SouthWest UU Women

Past Conferences

Keynotes and Speakers

Keynote Speaker Texas State Representative Donna Howard   Luncheon Speaker Rev. Lyssa Jenkins   Entertainment: Musician Kiya Heartwood   Featured Minister Rev. Meg Barnhouse

Donna Howard Headshot 2013

Keynote Speaker

Texas State Representative Donna Howard

Representative Donna Howard has served in the Texas House of Representatives since 2006. She currently serves as the Vice Chair of the Calendars Committee, which sets the calendar for the House Floor. She is a key member of the House Appropriations Committee, and sits on its Article III Subcommittee which oversees education spending in the state budget. Donna is also a longtime member of the House Higher Education Committee and the House Administration Committee.

In addition to her Keynote speech, Donna will also be leading a workshop at the conference, titled Making Your Voice Heard: Effective Advocacy at the Capitol. Join Rep. Donna Howard for a workshop on how to move your agenda forward at the Texas State Capitol. She'll discuss the importance of meeting with your lawmakers (and their staff), when and where those conversations should take place, and how to make the most of the discussion. She'll also provide tips on how to testify before a legislative committee.

Lyssa Jenkins

Luncheon Speaker

Rev. Lyssa Jenkens, Ph.D.
UUSC Board Chair

The Rev. Dr. Lyssa Jenkens is a Unitarian Universalist community minister providing consulting services for organizational and social change.  Her projects range from leadership development and congregational governance to the creation of new programs and organizational structures to support social change initiatives. Her current focus is on the development of a toolkit for an interfaith organization serving immigrant populations through congregationally-based English language programs.  

Lyssa lives with her wife in Dallas, Texas, and serves as the affiliated minister with the UU Fellowship in Tyler, Texas.  She remains active as a volunteer with many community and UU organizations, including the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee, the Dallas Mayor’s Task Force on Poverty, KERA (the north Texas public broadcasting service) and the North Texas Unitarian Universalist Congregations (NTUUC).

Join Rev. Lyssa for a luncheon talk Saturday, February 24 entitled UUSC: Made for Times Like These.

The Unitarian Universalist Service Committee (UUSC) was made for times like these. This unique human rights organization is rooted in the work of the Rev. Waitsill and Martha Sharp who dared resist a fascist regime overwhelming World War II Europe. And, their work continues seventy-seven years later in a world roiled, yet again, by fascist ideologies and advocates coupled with new, unprecedented challenges to human rights.

The Rev. Dr. Bill Schulz, former CEO of the Service Committee, once said that we cannot all be Waitsill or Martha Sharps in this world, but we can all be part of the communities that make such timely and heroic efforts possible. Let us, then, discern together how we will continue their work grounded in our Unitarian Universalist faith in these times that cry out for people like us.


Kiya Heartwood

Kiya Heartwood is an award winning, internationally touring, roots/folk singer songwriter, composer and change artist. The UK’s Broadway Baby describes Kiya Heartwood as “an award-winning American singer-songwriter who writes smart, funny and poignant songs about the famous and not-so-famous legends of America.” Heartwood "serves up a lively batch of original songs that follow on to two of the oldest traditions of folk music: storytelling and political broadside.” Kiya tours solo and with her band. Kiya makes her happy home in Austin, TX. More at







megFeatured Minister

Rev. Meg Barnhouse
First UU Austin

Ordained in 1981, the Reverend Meg Barnhouse is a well-known Unitarian Universalist writer, singer-songwriter and speaker. She came into parish ministry from ministry as a college chaplain and a pastoral counselor. After graduating with a degree in Political Science and Psychology from Duke University, she trained at Princeton Theological Seminary, where she won the Grier-Davies Preaching Prize and the Bible Knowledge Contest. As a college chaplain, she taught World Religions, Church History, Human Sexuality and Public Speaking.

She is currently minister of the First Unitarian Universalist Church of Austin.