Joe Paulo

President & Chief Executive Officer

Joe Paulo

Joe Paulo

President & Chief Executive Officer

Joe Paulo has been President & Chief Executive Officer of Hope Media Group (a family of brands including KSBJ, NGEN Radio, Hope On Demand and Special Events) since 2018.  With an extensive background in media and leadership, he began at KSBJ as Vice-President of Operations in 2017 after serving at Educational Media Foundation (K-LOVE/Air1) as the Director of Donor Stewardship and Communications.  He led a division of Columbia International University as Director of Broadcasting until 2014, overseeing the growth of successful radio stations in Charlotte, NC and Columbia, SC.  Joe has also provided volunteer leadership at the board of director level for other nonprofits such as Youth Commission International and Christian Music Broadcasters.  He earned a Master’s Degree in Business with honors from Liberty University in 2014.  In addition to speaking on leadership, fundraising and media, Joe and his wife, Kelly, have hosted or spoken at numerous marriage and parenting events to share their passion for marriage, parenting and adoption.  Joe and Kelly have been married for 30 years and have three daughters and two sons.

Elaine Welcome

Chief Operating Officer

Elaine Welcome

Elaine Welcome

Chief Operating Officer

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

Senior Director of Donor Engagement

Jon Hull

Jon Hull

Senior Director of Donor Engagement

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.

Shawn Farrington

Senior Director of Content

Shawn Farrington

Shawn Farrington

Senior Director of Content

Shawn wasn’t born in Texas (but he got here as quickly as he could). As the Senior Director of Content, he’s responsible for all content creation across the ministry, including the radio broadcasts and our newest digital brand, Hope On Demand. Shawn’s radio history includes nearly two decades at the K-LOVE & Air1 media networks, serving most recently as Director of Creative Services. He says, “KSBJ is an amazing team with incredible hearts, working to love one of America’s biggest cities. I pray that God uses our efforts to bring even more people closer to Jesus.” When he’s not at work, he spends time with his wife and three boys, in a quiet area North of Houston.

Desiree Gonzalez

Desiree Gonzalez

Vice President, Finance 

Desiree Gonzalez

Desiree Gonzalez

Vice President, Finance

Desiree Nicole Gonzalez, native of the Rio Grande Valley, moved to Houston with her husband Roger, in 2007. Although a job with PricewaterhouseCoopers brought Desiree to Houston, the Lord was orchestrating behind the scenes for Desiree to be at KSBJ for such a time as this.

Desiree has over 12 years of audit, accounting and finance experience, of which six years have been spent serving the Lord at KSBJ. Though Desiree graduated with a Masters in Science of Accounting and holds a CPA license, it was in her time at AES where she recognized her passion for financial planning and analysis.

Desiree and Roger have celebrated over 10 years of marriage in May and have a daughter, Sophia. When together, they love to go for walks, have picnics and play together.

Desiree values the role of a spiritual leader in a child’s life so when she is not in the office, you will find her serving on the Humble Christian School board, where her daughter attends, or as a homeroom mom. In addition to serving alongside Roger in the college-age Life Group at NEHBC you will find Desiree serving in the children’s ministry during the third service. She loves to engage children at their level and considers it a privilege to be used in a child’s spiritual journey to loving Jesus.

Desiree gave her life to Christ when she worked as a lifeguard at the H. E. Butt Foundation camp in Leakey, Texas. That is a story for another day. And although Desiree does not lead worship, you will likely find her in any front row worshiping our Lord.

BOARD OF DIRECTORS

Consistently certified as a “Best Christian Workplace,” KSBJ is a ministry of integrity governed by a group of volunteer men and women from across the Greater Houston area, who serve as the Board of Directors. The board members represent diverse denominations, backgrounds and professions to provide oversight, direction and accountability for the ministry.

Chris Martin

Chair

Chris Martin

Chris Martin

Chair

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. ​

Joe Parle

Joe Parle

Vice Chair

Joe Parle

Joe Parle

Provost, College of Biblical Studies

Dr. Joseph (Joe) Parle is the Provost 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 has served as a volunteer lay elder at Community of Faith Bible Church and appeared 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.

Harry S Chapman, Ph.D.

Harry S Chapman, Ph.D.

Harry S Chapman, Ph.D.

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.

Jeff Heard

Jeff Heard

Jeff Heard

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.

Elizabeth Killinger

Elizabeth Killinger

Elizabeth Killinger

President, Reliant & EVP, NRG

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 $6 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.

