Our Distinguished Leadership Award Recipients
Leadership Southwest, Inc. is a member of the Community Leadership Association (CLA), which is an international membership association of organizations and individuals dedicated to strengthening and transforming communities through leadership development. Each year it seeks to recognize exceptional community leadership program graduates. Recipients are nominated by their local leadership programs for exemplifying the spirit and goals for civic involvement and trusteeship. Founded in 1979, the Community Leadership Association’s members include hundreds of diverse community leadership organizations at local, state and national levels, thousands of individual graduates of these organizations and others interested in community leadership development. The CLA encourages sharing and mutual learning by its members and embraces the diversity of community leadership development efforts.
Each year, the Distinguished Leader Award (DLA) is awarded by the different leadership organizations across the nation to recognize men and women who have adopted the heart of community trusteeship because of their participation in their community leadership program. They have made significant and notable contributions for the betterment of their communities.
Mayor Curtistene McCowan – Class of 2015
2016 Award Recipient
Honorable Curtistene Smith McCowan was elected to DeSoto City Council in May, 2012. She was elected to the position of Mayor Pro Tem in May 2014 and May 2015. Prior to winning a seat on the City Council, she served five years on the DeSoto Economic Development Corporation Board of Directors, where she held the positions of Internal Audit Chair, Vice President and served four years as President. She is a Founder and Past President of Concerned DeSoto Citizens (CDC) and also serves on the Advisory Board of Methodist Charlton Medical Center; Planning Committee, Methodist Health Systems; and Board of Directors, African American Education Archives and History Program. She is a graduate of the 2015 Leadership Southwest Class.
Maranda Auzenne – Class of 2011
2015 Award Recipient
Maranda Auzenne is currently the General Manager at Hillside Village (formerly Uptown Village at Cedar Hill). Maranda is responsible for all areas of the 75 acre upscale Shopping Center including finance, marketing, guest services, leasing and operations. Maranda began her shopping center management career as the Operations Manager and was promoted twice within one year to reach her current position. In her industry, Maranda is known as a strategic leader who is resourceful in getting things done through creative partnerships. She is the recipient of the 2013 DBJ Minority Business Leader and a graduate of the 2011 Leadership Southwest Class.
Monte Anderson LSW Class of 1988
2014 Award Recipient
Monte Anderson is President of Options Real Estate. He is a 25-year real estate veteran involved in sales, leasing, property management, development and construction in Southern Dallas And Northern Ellis Counties. Sustainable projects include Main Street Duncanville, The Belmont Hotel, Mid-Towne Midlothian, Fire Station #15 in Bishop Arts, the Historic Texas Theatre, and Thorntree Country Club. Monte is a passionate community activist. He has chaired the Oak Cliff, Cedar Hill and DeSoto Chambers of Commerce, the Oak Cliff Foundation, the Best Southwest Partnership and was founding President of the North Texas Chapter of the Congress for the New Urbanism. Monte is devoted to building better places for his children and grandchildren.
Grady W. Smithey, Jr. LSW Class of 1999
2013 Award Recipient
Aka “The Road Warrior”, Grady Smithey served 22 years as a Duncanville City Councilman, seven terms as Mayor Pro Tem and was first president of the Economic and Community Development Corporation. He was selected Duncanville Chamber of Commerce 1998 “Man of the Year”. He received Texas Transportation Commission’s 2007 “Texas Road Hand” award in recognition of his state-wide volunteer work in transportation issues at the only TTC meeting ever held in Duncanville. Is former President of Texas Municipal League Region 13 and served on the National League of Cities’ Transportation Committee. As an adjunct professor at Dallas Baptist University, he taught State and Local Government classes in 1984-85.
Honorable Marcus E. Knight LSW Class of 2007
2012 Award Recipient
Mayor, City of Lancaster, TexasMarcus E. Knight was elected Mayor in the City of Lancaster, TX in 2008. He previously volunteered on the Lancaster Economic Development Corporation Board, Lancaster Planning and Zoning Commission, as well as serving on the Lancaster Chamber of Commerce Board and as 2012 Chairman of the Best Southwest Partnership, President of the Metroplex Mayors Association, Secretary for TML Region 13, volunteer with Big Brothers and Sisters, and is President of the Lancaster Rotary Club. He also serves as a member of the Methodist Charlton advisory board.
