Joe Paulo, President & Chief Executive Officer of KSBJ, most recently served as Director of Stewardship and Communication for K-LOVE and Air1 Educational Media Foundation. Before that, he called Columbia International University home for 20 years where he was the Director of Broadcasting, managing WRCM in Charlotte, NC (“New Life 91.9”) and WMHK in Columbia, SC. Joe also volunteered for eight years on the board of Christian Music Broadcasters and completed a three-year term in September as Chairman of the Board. “To me, working in a ministry context is not about having a job,” says Joe. “It is a calling because it is about contributing to an organization that seeks to reach people with the life-changing hope and love only found in Jesus Christ.” Joe has been married to his wife, Kelly, for 27 years. They have three daughters and two sons, ranging in age from 22 to 9. The couple is passionate about marriage, parenting and adoption and have hosted or spoken at numerous marriage and parenting events in recent years. Additionally, Joe received a Master’s Degree in Business Administration from Liberty University in 2014.
As Chief Financial Officer, LaRanda Burke oversees all areas of Accounting, Finance, Legal and Compliance for KSBJ, NGEN radio, Special Events and TicketServant. She has been with the ministry since September 2005. LaRanda is a Texas licensed CPA with over 20 years experience in accounting and finance. She has held accounting positions in several industry sectors including banking, education, hospital, federal government, offshore communications, and commercial property management. LaRanda been married to her husband Chris for 21 years, and they have a son who is serving in the US Air Force and a daughter in college at the University of Houston. They also have a new grand-daughter. Having recently moved from the suburbs to downtown, LaRanda and Chris enjoy living the downtown life, attending the theater and concerts, and being part of the H-Town Takeover while cheering on her daughter who is a Houston Cougar cheerleader. LaRanda also manages her own prayer blog encouraging others to take their prayer life to a deeper level.
There aren’t many people as appropriately named as Elaine Welcome. Born the day after Christmas in the great state of Texas, Elaine is a welcome member of the KSBJ family serving as the Chief Operating Officer. Her many responsibilities range from Human Resources to strategy and prayer initiatives, volunteer and front desk organizer and mentoring. Elaine may wear a lot of hats around the KSBJ offices, but her favorite hat to wear comes with a kayak or a paddle-board. If she’s not at work she’s either spending time in the great outdoors with her husband, Steve, her son, Brandon and his wife Maura, or her fur-babies Bailee, Bella, and Sadee. With her first grandbaby on the way, she’s excited to add one more hat to her collection – ‘grandbaby-spoiling grandmother’. Her church in Pearland also benefits from Elaine’s talents and gifts as she and her husband lead their prayer ministry and their Life Group – Hot Rods-N-Hogs. Elaine’s life reflects the truth of the words in her favorite verse – Matthew 19:26. With God, nothing is impossible; and through Elaine, the impossible is accomplished on a regular basis.
Jon Hull’s love for Christian radio goes back to 1974 when he interned on a two-hour Christian music show on a local AM radio station. He got his “real” start a few years later at WCVC in Tallahassee, Florida. His 40+ year career brought him to KSBJ in 1996 where today he serves as the Senior Director of Donor Engagement. Jon has been widely recognized by numerous publications like CRW Magazine, Radio & Records Magazine and is the recipient of countless awards and accolades like the Scott Campbell Award, Major Market Program Director of the Year and the R&R Christian Radio Programmer of the Year, just to name a few. When he’s not leading KSBJ in its donor efforts, you’ll find Jon spending time with his family (his wife Karen, their two daughters, sons-in-laws, and four grandchildren), gardening, cooking, and playing drums and percussion on his church’s worship team. After many years of award-winning experience in Christian radio, Jon Hull’s service to the KSBJ team and to Christian radio in general cannot be overstated.
Steven Thompson came to KSBJ from CNN where he worked as their Engineering Manager for nine years. Today, Steven puts his talents to work as KSBJ’s Vice President, Engineering, IT and Facilities, providing leadership, vision, and direction for our Engineering, IT, and Facilities departments. Steven’s heart belongs to his wife, Melanie, his three adult children (Jeremiah, Nathanael, and Hannah), his first (and only, so far) grandchild Daniel, and his fur-babies Petra and Jitters. When he’s not spending time with his family, you can find him in the mountains of Georgia, Oregon, or Colorado doing everything from hiking to camping to kayaking. He also serves as the Worship Pastor and Media Ministry Director for his church as well as the Tribe of Judah Motorcycle Ministry. Proverbs 3:5-6 is the passage that governs Steven’s life and he’ll be the first to tell you that it is by God’s grace that he is where he is today. With his God-given talents and experience, the KSBJ family is equally thankful for God graciously leading Steven to lead our technology team.
Mr. Martin is one of the most recognized insurance attorneys in Texas. He is the author of three legal treatises on Texas Insurance Law, a frequent speaker at state and national insurance programs and conferences, and previously he served as the professor of Insurance Law at the University of Houston Law School for 10 years. He has tried numerous insurance coverage and bad faith lawsuits in Texas and in 14 other states and he has received multiple recognitions for his skills in trying insurance lawsuits.
Alejandro Suescun is part owner and serves as CFO for Pulido Transport, LP. The company, established in 1995, is a bulk liquid transporter for the downstream energy industry. In his role at Pulido Transport, LP, Alex is responsible for the financial, administrative and safety & compliance aspects of the company. He has 17 years of banking and corporate finance experience with JPMorgan Chase (12 years), Wells Fargo (3 years) and Sabre Holdings (2 years). He served as an analyst, underwriter and relationship manager to middle-market and mid-corporate companies. Alex earned his Bachelor’s degree in Finance and Marketing from the University of Houston and M.B.A. from Washington University in St. Louis as a Consortium for Graduate Study in Management Fellow. Alex is active in the community serving on the board of the KSBJ Educational Foundation as Chair of the Strategy Committee. Also, he is an active member at Northeast Houston Baptist Church. He and his wife, Mariela, live with their three children, Jeshua, Maranda and Ezra, in Humble, TX.