Heather Puca

Heather Puca

Heather Puca

Heather Puca

Heather Puca thrives on guiding an organization through the development of vision and crafting strategy to support that direction. Her long career at JPMorgan Chase in corporate finance fueled that passion and provides a solid framework for her to challenge teams to stretch into uncharted territories while balancing financial implications. A Baylor graduate, she and her husband love living life with their sixteen and eighteen year old sons. Her husband’s career took them to The Netherlands where their family enjoyed living for a year and a half in a unique culture rich in heritage. Seeking to serve her community, in addition to functioning as treasurer for KSBJ SETS, Heather also invests in home educating her boys, serving on the board of directors for a private education ministry and in her church through the youth and music outreaches.

Hugh Urbantke

Hugh Urbantke

Hugh Urbantke

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.

John Van Leeuwen

John Van Leeuwen

John Van Leeuwen

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 Leeuwens are members of Faith Bible Church and active with their son’s Scout troop. John enjoys cycling, diving, skiing and traveling as well as applying his business experience to serve in the community.​

Glenn Gilchrist

Advisor

Glenn Gilchrist

Glenn Gilchrist

Advisor

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.

President’s Council

President’s Council is composed of a select group of individuals and leaders across the Houston area. The primary purpose of the council is to advise KSBJ on trends and needs of the Houston Community so together we can impact lives for Christ and make an even bigger difference in our great city.

Art Acevedo

Art Acevedo

Chief of Police, Houston Police Department

Art Acevedo

Art Acevedo

Chief of Police, Houston Police Department

Art Acevedo is currently the Chief of Police for the Houston Police Department (HPD) in Texas and was appointed by Mayor Sylvester Turner. He was sworn into office on November 30, 2016, and leads a department of 5,400 sworn law enforcement officers and 892 civilian support personnel in the fourth largest city in the United States that has 671 square miles and an annual general fund budget of $899 million.

Chief Acevedo firmly believes that good, two-way communication is vital for a successful community and steadily works to strengthen the bond between the community and its police department. As a proponent of community policing, Chief Acevedo refers to the proven practice as “Relational Policing,” which is an opportunity to forge a relationship with each and every person a department member comes in contact with. He also subscribes to law enforcement being a data driven, intelligence led process that is well-suited to the policing profession in the 21st Century.

As the first Hispanic to lead HPD, Chief Acevedo brings a unique understanding to the concerns of the diverse communities in Houston. Born in Cuba, he was four years old when he immigrated to the United States with his family in 1968. Acevedo subsequently grew up in California and earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Public Administration from the University of La Verne in California. He has been awarded a myriad of leadership and community service awards, and In July 2018 was named by the Carnegie Corporation a “Great Immigrant * Great American.”

Acevedo began his law enforcement career with the California Highway Patrol in 1986 as a field patrol officer in East Los Angeles. Ultimately, he rose through the ranks and was named Chief of the California Highway Patrol in 2005. Prior to his nomination and appointment to lead the Houston Police Department, Chief Acevedo served nine years as the Chief of Police for the Austin, Texas Police Department from 2007 – 2016.

Chief Acevedo has held various leadership positions with the Major Cities Chiefs Association and the International Association of Chiefs of Police, and is currently the President of the Major Cities Chiefs Association. He is married and has three children.

Eric Anderson

Founding and Lead Pastor of Global Outreach Community Church International Advancement Coordinator for Texas and Latin America Countries with Fellowship of Christian Athletes Ministry

Eric Anderson

Eric Anderson

Founding and Lead Pastor of Global Outreach Community Church International Advancement Coordinator for Texas and Latin America Countries with Fellowship of Christian Athletes Ministry

Pastor Eric J. Anderson is the founding and Lead Pastor of Global Outreach Community Church. Pastor Anderson was called to preach in 2000 under the leadership of Pastor James C. Carrington Jr. He was licensed in 2001 and later ordained in 2004. He has served as Youth Director, Christian Education Director, Assistant to the Pastor and faithfully served within the Men’s Ministry at Willing Workers Baptist Church.

