The City of McAllen is adding to its Women’s History Month celebrations with a recognition of trailblazing women in the community.
The focus in previous years was honoring women working in McAllen city government. This year, recognition expands to include female community leaders and their contributions.
The women receiving honors this month are:
- Paula Gonzalez, athletic director, McAllen Independent School District.
- Alma Johnson, region bank president for Wells Fargo Bank/South Texas and El Paso.
- Angela Navarette, senior vice president, Etravision.
- Shirley Reed, president, South Texas College.
- Laura Warren, president, The Warren Group Architects Inc.
These community leaders will receive recognition on International Women’s Day March 8. The ceremony takes place at 8:30 a.m. at the McAllen Convention Center Exhibit Hall.
Diversity in leadership
“This year, we decided to look outside of our organization and identified women who are leaders in their own right,” said Roel Roy Rodriguez, the McAllen city manager. “This next class of women is truly representative of the creativity, dedication and success of women (in achieving) for their respective organizations and their families.”
Joining the community leaders will be some of the city government’s own female leaders. These include Elizabeth Suarez, the director of aviation at McAllen International Airport, and Captain Irene Luna of the police department. Juli Rankin of planning and Yvette Barrera of engineering will also take part in the celebration.
McAllen city government leaders state that its organization has an equal number of men and women in positions of both leadership and policy-making in its directorships of departments.
“The city of McAllen is an organization where women flourish,” said City Commissioner Aida Ramirez, the mayor pro tempore. “It’s helping to bring new vision and perspective to the growth and direction of the community.”
Shaping the future
Another event celebrating Women’s History Month comes March 21 when the city hosts a South Texas College Shadow Day. Female students from various STC degree programs will visit City of McAllen departments that are led by female directors. Here they will learn about career opportunities in municipal government.
The STC shadow day will also include a luncheon with remarks from Rodriguez, finance director Susan Lozano and director of grants Carla Rodriguez. City leaders hope the students will further network with local government leaders in learning more about opportunities in public service.
McAllen Mayor Jim Darling notes the importance of women leaders in city government as well as the role they play in mentoring others.
“Whether in their home(s), or on a larger scale in education, medicine or science, those cultures where women have played a major part, those societies have flourished,” Darling said.