and history along with her husband, and focuses their travel on experiencing both.
She is a current member and Past President of Executive Forum, and has in the past served on several boards appointed by City Council to include Parks and Recreation, as well as Bond Oversight. Cheri is proud to live in a historic district and is very active in its support.
Thank you all for being part of the team!