Pastor Eric Anderson served as Metro Director for the Greater Houston Fellowship of Christian Athletes Ministry for 6 years. He has been with this organization for 16 years serving in various leadership capacities and working with Advisory Leadership Boards across the city. Through his professional assignment, Eric is involved in International Projects and Initiatives. He is able to connect with community leaders, coaches, and pastors as a way of ministry and outreach using sports as a key component. He has traveled to Cuba, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala City, Honduras and Mexico to lead ministry initiatives, vision trips, sports trips, reverse trips and training trips. He serves on the National Fellowship of Christian Athletes Diversity Task Force and Texas Regional Diversity Task Force.
Currently, Pastor Anderson serves as the International Advancement Coordinator for Texas and Latin America Countries (Belize, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, and Puerto Rico) with FCA.
He is currently in the Master’s Program at Dallas Theological Seminary pursuing a degree in Cross Cultural Ministry. Pastor Anderson is the recipient of the Stan Blinka Award, Minority Achievers Award and the Rising Eagle Award.
Pastor Anderson is married to his lovely wife, Sheryl Anderson. The Andersons have two beautiful daughters; Sakinah Cooper and Erin Anderson.

Bill Brown

Community Outreach Executive, Houston Astros

Bill Brown

Bill Brown

Community Outreach Executive, Houston Astros

The 2019 season marks Bill Brown’s 33rd 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

Managing Director, Newmark Knight Frank

Joshua Brown

Joshua Brown

Managing Director, Newmark Knight Frank

Joshua is based in the Houston office and a member of the tenant representation team. He offers thirteen 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.

In 2020, the Houston Business Journal recognized Mr. Brown as a “Heavy Hitter” for representing tenants in the marketplace.

Personal Affiliations
Board of Directors, Beta Upsilon Chi
Member, 1st Baptist Church
Past 1st and 2nd Vice President, Memorial Forest Civic Club
Past Leadership Team Member, The Brookwood Young Professionals Organization
Education
Mr. Brown graduated from The University of Texas at Austin, with a Bachelor of Arts degree.

Pierce Bush

CEO, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Lone Star

Pierce Bush

Pierce Bush

CEO, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Lone Star

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 40% 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 Caldwell

Marketing Director, Caldwell Companies

Susan Caldwell

Susan Caldwell

Marketing Director, Caldwell Companies

Susan currently works part time at Caldwell Companies, a full service development and commercial real estate company, overseeing strategic brand initiatives for select development projects. She especially enjoys working with a team to plan and execute activities and programs that support a positive company culture. Susan serves in ministry alongside her husband of thirty seven years, Fred. Together they have a passion for serving families at the company, JH Ranch, and Outback America. Susan also leads Bible Studies for women through Bible Study Fellowship. Fred and Susan have two grown daughters, Amanda Grace and Lindsey and son in law, Michael McConathy. In her free time, Susan enjoys oil painting and spending time at the family farm in Brenham. Susan earned her BBA in Marketing from Texas A&M.

Suzette Caldwell

Associate Pastor, Windsor Village United Methodist Church

Suzette Caldwell

Suzette Caldwell

Associate Pastor, Windsor Village United Methodist Church

Suzette T. Caldwell is the Associate Pastor of Windsor Village United Methodist Church in Houston, Texas where she serves alongside her husband, Senior Pastor Kirbyjon H. Caldwell.

She is the Board Chair and President of The Prayer Institute, a non-profit community based organization that prays for nations and teaches people how to pray. She is the author of Praying to Change Your Life and a children’s book, I Can Pray! Presently, Caldwell sits on the Board of Directors for the Children’s Museum. 

In 1997, she was appointed to the University of Houston Systems Board of Regents by then Governor George W. Bush. Prior to becoming a Pastor, Caldwell worked as an environmental engineer in the public and private sector. As an entrepreneur, she owned TC Consulting Group, Inc., an environmental engineering company.

Caldwell graduated from the University of Houston in 1986 with a Bachelor of Science in Industrial Engineering. She is currently pursuing a Master’s of Divinity from Asbury Seminary.

Caldwell has served in different capacities for the American Cancer Society, Teach for America, National Charity League, Jack and Jill Of America, Easter Seals’ Camp Buckaroo, and the Susan B. Koman Walk She has received numerous awards for her community service in the Greater Houston Area, including the Distinguished Alumna Award from the University of Houston Alumni Association, Professional Women’s Fellowship Distinguished Community Service Award, the Philanthropy in Texas Hall of Fame Award, and Achievement Award for Special Acts of Service from the US Army Corps of Engineers.

Caldwell has a passion for helping to improve the lives of people and calls it her honor and pleasure to serve. She and her husband are the parents of three beautiful teenagers.

Dr. Hernan Castaño

Senior Pastor of Rios de Aceite Church

Dr. Hernan Castaño

Dr. Hernan Castaño

Senior Pastor of Rios de Aceite Church

Dr. Hernan Castaño was born in Medellin Colombia and with his wife Wendy Castaño they serve as the Senior Pastors of Rios de Aceite, Rivers of Oil Church, in Houston and Katy, Texas. He serves as the official translator for Morris Cerullo World Evangelism Ministry in all Latin America. Pastor Castaño holds a Ph.D. of philosophy in Biblical Theology issued by Vision University in Ramona California and has a Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling from Liberty University.

