Women We Admire is pleased to announce The Top 50 Women Leaders of San Antonio for 2022. Both past and present, women have been an integral part of shaping the city. Many historical women have started their roots in the city, such as Emma Tenayuca, who is known for her role of advocating for the suffering of low-class workers and leading a strike of nearly 12,000 individuals when she was just 22 years old. This year’s awardees follow in her footsteps, driving change and smashing barriers of inequality within the workplace. We acknowledge these women for their tenacity, strength, and determination year after year. Our awardees are experts in their field and span nearly all industries including energy, education, finance, engineering, and more.
Among this year’s awardees is Licia Shreves, Vice President of Transwestern, who works directly with physicians to find the ideal location for their commercial real estate needs; Sasha Begum, the Founding Partner of Begum Pelaez-Prada, who utilizes her sharp analytical skills and a strong business background to offer comprehensive and reliable legal counsel; and Sharyn Ford, the Vice President of Global Talent for Owens & Minor, who uses her 17 years of experience leading talent management and development initiatives and teams for Fortune 200 companies.
This year’s awardees have worked tirelessly in their roles and are forging a path for future women leaders as did those before them. Please join us in celebrating the accomplishments of The Top 50 Women Leaders of San Antonio for 2022.
2. Carol Bellinger
Carol Bellinger is the Vice President for Central Texas Public Infrastructure directing the Right of Way Division at LJA Engineering. She has worked in the Right of Way (ROW) profession for over 38 years managing large scale public infrastructure projects across the nation. She is on the forefront of current technology solutions and approaches such as best practices, quality control and risk management. Bellinger builds, directs, and manages right of way teams for public infrastructure, energy, telecommunications, environmental, public works, water transmission, and transportation projects including highway, transit, rail, high speed rail, commuter rail, airports, and ports ensuring compliance across all realms.
In addition to her roles with LJA Engineering, Bellinger is a licensed real estate broker in Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, and Utah. She previously worked with HDR in various roles including real estate services director and associate vice president.
3. Sharon Miller
Bank of America
Sharon Miller is the President of Small Business and Head of Specialty Banking and Lending for Bank of America. Her roles include overseeing consumer vehicle lending and the lending officers dedicated to supporting Merrill Lynch Wealth Management and Private Bank clients. In addition, she is a member of the company’s management operating committee. Miller’s team provides a full range of financial products and services to ensure business owners, wealth management clients and consumers receive the industry’s leading client experience via a nationwide network of lending and banking professionals and award-winning digital capabilities.
Under her leadership, Bank of America has been recognized as the #1 small business lender and has consistently retained and grown its #1 business deposit market share. During her tenure, small business has been recognized as the best digital platform for entrepreneurs with the highest digital adoption amongst clients in the industry. Miller has been named to American Banker’s “Most Powerful Women to Watch in Banking” for the last three consecutive years. She appears regularly on national and local media to discuss the state of the U.S. small business market and advocates for the nation’s entrepreneurs as the engine that drives the U.S. economy.
7. Danielle Kuwamura
The One Beauty Bar
Danielle Kuwamura is an entrepreneur, investor, media personality, philanthropist and beauty maven who has taken her clients internal beauty with the “The One” Custom make-up line and “The One Beauty Bar” and propelled it to new levels of external elegance for people around the world. With her avant-garde style, signature approach, and exceptional skills as an artist and as a rising businessperson, her passion is to still help business women shape their image and to help others take the approach of Beauty from the inside out. She proves that her professional instincts transcend the realm of beauty and can transform people and their lives.
Her work has been featured by local network programs, magazines, trade shows, and in online publications. She captivates audiences and has gained a loyal online following. In addition, she
has a passion for helping others with growing their businesses as well with her consulting services. Over the last 11 years, she has worked with the veritable who’s who of the industry. Her son Aiden is her pride and joy and she enjoys broadening her horizons by traveling and giving back to charities.
9. Cathy Haffner
Texas Capital Bank
Cathy Haffner began her professional career nearly 37 years ago. Today, she is the Senior Vice President for Private Wealth Advisors of Texas Capital Bank. Texas Capital Bank is a commercial bank headquartered in Dallas. The bank has branches located in every major city in Texas. Equipped with experience-based insights and a proven record of implementing custom solutions for clients, Texas Capital helps their clients with a suite of business lending, investing, and financial management services. The bank offers many business deposit products and services, including commercial checking accounts, lockbox accounts, and cash concentration accounts, as well as other treasury management services.
