There are many types of leaders. Some are unapologetic and caustic. Others are more compassionate and soft. Whether their heart is “two sizes too small” or larger than life, a great leader will never be forgotten.
One of the greatest female leaders in Texas history was Ann Richards. Even though Ms. Richards is no longer with us, her dynamic character will stand the test of time. So what about this fervent woman makes her so memorable? In Tuesday night’s lecture at the Moody Theatre entitled Can Women Change Politics? The Life and Politics of Ann Richards, the 3 guest speakers suggested it was Ann’s vibrant personality and acerbic wit that make her so unforgettable.
One of the speakers, actress Holland Taylor, who portrays Ann in a play of the same name, joyfully spoke of how the script was written for all of America, not just Ann’s friends and family. Taylor’s honest portrayal of the late Texas Governor provides a glimpse into the woman who, with humor and strength, fought to bring more women and minorities into power.
In addition to having a play written about her, Ms. Richards also has an all-girls school that bears her name. The Ann Richards School for Young Women Leaders prepares young women to attend and graduate from college, commit to a healthy and well-balanced lifestyle, lead with courage and compassion, and solve problems creatively and ethically in support of our global community. In less than a week, Women.Design.Build will facilitate an after-school program that introduces the Ann Richards students to five Female Leaders in Construction, Design, Business, and Technology. This is such a unique opportunity for everyone involved; we can only hope that Ann is somewhere beaming with delight. To read more about this program, visit our What We Do page.
Just days following Ann’s death, her dear friend and columnist, Molly Ivins, humorously recalls an Ann Richards moment that we just had to share:
At a long-ago political do at Scholz Garten in Austin, everybody who was anybody was there meetin’ and greetin’ at a furious pace. A group of us got the tired feet and went to lean our butts against a table at the back wall of the bar. Perched like birds in a row were Bob Bullock, then state comptroller; moi; Charles Miles, the head of Bullock’s personnel department; and Ms. Ann Richards. Bullock, 20 years in Texas politics, knew every sorry, no good sumbitch in the entire state. Some old racist judge from East Texas came up to him:
“Bob, my boy, how are you?”
Bullock said, “Judge, I’d like you to meet my friends: This is Molly Ivins with the Texas Observer.”
The judge peered up at me and said, “How yew, little lady?”
Bullock, “And this is Charles Miles, the head of my personnel department.” Miles, who is black, stuck out his hand, and the judge got an expression on his face as though he had just stepped into a fresh cowpie. He reached out and touched Charlie’s palm with one finger, while turning eagerly to the pretty, blond, blue-eyed Ann Richards. “And who is this lovely lady?”
Ann beamed and replied, “I am Mrs.Miles.”