Dr. Castaño and his wife Dr. Wendy Castaño are the directors of a weekly television program, God of Miracles, that is seen in all Latin American countries, through TBN Hispanic network Enlace.

Dr. Hernan Castaño is the president of the Biblical Institute Rivers of Oil in Houston where he has helped in the development of Christian leadership and character. Dr. Hernan Castaño has traveled and conducted many crusades in other nations of the world as well as conferences by preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Dr. Hernan Castaño also serves as president for Elijah University, a higher education ministry school in sequence with the bible institute to raise up leaders in the body of Christ.

Pastor Hernan Castaño serves as the Director for Hispanic Churches in the Executive Board of Directors of the Texas Pastor Council, a pastoral association working to uphold and defend biblical values and Christian citizenship according to right ethnical moral standings.

Dr. Hernan Castaño is also the president of the Texas Association of Ministers and Entrepreneurs.

Pastor Hernan Castaño resides in Houston with his wife Wendy Castaño from where they continue to minister the nations of the world.

Chris Dollins

Co-founder and Co-CEO, Employer Flexible

Chris Dollins

Chris Dollins

Co-founder and Co-CEO, Employer Flexible

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 eighteen 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.

Ed Emmett

Fellow in Energy and Transportation at Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy, Senior Fellow at Rice University’s Kinder Institute for Urban Research, Owner of the Emmett Company

Ed Emmett

Ed Emmett

Fellow in Energy and Transportation at Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy, Senior Fellow at Rice University’s Kinder Institute for Urban Research, Owner of the Emmett Company

Edward M. Emmett is a Fellow in Energy and Transportation at Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy. He is also a Senior Fellow at Rice University’s Kinder Institute for Urban Research. As a professor in the practice, Emmett teaches classes in transportation economics and policy as well as social policy. In addition, Professor Emmett is a Distinguished Senior Fellow within Northeastern University’s Global Resilience Institute.

Since 2005, Emmett is the owner of The Emmett Company, a consulting firm advising public and private entities in transportation policy, emergency management, international marketing and strategic development.

From 2007 until 2019, Emmett served as County Judge of Harris County, Texas. As County Judge, Emmett was the Director of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, a role which established him as a national leader in emergency response and community resilience.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Emmett and his wife, Gwen, have been married for 45 years and have four children and 13 grandchildren.

Rick Figueroa

Managing Partner & Founder, Patron Partners

Rick Figueroa

Rick Figueroa

Managing Partner & Founder, Patron Partners

Native Texan, Rick Figueroa is Managing Partner and Founder of Patron Partners, a Wealth Management company based in Houston, Texas. (Patronpartnersadvisors.com).

 Previously, Rick served as First Vice President with UBS Financial Services in Houston, 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.

Irma Galvan

Owner, Irma’s Mexican Restaurant

Irma Galvan

Irma Galvan

Owner, Irma’s Mexican Restaurant

Irma 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 Garcia

Adrian Garcia

Harris County Commissioner, Precinct 2

Adrian Garcia

Adrian Garcia

Harris County Commissioner, Precinct 2

Born and raised in the Northside, Precinct 2 has always been home to Commissioner Adrian Garcia. His 35-year career in public service began as a Houston Police Officer.

In 1994, he was appointed by Mayor Lee Brown as Director of the Mayor’s Anti-Gang Office, and in 2003, was elected to Houston City Council. During his tenure, he served as Chair on two City Council committees — the Public Safety and Homeland Security Committee and the Minority/Women Business Enterprise Committee. With the support of his peers, Mayor Bill White confirmed him as Mayor Pro-Tem.

In 2008, Commissioner Garcia continued his service by being elected as the Harris County Sheriff — the largest sheriff’s office in Texas and the 3rd largest in the United States. On November 6th, 2018, he was elected Harris County Commissioner for Precinct 2, which serves more than 1.1 million people. Commissioner Garcia is committed to working every day to make Precinct 2 and all of Harris County a place where everyone who wants a job can get a job, where everyone can afford to rent or own a home, and where our kids and seniors can walk to church, park or school without fear of crime.

Mia Gradney

Mia Gradney

Anchor, KHOU 11 News

Mia Gradney

Mia Gradney

Anchor, KHOU 11 News

Native Houstonian Mia Gradney is an Emmy Award-winning talent and the 5, 6 and 10 p.m. anchor at KHOU 11 News in Houston, Texas.

