Sarah Tober has more than 17 years of non-profit and business experience with a strong emphasis on communications. She recently completed her MBA at the University of Texas McCombs School of Business, where she studied executive leadership.
As the president of Scenic Texas, Tober, is focused on educating the public on the importance of visual environment and natural resources preservation; strengthening partnerships and chapters; and advocacy that results in the empowerment of citizens to safeguard scenic qualities of Texas highways, countryside, and communities. In this role, she has recruited more than 10 new board members, fundraised for a $300,000 annual budget, created the 1 Million Trees Across Texas initiative and managed the Scenic City Certification Program that is now in its 11th year and features 85 Texas communities and 18 program partners.
In her previous role as the state communications director for a national small business advocacy group, Tober worked with the Texas Governor’s office and other top state legislative offices to further the small business story and make Texas the number one place for women-owned business. She furthered that mission by putting together a SXSW panel on small business and women entrepreneurs in Texas.
In 2010, her entrepreneur experience heightened with the opening and operating of Sarah’s Texas Pantry, a small sustainable neighborhood grocery store with all Texas-sourced products.
Always community-minded she has served on various boards and commissions from the Friends of Government Canyon Natural Area and Hutto Historic Commission to Keep Hutto Beautiful and the Austin Commission for Women. She has also volunteered for causes that are near and dear to her heart including: Meals on Wheels, Pug Rescue Austin, Habitat for Humanity, and the Texas Conference for Women, and has been a member of the Austin Ballet and Lady Bird Wildflower Center.
In college, Tober had two case studies in public relations crisis published in the annual International Association of Business Disciplines (IABD) Journal. As a freelance communicator, Tober has published articles in Directions magazine about life and travel in the Hill Country and on MySanAntonio.com on where to invest a holiday bonus.
As a fifth generation Texan who grew up on the Guadalupe River, Tober, has a deep appreciation for adventuring outdoors. Whenever she has a free weekend she can be found mountain biking, hiking, skiing, sailing, glamping, or restoring the family’s ranch in Rocksprings into a wildlife conservation ranch.
Coming from a long line of farmers, ranchers, and gardeners accounts for her passion in horticulture and led her to become a Texas Master Gardener. Finishing the Nike Women’s full marathon in San Francisco helped further teach her perseverance that she applies to her career.
She resides in downtown Austin with her husband, Bobby; her son, Wyland; her pug, Fiona Apple; and cat, Calisto.
Kendra Ralston graduated from the University of Texas in December 2020 with a bachelor’s degree in Sustainability Studies and a certificate in Nonprofit Management. She previously worked with various nonprofits that promote conservation such as Farm Sanctuary in Watkins Glen, New York and Sanctuary One in Jacksonville, Oregon. Additionally, Ralston was the Communications and Development Intern for Scenic Texas in the fall 2020.
Through her new position at Scenic Texas she will be coordinating the Scenic City Certification Program and the 1 Million Trees Across Texas initiative along with providing support to chapter and member services.
Laura began her own small public relations firm in 2016, focusing exclusively on the nonprofit sector. She has a background in public relations and journalism, with time spent in and around the Texas Legislature. She has been a Meals on Wheels volunteer for more than a decade and serves on the board of directors for Travis County Children’s Protective Services. She lives in east Austin with her husband, Michael, and their two children, Aaron and Mara. She is a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin.