About Pink Granite
Founded in 2017, Pink Granite is a non-partisan community of women supporting women. Consultants, activists, elected officials, staff, students, and yes - even supportive men, all have a place with the Foundation, regardless of experience level or political affiliation.
The Pink Granite Foundation educates women working in politics and public policy. Equipping women of all political affiliations to advance her own career as well as her contributions to the state of Texas.
Jo Cassandra brings over 16 years of experience in Texas politics which began as a Senate messenger after high school. After serving as a policy aide for various legislators representing El Paso, Dallas and Houston, she concluded her public service as the first female executive director of the Texas House of Representatives’ House Democratic Caucus. In 2014, Jo Cassandra transitioned into the private sector as part of the AT&T Texas team where she assisted in bringing AT&T’s technologies and services to the citizens of Texas, with a specialized focus on the community of El Paso and its surrounding region. In January of 2020, Jo Cassandra founded The De Cuebaz Company, a public affairs and strategic communications company that guides clients achievements by developing and executing individualized strategies to achieve their goals while also impacting their respective industry in positive ways. With a deeply rooted commitment to give back, Jo Cassandra has previously served as Chair of the board of directors for AVANCE Austin as well as GirlForward, where assisted in establishing the Austin chapter. She currently serves on the board of directors for Elizabeth Ann Seton Board and Texans Care for Children. Originally from Pearsall, Texas and based in Austin, Jo Cassandra is a graduate of Southwestern University, where she received a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Communications.
Hope Osborn is a Manager of Policy and Advocacy at Texas 2036. Throughout her decade-long career in and around the Texas Capitol, she has worked in both chambers for both parties and as Government Relations for the Texas Retired Teachers Association. Hope is a member of the Leadership Team at the Girls Advocacy League, a Woman of Courage through the Children Advocacy Centers of Texas, a Court Appointed Special Advocate in Travis County, and an alumnus of Leadership Austin - Emerge. She is a former board member of the Young Women's Alliance and the International Justice Mission. Hope graduated with honors from the University of Texas at Austin, majoring in Government and Middle Eastern Studies.
Summer Luciano serves as the chief of staff for Rep. Eddie Rodriguez, the dean of the Travis County delegation. A native of El Paso, and graduate of the University of Texas at El Paso, Luciano began her career in the Pink Dome in 2005 in the Senate. Since then, she moved to the Texas House, working directly for members as well as serving over eight years with the Mexican American Legislative Caucus, including as executive director. Throughout the past two decades, she has volunteered with countless Texas advocacy and legislative campaigns and spends her spare time adopting rescue dogs and serving her community.
Paige Higerd is currently serving as Chief of Staff to Chairman Dustin Burrows. Prior to this position, she served as the Ways & Means Clerk for Chairman Burrows and Calendars Clerk for both Chairman Todd Hunter and Chairman Dustin Burrows. Paige got her start in the Legislature as an intern for Chairwoman Myra Crownover in 2015 and graduated from the University of North Texas in 2016 with a BA in Economics. When not traveling, Paige enjoys being by the lake with her dog, Cleo.
Erika Akpan joined NRG Energy in September 2020. Just prior to joining NRG, Erika was Vice President of Policy and Government Relations for the Association of Electric Companies of Texas. Earlier in her career, Erika served as the Senior Policy Advisor for Business and Regulatory Affairs for Speaker of the Texas House of Representatives Joe Straus and as a policy analyst for the Senate Committee on Transportation and Homeland Security while simultaneously earning her Master’s degree. She has also been a policy analyst for the Senate Committee on Business and Commerce and Legislative Director for Texas State Senator John Carona. Erika has a Bachelor of Arts in International Studies from Texas State University and a Master of Public Policy from the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin.
Crystal Brown is a licensed attorney and public policy advisor at Locke Lord LLP where she represents various trade associations, large companies and government entities before the Texas Legislature. She earned her law degree at the University of Houston Law Center. Prior to joining Locke Lord, Crystal was the Chief of Staff for State Representative Carol Alvarado. She also served as the Committee Clerk for the Texas House Committee on Public Health under State Representative Lois Kolkhorst. She currently serves on the Board of Directors of Hype Freedom School which provides education and literacy programs to children in disadvantaged communities in the Houston area.
Kathy Hutto was a well-respected lobbyist for 31 years, recognized for her expertise in health care and human services. Until her retirement three years ago, her knowledge of the legislative process and how state agencies work ensured her clients’ needs were met. Whether working with clients on their message or strategy to influence a legislative or agency decision or analyzing proposed regulations or legislation to determine client impact, Kathy was known as a focused, tenacious, hard-working professional. With an undergraduate degree from Baylor and a graduate degree from the University of Texas, Kathy began her career at the Capitol with an internship at the Legislative Budget Board. That led to a Program Analyst position at the Sunset Commission and ultimately to her lobby practice at Jackson Walker, LLP. Committed to giving back, Kathy is proud to be the longest serving trustee on the ZACH Theatre Board. She also served on the boards of the Professional Advocacy Association of Texas, Safe Place, Seton Forum, Ronald McDonald House, ARC/Texas Development Fund, Greater Austin Chamber Legislative Committee, and the Baylor Women’s Athletic Council. Kathy was honored to be appointed to the Governor’s Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Advisory Board, as well as participating in the John Ben Shepperd Public Leadership Forum and Leadership Texas
Tabatha Vasquez has over a decade of experience in politics and policy and is currently Deputy Director of Budget and Policy for Governor Greg Abbott. She previously served several sessions under the Pink Dome as a Chief of Staff in the Texas House of Representatives, a Legislative Director in the Texas Senate, and as Clerk for the Sunset Commission Chair. Prior to working in the legislature, Tabatha held multiple positions for the award-winning consulting firm Murphy Nasica and Associates, where she worked on over 100 campaigns and initiatives, securing numerous victories at the local, state, and federal levels.
The daughter of a veteran, Tabatha grew up in Arizona and Florida, before moving to North Carolina to attend Mars Hill College on a joint academic and athletic scholarship, where she majored in Sociology, Criminal Justice, and minored in Business Administration. She was an active member of the college community as part of the Division II women’s soccer team, Delta Zeta National Sorority, Student Judicial Board, Vice President of the Student Government Association, and the Honors Scholar program.
Amy Whited is a multi-state lobbyist, serving as the Regional Lead for Government Relations at UCB, Inc. Based in Austin, Amy has a background in health policy specifically focused on pharmaceuticals, medical regulation, and patient advocacy. Amy has led political campaign teams at the state, local, and national levels across the Southeastern United States. Outside of her work in government relations, Amy invests her time in organizations that prepare women for leadership and public service. In addition to her work with the Pink Granite Foundation, Amy also serves on the Board of Directors for the Women's Public Leadership Network as well as the LBJ Women's Campaign School at the University of Texas.
Tabatha and her husband Jose have two wonderful sons and two spoiled pups. They attend the Austin Stone church and coach youth soccer. She is a member of the Young Women’s Alliance, Children’s Advocacy Centers ‘Women of Courage’, a founding member and former President of Capitol Republican Women, and member of Austin Young Republicans and the Texas Federation of Republican Women.
more women challenge the status quo
programs to grow your career
across party lines!
15 incredible women
The 2022 Pink Granite Party