For two decades, Mia has covered everything from historic hurricanes to major Hollywood red carpet events and national sports championships. She specializes in breaking news/continuous coverage and special events with interests in women empowerment/job readiness, health & wellness and sports entertainment.

One of her defining career moments came when she navigated Houstonians through one of our nation’s most catastrophic natural disasters, Hurricane Harvey, with almost 138 non-stop hours of airtime despite the flooding and evacuation of KHOU 11’s building. The breaking news coverage was later recognized with an Edward R. Murrow Award.

More recently Mia anchored the CBS Evening News. Easter weekend 2020 she delivered and delicately balanced troubling Coronavirus Pandemic headlines with hopeful news lifting spirits across the country.

During more celebratory times, Mia journeyed to Los Angeles, for Game 6 of the 2017 World Series, to report on her hometown Houston Astros historic quest to become World Champions. She has also field-anchored, live from NRG Stadium, two Houston Super Bowls: Super Bowl XXXVII and Super Bowl LI.

Mia exercises her talent behind the scenes too as a producer. In honor of Dress for Success Houston’s twentieth anniversary Mia and a small team at KHOU 11 produced A Common Thread. The hour-long documentary special follows three remarkably diverse women and their personal journeys of hard-work, heartache, happiness and healing.

Mia is a proud alumna of Sam Houston State University with a degree in Radio/Television/Film and a specialty track in broadcast news. In 2016, the university honored and inducted her into its Distinguished Alumni Society. She is also a past inductee into the school’s Dan Rather Hall of Fame.

Other professional awards and honors include: Lone Star Emmy Awards for two half-hour magazine special programs, an environmental series and special events coverage. In addition, Mia has received Lone Star Emmy nominations for a special medical report and a half-hour employment special.

Mia’s passion for journalism is matched by her incredible generosity of spirit and commitment to community. She volunteers for a variety of organizations and special causes including female empowerment, pediatric cancer research & awareness and childhood literacy.

Mia is a recipient of the M.D. Anderson Cancer Hospital’s Karen Harrison Service Award for her work with the hospital’s education program. Some of her other proud accomplishments and positions include co-founding Women of Wardrobe, Dress for Success Houston’s young professionals group. She is also a continuing education instructor for Dress for Success Houston’s client based professional women’s group and an Advisory Council member for the nonprofit organization suiting up women for success.

Ennie Hickman

Founder, Del Rey Collective

Ennie Hickman

Ennie Hickman

Founder, Del Rey Collective

In 2008, after nine years in professional parish ministry, Ennie and Cana felt as if their personal life and their ministry life were on a collision course. Late nights away from the family, the church’s unhealthy attachment to “numbers” and a severe blindness to marginalized neighbors, Ennie felt God calling them into something deeper. With this call, a wild dream, and a lot grace, Ennie and his wife Cana detached from non-essentials, selling most of their possessions and became full time domestic missionaries with Adore Ministries. In the context of this inspiring missionary community, Ennie quickly rose as a thought leader and innovator in Christian discipleship and outreach to the margins. Weekly, for ten years now, the Hickmans have invited neighbors into their own home for a community meal, called Family Dinner. Through real life experience of ordinary and extraordinary people on their own porch, God has given them a gift to understand and reach people in a fresh and honest way. In 2019, Ennie and Cana founded the Del Rey Collective to further encourage and empower others to experience the gift of opening their homes to neighbors. Ennie also serves The Saint Constantine School as Director of Development. 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 eight children.

Stephen Ives

President and CEO, YMCA of Greater Houston

Stephen Ives

Stephen Ives

President and CEO, YMCA of Greater Houston

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 25 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 Jacobsen

John Jacobsen

Former CEO & Founder, RTIC Coolers

John Jacobsen

John Jacobsen

Former CEO & Founder, RTIC Coolers

John Jacobsen, is founder and former CEO of RTIC Outdoors. In this role, he built RTIC into the largest direct-to-consumer eCommerce provider of premium coolers, insulated drinkware and products for outdoor enthusiasts. Currently, the Company offers a broad portfolio of RTIC-branded products under its “Overbuilt. Not Overpriced.” promise. John recently sold a majority interest of the company to a private equity firm but remains actively involved with RTIC as a Senior Advisor and as a Board Member of RTIC Outdoors.

