The Annie's List Blog
Champion Spotlight: Rep. Shawn Thierry
March 8, 2019
First Things First
On Monday afternoon, Rep. Thierry graciously met our team in her office to give us the ins and outs of a day in the life of a legislator. At 7:30 am, she dropped off her daughter at school, started her 200 mile commute to work, got a flat tire, promptly found an Enterprise, threw her luggage in the rental and finally, made it to Austin in time for her planned meetings. She reminded us, like with most aspects of navigating the Texas Legislature, resilience is key! While the flat may have caught her by surprise, the commute is a regular part of her week–legislators typically spend the earlier part of their week here in the capital and the remainder of their week “in-district,” or back home. As a legislator with a school-aged child, the Rep. says having support from friends and family is key in maintaining a sense of normalcy for her daughter during session.
The Rep. was then briefed by her Legislative and Communications Director, Angela Beam.
Here’s a sampling of the day’s schedule:
2:30-3:15pm: Speaking engagement with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP)
3:30-4:00pm: Sit down with Annie’s List (us!)
4:00pm: House convenes
5:00pm: School Safety Meetup Panel – SXSW Edu
Before we set out to Rep. Thierry’s speaking engagement, Angela prepared several documents for her regarding HB 471 and HB 2693–two pieces of mental health legislation recently filed by the Rep. that she would be discussing with AFSP.
With AFSP, Rep. Thierry spoke to her legislative efforts to stop suicides, creating more awareness and education around mental health (especially for young people), being intentional about the language she uses when talking about suicide and the importance of providing more mental health services in general across the state. After her speech, she took questions from the audience, which consisted of mental health professionals, other health care professionals and people personally affected by the issue. Towards the end of the Q&A, one audience member asked, “What’s the best way we can help get your efforts out?” She shared with them that she was grateful they were at the Capitol today and to encourage others to do the same–and that even if they can’t get down to Austin, to encourage them to be involved by calling or emailing the legislators who represent them. The Rep. strongly believes in engaging with audiences and creating a dialogue since feedback is a critical part of affecting change. We agree.
After a few group photos and selfies, the Rep. took some time to speak with audience members individually about what the issue means to them before heading out. On our way back to her office she was stopped by a fellow legislator to discuss an upcoming committee hearing and then by a woman who exclaimed, “Love your suit!” (And so do we!)
Our 30-minute sit down with the Rep. began with an overview of how her office functions. She starts each day by checking her staff GroupMe for any changes or updates, reviews her “day at a glance,” and utilizes several (and heavy!) binders to manage all aspects of the office from policy priorities to event invitations. Legislative offices might not all follow the same methods, but they do all operate under the cloud of having just 140 days within the legislative session to achieve their goals. Organization is critical.
A lawyer by trade, Rep. Thierry is meticulous. She works smart and with purpose, evident not only thanks to the national attention she’s received on her work to end maternal mortality, but also by spending just a few minutes with her. She is incredibly engaging and talks with us like we’re lifelong friends. She’s passionate and seamlessly digests complicated policy issues to an understandable level. She knows what it means to be a woman of color in a predominantly white and male profession. To get a better idea of what success means to her and how she presses on even in the face of criticism, we asked her if she would be willing to answer a few of our burning questions. You can view her responses below!
Who’s your biggest inspiration?
What keeps you motivated?
What’s your advice to women considering running for office?
Staying the Course
How do you define success?
How do you handle criticism?
All in All
Women’s representation in elected office is vital. When women are in the room where decisions are made, we’re better for it. Rep. Thierry is proof of that. If we had to reiterate just one thing she shared with us, it would be: “Believe in yourself and walk in your purpose.”
More about Rep. Thierry
Did you know?
The Rep. manages her own social media, give her a follow!
Committees she serves on:
House Administration, Land & Resource Management, Transportation
Find the full list of her filed bills here!