A founding member of the firm, Dr. Chapman’s primary role and responsibility is devoted to contract negotiation and due diligence analysis of potential and suitable vendors for Chapman Schewe customers. In addition, Dr. Chapman works with all of the joint venture partnerships that represent Chapman Schewe across the United States in its national benefits practice as well as Chapman Schewe Inc. subsidiary companies. He occasionally consults with provider organizations that deliver medical services such as HMOs, insurance companies and PPOs, to assist them in developing and operating managed care strategies. He has also presented at entrepreneurial, managed care and employee benefit seminars.
Prior to creating the practice in 1992, Dr. Chapman served as a Corporate Senior Vice President and Managed Care Officer for CIGNA’s South Central Region with responsibilities for HMO and PPO plans is several states.
Dr. Chapman serves or has served on several non-profit boards where he has chaired the Board or Finance Committee including Houston Barnabas Board, Christ Clinic Board, Katy Cares Board, The Bible Seminary Board and The Grace Fellowship UMC Board.
Rebecca Harrington graduated from East Carolina University and holds a Master of Science in Accounting. Has been a CPA for 25+ years working in public and private sectors including various industries from service to manufacturing. Served on the advisory board of KSBJ and also volunteers with the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo and supporting committees.
Jeff has spent the last 15 years in Wealth Management (over 30 years in financial services), and has earned both the CFP® and CIMA® designations. Both he and his wife are graduates of Texas A&M, and are actively involved in their church. They have a daughter (TAMU ’14, TAMU ’15), and three sons (one at Texas Tech, one pursuing his baseball career at Panola College, and one in high school). He enjoys baseball with his sons, and camping, fishing and hunting with his family.
Kim (Kossie) McKee is a native Houstonian and has over 25 years of non-profit experience. She has worked professionally as well as volunteered in various organizations including: Star of Hope, KSBJ, Somebody Cares International, Pray the Word Ministries, First Time at the Beach, Youth Specialties and currently at The WorkFaith Connection. She is a Lay Chaplain through Houston Methodist Hospital and a graduate and national trainer for the DeVos Urban Leadership Initiative, an organization that provides support and training for emerging leaders throughout the inner-cities of America.
She is a graduate of The University of Texas (Austin) with degrees in Broadcast Journalism and Speech Communications. Kim and her husband Kerry were recently appointed to serve as Sr. Pastors at the church of her birth founded by her father over 62 years ago, and located in Houston’s historic Fifth Ward.
Kim endeavors to live her life according to Matthew 5:16 “Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your father which is in heaven.”
Dr. Joseph (Joe) Parle is the Academic Dean, Vice-President of Academic Affairs and Professor of Bible Exposition at the College of Biblical Studies. Dr. Parle has an MABS from Dallas Theological Seminary as well as a Th.M. and Ph.D. from Baptist Bible Seminary. He is currently a volunteer lay elder at Community of Faith Bible Church. Joe appears on his daily program We Speak Inglés y Español as well as on the Up with the Son Program on the Trinity Broadcasting Network. Joe is happily married to Suzan Parle is the proud father of two children: Faith and Joseph Jr.
John is the President of Lion & Stutz, a boutique strategy and operations management consulting firm based in The Woodlands. Previously, John was employed by Booz & Co. for 15 years and consulted in over 30 countries. John’s passion is helping oil & gas, energy and industrial companies to achieve their full potential. He often assists client in transforming their business including providing seminars for senior executives in Lean operations. John holds an MBA from Chicago Booth, an MSEE from the University of California, Berkeley and a BSEE from the University of Washington.
Mr. Van Leeuwen has served with the KSBJ Board and on multiple committees since 2011.
John married his sweetheart, Ramona, 15 years ago and has two children, Katrina and Luke. The Van Leeuwen’s are members of Faith Bible Church and active with their son’s Scout troop. John enjoys cycling, diving, skiing and travelling as well as applying his business experience to serve in the community.
Hugh is a Houston native and attends Houston’s First Baptist Church. He has been married for over thirty years and has two adult children. He actively supports a number of charities including KSBJ, The Source for Women, Show Hope and Cure International. Hugh travels extensively for work and pleasure and lived overseas in Indonesia and Singapore for ten years.
Professionally, Hugh has almost forty years of experience in international business development and operations. As Executive VP/Chief Commercial Officer of Freeport LNG Development, L.P., Hugh has built an exceptional team responsible for commercial operations, LNG marketing, finance, accounting, information systems, corporate communications, tax and office administration
After holding several HR executive leadership positions at Royal Dutch Shell, Glenn built his own consulting practice. He continues to advise and coach senior executives, domestically and internationally in Business, Human Resources and Labor Relations strategies and tactics. He has served on the Board of KSBJ since 2009, and recently as a Director for Serve Houston and Stonebridge Church. He and his wife, Victoria reside in The Woodlands, Texas. They have raised three sons, gained three wonderful daughters-in-law and have been blessed with two grandchildren.
For the past 13 years Eric Anderson has served as Houston Metro Director and now the Southwest International Coordinator for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes Ministry. As the Regional International Coordinator, Eric serves FCA staff in Texas, Arkansas, Oklahoma and FCA Teammates in 20 Latin America Countries. He has traveled to the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala City and Mexico to lead ministry initiatives, vision trips, sport trips, reverse trips and training trips. He is also involved in initiatives on racial healing and reconciliation.