Prior to RTIC, John’s entrepreneurial experience includes founding companies in a variety of industries including O&G exploration, business consulting and retail. In his various roles, John provided strategic oversight on product design and development, marketing, financials, technology, and operations. John also previously worked as a CPA for a Big 4 accounting firm. 

John and his wife of 25 years, Gena, have two children, Joshua and Alex. Josh recently graduated from Baylor University with a major in Information Technology and Alex is currently attending Baylor and majoring in Marketing. The Jacobsen’s reside in Cypress, Texas and are members of Second Baptist Church. They are actively engaged in several charitable organizations in the Houston area.

Carol Abel Lewis, Ph.D.

Professor in Transportation Studies and Emeritus Director of the Center for Transportation Training and Research, Texas Southern University

Carol Abel Lewis, Ph.D.

Carol Abel Lewis, Ph.D.

Professor in Transportation Studies and Emeritus Director of the Center for Transportation Training and Research, Texas Southern University

Dr. Lewis is responsible for educating students in fundamentals of transportation and urban transportation issues, as well as conducting operational and policy related transportation research. Current research focuses on automated vehicles for public transportation, modal distribution and demand estimation for intercity rail systems, transit supportive development, bus operations on managed lanes and best practice in public involvement. Since joining TSU, Lewis has conducted research for the USDOT, Texas Department of Transportation, Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County, metropolitan planning organizations (Houston Galveston Area Council and North Central Texas Council of Governments) and with private transportation consultants. She served as Principal Investigator for the DHS National Transportation Security Center of Excellence. Appointments include the Gulf Coast Rail District (Currently serve as Chair by Houston Mayor and Harris County Judge & Commissioner’s Court) and Transportation Advocacy Group. She also serves as Transportation Research Board’s Chair of Inclusion & Diversity Committee and Transportation Research Board’s Transit Research Advisory Committee (TRAC). Lewis is honored to have received the Rosa Parks Diversity Leadership Award from the Houston Chapter of WTS and the TRB Sharon D. Banks Humanitarian Award. Her Ph.D. is from the University of Houston and Masters and Bachelor degrees from the University of Iowa.

Linda Lorelle

Linda Lorelle

Former Anchor KPRC-TV CEO and Executive Producer of Lorelle Media

Linda Lorelle

Linda Lorelle

Former Anchor KPRC-TV CEO and Executive Producer of Lorelle Media

Linda Lorelle is best known as an Emmy Award-winning journalist who anchored the evening news for nearly 17 years at Houston’s NBC affiliate, KPRC-TV. She is also a two-time winner of the prestigious national Gracie Award, given by the American Women in Radio and Television. These days the Stanford graduate is CEO and Executive Producer of Lorelle Media, a fullservice multimedia production and communications consulting firm.

In addition to delivering media and presentation training to C-Suite executives, Linda and her team produce compelling, original video content and the popular podcast, Our Voices Matter, dedicated to returning civility to our national discourse by sharing our stories. Linda’s interviewing skills that allow her to engage in intimate conversations with her guests are now being called upon to help companies and NGOs navigate challenging, but necessary conversations about race and social justice. Linda is also a highly sought keynote speaker, using her wealth of knowledge and experience to speak on a variety of topics, from corporate social responsibility to reinventing ourselves as life throws us curve balls.

Rania Mankarious

Rania Mankarious

CEO, Crime Stoppers

Rania Mankarious

Rania Mankarious

CEO, Crime Stoppers

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 her seven years at the helm and through working with her incredible team, Rania’s legacy has been well established. Described by some as “Crime Stoppers on steroids,” her footprint has elevated the organization to new heights. In addition to turning the organization’s well-known Safe School Program into one of the most well respected Safe School Institutes in the state, she has also expanded the topics covered and the reach of the organization’s Safe Community Program, launched Parents Against Crime, Leading Women for Public Safety, the organization’s first Victim Advocacy Program and the critically important Fallen Hero Program. While Rania is incredibly proud that her team was able to build the first-ever Crime Stoppers headquarters – The Dave Ward Building – anywhere in the world and against the odds, Rania is most proud to see the mission of the organization in brick and mortar, actively serving the community. This historic building sits on our Public Safety and Crime Prevention Block, right next to the first-ever Harris County Sheriff’s Office Memorial Garden, funded by the Harris County Sheriff’s Office Foundation, and a beautiful tribute to those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice. 

This year, 2020, marks a particularly important year for the organization. In response, Rania worked with a team in Houston, Dallas, New York and Los Angeles to create the organizations first-ever podcast called The Balanced Voice Podcast. Join Rania and her team for critical conversations with newsmakers in Texas and beyond for difficult conversations that offer real solutions. 