Haffner first got her start in 1985 as a VP at Bank of America - Seafirst Bank. From there, she went on to U.S. Bancorp, before eventually rising to become the president and CEO at Haffner Group LLC, her most recent position prior to joining Texas Capital Bank. Haffner graduated from Stanford University Graduate School of Business with an executive MBA, and from Seattle University with an undergraduate degree.
12. Sasha Begum
Sasha Begum is the Founding Partner of Begum Pelaez-Prada. She founded the company in 2016. Their firm represents companies of all sizes, from startups to multi-billion-dollar publicly traded companies, in a variety of areas, including human resources, shareholder agreements, cross-border transactions, mergers, acquisitions and joint ventures. They also assist clients with general corporate needs, including corporate compliance, general corporate planning, and representation, and have worked on the preparation of proposals for clients participating in public tenders for large projects in various countries around the world.
Previously, Begum was an associate general counsel at Cardtronics and before that an associate at Baker & McKenzie. Begum earned a JD from American University Washington College of Law, a JD from Universidad Alfonso X El Sabio, and an undergraduate degree in psychology and philosophy from Tufts University.
16. Rebecca Herrera
Rebecca Herrera has 20 years of experience in the K-12 education system and 13 of those years in administrative positions. She provides guidance, direction, and leadership development to staff members as well as other principals. Herrera is currently with Southside ISD where she is the Principal of Menchaca Early Childhood Center, which opened its doors in 2018. Her responsibilities include supervising over 100 staff members, 800 students, maintaining and reconciling the budget, and representing the school in various inter-school events. Herrera and Menchaca ECC have been featured in various media coverages, as well as hosting their own mini documentary with Spectrum News.
Herrera has led the implementation of new initiatives, such as Additional Days School Year and best practices for teaching and learning. She is also an appointed board member of two well-known organizations: Texas Elementary Principal Supervisor Association (TEPSA-ESC 20) and Texas Association of Administrators and Supervisors of Programs for Young Children (TAASPYC). Herrera is an ideal leader to mentor and coach aspiring and new principals and/or educators. She holds a bachelor's degree in business management, a master’s in curriculum and instruction, and a PhD in educational leadership.
19. Lauren Ramon
En Su Casa Caregivers
Lauren Ramon is the Chief Operating Officer of En Su Casa Caregivers. En Su Casa is a leading provider of home health services. Founded in 2002, their in-home care programs serve people in need of assistance with daily living with integrity, trust, and compassion. Headquartered in San Antonio, En Su Casa also serves Uvalde and Eagle Pass counties and the surrounding areas. En Su Casa Caregivers is family-owned and operated. Its team has provided over 19 years of the highest quality home care services, centered on their core values of integrity, trust, and compassion. Ramon has over 10 years of experience. She began her career in 2012.
Before joining En Su Casa Caregivers, Ramon worked with Alamo Drafthouse Cinemas. Ramon graduated from American University.
View the complete list of awardees.
21. Lisa Baty
Firstmark Credit Union
Lisa Baty began her professional career over 23 years ago. Today, she is the Chief of Staff of Firstmark Credit Union. Firstmark Credit Union (formerly San Antonio Teachers Credit Union) is a federally insured, member-owned, not-for-profit financial cooperative. The first state-chartered credit union in San Antonio was founded by educators in 1932 and changed its name to Firstmark Credit Union in October 2002. Serving over 100,000 members and managing assets of more than US $1 billion, the Credit Union is also the fourth largest in San Antonio, Texas. Today, Firstmark is committed more than ever to the success of their educators and those who support them.
Baty first got her start in 1998 as a teacher and director of the K4 Department at First Baptist Academy of Universal City. From there, she went on to Community Bible Church San Antonio as administrative assistant in the Day School, her most recent position prior to joining Firstmark Credit Union. Baty graduated from Liberty University with an undergraduate degree in interdisciplinary studies.
24. Jenifer Brown
Sendero Wealth Management
Jenifer Brown began her professional career over 32 years ago. Today, she is the Vice President of Strategic Partnerships of Sendero Wealth Management, a private wealth management firm composed of independent thought leaders. Sendero Wealth Management offers investment advice, wealth management and personalized strategies for families. They offer unbiased advice and personalized investment strategies to help protect, preserve, and grow wealth responsibly. Their goal is to propel their client’s legacy forward for future generations.
