Reflections on Ann Beeson’s Legacy as She Steps Down from Every Texan

Agradecido… grateful, that’s the overriding emotion I’m feeling reflecting on Ann Beeson’s last day as CEO of Every Texan and the transformation she has helped lead in her seven years of service. Strong leaders build teams and build culture that outlive their terms of service. That’s why I can honestly say that part of Ann Beeson’s legacy is allowing the Board of Directors to engage in a search process for a new executive director from a position of optimism and confidence. We know this organization is ready to meet the challenges facing Texas and pursue our mission like never before.

This is a remarkable opportunity for an exceptional leader to join a pioneering organization and lead a group of passionate and talented experts in transforming access to equity and opportunity across Texas. The opportunity is heightened by the financial health of the organization, the depth of talent of the staff, strong partnerships, and a solid reputation in the field.  At a time when racial tensions and social inequality have led to challenges and pervasive fears that mirror decades past, Every Texan knows that social justice requires public policy. The executive director of Every Texan will be at the forefront of the fight to ensure that equity becomes a core part of Texas going forward.

An Amazing 7 Years

Just a couple weeks ago, Every Texan shared our legislative path forward with hundreds of allies, elected officials, and community organizers. It was a testament to Ann’s legacy that Every Texan is positioned as the leading public policy thought leader at a critical time for our state. So many people are looking for leadership to navigate us through a pandemic and create more equitable policies that allow every Texan to achieve their potential.

As I wrote earlier this summer, 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, 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.

Ann grew the annual operating budget from $2.3 million to $3.2 million. She filled the void when the Governor failed to act, organizing over 100 organizational partners to launch Texas Counts, an unofficial statewide Census campaign. Across three Texas legislative sessions, Ann led 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.

Ann was also 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.

Today, our gratitude outweighs our sadness as we wish Ann the best of luck in her future pursuits, and we thank her for her dedication to Every Texan. Ann leaves big cowboy boots to fill. Koya Leadership Partners is advising the board of directors on the Executive Director search. Check out the full job announcement from Koya here, and please spread the word.

To support our staff in the transition, the board has selected Kathy Miller, president and executive director of Texas Freedom Network, to serve as interim CEO until the board approves a permanent Executive Director. Miller, a distinguished nonprofit leader committed to social justice and race equity, will remain at Texas Freedom Network until after Election Day. Miller’s role as interim CEO will focus on internal support for the management team and staff in overseeing finances and providing continuity.

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