The ambitious mother of three has lifted a Houston institution to new heights and remains consistently dedicated to whatever work is necessary to keep all communities safe.

Gregg Matte

Senior Pastor, Houston’s First Baptist Church

Gregg Matte

Gregg Matte

Senior Pastor, Houston’s First Baptist Church

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 “Difference Makers.” Gregg has been married to his wife, Kelly, since 1997, and they have a son and daughter, Greyson and Valerie.

Craig McAndrews

Craig McAndrews

Professor at the University of Houston

Craig McAndrews

Craig McAndrews

Professor at the University of Houston

Craig is an accomplished business executive with 29 years of experience in sales leadership, corporate education and C-level responsibility. He currently serves as a Professor at the University of Houston as part of the Stephen Stagner Sales Excellence Institute. Prior to that, Craig was the Chief Strategy Officer at Houston based Mattress Firm, where he was responsible for developing enterprise growth plans for stores and the online business. Craig is passionate about leadership development, writing, and teaching with an emphasis on integrating the Christian faith into the workplace. His book, “Soul Purpose Inc: The Practical Guide To Living Your Faith at Work” was published in 2018. He graduated from Stephen F. Austin, and lives in Friendswood, Texas with his wife April, and their two boys, Ben and Nate.

Elizabeth McIngvale

Elizabeth McIngvale, Ph.D.

Founder, Peace of Mind Foundation Director of McLean OCD Institute at Houston

Elizabeth McIngvale, Ph.D.

Elizabeth McIngvale, Ph.D.

Founder, Peace of Mind Foundation Director of McLean OCD Institute at Houston

Dr. McIngvale is the director of the McLean OCD Institute at Houston, where she maintains and active clinical, research and leadership role. Her clinical interests focus on OCD, anxiety disorders, mental health stigma and access to mental health care. She is the founder of the Peace of Mind Foundation, a non-profit foundation dedicated to OCD. Dr. McIngvale operates ocdchallenge.org, a free self-help website for OCD which is live in 6 languages and serves nearly 4,000 individuals. She was the first ever national spokesperson for the International Obsessive Compulsive Foundation and now serves on their board of directors. She received her bachelors and master’s degrees in social work from Loyola University Chicago, her Ph.D. in social work at the University of Houston and is currently pursuing her MBA from Kellogg’s School of Business Management at Northwestern University. Dr. McIngvale engages in advocacy, clinical work, research and teaching related to OCD and anxiety disorders. She is a renowned speaker on both the local and national level speaking on behalf of OCD, mental illness and mental health stigma. Dr. McIngvale has received numerous awards for her advocacy and impact on the mental health field and currently serves as a director on 5 boards. She is internationally known and recognized for her clinical work and advancements in the OCD field. Dr. McIngvale is dedicated to giving a voice to the voiceless and is grateful for a career which allows her to improve the lives of those living with a mental illness every day. 

JJ Moses

NFL’s Transitional Coach

JJ Moses

JJ Moses

NFL’s Transitional Coach

In 2018, JJ became the Director of Player Engagement for the Houston Texans in which he was assisted players with their transition into the NFL and helped prepare them for their post NFL career. He designed programs, classes, job shadowing opportunities and also mentored players through life and career challenges as well as personal development. In 2020, JJ was recognized by the NFL as having the number one player engagement program in the entire league in his two seasons in the role.

Currently JJ is the NFL’s Transitional Coach. In this role JJ oversees all former NFL players throughout the state of Texas. Equipping them in the areas of career development, life skills, spiritual development, and finances.

Justin Reid

Safety, Houston Texans

Justin Reid

Justin Reid

Safety, Houston Texans

Justin was born and raised just outside of Baton Rouge in Ascension Parish. His father, Eric, was a former NCAA Champion and All-American in the 110 hurdles and his mom, Sharon, is a Travel Nurse. Justin has 4 siblings.

He grew up playing many different sports including soccer, basketball, baseball, track and swimming and started playing football in middle school, where he was kicker/punter for both Middle School and High School.

Justin attended Stanford University majoring in Management Science and Engineering (also known as Industrial Engineering) He was drafted in the 3rd round to the Houston Texans in the 2018 Draft.

