The San Antonio Chamber of Commerce and Presenting Sponsor Ford Motor Company are pleased to announce the five honorees for the 2019 Tribute to Women Business Leaders Awards. The honorees are Cara Tackett, Senior Vice President of Water Resources for Pape-Dawson Engineers; Diana Barrios Trevino, Co-Owner of Los Barrios Enterprises, Inc.; Lori Houston, Assistant City Manager for the City of San Antonio; Casandra Matej, President and CEO of Visit San Antonio; and Dr. Diana Burns-Banks, Owner of South Texas Center for Pediatric Care
“The Chamber is proud to announce this exceptional group of women business leaders,” Chamber President & CEO Richard Perez said. “San Antonio is blessed to have such a deep reservoir of successful and up-and-coming women leaders. They deserved to be celebrated, emulated, and followed.”
The Tribute to Women Business Leaders honorees each exemplify business practices and principles that are championed by Ford Motor Company and the San Antonio Chamber. A $1,000 scholarship will be donated to the college/university of the award recipient’s choice in her name, and each of the women will be recognized at the Awards Luncheon on June 4 at the Grand Hyatt Hotel at 600 E. Market Street. Registration information can be found here.
Cara Tackett is the recipient of the Executive Award for Large Business. Cara is a trailblazer in her industry. As the firm’s first female Senior Vice President, she has played a pivotal role in the firm’s major projects of the last 20 years, including the TPC Golf Course, JW Marriott Resort, UTSA, the Witte Museum, the San Antonio Zoo, and so much more. She currently oversees the statewide water resources department with 55 employees in five cities. Cara is known for building loyalty in her staff by leading from the front and is instrumental in the significant number of young women who have recently been hired by Pape-Dawson. Cara is the current president of the Real Estate Council of San Antonio (RECSA) and previously served on several board positions. For her leadership, she was awarded the Phillip M. Barshop Founders’ Award in 2018 – the top honor that RECSA awards. Cara is the second female to ever win this accolade. She is past Chair of the Board of Professional Engineers in Private Practice (PEPP), an organization that sponsors AEC programs for high school students.
Diana Barrios-Trevino, recipient of the Brenda Vickrey Johnson Award for Small Business, is the co-owner of four family restaurants, Los Barrios, La Hacienda de Los Barrios, Viola’s Ventanas, and La Hacienda Scenic Loop. Her family’s restaurants have won numerous awards, and Diana has appeared on local and national television programs to share her cooking expertise. In 2010, Diana was invited by the Obama Administration to serve her famous puffy tacos at the White House. When Diana isn’t cooking, she also serves as an ambassador for San Antonio and has grown into an important public figure for Tex-Mex cuisine. Diana, along with her brother Louie and sister Teresa, head up Viola’s Huge Heart Foundation, honoring their mother, Viola. She is a passionate advocate of education, and the Viola’s Huge Heart provides educational scholarships and charitable assistance in San Antonio and in her mother’s hometown, Bustamante, Nuevo Leon, Mexico. The foundation works with various schools to identify students in need. So far, they have given $200,000 in eight years and supported six amazing students.
The Promise Award Recipient is Lori Houston, Assistant City Manager for the City of San Antonio. Prior to her arrival to the City Manager’s Office, she served as the Director of the Center City Development & Operations Department. Lori was essential in bringing a grocery store to downtown. Through her leadership, the City has facilitated the development of an additional 49 housing projects that will ultimately yield 6,275 housing units in the downtown area. These projects represent an investment of over $1 billion in downtown San Antonio. Lori has been recognized as the Downtowner of the Year and has received many acknowledgements for her service to the City of San Antonio, Leadership San Antonio, and the San Antonio Junior League, the last of which is the most notable of her volunteer community service.
This year’s Hope Award goes to Casandra Matej, who serves as the President and CEO of Visit San Antonio. Cassandra serves as the head of one of the largest industries in the city, which welcomes more than 37 million visitors every year. Under her guidance, the 86-employee Visit San Antonio was influential in helping land the city’s World Heritage Site designation and the $325 million transformation of the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center. Cassandra is past winner of the Executive Excellence Award from the Event Service Professionals Association, a Women’s Leadership Award from the SA Business Journal and was selected as a 2017 member of The Texas Lyceum. She is involved with the Chamber’s Economic Development Council and has served on the boards of the Valero Alamo Bowl, U.S. Travel Association, Texas Travel Industry Association and Destinations International.
Dr. Diana Burns-Banks is this year’s Legacy Award honoree. Diana is a servant leader who has more than 30 years of experience in the field of medicine. Her office started out on the Eastside of San Antonio with two doctors and fewer than 10 employees in a single office space. Today, South Texas Center for Pediatric Care has six offices, 20 providers, and more than 95 fulltime employees. Her passion for pediatrics goes well beyond the walls of her clinic. She continues to serve on countless councils and boards that focus on the health of children and babies, including serving as the 2019 Chair for the March of Dimes. A natural-born leader, Diana is always ready to mentor and guide her employees, friends, and fellow community members. It is fair to say that the entire medical layout of San Antonio is forever changed by Diana’s activism, advocacy, commitment, and selfless passion.
Previous Tribute to Women Business Leaders honorees include Paula Gold-Williams; Major General Angie Salinas, U.S. Marine Corps (Ret); Edith McAllister; Aaronetta Pierce; Nancy Loeffler; Katie Reed; Barbara Gentry; Carri Baker; Rosemary Kowalski; Former Mayor Lila Cockrell; Former State Rep. Ruth Jones McClendon; Marsha Shields; Suzanne Wade; Tracy Wolff; Brenda Vickrey Johnson, and many more.