Making a Splash: L’Oreal Stepney named Texas Rainmaker

Ambitious, hardworking, leader are just a few words that have been used to describe L’Oreal Stepney, Deputy Executive Director for the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, time and time again. L’Oreal has been named the Texas Water Foundation’s 2022 Rainmaker of the Year.

The Rainmaker of the Year acknowledges exceptional leaders who are making lasting impacts in Texas water. Her impact on Texas water spans over three decades and includes creating TCEQ’s first Office of Water, serving 11 years as one of the principal negotiators between Mexico and the International Boundary & Water Commission, and providing opportunity to college students through the Mickey Leland Internship Program.

“I am grateful and excited to be selected as Rainmaker of the Year. I know many previous winners, and it’s great to have my contributions to water be recognized in the same manner,” she said.

The water community is made up of professionals who are highly committed to solving the water issues in Texas, L’Oreal is proud to be among such intelligent and caring peers. Throughout her years, she has been a part of teams dedicated to working on water issues, not only with those in TCEQ but other agencies and organizations across the state.

“My favorite memories are the individual brainstorming sessions, mainly impromptu, that occur when discussing recent important topics affecting water in Texas,” she said

Starting at the bottom as a new source permit engineer moving her way up through the ranks to her current position, L’Oreal has a passion for Texas and Texas water.

For Shea Pearson, a previous intern under L’Oreal in the Water Availability Division, she made a big impact. Now general counsel for the Texas Chemical Council, he sees how she has been a role model for success.

“L’Oreal is absolutely inspiring and a personal example I have always used. Her work ethic and her abilities as a leader, I always try to use that as a template for my own professional growth,” he said. “She 100 percent is the perfect example of leading by example.”

While he didn’t realize it then, having an Office head such as L’Oreal was a blessing. She is always prepared, open to other ideas and routes, all while being compassionate and understanding. She treats everyone with respect and professionalism.

“I believe L’Oreal is being honored with this award because quite frankly there is no better candidate. She has been instrumental to water policy in the state of Texas,” he said. “I believe it’s her dedication. If you look at her track record, she has been absolutely vital to every part of the water process along the way from permitting to issuance to everything.”

Diana Rader, president of the Advisory Board for the Mickey Leland Environmental Internship Program, has known L’Oreal for the last 10 years, having the privilege of working alongside her for this program.

“If I was to describe L’Oreal in one sentence, I would say she’s a change maker in the nicest kind of way,” she said. “L’Oreal is special in that she can drive change in such a subtle way. She asks hard questions that force conversation, forces us to look at ourselves and really causes us to do things we wouldn’t have otherwise.”

L’Oreal is a natural leader and it shows in everything she does.

TCEQ Chairman Jon Niermann said admiration comes to mind when he thinks of L’Oreal. When they first met, he was struck by her competence and skills.

“I really appreciate the leadership skills she brings to this agency. She really reflects and promotes the agency’s culture,” he said. “What really makes her special are the soft skills she brings. She has a real commitment to public service, she embodies that, she promotes that.”

L’Oreal has continued to be an example of excellence in her work, the Chairman said. Setting the same expectations for those who work alongside her, she has created a culture that promotes working as a team and supporting each other.

“She is keenly focused on serving our fellow Texans, that means making sure that they’ve got an ample supply of water and the quality of that water, especially when it hits the taps, is up to drinking water standards.”

L’Oreal’s ongoing dedication to the state of Texas and water makes her a worthy recipient of the Rainmaker of the Year award. You can her what some others had to say about her in this video and read even more about L’Oreal and her impact on Texas water by visiting the Texas Water Foundation.