Eric is also the founding Pastor of Global Outreach Community Church in Atascocita.
The 2018 season marks Bill Brown’s 32nd with the Houston Astros organization, and his second as a Community Outreach Executive. Brown called his final games as the Astros primary play-by-play broadcaster in 2016 after 30 seasons in the booth.
At 18 years of age, Brown landed his first broadcasting job at KDRO Radio in Sedalia, Missouri, doing news and play-by-play for local high school events. He later graduated from the University of Missouri in 1969. While in the service, Brown became a U.S. Army broadcast specialist working as a sportscaster for the Armed Forces Vietnam Network in Saigon in 1970-1971. After leaving the service in 1971, Brown earned a job at WLWT-TV in Cincinnati. In 1976, Brown earned his first full-time Major League broadcasting job as the television play-by-play announcer for the Cincinnati Reds, where he would remain until 1982. Brown joined the Astros in 1987.
He has received many awards over the years including being inducted into the Texas Baseball Hall of Fame in 2004, receiving the Fred Hartman Award in 2012 and Sportscaster of the Year award in Texas in 2013
Brown is a member of the Advisory Board at Houston Sight and Sound and has been a volunteer reader for 24 years. He and his wife, Dianne have been involved with “Salute to our Hero’s, a fundraiser for scholarships for the Cy-Fair Educational Foundation for 10 years. He has also authored and co-written several books.
Bill and Dianne reside in Houston and have one daughter and three grandchildren.
Joshua Brown is a managing director in Newmark Knight Frank’s (NKF) Houston office and a member of the tenant representation team. He offers twelve years of experience with specializing in lease negotiations, strategic planning and the development of real estate solutions that align with his clients’ needs in the corporate and industrial sectors. Throughout his career, Mr. Brown has completed transactions in excess of 20 million square feet, valued at over $1.4 billion.
A staunch advocate of tenants’ rights, Mr. Brown’s expertise includes site selection, property dispositions and acquisitions, lease negotiations and strategic consulting. His experience gives him an in-depth understanding of the complex nature of real estate and the mitigation of the associated risks, and he has worked with a vast array of clients ranging from law firms, oil and gas and engineering groups to manufacturing and distribution users.
Mr. Brown began his real estate career at Jackson Cooksey in 2006. In 2018, he joined NKF, upon its acquisition of the acclaimed tenant representation firm.
Mr. Brown graduated from The University of Texas at Austin, with a Bachelor of Arts degree.
Pierce Bush, CEO of Big Brothers Big Sisters Lone Star, is responsible for coordination of all things related to fundraising, budgeting, programming, the agency’s Board of Directors, and achieving the strategic goals of the organization. Pierce Bush started his journey with BBBS as a volunteer mentor to Jaylyn in 2009, and he was appointed to the Houston Regional Board in early 2012. Believing that BBBS embodies a mission that represents the American spirit of volunteerism and service to others, Pierce left his career in private equity to join the staff full-time in October of 2012. Since joining BBBS, Houston has increased its reach by almost 30% and made critical progress toward the goals of Vision 2×22. Through Pierce’s leadership, BBBS completed construction and fundraising on a new $8 million Houston headquarters near downtown. Pierce became CEO of Lone Star in August 2015 with the vision to build on this success and impact more children across the state. Under his leadership, the agency launched the new strategic plan Vision 2×22 that will guide the agency in doubling its reach by 2022. In 2016, in Pierce’s first full calendar year as CEO, the consolidated BBBS Lone Star agency turned a corner financially and celebrated a cash flow positive year for the first time since the merger in 2010. Pierce earned a BA in American Studies from the University of Texas in Austin. Originally from Houston, Pierce splits his time between Houston and Irving to support BBBS efforts in north Texas. Pierce and his Little Brother Jaylyn enjoy attending church at Ecclesia together, playing baseball, riding bikes, and volunteering in the community.
Susan received her B.B.A. in Marketing from Texas A&M University. She currently oversees the strategic branding initiatives for Caldwell Companies, a full-service commercial real estate firm.
Susan serves in ministry alongside her husband of thirty-four years, Fred, at the company, JH Ranch, Outback America and at their home church, The Church at Cross Lake. Together, they have a strong passion for serving families. They have two daughters, Amanda Grace and Lindsey.
Susan is very involved in her community and has held board positions in local faith based organizations. In her free time, Susan enjoys oil painting and spending time at their farm in Brenham. Susan and Fred reside in Northwest Houston, Texas.
In 1986, Suzette graduated from the University of Houston with a Bachelor of Science in Industrial Engineering. Caldwell’s professional career as an environmental engineer in the public and private sectors spans over 17 years. As an entrepreneur, she owned TC Consulting Group, Inc., an environmental consulting company. In September 1997, Governor George W. Bush appointed Caldwell to the University of Houston System Board of Regents. Caldwell is also included in the ordained ministry process of the United Methodist Church. Presently, she serves as Board Chair and President for The Prayer Institute, a non-profit community-based organization that prays for the Houston metropolitan area and has taught thousands of people, nationally and internationally how to pray based on the Model Prayer (the Lord’s Prayer). Caldwell is the Team Lead for The Bible Study in North Houston and the What-a-Study in Memorial Houston. She has prayed for and taught thousands of people from all walks of life how to command God’s will for their lives by praying using the Lord’s Prayer and has witnessed miraculous answers to prayer. Under her leadership, The Prayer Institute has actively carried out its mission to take the world by prayer through its participation in local and national events, including the Greater Houston Partnership Annual Business Luncheon, the Global Day of Prayer, and two presidential inaugurations.
