A few weeks ago, Ann Beeson shared the news with me that she plans to step down as CEO of Every Texan at the end of October. As Board Chair, you never want to lose such exceptional talent on your watch. But the overriding emotion I felt as I processed the news, as both a friend and a fan of Ann’s, has been one of gratitude.
Ann brought a dynamic leadership style to a long-established organization. She challenged us to think not just inside the Capitol, but out, dramatically expanded our circle of key influencers across the state, recruited a diverse and talented team of policy and advocacy experts, including Every Texan’s first Legislative Director and Director of Finance & Administration, adapted new advocacy tools and increased our presence on social media and digital platforms, and led our new brand launch which reoriented our compass in an ever-changing political landscape while deepening our commitment to social justice.
To say her seven-year journey left a mark is an understatement. Just a few of the measurable milestones Ann accomplished, together with the talented Every Texan staff, include:
- Growing the annual operating budget from $2.3 million to $3.2 million.
- Filling the void when the Governor failed to act, by organizing over 100 organizational partners to launch Texas Counts, an unofficial statewide Census campaign.
- And across three Texas legislative sessions, leading a talented team that helped protect people from surprise medical bills, remodel funding for public schools and pass the first paid sick leave ordinances in the South.
There are also the intangibles of leadership that strengthen organizational culture, especially for such a high-performing non-profit that is constantly striving to live out its values. Ann was the driving force behind the creation of the organization’s Race Equity Working Group in 2016, which adopted a race equity purpose statement and incorporated equity into our mission statement, Strategic Plan, and work plans. Every Texan continues to steadily increase the diversity of our staff, and our board is now majority people of color. And Ann was quick to lead the way and ensure voluntary recognition of the staff union, increasing power-sharing and our commitment to forging a common direction.
As we search for a successor, the bar has been set high, and rightly so, because the work of Every Texan has never been more important. But I’m fortunate to be joined by a strong, diverse, and engaged Board of Directors committed to approaching this challenge with the same optimism and energy that Ann has brought to Every Texan, and committed to a process that allows for input from stakeholders and ensures a diverse pool of talent ready to commit to the important work ahead.
P.S. Make sure to monitor the Every Texan website for announcements on our search process, and be sure to sign up for emails from Every Texan for the latest news and updates.