Dr.Kevin G. Fegan, Ed.D LSW Class of 2004
2011 Award Recipient
President, Northwood University, TexasIn May of 2003, Dr. Fegan started as Provost of the Texas campus. Dr. Fegan was named a Northwood University Outstanding Alumni (1996), recognized by the International Who’s Who of Professionals and Who’s Who Among American Colleges and Universities, and is a member of Delta Mu Delta, Honorary Business Fraternity. Dr. Fegan holds a B.B.A. in marketing and management from Northwood University, an M.A. in educational administration from Central Michigan University and an Ed.D. in curriculum and instruction from Wayne State University.
Dr. John E. Price LSW Class of 2002
2010 Award Recipient
President, University of North Texas at DallasJohn Ellis Price was named president of the University of North Texas at Dallas in August 2010. He earned his Ph.D. in accounting from UNT in Denton and is also a CPA. He is co-author of College Accounting. As a member of the faculty of the College of Business Administration at UNT, Price twice received the college’s Outstanding Teaching Award. He also received the University’s President’s Council Award. He currently serves as chair of the Minority Initiatives Committee of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants.
Jana Barker LSW Class of 2004
2009 Award Recipient
Executive Director Dallas Rape Crisis CenterJana Barner, who was a founding member of Brighter Tomorrows, serves as a tireless advocate for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault and as former Executive Director, led one of the largest domestic violence agencies in Dallas County which includes 3 emergency shelters, counseling & community outreach centers, 2 thrift stores and a transitional housing program.
Bobby Waddle LSW Class of 2005
2008 Award Recipient
Mayor, DeSoto, TX Website: http://www.ci.desoto.tx.us/index.asp?NID=61
As Mayor of DeSoto, the title of “The Honorable” sums up Bobby Waddle, followed by distinguished gentleman. Born and raised in DeSoto, an All America City for 2006, he was elected as its mayor in 2007. A farmer and rancher, living on land his family has owned since the 1890s, active with area soil and water conservation efforts, a DeSoto ISD mentor with Big Brothers/Big Sisters, he is respected in his community and Southwest Dallas County, and will, in 2009, serve as Chair for the North Central Texas Council of Governments.
Dan Eddy LSW Class of 1990
2007 Award Co-Recipient
Dan Eddy, aka “Mr. Southwest Dallas County,” has focused his community service in Southwest Dallas Community on education. As co-founder of the Best Southwest’s Scholar’s Program, he has helped thousands of students go to college. He was involved in securing a four-year, state-supported university within the Dallas city limits – the University of North Texas Dallas. His chairmanship of “Where Eagles Dare” raised $250,000 for that new Dallas campus. He has been recognized on numerous occasions of the Texas House and Senate floors for his dedicated service to southern Dallas County.
Frank Bentley LSW Class of 2003
2007 Award Co-Recipient
ABG Marketing Website: www.abgonline.netwww.swdallas.com
Frank Bentley is known for leadership development and communication. He formed the Leadership Southwest Alumni Association which includes over 800 graduates and he created the program’s website as a clearing house for current class information, alumni contact information, community chamber calendars, and resource of the program. He has also created a local magazine specifically for Southern Dallas using local writers and contributors. He also served as Co-Chairman of the LSW Board of Directors from 2004-2006 and his involvement with the local chambers has earned him “Volunteer of the Year” and “Member of the Year.”
Dr. Larry Lewis LSW Class of 1994
2006 Award Recipient as former Superintendent of Lancaster ISD
Dr. Larry Lewis, as superintendent of the Lancaster ISD from 2003 through 2008, was instrumental in improving the district’s financial rating from below standard to a rating of superior and the passage of a $110 million dollar bond package which provided new facilities, existing facilities’ renovations and technology upgrades. He served on various civic organizations included the Lancaster Chamber of Commerce and the Best Southwest Leadership Institute.
Marti Miller LSW Class of 1999
2005 Award Recipient
Keynote Speaker, Trainer, Consultant Website: www.praiseleadership.com
Marti Miller lives a life of leadership. As a leadership skills trainer, her techniques center on leadership development, integrity-driven success, and her favorite aspect of leadership – praise. Her trademark energy and enthusiasm for life shines through her interactive training sessions which encourages refocused expectations and how to become empowered by personal authentic energy. Marti’s approach as a leader is helping others learn how to say YES to possibilities and to discover ways to boost morale and improve performance.
Honorable Rob Franke LSW Class of 1995
2004 Award Recipient
Mayor, Cedar Hill, TX Website:http://ci.cedarhill.tx.us:8080/opencms/opencms/CityHall/index.html
Honorable Royce West LSW Class of 1991
2003 Award Recipient
State Senator, Texas Website:www.senate.state.tx.us/75r/senate/members/dist23/dist23.htm#