On July 5, 2016, Caldwell launched The ONE Project, a global prayer initiative sponsored by The Prayer Institute. Her goal is to unite one million people in prayer for the purpose of seeing God’s plans implemented on earth as it is in heaven.
Caldwell serves as Associate Pastor for Windsor Village United Methodist Church, which has more than 17,000 members. Her service to the community, in addition to her technical career, has better equipped her to empower people to fulfill God’s promises for their lives.
Dr. Hernan Castaño was born in Medellin, Colombia, South America and migrated to the United States with his parents at 5 months of age. He graduated with an Applied Science Degree in Computer Engineering and worked in the computer field for 10 years while serving as a youth pastor in a large congregation. At the same time he started translating for well-known world evangelists like Benny Hinn, R.W. Schambach, T.L. Lowery, Tommy Tenney, T.L.Osborne, and others.
Dr. Hernan Castaño extended his ministry inside the prisons of the nation by becoming involved in prison ministry where he reached more than 10,000 inmates per month.
Today Dr. Hernan Castaño is the Senior Pastor of Rios de Aceite church in Houston, Texas, a 700 member Hispanic congregation. He serves as the official translator for Dr. Morris Cerullo of World Evangelism at the world conferences. Pastor Castaño holds a Ph.D. of philosophy in Biblical Theology issued by Vision University in Ramona California. He has served the community as a pastor for over 11 years now in helping counseling individuals and families in everyday issues and has work for 12 years in marriage and family orientation according to the strong biblical values and morals. Dr. Castaño is the director of a daily television and radio program called Rivers of Oil, which runs at prime time on local channels in Houston, Texas.
Dr. Castaño also teaches at Vision University at Houston and is well recognized as a leader and teacher by leaders and pastors in the city. Dr. Hernan Castaño is the president of the Biblical Institute Rios de Aceite in Houston for the past eight years where he is helping in the development of Christian leadership and character. Dr. Hernan Castaño serves in the Executive Board of Directors of the Texas Area Pastor Council, which is an association of over 1000 churches working together along with society and government in biblical perspectives and laws according to right ethnical moral standings. Dr. Hernan Castaño continues to reside in Houston with his lovely wife Wendy Castaño who he had the joy to marry in September of 2010.
Joel Cowley was announced as the president and chief executive officer of the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo™ Monday, Aug. 5, 2013. Cowley joined the Show staff in 2005 as the executive director of agricultural competitions and exhibits.
Prior to joining the Show, Cowley worked for Certified Angus Beef LLC, the not-for-profit division of the American Angus Association, where he began as executive account manager in the international division and finished as assistant director of the foodservice division. Before his employment with CAB, he was a faculty member at Michigan State University, where he served as an extension beef cattle specialist. Prior to that, he was employed by Texas A&M University as a lecturer and livestock judging team coach. \
Cowley holds a bachelor’s degree in animal science from Colorado State University, a master’s in animal science from Texas A&M University and an MBA from Michigan State University.
Cowley and his wife, Tammy, have two daughters.
Chris Dollins is a co-founder and Co-CEO of Employer Flexible, which provides outsourced HR and technology services, in addition to other related interests. He has a BBA from the University of Houston in Management, an MBA from Sam Houston State University, and has also earned his Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) designation. Chris is a life-long Houstonian and has been married to his high school sweetheart for sixteen years and has nine children, and, along with his wife, started an accredited, certified University-Model, Classical School in 2012 located in the Spring Branch area of Houston. He has attended Second Baptist Church since 2001, where he serves in Pre-School Worship and as a Deacon.
Edward M. Emmett became Harris County Judge on March 6, 2007.
A member of the Texas House of Representatives from 1979 to 1987, Judge Emmett was chairman of the Committee on Energy, a member of the Transportation Committee, and represented the state on numerous national committees relating to energy and transportation policy.
In 1989, President George H. W. Bush nominated Emmett as a Commissioner at the Interstate Commerce Commission. After being confirmed unanimously by the United States Senate, Judge Emmett served on the commission for three years.
Judge Emmett has received international recognition for his work in transportation and logistics policy. He was named Transportation Person of the Year by Transportation Clubs International and one of the Top 20 Logistics Professionals by Logistics Forum.
County Judge Emmett, working with the county commissioners, manages the nation’s third largest county. He also is director of Harris County’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, chairman of the Harris County Juvenile Board and chairman of the Conference of Urban Counties Policy Committee.
Judge Emmett attended Bellaire High School. He graduated from Rice University in 1971 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics and from the University of Texas at Austin in 1974 with a Master of Public Affairs degree.
Judge Emmett has received numerous awards and honors, including Distinguished Alumnus of Rice University, the Distinguished Public Service Award from the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs, and the Presidential Call to Service Award.
Judge Emmett and his wife, Gwen, have been married for 42 years and have four children and 13 grandchildren.
Native Texan Rick Figueroa is a First Vice President with UBS Financial Services in Houston, Texas and Partner with the Caton Figueroa Group which provides financial strategy, solutions and reviews. With over 25 years of experience in the financial sector, Rick received his B.A. in Accounting and M.S. in Land Economics from Texas A&M University in 1991 and 1992, respectively. He has since earned numerous certifications, including CPA, Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor (CRPC), Certified Financial Manager (CFM), and Certified Special Needs Advisor (CSNA) with the Private Client Group.
His life journey has taken him from political consulting to a few years as a bull-riding cowboy. He’s always had a passion to reach his generation with the life-changing message of Jesus Christ. That dream became a reality through Hope City in Houston, TX.
After 15 years in ministry together, Jeremy and Jennifer launched Hope City in Houston and God has consistently moved in an amazing way. This new church has already impacted thousands with the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Jeremy also travels and shares leadership principles, inspires congregations and equips teams for next level leadership. His honest, open and humorous delivery style appeals to people of all ages and backgrounds.
