Texas Competes Names New Managing Director, Founder Jessica Shortall to Depart

Contact: Angela Hale, Texas Competes, 512.289.2995, angela@texascompetes.org

Austin, TexasMay 9, 2022 – Texas Competes announced today that Jessica Shortall will end her tenure as Managing Director at the end of May. Longtime Texas Competes Senior Advisor Angela Hale will take the lead of the coalition.

Shortall launched Texas Competes in 2015 with 80 business and chamber members. It has since grown to more than 1,500 members – the largest of its kind in the country. Texas Competes educates employers about LGBTQ policy issues in Texas and nationally, shares business perspectives and data with the public, and, via Texas Competes Action, brings that business case to the Texas Capitol, where more than 98% of the 140 anti-LGBTQ bills filed over the past seven years have failed to become law.

“It has been a unique honor to lead this coalition,” said Shortall. “I’ve had the privilege to learn from business leaders, members of both parties, and, most importantly, LGBTQ Texans. I’m grateful for the trust that Texas’ business leaders have placed in us to navigate an ever-changing environment. The past seven years have been grueling and needlessly cruel for LGBTQ Texans and their loved ones, which has only deepened the resolve of our members to work—often in unseen but highly impactful ways—for fair treatment and safety for their employees and their families. These are business issues because they are human issues, and our members never lose sight of that fact. My decision to step away was not easy, but I’m excited to see where my dear friend Angela Hale’s leadership takes the coalition next. Texas Competes would not be what it is today without her strategic mind, tireless work ethic, and passion.”

“It’s truly been an honor to work with Jessica over the past seven years. She has a steadfast and unique ability to bring people and businesses together to promote an inclusive business environment for the LGBTQIA+ community,” said Erik Day, Senior Vice President, Dell Technologies. “Jessica is truly one of the most unconditional allies to the LGBTQIA+ community, and she will be missed as a partner and a friend. We have important work to continue, and Dell Technologies is excited to continue our partnership with Texas Competes with Angela at the helm.”

“Both Jessica and Angela are unwavering in their commitment and expertise to ensure that we defeat any bill that would be discriminatory or otherwise damage Texas as a business-friendly state,” said Chris Wallace, President/CEO of the North Texas Commission. “Texas Competes will continue to be at the forefront of convening statewide business leaders to engage on these important business competitiveness issues.”

“I have worked side by side with Jessica and our Texas Competes members for years as Senior Advisor and I am so proud of her as my colleague and friend,” said Hale. “I’m honored to continue to lead this coalition in a bipartisan manner to advocate for businesses’ real and pressing interests in this issue. As a fourth-generation Texan, there is nothing more important to me than ensuring that our state maintains our ability to attract top talent and to keep our best and brightest here in Texas. A welcoming, forward-looking Texas is key to creating a world-class pipeline of innovators and thinkers who are excited to put down roots here. I look forward to working with legislators to focus on a Texas that welcomes every single person who wants to participate in and contribute to our state.”

 

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Angela led communications strategy for the legalization of gay marriage for the Akin Gump Law Firm and the Texas plaintiffs and has been leading lobby and communications strategy to achieve full equality for all Texans since 2015. She led communications and lobby strategy during the 2017 Texas legislative session and the special session to defeat discriminatory legislation, including the bathroom bill, on behalf of a large business coalition including Texas Competes, Texas Welcomes All, and the Texas Association of Business. She has been a Senior Advisor to Texas Competes from 2015 to present, and she regularly speaks and organizes business to advocate for diversity and inclusion as a 21st century business imperative. Angela previously served as Director of Communications and Senior Advisor to Attorney General Greg Abbott during his first two terms as AG. She also served on the Executive Management Team as Senior Advisor and Director of Communications for Speaker Joe Straus during his first term as Speaker of the Texas House. Angela is a Dallas native, former Emmy award-winning TV political and investigative reporter, and veteran journalist at CBS KTVT Channel 11 Dallas Fort Worth.

 

Texas Competes is a coalition of more than 1,500 employers, chambers of commerce, convention and visitors bureaus, and industry associations making the economic case for Texas to be welcoming to LGBTQ people.