The State Agency Council

The State Agency Council, formerly the State Agency Liaison Group, was established in 1983 by Governor Mark White. On March 30, 2016, Governor Greg Abbott signed Executive Order 1, which allows the Council to continue with its charge.

The State Agency Council provides support to the Governor’s Commission for Women and offers professional development training to its members. The Council also presents the Outstanding Women in Texas Government Awards.

Our Executive Board

Appointments were made by the head of each state agency in December 2017 at the request of the Governor. Agencies appoint one member and one alternate and the executive director of the Governor’s Commission for Women appointed the executive board for 2018-2019 in March 2018. 

Chairwoman Liza C. Willmore

Chairwoman Liza C. Willmore is the Project Director of the Railroad Commission of Texas. In her career, she has led digital transformation projects across the public, private and non-profits. In addition, she has served on various boards across Texas in the roles of President, Public Relations Director, and Communications Director. In 2006, she was awarded the Outstanding Woman in Texas Government for her service in improving the lives of other women. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Economics from UT Austin and a Master’s of Science in Technology Commercialization from University of Texas at Austin’s McCombs School of Business.

Vice Chairwoman Lesley Guthrie

Lesley Guthrie manages the Office of Volunteer and Community Engagement for the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS). Lesley partners with foundations, advocacy groups, volunteers, and legislative offices to create meaningful collaborations that include press events, stakeholder forums, Council meetings and summits. Prior to joining DFPS, Lesley served as the Executive Director for the Governor’s Commission for Women. In addition, Lesley worked on Capitol Hill for eight years. She is a proud graduate of The University of Texas at Austin, where she received a Bachelor of Arts in Government.

Nancy Prosser, Treasurer

Nancy Prosser is General Counsel at the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts where she provides legal advice and counsel to the members of Executive Administration, including the Comptroller and Deputy Comptroller. Prior to joining the Comptroller’s office, Nancy was an Assistant Attorney General in the Taxation Division of the Texas Attorney General’s Office. She also spent over four years in the Austin law office of Vinson & Elkins L.L.P. Nancy earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology, summa cum laude, from St. Andrews Presbyterian College, a Master’s Degree in Business Administration from Southwest Texas State University, and a Law Degree from the University of Texas School of Law. She is a licensed attorney in the State of Texas.

Sara Ferris, Board Secretary

Sara Ferris is the Senior Public Counsel with the Office of Public Utility Counsel and has been with the Office since July 1999. Sara currently serves on the Administrative Law Exam Commission for the Texas Board of Legal Specialization and is the 2017-2018 President of the Fulmore Middle School PTA. Sara earned her Bachelor’s degree in Economics from Baylor University and her Law degree from the Baylor University School of Law. She is also board certified in Administrative Law.

Jennifer Hertsenberg, Membership Director

Jennifer Hertsenberg serves as the Operations Manager of the Texas Board of Chiropractic Examiners. Jennifer joined the Texas Board of Chiropractic Examiners in 2007 and has led a number of department initiatives related to the licensing program, continuing education for chiropractic licensees and the development of the Texas Board of Chiropractic Examiners first licensee outreach program. Jennifer earned a Bachelor of Arts degree with a Major in English at Texas State University in December of 2005.

Carissa Nash, Special Events Chair

Carissa Nash is a policy analyst at the Sunset Advisory Commission.  In this role, she has served as the project manager for the reviews of the Department of Banking, Department of Savings and Mortgage Lending, Office of Consumer Credit Commissioner, and Texas Windstorm Insurance Association, among others, to recommend statutory changes to the Legislature to improve agencies’ effectiveness, efficiency, and performance.  Carissa earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology from Southwestern University and a Master’s in Public Administration from the University of North Texas.

Sarah E. Haas, Outreach Coordinator

Sarah E. Haas is a Senior Scientist in the Inland Fisheries Division of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. She is actively involved in community outreach and professional development endeavors related to the advancement of women in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics). Prior to joining the state, Sarah led an educational citizen science project in collaboration with the National Geographic Society in Colorado and spent time in Washington, D.C. in the public policy arena working with The National Audubon Society. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Biology from Texas State University, a Master of Science in Zoology from the University of Florida, and a Doctor of Philosophy in Forestry and Environmental Resources from North Carolina State University.