KLRU shines spotlight on Austin leaders

KLRU to share 8 more stories of local women making a difference
in the 2012/13 Women and Girls Lead: Austin project

Last night in Studio 6A, KLRU together with ITVS announced the next group of women and girls to be profiled for Women and Girls Lead: Austin.  Nationally, Women and Girls Lead is a public media campaign spearheaded by ITVS that uses the power of storytelling to spark conversation, debate and action on the challenges faced by women and girls in the 21st century.  KLRU’s digital shorts shine a light on stories profiling local women and girls who serve as models of leadership in their communities.

The women to be featured in 2012-2013 are:

    Katherine Craft
    Julieta Garibay
    Rina Hartline
    Peggy Kelsey
    Amy Koch
    Esther Reyes
    Ndeye Boury Silla
    Marissa Vogel

Complete bios below.

Special thanks to everyone who attended KLRU’s announcement event.


Katherine Craft is the founder of Conspire Theater. This program inside the minimum and maximum-security units at the Travis County Correctional Complex in Del Valle provides incarcerated women a healing and empowering experience through the arts. Craft teaches theater arts, creative writing, team-building and interpersonal relationship skills to more than sixty women at the jail annually.

From her nomination letter: “As a theatermaker and as a teacher, she not only serves the women in the jail by leading her weekly workshops, but by acting as an advocate for one of the most easily marginalized, ignored, and dismissed populations among us.”

Julieta Garibay is one of the nation’s young leaders and advocates for passage of the DREAM Act. She has risked deportation by becoming a public face of undocumented youth in our nation. As a student at the University of Texas-Austin, Julieta was a co-founder of the Undergraduate Leadership Initiative, an advocacy group comprised of fellow undocumented students, supporters, and family.

From her nomination letter: “Julieta has withstood tremendous pressures yet has hung onto her love for this country as the land of opportunity, and onto her heartfelt desire to help others, both as an advocate and in the profession she longs to practice, as a bilingual nurse.”

Rina Hartline is director of Texas State Relations for Centerpoint Energy and mentors other women in the fields of energy and government affairs. As the founder of the Association of Women in Energy, Hartline is dedicated to promoting the education and advancement of women and girls in comprehensive energy fields. She is also a student and expects to receive her MBA through UT’s McComb School of Business in 2013.

From her nomination letter: “Rina shows us all that women can be leaders in any field, in any profession and in any environment, if they are willing to take the opportunity to do so.”

Peggy Kelsey created The Afghan Women’s Project to share stories of Afghan women to help change stereotypes. Her photography exhibits are used by organizations worldwide to raise awareness about Afghan Women by seeking out wisdom and sources of strength from women who have experienced repression and hardship.

From her nomination letter: “The project touches the strength, wisdom, brilliance, courage and suffering of a cross section of contemporary Afghan women. It is a study in the resilience of the human spirit and an invitation to humility and compassion for the viewer. It crosses the boundaries of time and culture.”

Amy Koch works as a Floor Supply Specialist for the Materials Management Department at Seton Medical Center Austin. She is a graduate of Project SEARCH at Seton Healthcare Family, a best practice for hiring individuals with developmental disabilities created at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital and Medical Center.

From her nomination letter “Amy’s presence and work ethic break the stereotypes of individuals with developmental disabilities. Her presence at the hospital inspires people daily by overcoming her own barriers and providing excellent customer service in a competitive work environment.”

Esther Reyes is Executive Director of the Austin Immigrant Right’s Coalition and has helped lead a statewide effort during the 2011 Texas Legislature to protect the human rights of Texas’ undocumented immigrants. Her work as part of the Human Rights Leadership Development Program” provides basic human rights education and promotes racial and social justice in Austin. She is also Senior Editor of TODO Austin magazine where she works to build bridges between Austin’s various communities.

From her nomination letter: “Reyes strives in her executive and advocacy roles to increase education and training opportunities. Austin Latinos are seeking a next generation of leaders and Esther Reyes’ story is one which will not only inspire that community, but all under-served populations in the metro area.”

Ndeye Boury Silla is one of our community’s outstanding 15-year-olds. The daughter of Senegalese immigrants, she raised more than $900 to purchase school supplies for children in her parent’s native country. She also helped start a book club with other children of African immigrants and is an overall leader in her family and community.

From her nomination letter: “Her fearless aspirations are a great example of how change is made.”

Marissa Vogel started the non-profit organization Little Helping Hands, which creates and manages volunteer opportunities for younger children and their parents. Through Vogel’s organization families can sign-up for volunteer activities suitable for children making it simple for parents/caregivers looking to introduce children in early childhood to the rewards of helping others and caring for our environment.

From her nomination letter: “The families involved in Little Helping Hands feel like it has changed their lives, allowing them to get involved in the Austin community and expose their children to the many needs of the community.”