Irma Gonzalez Galvan was born in Brownsville, TX on December 4, 1941. She was the oldest of four children. At the age of five, her mother brought the family to Houston, TX.
Irma started working at a very young age to help her mother and three siblings. She worked at the Purse Wholesale Furniture Company for over 20 years when tragedy struck her family. In 1982 her husband Louis was murdered. By now Irma had four children. She struggled as a single mother with no insurance and no backup plan and the economic downward spiral the city was going through. So she decided to operate her very own business and started a small sandwich shop in downtown Houston.
Although there were many times that Irma almost gave up she had to keep going to support her family. She soon changed the restaurant to Mexican food and that’s how Irma’s Mexican Restaurant was born. She brought her personal furniture from home to the restaurant and soon was able to hire her children to work with her.
Irma is a self-made entrepreneur, she embraced life in her middle years, and she is a high-energy person and is known to give the utmost attention to all her customers. She has been an inspiration, and has taught women that hard work, dedication, and love can make your dreams come true.
Adrian is a lifelong member of the Precinct 2 community and has a 35-year career in public service that began as a Houston Police officer.
He was appointed by Mayor Lee Brown as Director of the Mayor’s Anti-Gang Office, was then elected to Houston City Council and appointed as chair of two City Council committees – the Public Safety and Homeland Security Committee and the Minority / Women Business Enterprise Committee.
With the support of his peers on City Council, he would be confirmed as Mayor Pro-Tem by Mayor Bill White.
Adrian continued his service by being elected to the office of Harris County Sheriff – the largest sheriff’s office in Texas and the 3rd largest in the United States.
Adrian’s accomplishments during his years of service include:
• Leading the effort to create the Houston Police Department’s Real Time Crime Center;
• Creating the Construction Mitigation Program that saved many family-owned businesses;
• Saving more than $200 million in operational costs during his tenure as sheriff;
• Eliminating chronic overcrowding in the jail and lowered crime every year; and
• Adding 200 patrol deputies to keep businesses and neighborhoods safe.
Adrian was born in Houston, as the youngest of six children, on the day after Christmas in 1960.
His parents, Maria and Ignacio Garcia, made many sacrifices to bring their young family to the United States from Mexico in 1959 for a better life. Adrian’s father had received a guest-worker visa and later petitioned to be re-admitted to the U.S. under a work visa. He eventually opened an auto repair shop, where Adrian worked in his youth.
Eventually, Adrian decided to follow in his brother’s footsteps and become a Houston police officer. His dad gave him some very specific advice:
“Promise me these five things and you will have my blessings:
1. Don’t be ashamed that you are Mexican;
2. Don’t be ashamed that your name is Garcia;
3. Don’t bring shame to your name;
4. Be honest; and
5. Never forget where you come from!”
Adrian, who grew up in Houston’s Northside, still lives there today with his wife and daughter. And he still lives by the rules laid down by his dad.
With a heart for the marginalized and the forgotten, missionary Ennie Hickman has traveled the United States and abroad for nearly two decades, sharing Jesus Christ with both the churched and the unchurched. After graduating from Franciscan University of Steubenville where he studied Theology, Human Life Studies, and Communication Arts, Ennie spent 7 years as a full-time youth minister. Now, as an international speaker, author, and domestic missionary with Adore Ministries, Ennie has helped transform thousands of lives. Ennie currently serves as Adore’s President working to expand the apostolate to under-served families and young adults throughout the United States. His favorite mission field, however, is in his home and on his cul-de-sac in Houston, TX where his serves with his wife Cana and his seven children.
Stephen Ives has more than 30 years of service in the YMCA movement and is recognized as a national leader in innovation and entrepreneurship as well as for the prevention of child sexual abuse. He also has interests in corporate partnerships, global initiatives, diversity and inclusion.
Ives comes to the YMCA of Greater Houston from the YMCA of Central Ohio in Columbus, where he served as President and CEO for three years. Before taking the position in Columbus, he was the CEO at the Merrimack Valley YMCA in Lawrence, MA for 10 years and served as the CEO of the Northern York County YMCA in Biddeford, ME for 11 years.
The Houston YMCA is among the four largest YMCAs in the country, serving 6.5 million people in greater Houston with the Y touching the lives of over 700,000 people annually. The Y has annual revenue of $130 million and staff that ranges from 4,000-5,200 depending on the time of year. The Y provides many services with a special focus on four strategic initiatives 1) Eliminate Drowning, 2) Improve Academic Performance, 3) Eliminate childhood obesity and chronic disease, and, 4) Provide social equity for all. The Y has 35 operating units which includes a resident camp and a refugee resettlement division. Over 20% of the YMCA’s budget is provided by public support which includes donations, United Way funding and government funding.
Steve and his wife, Lisa Collins, have two adult daughters. He carries an MBA from Northeastern University and a degree in Speech Communication from the University of Maine.
John is founder and CEO of RTIC Coolers. He is an internet and retail veteran with over 25 years of corporate management and entrepreneurial experience which includes multiple start-ups. In his earlier years, John worked at a Big-4 Accounting firm as a CPA and an Energy Services Company in Houston. John’s passion is spear-heading company operations with a technology focus.
John currently lives in Cypress Texas with his wife Gena of 23 years. John and Gena have two children Joshua & Alex who both attend Baylor University. The Jacobsen family are long time members of Second Baptist Church and attend the Cypress Campus.
