Texas Women's Foundation Leader Reflects as First Female Vice President Takes Office

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As Vice President Kamala Harris took the oath of office, women around the nation watched as history was made.

"As a Black woman, to see that vision come to fruition of leadership personified, for a woman to be in the second-highest office in our nation was just overwhelming,” said Dallas attorney Shonn Brown.

Like others, Brown dressed for the occasion in pearls and Chuck Taylors as Harris has often done. Then she sat down to watch the advancement she’s helped fight for as the board chair of the Texas Women’s Foundation.

As deputy general counsel for Kimberly-Clark, Brown herself has often taken a path less traveled.

“As you're growing up, your parents have taught you to study hard and you will achieve success and that's the recipe. But part of what is necessary to ascend as a leader and to obtain economic security, which is something we focus on in the Texas Women’s Foundation, is also just that opportunity to take the seat at the table,” said Brown.

And thanks to Harris’ new position, Brown says her daughters’ generation’s eyes have been opened to the fact they can.

"If you see yourself in that chair then you actually know that you belong there and there is a space for you,” said Brown.

Though hesitant to stray from a celebratory attitude in the hours following the inauguration, Brown said it’s important not to lose sight of the fact the pandemic has disproportionately taken aim at women when it comes to employment and finances.

It’s a shift some have worried could set women back decades when it comes to closing wage and leadership gaps.

So though Harris has paved a new path, Brown said it will take a collective effort to keep it clear for those who follow.

"We have to continue to invest in the ability for people to have a living wage. For them to have housing that is affordable, education, so that individuals can maintain the skills necessary to contain to effectuate that change,” said Brown.

She pointed out, Harris did it standing on the shoulders of the women who came before her. Now Madam Vice President can empower the next generation to stand on her’s.

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