Brown first got her start in 1990 as a relocation director at sachoicerelo.com. From there, she went on to McCombs Enterprises before eventually rising to become a branch manager and escrow officer at Capital Title of Texas, her most recent position prior to joining Sendero Wealth Management. Brown graduated from the University of the Incarnate Word with an undergraduate degree in marketing.
29. Brenda Johnson
Vickrey & Associates
Brenda Johnson began her professional career over 36 years ago. Today, she is the President of Vickrey & Associates. Vickrey & Associates, founded in San Antonio, Texas, in 1971, offers expertise in civil engineering consulting, landscape architecture, and surveying services for land and development planning; office, retail, industrial, and commercial; residential & multi-family; and federal & municipal projects. Their services range from master planning, due diligence, and surveying, to design, project management, and construction phase services. Their expertise includes civil site developments ranging in size from 1 to 3,000+ acres, with extensive knowledge and expertise working on projects over the Edwards Aquifer Recharge and Contributing Zones. Vickrey has over 46 years of experience providing responsive, reliable, and reputable service for private land developments and public infrastructure. They are a woman-owned small business enterprise with offices in San Antonio and Austin, Texas.
Johnson graduated from The University of Texas at Austin with an undergraduate degree in business.
32. Debbie Johnson
Debbie Johnson is the President of ADI Media. Founded in 1986, ADI Media is a B2B media house that addresses four broad verticals including consumer electronics and home appliances, carriers and enterprise network, medical technology, IVD and life sciences, and broadcast, cable, and satellite. Each vertical has a core print product, online products, and partnership with various industry events. ADI publishes four B2B monthly magazines including TV Veopar Journal, Communications Today, Medical Buyer, and Broadcast and CableSat. They create rich business content, reach targeted business audiences, and provide valuable business information to their readers. Johnson has 35 years of experience. She began her career in 1987.
Before joining ADI Media, Johnson was a managing member at Go Guide Stone Oak and before that a partner at Keystone Directories. Earlier in her career she worked with Transwestern Publishing as a sales consultant. Johnson graduated from the University of Texas at Tyler with an undergraduate degree in journalism.
35. Angelia Piper
USAA Federal Savings Bank
Angelia Piper is a Director of Finance for USAA Financial Savings Bank (FSB). She first joined the company in 2011. USAA is a diversified financial services group and is among the leading providers of insurance, investing and banking solutions to members of the U.S. military and veterans who have honorably served and their families.
Previously, Piper was a controller for Silver Ventures, a private equity investment firm in San Antonio, and before that an assistant controller at Centex Homes’ residential construction company. Earlier in her career she worked for a Big 4 Public Accounting firm and is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA). Piper obtained an undergraduate degree in accounting from the University of Texas at San Antonio and is an avid proponent for animal welfare.
39. Jessica Reyneke
Jessica Reyneke began her professional career over 17 years ago. Today, she is the Head of Data and Analytics of Know Analytics. Know Analytics’ mission is to provide premium data analytics solutions consulting that drive visible results in process efficiency, customer experience, and revenue. It is servicing retail and CPG, aviation and travel, and financial services. Know Analytics advocates community social responsibility by empowering their communities with analytics skills that are needed to boost economies.
Reyneke first got her start in 2004 as a satellite engineer at Sunspace. From there, she went on to Compassion International, before eventually rising to become the head of product management at Black Swan Data, her most recent position prior to joining Know Analytics. Reyneke graduated from the University of Westminster with a master’s in computer science, from Stellenbosch University with a master’s in mechanical engineering, and from the University of KwaZulu-Natal with an undergraduate degree in mechanical engineering.
41. Breanna Allerkamp
Breanna Allerkamp is the Strategic Innovation Director of USAA. USAA is a San Antonio-based Fortune 500 diversified financial services group of companies including a Texas Department of Insurance-regulated reciprocal inter-insurance exchange and subsidiaries offering banking, investing, and insurance to people and families who serve, or served, in the United States Armed Forces. In her role, Allerkamp explores emerging technologies to evaluate and create innovative solutions. She has 13 years of experience in the financial services field. She began her career in 2009.