Elizabeth brings nearly 30 years of domestic and international experience in the energy and services industries. She currently works as a Section 16 Officer and Executive Vice President of NRG, which includes serving as President of NRG Retail and Reliant. In her role, Elizabeth is responsible for directing all aspects of the retail division, a $5.5 billion competitive energy company which includes the largest national competitive electricity business in the country and in Texas as well as the leading portable solar and power business in the U.S.
Elizabeth’s other community service highlights include serving the University of Houston on the Energy Advisory Board and Bauer College of Business Board of Directors, serving the Greater Houston Partnership on the Executive Committee, serving the Lutheran Education Association of Houston as Secretary and Treasurer of the Board of Directors, serving on the Advisory Board of the credit union, TDECU. And, in 2017, she was honored to serve the Super Bowl LI Houston Host Committee as Volunteer Chair.
Elizabeth attended Houston Baptist University and earned her Bachelor’s degree in Management Information Systems from the Bauer College of Business at the University of Houston. She is also a homemaker, passionate about her role as wife and mother and enjoys spending time with her husband of nearly 25 years and three children who attend Rice University, Lutheran High North and Epiphany Lutheran School.
Founded by Marc N. Laird and Judy Belanger in Houston, Texas, Cornerstone has steadily grown into one of the largest privately-held mortgage companies in the country.
Since 1988, Cornerstone has made a positive difference in people’s lives. Our staff of caring, seasoned mortgage professionals is passionate about helping people become homeowners.
Cornerstone is a full-service mortgage banker that offers a variety of mortgage options, home loan programs, and competitive pricing from a wide range of national investors. With in-house processing, underwriting, and funding, Cornerstone is 100% committed to on-time closings and satisfying home-financing experiences.
Carol Lewis, Ph.D., educates students in fundamentals of transportation and urban transportation issues, as well as conducts operational and policy related transportation research. Prior to joining Texas Southern University in 1992, Lewis spent 15 years as manager and director of planning at the Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County (METRO). Lewis currently serves as appointee of Mayor Annise Parker to the Gulf Coast Rail District. She served as a METRO Board Member from 2002 to early 2004 and as Executive Assistant to Mayor Bill White for Transportation Planning 2005 to 2009. Lewis holds a Master’s degree in planning and the Ph.D. in Political Science with an emphasis in Public Policy and Public Administration.
Lewis belongs to a number of professional organizations including the Red Cross Transportation Advisory Committee and has served for more than 10 years on the Transportation Technical Advisory Committee of the local metropolitan planning organization (HGAC). Lewis holds a Ph.D. from the University of Houston in Political Science and M.A. and B.A. degrees from the University of Iowa.
Boston native Rania Mankarious was chosen to head Houston’s leading public safety non-profit organization, Crime Stoppers, in March of 2013. Rania received a Master’s Degree in Marriage and Family Therapy and a Doctorate of Jurisprudence completed at the University of Houston Law Center. She boasts an extensive resume with experience consulting for national companies, non-profit organizations and private public relations clients alike. Citing a personal mission to serve families and engage the public to better society, Rania began consulting with Crime Stoppers in 2006. In addition to expanding the reach of the Safe School Program, the topics covered by the Safe Community Program, the launch of Parents Against Crime and the critically important Fallen Hero Program, Rania is most proud to have built the first-ever Crime Stoppers headquarters, anywhere in the world, right here in Midtown. The Dave Ward Building, Crime Stoppers of Houston was officially opened January 2017 and is the first public safety, crime prevention facility of its kind.
Gregg Matte is the senior pastor of Houston’s First Baptist Church and the founder of Breakaway Ministries at Texas A&M University, one of the largest college Bible studies in the nation. Gregg holds a marketing degree from Texas A&M and a master’s degree from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. He is an author of numerous books, the latest being “Unstoppable Gospel.” Gregg has been married to his wife, Kelly, since 1997, and they have a son and daughter, Greyson and Valerie.
Craig McAndrews is an accomplished business executive with 27 years of experience in sales leadership, corporate education and C-level responsibility. Most recently, Craig served as the Chief Strategy Officer at Houston based Mattress Firm, where he was responsible for developing strategic growth plans for stores and online businesses. Prior to that, he served in a variety of senior leadership roles including Chief Merchandising Officer, and Chief Learning Officer. Before joining Mattress Firm, he was a sales leader at Sealy Mattress Company and Simmons Bedding Company. Craig also lived the life of an entrepreneur as co-founder and operator of a retail consulting firm, and a chain of mattress retail stores. Currently, he shares his experience at the University of Houston, as an adjunct professor in the Marketing Department while also operating CMAC Capital Group, a small business investment firm. Craig is passionate about leadership development, writing, and teaching. He has written frequently for publications such as Sleep Saavy, Ministry in the Marketplace, and Coach’s Corner. He graduated from Stephen F. Austin, and lives in Friendswood, Texas with his wife April, and their two boys, Ben and Nate.
Elizabeth is the founder of the Peace of Mind foundation, a non-profit foundation dedicated to Obsessive Compulsive Disorder also known as OCD. Elizabeth was diagnosed with OCD at the age of 12 and she underwent treatment which included both inpatient and outpatient therapy and continues to engage in outpatient therapy to manage her OCD on a daily basis. Elizabeth has made it her life mission to make a difference in the lives of those living with a mental illness. Elizabeth and her family were once told her OCD was too severe to be treated but today she stands before you as someone who successfully manages her illness. She was the first ever national spokesperson for the International Obsessive Compulsive Foundation and is a licensed therapist in Texas. Elizabeth received her bachelors and masters in social work from Loyola University Chicago and her Ph.D. in social work at the University of Houston. Elizabeth proudly serves as an assistant professor at Baylor University’s Diana R. Garland School of Social Work and assistant professor of Psychiatry at Baylor College of Medicine. Elizabeth spends her time doing advocacy, clinical work, research and teaching related to OCD, mental health and social work. Elizabeth is a renowned speaker on both the local and national level speaking on behalf of OCD, mental illness and mental health stigma. Elizabeth is dedicated to giving a voice to the voiceless; being a social worker allows her to continue her work in the field and to stamp out the stigma of mental illness every day.
