From The Publisher

Holiday Traditions

Holiday Traditions

Watching Hallmark movies has been a holiday tradition for many of us for a long time. And, despite the predictable plots and inevitable final scenes, we love to watch them. Sometimes, we watch the same ones more than once!

But, we must be careful! This tradition can become a harmful habit — one that could convince us that an idyllic Christmas can only be had in a small town in the Midwest or alongside a picturesque ski resort.

But, that’s not true, not true at all!

Take it from me, a city girl who was born and raised in a small town, it is possible to enjoy the same kind of memorable experiences (so often spotlighted on the screen) anywhere — even in Houston.

As a kid, time spent at the neighborhood skating rink with my friends was a treat. Every December, we would don our favorite  outfits of red and green and roll around and around the rink to the sounds of that classic favorite, Jingle Bell Rock.

Today, right here in H-Town, I can “relive” those same memories by putting on a warm and fashionable “ugly” sweater and heading over to Discovery Green to watch my grandkids ice skate. And, before long, as if it were yesterday, I hear that same ol’ happy tune. And this: “Grandma, how is it you know the words to Jingle Bell Rock? That song wasn’t around in the olden days. Was it?

Okay, so much for experiencing all traditions in the exact same way! Sometimes, change is good. Good for a laugh or tear, anyway!

When I was an adolescent, there was a family of five living directly across the street. Mother, father, a girl and two boys (eldest of the boys was my first boyfriend, by the way). The father loved to bake pecan pies, and each year we could count on him to walk over on Christmas Eve morning to give us one of his freshly baked delights. I still think of his pies every Christmas Eve. But, even more, I remember Mr. Phillips for his endearing spirit and the joy he brought to our family.

Currently, Angelo and Christy live across the street. They are empty nesters and dog lovers, like me. Last December, they were kind enough to give me a large bag of newly harvested oranges from a tree growing in their backyard. This morning, to my sheer delight, they did the same thing!

Like last year’s bounty, the oranges are big and beautiful, juicy and delicious! A new holiday tradition? I sure hope so!

In days gone by, as now, some of my holiday traditions include baking cookies, decking the halls, shopping, visiting friends and Santa Claus, singing Christmas carols and driving around to see the festive lights. Also, going to see a children’s pageant, A Christmas Carol and/or The Nutcracker Ballet. And, of course, going to church!

There are so many great things to love about holiday traditions. They can be enjoyed over and over again, with old friends or new and, most importantly, wherever in the world you are!

Asian Americans in Houston

Asian Americans
in Houston

Applause, please!

Houston is a multi-cultural city, with the most diversified population in the nation. Recent surveys tell us the racial mix of Houston is 37.8 percent White, 36.3 percent Hispanic, 16.8 percent Black and 7.2 percent Asian.

These facts are stated often and, more and more frequently, by us locals with pride, as each segment of our population has added greatly to the flair and flavor of our amazing city.

Though Asian Americans represent the smallest part of Houston’s racial mix, their positive impact on our city is apparent. They are contributing significantly in the fields of business, education, law, medicine, politics, philanthropy, IT, etc.

In this issue of Houston Woman Magazine, we put the spotlight on three specific Asian Americans (women, of course) who prove the point, quite beautifully!

Martha Wong was born in Houston to Chinese immigrants. She ventured into politics after a laudable career in education and many years of volunteering in her community. She was the first Asian American elected to Houston City Council and, later, the first Asian American woman elected to the Texas House of Representatives. Noteworthy, too, are the doors she opened for many other Asian Americans seeking roles in government and public service. Martha Wong’s inspiring story is told on pages 10-11.

Donna Fujimoto Cole, featured on the cover of this issue and on pages 20-21, is a Japanese American and highly successful entrepreneur. She is the founder and president of Cole Chemical & Distributing, Inc. Her success in business has allowed her do what she loves most – help other people and the causes that speak most loudly to her heart. She does this through the generous giving of her time, talent and treasure. By example, she encourages and inspires the rest of us to do the same! 

