Workforce Solutions Greater Dallas

Board of Directors

Strong governance is important for any successful organization, and our board members ensure Workforce Solutions Greater Dallas operates in a responsible manner, and keeps a clear vision of the overall direction and strategy of the organization. Learn more about our mission and values here. We are extremely proud to have the following 29 individuals serve on our Board.

Laurie Bouillion Larrea | PresidentLaurie Bouillion Larrea

Laurie Bouillion Larrea is honored to serve as President/CEO of Workforce Solutions Greater Dallas, the Dallas County Workforce Development Board. Capping a career in employment and training spanning more than forty years, service to the Dallas workforce system has proved a rewarding commitment. Under her direction, the Board in Dallas has achieved its goal of becoming the best in employment, service to employers, adult education and childcare & all contributing to a better workforce for Dallas County. The Board is one of the largest non-profit organizations in the region with resources of $100M annually. Recent projects include partnerships with Walmart and 100K Opportunities Initiative! Laurie also serves as a Trustee of the Workforce Development Council of the US Conference of Mayors. The WDC is a premiere member organization contributing to the national dialogue, documenting best practices and defining the needs for a competitive workforce. She has testified before Congressional Committees regarding the passage of Workforce Innovation Opportunity Act (WIOA) and addressing Welfare Reform. Prior to Dallas, Ms. Larrea directed workforce systems in Houston and Southeast Texas. As a private employment and training consultant, Laurie's work included conference planning; procurement, negotiation and contract training; and planning for various councils and contractors - the Texas Department of Commerce and the U.S. Department of Labor. She is an alumnus of Lamar University in Beaumont, Laurie earned a B.S. in Psychology with emphasis in Industrial Psychology.

Wendy Lopez | AECOMWendy Lopez

Wendy Lopez is currently a vice president with AECOM, where she leads the Dallas/Fort Worth Metro operations. As DFW Metro Manager, she has 170 staff reporting to her through three offices located throughout Dallas and Fort Worth. In addition to her work responsibilities at AECOM, Wendy volunteers in areas that interest her. She served on the National Women's Business Advisory Council, a non-partisan advisory council created to serve as an independent source of advice and policy recommendation to the President of the United States, Congress, and the SBA on economic issues of importance to women business owners. Wendy was a board member of the North Texas Super Bowl XLV Host Committee and the 2014 Conference of Mayors Host Committee. She has been honored locally and nationally for her commitment to entrepreneurialism, math and science education, and community service.

Cathy Kusaka Fraser | Tenet Healthcare Corp.Cathy Kusaka Fraser

Cathy Fraser, Senior Vice President of Tenet Healthcare Corporation, provides operational oversight and strategic direction for the company's human resources organization. Fraser oversees all areas of talent management, retention, recruitment and organizational effectiveness. Fraser serves on the Company's executive management team and reports directly to Trevor Fetter, Tenet's President and Chief Executive Officer.

Prior to joining Tenet in 2006, Fraser served as a Management Consultant with McKinsey & Company, an international consulting firm. In that role, Fraser counseled Senior Executives at a number of large companies on organizational design, talent management and retention strategies, recruiting and related human resources topics.

Prior to her work with McKinsey, Fraser served as Vice President of Sabre Holdings, a major provider of travel product distribution and technology solutions for the travel industry from 1994 to 2000. At Sabre, her responsibilities included planning, strategy, finance and marketing. From 1991 to 1994, Fraser was a Manager and Analyst for AMR Corp., the parent corporation of American Airlines, in Fort Worth, Texas. From 1986 to 1991, she was an analyst for General Motors Acceptance Corp. in Detroit.

Fraser earned her Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration from the University of Washington in Seattle and her Master's Degree in Business Administration from the University of Michigan. She is a board director of Workforce Solutions Greater Dallas, and the JKU Foundation (a family non-profit foundation). She resides in the Dallas area with her husband and daughter. 

Julie Bugala | AT&T Julie Bugala

Julie is currently VP, Talent Management responsible for overseeing AT&T Leadership Development programs, Strategic Mentoring, Organizational Development, Organizational Performance and HR Planning.