Before joining USAA, Allerkamp was an assistant branch manager at Enterprise Rent-A-Car. Allerkamp is passionate about leading and inspiring people through motivational speaking. One of her greatest honors was speaking to an international audience on the topic of resilience alongside a USA Paralympic Gold Medalist. She shares her story to motivate and inspire people in and out of the workplace on how to become strong, healthy, and/or successful again after traumatic life experiences. Allerkamp graduated Magna Cum Laude from the University of the Incarnate Word with an MBA, and from The University of Texas at San Antonio with an undergraduate degree in business and entrepreneurship. Additionally, she holds her Senior Claims Law Associate, SAFe Agile and Scrum Master certifications, and Innovate, Creative, & Capital certification from the University of Texas.
View the complete list of awardees.
46. Stephanie Enoch
Stephanie Enoch is the Assistant Director for Web Development of Trinity University. Founded in 1869, Trinity University is a private, liberal arts and sciences institution in San Antonio, Texas. The highly ranked University offers the diverse academics and resources of a large university, while still maintaining the intimacy of a small, liberal arts college. With 2,600 talented undergraduate and graduate students, the University is known for its stimulating, resourceful, and collaborative environment, in the classroom, on campus, and around the world. Enoch has over 10 years of experience. She began her career in 2012.
Previously, Enoch served in various roles with Trinity University, overseeing web, mobile, and other digital marketing initiatives. She previously supervised a group of developers and content managers. Before joining Trinity University, Enoch was a web developer at DesignCoder.Net and before that a senior web services specialist at St. Mary's College of Maryland. Enoch graduated from Towson University with an undergraduate degree in computer information systems, arts, and graphics.
48. Diane Rath
Alamo Area Council of Governments
Diane Rath has served as Executive Director of Alamo Area Council of Governments (AACOG) since December 2014. In this capacity, she oversees 350 employees in 11 program areas with a budget of over $75 million. During her tenure, AACOG has been recognized with national awards from NADO and NARC recognizing both Innovation and Transportation Partnerships. Additionally, the Alamo region was recognized by the Association of Defense Communities as a Great American Defense Community in 2017. Rath has forged active partnerships with Joint Base San Antonio, including the first blanket IGSA in the Air Force.
Before joining AACOG, Rath served as an SVP at ResCare Workforce Services, with oversight responsibility for operations in over 300 locations in 28 states with 2200 employees and a budget of $230 million. In 1996, then Governor George W. Bush appointed her as Chair and Commissioner for the Texas Workforce Commission, where she served until 2008. During her tenure, she oversaw the consolidation of 28 programs from 10 different state agencies to form a $1.2 billion agency with responsibility for services involving federal programs from the U.S Department of Labor, Health, and Human Services, and two other federal agencies. In 2007, Rath was nominated by President George W. Bush as Assistant Secretary of Administration for Children and Families at U.S. Health and Human Services. During this time, she became recognized as a national leader in workforce development, forging partnerships with economic development and educational entities to meet the workforce needs of Texas businesses. A physical therapist by background, Rath attended TCU, and graduated from UTMB-Galveston.
50. Debbie O’Reilly
Debbie O’Reilly began her professional career over 34 years ago. Today, she is an independent consultant and Director of Global Accounts with HelmsBriscoe. HelmsBriscoe is the Global Leader in Meetings Procurement & Site Selection, they operate in 55 countries representing some of the most experienced professionals in the industry.
O’Reilly started her career in 1987 with Marriott Hotels & Resorts after graduating with a BA in Business at Texas State University. She worked in 8 hotels in 6 cities within 19 years and then began working with Hyatt Hotels and Resorts in 2006. After nine years with Hyatt, O’Reilly transitioned to HelmsBriscoe where she has excelled and earned their prestigious President’s Club Award for numerous years. She uses her extensive knowledge of the inner workings of hotels, negotiation skills and contracting along with her experience working with CVBs and DMOs to help advise and represent her 30+ clients. She also assists with talent acquisition providing a platform and mentoring others to be successful in the San Antonio area. Over the last couple years when meetings were restricted during COVID, she relied on her partnerships, honesty and creativity to help save her clients from disastrous cancellation penalties. Her strong work ethic, flexibility, willingness to help, response time and attention to detail are what makes her so successful.
View the complete list of awardees.