Anita Carman came to the U.S. from Hong Kong at the age of 17 to go to college and pursue a career in Corporate America. After she earned her MBA and enjoyed a successful career in business, her husband’s job necessitated a relocation to Houston. Here, Carman taught Bible classes for several years and, later, attended and graduated from the Dallas Theological Seminary, Afterwards, Carman believed God was calling her to take a different path. She answered the call in 2003 by founding Inspire Women to “inspire women of all ethnicities, denominations and economic levels to find and purse their God-given potential.” The incredible story of Anita Carman and Inspire Women begins on page 25.

As you finish reading about the Asian American women featured in this issue, a few choice words may come to mind (as they did for me): “Amazing...Brilliant...Cool...”

And, with deep appreciation, “Bravo! Thanks for all you do!”

From the Publisher

July has always been a big month for our family — one full of important days worthy of celebration! The Fourth of July, of course, is the big one. But, so too is the day before!

July 3rd is the day my parents got married. And, July 3, 2007 was especially significant. On that day, they celebrated their 60th anniversary!

The fact that my parents got married on a Fourth of July weekend is fitting. Their feelings for each other mirror perfectly their feelings for their country. As loving partners and devoted patriots, both are red-hot and true-blue!

A decorated veteran of the Navy, Air Force and two wars, my dad was a flag-flying American who has always taken his citizenship seriously. A display case full of medals and three Presidential Citations is evidence of that.

My mother was much the same. Her commitment to our country started when she was 17 years old, with a position at the Pentagon. Within a few years, this farmer’s daughter from Arkansas had distinguished herself in her career and as a beauty.

In 1947, Mother won the title of Miss Naval Air Reserve. As such she was given the opportunity to christen the Goodyear Blimp, The Enterprise, model in New York and take a screen test in Hollywood.

But, within a few months, Mother passed on modeling and the movies — opting instead to marry my irresistibly handsome father and serve her country. (If I ever write a book, their love story will fill its pages.)

When Mother retired from Civil Service in 1986 (with commendations of her own), she had worked for 38 years, in numerous locals and for every department of the federal government – taking only short breaks to give birth to my two sisters and me.

Growing up, we always acknowledged my parents’ anniversary and Independence Day in grand style. On July 3rd, anniversary cakes and cards and gifts were part of the scene, but so too were three screaming (female) meemies scurrying amidst activity. Patience prevailed, however, as my parents whistled tunes like God Bless America and Yankee Doodle Dandy and concentrated on getting things ready for the Fourth of July.

I remember so well early-morning grocery store runs with Mother to pick up burgers and buns, while Dad stayed home to scour the grill. I remember Dad helping us with the last-minute decorating of our bicycles and tricycles, while Mother put the finishing touches on a trio of Betsy Ross-inspired costumes of red, white and blue.

Back then, I was clueless to the fact my parents never — not even once — celebrated their anniversary by getting away by themselves for some romantic holiday. Little did I know then that doing so was the custom for so many other married couples! Years later, when I realized all they must have missed out on, I asked them, “Did you ever regret getting married the day before a holiday — when everybody was focused on so many other things?”

Both were quiet for a while, and then sweet smiles came across their faces. “Well,” I said, “Aren’t you going to answer me?”
They never did, and for a long time I suspected the worse.

Then, one day, I understood: For my parents, the yearly tending to the rituals of the season — their season — was the best, most appropriate and meaningful way to celebrate!

And, all those fireworks at the end of the day! They just made the celebrating all the more spectacular! 

Beverly Denver is the founder, editor and publisher of Houston Woman Magazine. This article first appeared in the July 2007 issue of the publication. It's been posted again in loving memory of her parents.



If you are the editor and publisher of a magazine for successful women,  like me, you work a lot with boldface types. 

By definition, a boldface type is a font that has thick, heavy lines. The creation of boldface types dates back to the Industrial Revolution and the birth of advertising. 
According to, the first boldface types were used on display designs, in large sizes, to grab the reader’s attention. It was only later that bold  designs were regularly added to typefaces used in newspapers and magazines. Most often, readers saw them used in headlines and to point out key information in advertisements. Later, they were used, as well, for sub-heads, jump-lines, etc. 
That makes sense; the primary purpose of those early boldface types was to provide emphasis or establish a typographic hierarchy that conveys relative ranking of information. 