Previously she was VP, Talent Acquisition for AT&T where she led the talent attraction and recruitment efforts for all U.S. based payroll workers. Under her leadership, her team transformed the candidate experience yielding recognition from StartWire, an online application aggregator for job seekers, who ranked AT&T first out of the top 25 responsive employers in the country, a list that includes Pepsi, Sears, JPMorgan Chase and Capital One.

Julie has also held the leadership role of Director of Executive Development where she was responsible for the design, development and execution of executive leadership development programs and curricula. She has executed programs such as Leading with Distinction inspire2innovate and developed Leading with Distinction4: The New Agenda for Growth.

Julie Bugala began her career with Ameritech in 1997 in Hoffman Estates, IL as a member of the Staffing organization responsible for the search and recruitment of all IT talent. From there, she progressed through several leadership roles within the staffing organization to eventually assume the role of Director Staffing, Technical Channels supporting the Operations organization.

In addition to her Staffing Director responsibilities, Julie was appointed as lead to represent Management Staffing through multiple mergers beginning with Legacy AT&T in 2005. Her adjunct role was responsible for setting integration strategy, creating playbooks and delivering training to ensure a smooth change management process post merger of all staffing systems, processes, policies, employees and contractors.

Julie received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Business Administration from Mundelein College Chicago. She is currently serving as Vice-Chair and Board Member for Dallas Workforce Solutions recognized nationally and locally as having the best workforce system that connects job seekers with ideal employment.

Julie's personal interests include competitive tennis, fishing and leisure golf. Her favorite leadership readings include "Powerful Conversations" and "Click" by Phil Harkins and "How the Mighty Fall" by Jim Collins. She's most proud of completing the Dallas half marathon in 2011 and 2012 and aspires to one day complete the full 26.2 mile course. Julie was born and raised in the Chicago metropolitan area and now resides in Frisco, Texas with her fiance Brian.

Kenneth Bernstein | Ernst & Young LLPKenneth Bernstein

Kenneth Bernstein is an Assurance Partner at Ernst & Young LLP and has served tax exempt, for- profit and publicly held provider care, medtech, biotech, and strategic growth organizations for more than 30 years. His clients have included a wide range of organizations over many years, including Children's Medical Center of Dallas, Scott & White, Baptist St. Anthony Healthcare System, and Touro Infirmary(New Orleans). He has participated in many tax exempt offerings, SEC registrations, and in due diligence procedures. Ken also participates in the firm's National Provider Care Industry Committee overseeing the firm's thought leadership initiatives and assisting with development of industry training. Ken serves as technical reviewer on many significant provider care audit engagements in the Southwest and other area offices. He also served in the firm's National Office overseeing the firm's health care professional development programs and participating in various firm accounting and auditing projects on matters affecting the provider care sector.

Ken is a CPA in Texas and selected other states. Ken received his BA in Economics and History from Macalester College in St. Paul, MN and his MBA from the University of Chicago. He is a Fellow in the American College of Healthcare Executives (FACHE) and Fellow in the Healthcare Financial Management Association (FHFMA). Ken is currently the President of the Dallas Theater Center and has served as Treasurer and various other board committee positions at the Theater. He was also board member of the Temple Shalom Brotherhood. Ken lives in East Dallas with his wife Barbara Clay and has two children.

Patrick J. Aulson | KaplanPatrick J. Aulson

Patrick J. Aulson is currently SVP of Human Resources for Kaplan Inc. where he leads the global Human Resources function. Pat is based in Ft Lauderdale Florida and reports to Janice Block, Chief Legal and Administrative Officer.

Pat has served in a number of senior and executive HR roles in a variety of industries including high technology, financial services, manufacturing, consumer products and higher education.

During the first part of his career Pat worked for Northeastern University and then joined Texas Instruments where he held positions in staffing, training and development, employee relations, compensation and benefits. In 1981 he joined the corporate staff of Texas Instruments where he became the Corporate Compensation Manager with worldwide responsibility for the compensation function.

