25 Influential Women Who Absolutely Run San Antonio
Who run the world? According to Beyoncé, girls do. Who runs San Antonio? A lot of important people. In honor of International Women's Day on March 8, we're celebrating 25 local lady bosses that make the Alamo City what it is today.
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Becky Hammon has broken down barriers for women in the NBA. After a successful career in the WNBA, Hammon retired from the court and moved to the sidelines to become the first female assistant coach in NBA history. She has also served as the head coach for the Spurs Las Vegas Summer League, while continuing to prove that women deserve a place in the league through her position with the Spurs. While we love having her with the franchise, it’s just a matter of time before Hammon lands a head coaching gig.
Photo via Instagram / officialbeckyhammon
Since being elected in 2013, Shirley Gonzales has stood up for a number of issues while serving her constituents on the city’s West Side. The daughter of Mexican immigrants, the District 5 councilwoman worked in her family’s business before choosing to go into local politics. A self-described advocate for budget and resource equity, made history as the first woman to have a baby while in City Council office. Today, she serves on a number of committees related to transportation, workforce development, the arts and technology to truly push for equality among SA’s residents and culture.
Photo by Jade Esteban Estrada
A lawmaker and an attorney, Rep. Ina Minjarez has turned heads since her 2015 special-election victory to fill Jose Menendez’s seat. Now, Minjarez makes it a point to cross the aisle, going the extra mile to get to know every representative and sit next a different person each morning. A bipartisan approach is what she’s all about in order to get stuff done. Despite the obstacles, Minjarez continues to serve her constituents and allows any hurdles to power her hustle.
Photo via Facebook / facebook.com/Vote4Ina
La Familia Cortez, the family behind Mi Tierra, Pico De Gallo and more, have made their mark and gained their lasting place in San Antonio’s history. But Chef Cariño Cortez, a third-generation Cortez family member, had made a mark all on her own. She’s worked every job in the business – from hostess to catering employee to floor manager. After studying at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, Cortez worked at Michelin-starred restaurants in New York City. She eventually returned to San Antonio and currently serves as the project manager for La Familia Cortez Restaurants. Though she’s behind the scenes in that role, Cortez gives back to the community by being part of community events related to the culinary arts.
Photo via Instagram / jentobiasstruski
A daughter of migrant workers who grew up in the Rio Grande Valley went on to become San Antonio’s “first lady.” But Erika Prosper is more than just Mayor Ron Nirenberg’s wife. She is a business executive for H-E-B. A community leader. A civic volunteer. Though she serves as director of customer insights at the Texas grocery chain’s corporate office, Prosper also serves on the H-E-B Corporate Diversity Council and Health and Literacy Task Forces and the San Antonio Hispanic Chamber of Commerce board.
Photo via Instagram / erika_prosper
Though not a public office holder, Sofia Sepulveda dedicated her time to standing up for what she believes in and demanding change. Name a protest event, and she’s likely been there at the front of the crowd. A vocal supporter of Bernie Sanders, Sepulveda’s leftist point-of-views have led her to block-walk for progressive candidates and serve the community as a visible local activist, primarily for healthcare and free speech issues. With a thick Mexican accent, the trans woman has said time and time again that her goal is to be part of the movement that changes the Democratic party. On that note, she’s worked with the Texas Organizing Project and Our Revolution Texas and served as a Bexar County Democratic Party precinct chair.
Photo by Jade Esteban Estrada
After stints as a financial exec in the regional operations of Time Warner Cable and the Luby’s restaurant chain, Paula Gold-Williams joined CPS in 2004 as a controller and moved up the ranks to CEO in 2016. The buck stops with her when it comes to keeping the lights on, the air conditioning running and the machines of industry juiced up. Gold-Williams’ moves in infrastructure and energy make her a key player in economic development behind the scenes.
Photo via CPS Energy
Lots of San Antonians are aware of the success of Chef Jason Dady, but not many take a moment to consider the woman by his side. Meet Crystal Dady, who is an owner in the Jason Dady Restaurant Group. While she leaves the kitchen stuff to her husband, Crystal oversees every aspect of the company – business strategy and administration, financials, marketing and legal plus so much more. And keep in mind that Chef Dady has six restaurants. Six! Yep, Crystal Dady is the definition of a lady boss.
Photo via Instagram / B.SimplyPhoto
Julianna Hawn Holt
Since 2016, Julianna Hawn Holt has served as the chairman and CEO of Spurs Sports & Entertainment, a role she filled after her estranged husband Peter M. Holt gave up the title after 20 years. Julianna has managed to keep the legacy of the franchise alive in the years since. And hell, her signature look with the big, dark sunglasses makes her even more of an icon.
Photo via NBA.com
Since 2013, Rebecca Viagran has held it down for District 3 – the city’s South Side, where she was born and raised. As councilwoman, Viagran has served as a tireless advocate in order to create equity, opportunity and prosperity for all San Antonians. She was part of the team that helped get the missions designated as a collective World Heritage site and has been influential in the booming development of the Brooks area.
Photo via Instagram / rebeccaviagran