JJ Moses enters his first season as the director of player engagement for the Houston Texans. He spent the previous 10 seasons as a Houston Texans ambassador.
In his current role, Moses is responsible for aiding players and their families make a smooth transition from college to the NFL. Moses also helps players continue their educational programs and become involved in the Houston community.
Prior to joining the Texans, Moses started The Moses Group, LLC and spoke to Fortune 500 companies to inspire others to reach their full potential. He also served as a spokesman for Fuel Up To Play 60, a program focused on highlighting the importance of living a healthy lifestyle.
Moses played four seasons as a wide receiver and return specialist with the Green Bay Packers (2002), Houston Texans (2003-04) and Arizona Cardinals (2005) after being signed by the Kansas City Chiefs as a college free agent in 2002.
Prior to his NFL career, Moses was a four-year letterman at Iowa State University, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in social sciences with a minor in history. In addition to his on-field accomplishments that included being named the Cyclones’ team MVP, Moses was awarded the ISU Alumni Association Impact Award for his role in enhancing the reputation and visibility of the university in 2000.
Originally from Waterloo, Iowa, Moses now lives in Houston with his wife and two children
The Honorable Frank Rynd is the general counsel for the Archdiocese of Galveston/Houston. Admitted to the Texas Bar in 1979, Judge Rynd is a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin, and University of Texas School of Law.
Previously, Judge Rynd served as the Administrative Judge of the 309th Family District Court in Harris County (2008-2010), Associate Judge from 2001-2010, and of the 257th Family District Court from 1998-2001.
Judge Rynd is a member of the Houston Bar Association, where he served as director of the Corporate Counsel Section from 1989-1996. He has served on a number of community organizations including Big Brothers Big Sisters of Houston as director from 1986-1990; he currently serves on the following boards: Casa de Esperanza Foundation, Santa Maria Hostel, Houston Volunteer Lawyers, Harris County Drug Court Foundation, Child Advocates, and Magnificat House Board of Directors. He also serves on the Supreme Court of Texas Permanent Judicial Commission for Children, Youth and Families.
Dr. Martha Salazar-Zamora has been an educator for 28 years in South Texas, Houston and Central Texas. Currently she serves as Superintendent for Tomball Independent School District.
Previously she served the Round Rock Independent School District as Deputy Superintendent for Curriculum, Instruction and Administration (2012-2014); and Houston Independent School District as the Assistant Superintendent of School Support Services (2008 to 2012). In Houston ISD she supervised several areas which included Digital Curriculum, Dropout Prevention/Intervention, P-16 College/Career Readiness, Heath and Wellness, Library/Media Services, Counseling Services, Psychological Services, University Interscholastic League (UIL), Grants, Athletics, and Parent Engagement.
Her previous educational leadership experiences included serving as the Area Superintendent for Spring Independent School District. In Spring she supervised various Elementary, Middle and High school principals, Technology, Student Information Management System and Accounting and the Police Departments. She was also the district hearing officer and served on the Superintendent’s Cabinet. Prior to that she served as the Superintendent of Schools in Kingsville Independent School District which is her hometown. Her educational leadership work began in the Bishop Consolidated Independent School District, where she held the administrative titles of Principal and Director of Special Programs. She served the Alice and Kingsville Independent School Districts as a teacher, educational diagnostician and speech/language pathologist.
She currently is an appointed member of the Texas Association of School Administrators (TASA) Executive Committee and chaired the waivers committee for the Texas High Performing Schools Consortium. She is proud to be the current Vice President for the newly formed TALAS.
She has served on the boards of Chamber of Commerce, Boys and Girls Club, United Way and YMCA.
Dr. Salazar-Zamora holds a Doctorate of Education degree in Educational Administration from Texas A&M University, two Masters of Education from Texas A&M University at Kingsville in Educational Administration and Special Education as well as a Bachelor’s degree in Communications from Texas A&I University. She also holds seven Texas certifications.
Elected in December 2015, Sylvester Turner is serving his first four-year term as Houston’s 62nd mayor. Since taking office, Mayor Turner eliminated a $160 million budget shortfall in record time; led the city’s remarkable rebound from Hurricane Harvey; championed historic pension reform; cheered on the 2017 World Series-winning Houston Astros; hosted a successful Super Bowl LI; expanded municipal investments in renewable energy and led the winning bid to host the World Petroleum Congress in 2020.
Mayor Turner’s civic leadership has been nationally recognized through his service as a member of the U.S. Conference of Mayors Transportation and Communications Standing Committee, vice chair of the National Climate Action Agenda, member of the C40 and Global Covenant for Mayor’s for Climate and Energy and an advisory board member of the African American Mayors Association. He is also the recipient of the Ohtli Award, the Mexican government’s highest honor. Turner has been featured in publications and news outlets such as 60 Minutes, MSNBC, CNN, CNBC, FOX News, Wall Street Journal, Black Enterprise Magazine, Cuba Today Magazine, Ebony, New York Times, Washington Post and USA Today.
Prior to his election as mayor, Turner served for 27 years in the Texas House as the representative for District 139. He worked on the House Appropriations Committee for 21 years and served as Speaker Pro Tem for three terms. He was appointed to several Budget Conference Committees to help balance the state’s budget and served on the Legislative Budget Board.
