The following is a press release from the Houston Area Women's Center:
June 7,2007, Houston - Today State Representative Ellen Cohen announced that she will retire from her role as President and CEO of the Houston Area Women's Center effective December 31, 2007. Cohen, who was elected to the Texas House of Representatives from Houston District 134 in 2006, has served as President and CEO of the Women's Center since 1990.
"Serving as the CEO of the Houston Area Women's Center is hugely rewarding and I will miss it. However, after 17 years as CEO, I think this is the right time for me to move on. The Women's Center is in a strong position, and I look for the new CEO to take it to the next level," states Cohen.
During Cohen's tenure as CEO, the Houston Area Women's Center grew from a shelter with only 45 beds to a multi-million dollar, state-of-the-art facility accommodating 125 women and children. The Women's Center, a United Way agency, now has an annual budget of more than $6 million.
"Ellen Cohen has been a wise, tireless and visionary leader, who has guided the growth of the Houston Area Women's Center," states Margo Scholin, Board Chair of the Women's Center. "As CEO, Ellen expanded programs and raised the level of service we offer our clients. We will miss her strong leadership but the Women's Center will continue to educate the community and assist people who need our help."
Scholin said that the Women's Center will undertake a search for candidates to replace Cohen as CEO, and that a new CEO is expected to be in place by the end of the year. The agency has retained Korn Ferry, an international executive recruitment agency, to assist in the search.
"When it comes down to it, I feel most rewarded by the change of attitude toward domestic and sexual violence over the past 25 years," said Cohen. "When I first started, the myths were that rape was something that happened because of what you were wearing or because you put yourself in a dangerous situation. Domestic violence was something that happened to someone else. Today people know that violence is something that can happen to anyone regardless of color, language or socio-economic status. I am delighted that, as a member of the Legislature, I will be able to continue to work on issues that are important to women, men and children who are affected by sexual abuse and domestic violence."
Cohen first became involved with the Women's Center in the 1980's as a volunteer board member. She became Executive Director in 1990.
For more information on the Houston Area Women's Center please visit www.hawc.org or call 713-528-6798