An Interview with GENaustin’s outgoing Board President, Rossana Barrios


How long have you served as the President of GENaustin’s board of directors?

I have served on the GENaustin Board of Directors since July 2010.   I was elected Board President in July 2012 and have served in that capacity for the past year.  It has been both an honor and a privilege to be part of such an esteemed group of people who serve on our GENboard!

How did you get involved?

My involvement with GENaustin began in 2001, when I was asked to help coordinate the 2001 Conference.  I served as a planner and logistics coordinator, working with the Conference Chair Celia Israel, who in fact introduced me to GEN and is a former GENboard member.

How have you seen GENaustin grow and change over time?

It has been a delight and inspiration to watch GEN grow over the past decade!  When I was first introduced and worked on the 2001 Conference, the conference was small.  It was an evening event that took place in a ballroom at a North Austin Hotel.  Rosalind Wiseman, author of “Queen Bees and Wanna Bees” was the guest speaker for the event.  I remember there were about 200 attendees in the audience that night.  The event was small but powerful, and Rosalind was as dynamic a speaker then as she was at our 2011We Are Girls Conference.

I’ve also seen the tremendous growth in GENaustin membership and involvement.  We’ve had an increase in the number of girls we serve, an increase in our GEN programs, and an increase in volunteers.  I absolutely love when I tell people that I meet that I’m involved with GEN, and they light up and ask me how they can be involved!

What experience has been most meaningful or memorable to you?

Wow, there are so many!  I think the most meaningful experience is when I connected with a GEN girl who is a member of our 180 Program.  She was soft-spoken, but yet so tremendously passionate about how GEN has been her rock in time of emotional and personal need.  Listening to her and watching the reaction of the audience in the room as they embraced her story was both powerful and very emotional for me.  It made me realize that my involvement with GEN went beyond Board service or volunteerism.  It was the reality of true connectivity, as I became emphatically aware that GEN girls in many ways are the girl I had been – the girls that we all at some point have been.

What do you hope for GENaustin’s future?

I want to see GENaustin continue the momentum that it has held over the past 5 years of increasing membership, programs, volunteers and supporters.   Maintaining our momentum will require increasing our donor base and ensuring that we nurture our current sponsors and donors.  I also have a 2040 vision, where I hope to see GENaustin as a statewide organization.  Finally, I want to share that I believe the future of GEN is bright because of the tremendously dedicate and experienced staff and our phenomenal Executive Director, Julia Cuba!

Thank you for this opportunity to share about GEN – a forever special organization in my heart!  Go GEN!!

Rossana A. Barrios

GENaustin Board Chair, 2012-2013

Vanessa Wright