Mayor Turner is a life-long resident of Houston and lives in the Acres Homes community where he grew up with eight siblings. He is a graduate of the University of Houston and earned a law degree from Harvard University. He began his law practice at Fulbright & Jaworski L.L.P. and later founded the Barnes & Turner Law Firm.
Mayor Turner is the proud father of First Daughter Ashley Turner, who is continuing the family tradition of public service in the healthcare field.
Sharleen Walkoviak, VP, CFO and co-owner of Covenant Technology Services, LLC, is a highly-qualified businesswoman, CPA, and graduate of Texas A&M. Covenant provides technology support for small and medium-sized businesses throughout Houston and the United States, and supports domestic clients with their international offices. They focus on long-term partnerships with their clients, many of whom have been clients for the full 25 years of Covenant’s history.
Sharleen supports numerous non-profit organizations and is notably a Lifetime Vice President in the 35,000+ volunteer corps of the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. Sharleen’s competent, inspirational leadership style and years of accomplishments earned her the position of Vice-President from 2014 – 2016; she is now the sixth woman to serve in the capacity of Lifetime Vice President since the Rodeo began in 1932.
As Vice-President, Sharleen was Officer-in-Charge of six high-achieving committees: Junior Lamb and Goat Auction; Auctions Assistance; Carnival Ticket Sales; Graphics and Signage; Tours; and Trailblazers. In 2014, while representing HLSR at the Barbara Bush Literacy Foundation’s Celebration of Reading, Sharleen heard of the need for books for area children in elementary school, and brought that idea to the Rodeo to expand the Trailblazer Committee mission. The Trailblazers embraced it as an ongoing initiative, created Rodeo ROPES (Reading Opens the Path to Education Success) and embarked on a partnership with Books Between Kids. In the inaugural year they collected 30,000 books from Rodeo volunteers, and another 60,000+ in the second year, with the total to date being over 150,000 books. Trailblazers have helped in sorting and distributing over 400,000 books to underprivileged children in Houston’s neediest schools.
Sharleen strongly supports the mission of the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, with its dedication to youth and education. Besides her twenty-five years of committee work dedicated to raising scholarship dollars for the youth of Texas, she also supports Amigas Para Ninos, where she mentors a scholarship recipient at Texas Tech. She and her husband, Ron, sponsor an endowed scholarship at The Bush School of Government and Public Service, where she also serves as Membership Chairman of the Advisory Council. Sharleen is also on the Board of Directors of Capital Farm Credit, Books Between Kids and the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo.
A positive and warm individual, Sharleen inspires greatness with her leadership, always setting the example and encouraging others to do more.
Julie Waters is the director and founder of Free the Captives, an anti-human trafficking 501(c)3 non-profit. After practicing family law and child advocacy as an attorney, she brings her legal expertise to human trafficking issues. Julie speaks at both the local and national level on human trafficking and is published academically on this topic. Free the Captives focuses on (1) providing direct services to teenage trafficking victims including jobs, mentoring, tutoring and material assistance, (2) educating the community about human trafficking, (3) reducing the demand created by buyers, and (4) pursuing legal remedies and effective public policies to combat trafficking.
Julie is a native of Texas and attended Texas A&M University, where she received a BA in Speech Communication. She also graduated from Boston University School of Law and is licensed to practice law in Texas and Massachusetts. Julie recently received her Masters of Theology at Dallas Theological Seminary.
A Texas native, Melissa received her Bachelor of Arts in Telecommunications from Baylor University. She began her career as the evening anchor at KAUZ-TV in Wichita Falls and then went on to anchor at Florida’s News Channel.
Houston Woman Magazine named Melissa one of the “Top 50 Most Influential Women in Houston”. American Women in Radio and Television nominated Melissa for “Personality of the Year”. She has been honored with the prestigious “Gracie Award” and Lone Star Emmy Awards. The Fair Care Center of Houston named Melissa a “Living Legend”. The Houston Press named Melissa one of Houston’s “Most Beautiful Reporters”.
Melissa has been an Honorary Co-Chair for the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure since 2000. She also serves on their Advisory Board of Directors. She serves, or has served, on the following Boards of Directors: Children at Risk, Lazarus House, March of Dimes, United Way, Harris County Community College Nurse’s Association, “Gifts with Heart”, and Baylor Business Network. This year will be her 12th Annual “Melissa Wilson Golf Classic” for Children at Risk.
Melissa is a member of Baylor University Women’s Association and Sigma Kappa’s Alumnae Association. She is a “Friend” of Escape Family Resource Center. She has volunteered for the Christian Community Service Center and is a member of the Association of Health Care Journalists and The Society of Professional Journalists .
She has interviewed everyone from Mexico’s President Vicente Fox, Kofi Annan, Walter Cronkite, Karl Rove, Bill O’Reilly, Dan Rather, to Actors James Earl Jones, Andy McDowell, Rob Schneider, Lucy Liu, and singers Josh Groban, Nora Jones, Clay Walker, and Amy Grant. She has gotten to meet Presidents Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, George HW Bush, and First Ladies Barbara Bush, Hillary Rodham Clinton, Laura Bush, as well as Al and Tipper Gore.
Melissa is also heavily involved in her children’s activities. She serves as the Co-Den Leader with her husband for their son’s Cub Scouts troop. She has served on the Capital Campaign Cabinet, as well as the Gala Fundraising Committee at her son’s school. She has taught her sons’ Sunday school classes. She also loves to play sports with her children. They stay busy taking care of the family pets, including: a puppy, two cats, a leopard gecko, a turtle, fire belly toads, hermit crabs, a hamster, and many fish. She also enjoys capturing special moments with her family and career through scrapbooking. Gardening is also one of her favorite ways to spend time.