2017 Women of Distinction

Girl Scouts of Central Texas celebrates the contributions of five of Austin’s most accomplished women.

For the past 20 years, Girl Scouts of Central Texas has honored more than 130 women with its Women of Distinction designation. Past recipients include Austin Woman cover women like Olga Campos and Rhoda Mae Kerr, and Austin Woman Publisher Melinda Garvey. This year, Garvey will serve alongside Sylvia Acevedo as an honorary chair and Lisa Ivie Miller will serve as the luncheon chair. In addition to the five individual honorees, the Girl Scouts will also honor H-E-B as its Distinguished Workplace for Women. All honorees will be celebrated April 27 at the Women of Distinction luncheon

The women we honor are the architects of Austin's cultural, business and society scenes. What makes them distinct is not only their professional achievements, but their commitment to serving others,î says Lynelle McKay, CEO of Girl Scouts of Central Texas. They embody what we want our girls to strive for. They created the path to follow and are very inspiring to us all.

To congratulate these deserving women, AW asked Girl Scouts of Central Texas to share with us the incredible impact these women have had on the Austin community.

Sarah Butler
The cultural landscape in Austin is vibrant and thriving due, in large part, to the hard work and generosity of Sarah Butler. A retired educator, Butler is a native Texan and Baylor University graduate. She moved to Austin in 1969, quickly becoming involved in many arts organizations. In addition to being a very generous donor, she has also contributed her time and leadership skills as a board and committee member. She is the current chair of Ballet Austin’s board of directors and the chair of Ballet Austin Foundation’s board of trustees. Through the Butler Family Fund, established in 1997, Butler and her husband have supported some of Austin’s largest arts programs and venues, including Ballet Austin’s Butler Dance Education Center and the Butler Center for Dance & Fitness, The Long Center for the Performing Arts, Austin Opera and the Austin Symphony Orchestra, among others. 

Beverly Dale  
Beverly Dale is a force. A retired microbiologist and pharmaceutical innovator, Dale had a monumental impact on people affected by HIV and AIDS when she participated in the introduction of the first FDA-approved HIV viral load test.  She is a community advocate, philanthropist and a member of the University of Southern Mississippi Hall of Fame. In Austin, she is the proud supporter of numerous organizations, but is particularly moved by organizations that promote girls in STEM, underserved populations and the arts. 

Jacquelyn Edwards Hawkins 
In a computer-science career that spanned more than 30 years, Jacquelyn Edwards Hawkins, a native Texan and University of Texas graduate, held positions from Austin to Washington, D.C., ranging from state agency computer programmer to e-government representative for the U.S. Department of Housing and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Now retired, Hawkins uses her skills to tutor and assist aspiring engineers and computer scientists. She currently serves on the boards of directors for the Ann Richards School Foundation, the Texas regional office of the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children and the African American Youth Harvest Foundation. Hawkins is also a docent at the Governors Mansion. She previously served two three-year terms as a U.S. commissioner for the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, and nearly 20 years on Austin Independent School District magnet-school and bond-oversight committees. 

Gerry J. Tucker
Gerry J. Tucker's life centers on her three passions: education, youth and service. Whether serving on boards, advising nonprofits on human resources or legal topics, or directing human resources at her job, she seeks to actualize her passions and purpose while making a difference in the Austin community. Tucker is an attorney, the vice president of human resources at Austin Community College, an education advocate and a columnist and author. Her passion for community service is evident through her board service throughout the years for more than 13 Austin organizations, including Leadership Austin, Austin Area Urban League and the Womenís Chamber of Commerce of Texas. 

Terri Broussard Williams
Terri Broussard Williams is the inaugural recipient of the Girl Scouts of Central Texas Rising Star Woman of Distinction, an award that honors a woman 40 or younger who is already making tremendous strides in her community service and leadership journey. Broussard Williams is the vice president of government relations for the American Heart Association, Southwest affiliate. Prior to her current role, she served as the AHA's senior government-relations director in Louisiana, press secretary for the Alex Sanders U.S. Senate campaign and capital-campaign coordinator for EdVenture Childrens Museum. She had a long career in television news as a morning-show news producer at WIS-TV and WBRZ-TV, and has served on the boards of Leadership Austin and I Live Here, I Give Here, among others, as well as serving on the advisory board of Concordia University School of Business and Communication. The Austin Business Journal also named her one of the five most influential women in Central Texas.