It’s been a year and a half since Texas CEO Magazine relaunched, and what a year and a half it’s been.
After a jam-packed relaunch issue on the business of Texas sports in Q1 of 2020, we—along with the rest of the world—had to quickly reformulate our approach. In March 2020, with shutdowns looming, we scrapped an entire almost-completed issue to cover how Texas CEOs were leading through a fast-developing global crisis. Through that period and since, our team benefited from the vision and steady guidance of our CEO and publisher, Lauren Daugherty.
Goodbyes are hard, but we’re thrilled that Lauren has taken a new position as executive director with Young Americans for Liberty. And we’re also thrilled to welcome our brand new publisher and CEO, Donna Bragg.
Donna joins us from Arkansas, but her Texas relocation is really a return home. Donna attended Humble High School outside of Houston, and then went on to Southern Methodist University in Dallas. From there, she built a successful broadcasting career as a senior news anchor in Arkansas, before, most recently, serving as advertising and marketing director of the Arkansas Scholarship Lottery. Her combination of media experience and business acumen make her a natural fit for the evolving future of Texas CEO Magazine. Texas is glad to have her back, and our magazine is delighted to give her a new professional home.
We asked Donna a few questions to let our fantastic readers get to know her a bit. Thanks for being a part of the Texas CEO Magazine community!
What excites you most about coming back to Texas?
So much! Texas is like its own huge country to me, filled with such a variety of cultures and boundless opportunities to travel, explore, meet people, learn, be entertained, find success, get lost and make memories. There’s an attitude here that just always stirs me somehow. I’m almost ridiculously happy and inspired to get out there and discover and experience all of it!
What were the factors in your decision to take on this new role?
I always knew I wanted to get back to Texas. My father passed away in February, and my mother needs me closer. That motivated me, but this role at Texas CEO Magazine clinched the deal. The opportunity to work with such a brave, accomplished group, who have taken on such an ambitious mission . . . Giddy up! That’s my kind of challenge!
What’s your vision for the magazine over the next couple of years?
World domination! OK—maybe not world, but I definitely want our brand to become recognized as the most valuable and prominent business leadership resource for executives across Texas. Then we’ll take on the rest of the world.
Do you have a favorite motto or saying that defines your leadership style?
My grandfather sent me a letter when I graduated high school that included a quote from the legendary Alabama football coach Bear Bryant. I still remember it. “The price of victory is high, but so are the rewards.” That doesn’t necessarily define my leadership style, but it is a favorite quote, and I agree wholeheartedly with the sentiment.
As for leadership, I believe in the power of positive reinforcement. Have a clear strategy and high expectations, motivate your A-players, and eliminate distractions. Success generally follows.
How do you like to spend your free time?
I have the two coolest adult kids in the world. Any time I can get with them I treasure. Otherwise, I most enjoy travel, cooking, dining, exploring, listening to live music. I love being on or near any body of water—tubing, kayaking, swimming, skiing, boating, watching the waves crash in.
Favorite Texas restaurant?
That might be a lifelong pursuit.
Favorite Texas musician?
Also nearly impossible, but Willie gets top billing. His music has sort of been the soundtrack to my life. I love King George. Oh, and there’s REK. Jerry Jeff. Kris Kristofferson. Guy Clark was such a great songwriter. If Ryan Bingham is not from Texas, he should be. I could go on and on.
Favorite Texas sports team?
Can we skip this one? I’m more of an SEC football fan. Don’t tell anyone. Hook ’em, Horns! Go Mustangs!
Favorite experience as a news anchor?
Flying an F-16 fighter jet with the Thunderbirds as part of an air show in Fort Smith, Arkansas. Their sheer power is just breathtakingly awesome.
Nick Saban. And of course Joel Trammell.