Dr. Martha Salazar-Zamora

Dr. Martha Salazar-Zamora

Superintendent, Tomball ISD

Dr. Martha Salazar-Zamora

Dr. Martha Salazar-Zamora

Superintendent, Tomball ISD

Dr. Martha Salazar-Zamora has been an educator in Texas for the past 30 years. Currently she serves as Superintendent of Schools for Tomball Independent School District after working as their Chief Academic Officer for three years. Previously she served the Round Rock Independent School District as Deputy Superintendent for Curriculum and Administration and Houston Independent School District as the Assistant Superintendent of School Support Services. She also served Spring ISD as an Assistant Superintendent and Kingsville Independent School District as the Superintendent of Schools for three years. 

She currently is a member of the Texas Education Agency Commissioner’s Cabinet, Secretary for the Fast Growth School Coalition (FGSC) and the Past President of Texas Association of Latino Administrators and Superintendents (TALAS).

Dr. Salazar-Zamora earned a doctorate of education at Texas A&M University, a master of education in educational administration and a master of education in special education at Texas A&M University-Kingsville, and a bachelor of science at Texas A&I University.

Mayor Sylvester Turner

Mayor, City of Houston

Mayor Sylvester Turner

Mayor Sylvester Turner

Mayor, City of Houston

Elected in December 2015 and overwhelmingly re-elected in December 2019, Sylvester Turner is serving his second four-year term. He is Houston’s 62nd mayor.

Since taking office, Mayor Turner has expertly managed significant challenges facing the nation’s fourth-largest city, including budget deficits, homelessness, and natural disasters such as Hurricane Harvey. He is currently leading Houston’s response to the COVID-19 global pandemic. Amid national unrest and calls for improving community and police relations, the mayor signed an executive order restricting the use of force and created a Task Force on Policing Reforms.

Before serving as Houston’s mayor, Turner served for 27 years as the Representative for Texas House 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 balance the state’s budget and serve on the Legislative Budget Board.

As a nationally recognized leader, Mayor Turner is 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 Mayors 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. Numerous publications and news outlets such as 60 Minutes, MSNBC, CNN, CNBC, and FOX News have recognized Mayor Turner as a thought leader. The Wall Street Journal, Black Enterprise Magazine, Cuba Today Magazine, Ebony, New York Times, Washington Post, and USA Today have also featured Mayor Turner for his leadership and accomplishments. In March 2020, the University of Houston Master of Public Administration Program honored Mayor Turner with the Pioneer of Public Service Award.

As a life-long resident of Houston, Mayor Turner is passionate about his city and continues to live in the Acres Homes community where he grew up. 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 Barnes & Turner Law Firm.

Sharleen Walkoviak

VP, CFO and co-owner of Covenant Technology Services, LLC

Sharleen Walkoviak

Sharleen Walkoviak

VP, CFO and co-owner of Covenant Technology Services, LLC

Sharleen 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 the international offices of domestic clients. 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. Her competent, inspirational leadership style and years of accomplishments earned her the position of Director in 2012 and then 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. Sharleen strongly supports the mission of the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, with its dedication to youth and education. 

She also serves on the Board of Directors of Books Between Kids, a non-profit organization serving Houston’s at-risk children by providing them with books to build their own home libraries. Since 2013, BBK has distributed nearly 1.8 Million books to Houston children. Sharleen also partnered BBK and the HLSR Trailblazer Committee’s ROPES (Reading Opens the Path to Education Success) initiative, resulting in the collection of thousands of books from rodeo volunteers every year.

Besides her twenty-five years of committee work dedicated to raising HLSR scholarship dollars for the youth of Texas, she is also President of Amigas Para Niños, a non-profit providing scholarship opportunities for students needing financial aid, affiliated with HLSR or another ag or education program in Texas. Currently, she mentors 2 Amigas scholarship recipients 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, where she serves on the Audit Committee.

 A positive and warm individual, Sharleen inspires greatness with her leadership, always setting the example and encouraging others to do more.

Julie Waters

Director and Founder, Free the Captives

Julie Waters

Julie Waters

Director and Founder, Free the Captives

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. 

Melissa Wilson

Anchor and Health Reporter, Fox 26

Melissa Wilson

Melissa Wilson

Anchor and Health Reporter, Fox 26

Emmy Award-winning Melissa Wilson is an anchor for FOX 26 Morning News weekdays. Then, she loves to head out to the Texas Medical Center and throw on comfy scrubs and follow doctors and patients through procedures, as medical reporter for FOX 26. Melissa co-anchored FOX 26 News at 9 p.m. for ten years, as part of the longest running anchor team at FOX 26. Melissa made the switch to mornings in 2010, when her son began school and she needed “mom friendly” working hours. It’s a great move career-wise, as she enjoys all of the live interviews and a more relaxed format that comes with a morning news program.

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.