Nowadays, in many publications (both print and online), we  see boldface types used to highlight other kinds of information, including the names of those who, as an example, attend a social event or nonprofit fundraiser. It’s done so frequently; many of these folks are often referred to as Boldface Types (celebrities).
By boldfacing the names of individuals in their news stories, those publications are sending out clear messages to the reader: These people are more important than the other 800 who were there, and the event was a big deal because these Boldface Types were there!
I must ask: Is boldfacing the names of just a few select individuals in a news story really a good idea? Are those names the most important thing in the story? In the case of a fundraiser, are those names really what the charity or nonprofit needs/wants the readers to know? 
Are those Boldface Types more important than the nonprofit’s own story? Are they more important than the nonprofit’s mission and how well they serve their clients and our community? 
I love boldface types. Both the dark and heavy fonts and the individuals who attend and support our city’s major events. 
I love all of those people for giving of their time and treasure — not just the ones whose names appear in boldface type!
Admittedly, seeing boldfaced names in a news story is  offensive to me. It just doesn’t seem fair to all concerned.
If I had my way, editors and publishers (everywhere) would just stop doing it.



Time flies when you’re having fun. It’s a cliché, but it’s also true. I can’t help but think about just how true right now, as we mark Houston Woman Magazine’s 12th anniversary and recognize it as another significant milestone.
“Giving birth to a new publication is not  unlike giving birth to a new baby. Both are highly anticipated events, bringing with them much excitement and great joy.”
That’s how I felt 12 years ago when the premiere issue of Houston Woman Magazine rolled off the press and into the hands of thousands of professional women throughout the city. One year later,  on the publication’s first anniversary, I wrote those words here – in this same space. I also wrote: 
“After months of intense planning and hard labor the “baby” was here. Admittedly, we were proud and eager to throw a party.
Regretfully, though, there was no time for celebration or sighs of relief; already we were facing deadlines for the next issue and making plans for the next. So, we forged ahead, thinking only about the health, growth and future of the newborn…The festivities, we decided, would have to wait...” 
Little did I know I would feel the same way today!
Another thing I wrote about back then — and on every anniversary since — is the gratitude I have for all those who helped us launch Houston Woman Magazine and all those who continue to support our mission of informing, inspiring and connecting successful women.
On our fourth anniversary, I wrote in this space:
Over the past 48 months we’ve grown accustomed to doing what we do. Even so, the job has never become routine. Each new day is different, and many of them are full of pleasant surprises. 
“For example, we get letters! You write and say you like what we’re doing and encourage us to “keep it up.” Then, thankfully, you tell us about more women we should write about and more groups doing remarkable things...Before long, we are following up and discovering just how right you are and how valuable your feedback. Believe me, we are so appreciative!”
On the occasion of our eighth anniversary, I wrote:
“I thank God often for giving me the passion and skills to do my job but not a crystal ball to see too far into the future. Too much information could have been a bad thing; it might have smothered my ambition and kept me from taking bold steps in a new direction! 
“I had expected to work hard...What I didn’t expect were all the projects we would take on to broaden the scope of our mission.” 
I was speaking, of course, of things like the Nominate HER Awards Program (started in 2007 to honor excellent role models in our community); the Houston Woman Business Directory (first published in 2009 to encourage women to do business with each other) the “50 Women of Influence” Program (launched in 2008 to recognize the leaders among us), the Houston Woman Business Book Club (founded in 2009 as a unique networking and educational opportunity); and, then, our deep dive into online publishing and social media (in 2010 and even deeper since). 
As you might expect, more new projects are on the horizon; some of them you will hear about soon. (Please stay tuned.)
Over the years, I’ve come to realize the best way to celebrate a milestone (for me) is to simply rest and reflect on what’s been accomplished. Both give me the energy and enthusiasm to look ahead — and forward to all the things yet to be done!

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