In her off time, Derrith Bondurant enjoys attending events — especially anything musical — across East Texas.

She said she’s out three or four nights a week because she prefers being immersed, building extended relationships and being involved in life.

A self-proclaimed “jack of all trades,” Mrs. Bondurant has worked in the marketing, public relations and tourism industries before becoming associate vice president of Institutional Advancement and chief development officer at UT Health Northeast. Since taking that role last fall, she works to advance the cause of the organization, she said.

Mrs. Bondurant, 57, is the chief fundraiser and stewardship adviser. She meets with people and speaks with groups to build awareness about what UT Health Northeast does to garner support from the 28-county region.

She said there is a demand for UT Health Northeast to serve all of the communities in the region and in turn, they ask for support from those communities.

“But they have to know what we’re doing,” she said.

She has raised more than $6 million for various East Texas organizations, including UT Tyler.

Mrs. Bondurant grew up in Gulfport, Miss., and earned a degree in speech communications from the University of Southern Mississippi. Her first job was as a public information officer at a hospital.

She has worked in marketing and public relations for several industries in Dallas and Longview, including at Good Shepherd Medical Center. She worked in the tourism field for the state of Texas, was executive director of America’s Heartland, a tourism marketing consortium of six states, and was community relations director for theaters in Branson, Mo.

She helped form East Texans Against Lawsuit Abuse in 1992 and served as its director.

She also was director of Opera East Texas and was co-owner of the Graphic Studio Advertising Agency.

For six years, she worked at The University of Texas at Tyler, where she was director of Alumni Relations, before taking the job at UT Health Northeast.

Mrs. Bondurant is one of two Tyler women to be selected to be a member of Leadership Texas Class of 2014.

She said she knew about Leadership Texas for years but thought it was politically motivated and a “left-leaning liberal organization” about women’s rights.

“This is about women left, right, up and down and I love that,” she said, adding that she learned it is not only about advancing equality for women but about opportunities for women. “It’s about diversity.”

She said after several community leaders encouraged her to become a part of it to meet and network with the group of women from all over the state.

“I want to know how to work in a diverse workplace,” Mrs. Bondurant said of what she hopes to gain from Leadership Texas. “I want to impact and be a supporter of issues I value. … It’s like a great tool for making your passion known.”

She said on a recent trip, they learned about the art district in downtown Dallas. She said she is excited to visit Laredo during Cinco de Mayo but said it won’t be all fun and games. They will learn about the issues and challenges the community faces.

Leadership Texas “provides us with foundation for discussions about areas I’d never sought out by myself,” she said. “And I never would have met these women.”

The group also will make trips to Abilene and Austin.

Established in 1983 as the first statewide program for women’s leadership development, it is a network of more than 5,000 women. Leadership Texas is the flagship program of the Dallas-based foundation, Women's Resources.

Christy Bush, 41, of Tyler, vice president and evening administrator at Trinity Mother Frances Hospitals & Clinics, is also participating.

Mrs. Bondurant is a graduate of Leadership Tyler Class 22 and is involved with the Association of Fundraising Professionals and the Association of Donor Relations Professionals. She likes to host events and recently was chairwoman of Bethesda Health Clinic’s Doctor Luke Society Award Dinner. She and her husband, Bob, have been married for 31 years.

 
 

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