After eleven years with Texas Instruments Pat became the Vice President of Human Resources for Republic Financial Services, a subsidiary of Winterthur Swiss Insurance Company. Republic's primary businesses were Property and Casualty insurance and Consumer Finance. After eight years with Republic, Pat joined AMRE Incorporated as its Vice President of Human Resources and Corporate Services. AMRE, located in Dallas was a NYSE company involved with direct marketing under the Sears, and later Century 21 Home Improvements, brand names. Next Pat joined The Associates, a financial services company now part of CitiGroup, as its head of International Human Resources. During Pat's tenure in this role the international area more than tripled in size reaching 10,000 employees.

Fulfilling a desire to both further develop his technology skills and try his hand at consulting Pat started Pivotal HR Solutions a company that provided HR Consulting Services and Desktop Software Solutions. After two years and while in the process of seeking funding for this venture Pat was recruited to join the Turner organization. After 8 years with the Turner Organization Pat joined HRsmart a Human Resources Software company as their Chief Administrative Officer. Subsequent to this role Pat started a home health company with his wife Kathy. After a launching that business and just prior to joining Kaplan, Pat was head of Corporate Development for another start-up, revelationMD, a firm that provides both software and a doctor network helping companies contain their health care costs.

Pat holds an MBA from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas and a Bachelors of Science from Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts. He was granted membership in Beta Gamma Sigma, the National Business Honor Society for his graduate work.

Pat and his wife, Kathy, have five grown children and reside in Deerfield Beach, FL.

Gilbert Gerst | Bank of TexasGilbert Gerst

Gilbert Gerst, Senior Vice President, Manager of Community Development Banking for BOK Financial (BOKF). BOKF is a $40 billion full service banking organization with branches serving Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, and Arkansas. In Texas, BOK Financial operates under the brand, Bank of Texas. Gilbert is a career banker and has been in the financial services industry for over 30 years. Gilbert joined BOKF in June 2011 after 25+ years with JPMorgan Chase. He has corporate wide responsibility for the bank's community development lending and investment activities and is a key partner in the bank's CRA compliance and examination process. An accountant by trade, Gilbert has spent the majority of his banking career positively impacting low to moderate income individuals and communities.

Gilbert holds a Bachelors of Science from The University of North Texas and a Master's Degree in Commercial Real Estate from the University of Texas at Arlington. He is actively involved in the community and currently serves on multiple boards and committees including Dallas Area Habitat for Humanity, Board Chairman of the Dallas Black Dance Theater, Tulsa Economic Development Corporation, The Affordable Housing Investors Council (AHIC) and the Dallas Development Fund, a NMTC Community Development Entity.

Other board membership and participation includes the AT&T Performing Arts Center; Workforce Solutions Greater Dallas; the Real Estate Council Community Loan Fund; Treasurer, University of North Texas Black Alumni Network; Trustee and Vice Chairman of the Board of Deacons at New Birth Baptist Church, and the State Fair of Texas.

Irma Allen | Health and Human Services CommissionIrma Allen

With over 30 years experience with Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC), Irma has worked in various positions providing assistance to individuals receiving public assistance. Currently, she is the Lead Program Manager for HHSC directly managing six program managers and indirectly managing 32 supervisors in Region 03 field offices and hospitals. She selects staff, manages and develops staff through conferences, mentoring, and training. Irma plans and coordinates/monitors effective and quality customer services. This monitoring ensures effective and efficient program operations. She interprest policies and procedures, rules, regulations, and standards to staff, as appropriate. Irma has developed an excellent working relationship not only with staff in her program area, but with external agencies. In this position, Irma regularly handles complex personnel issues. Irma has extensive experience hiring staff. For a period of time, Irma was given the responsibility of hiring staff for the entire region. I was responsible for the posting of positions, screening of applicants, interviewing and selection of staff for OES/Texas Works in Region 03.

Leslie Boyd | Dallas ISDLeslie Boyd

Leslie currently serves as the Director of Adult Education and Workforce Literacy at the Dallas Independent School District. She has worked in adult education and higher education for over 15 years in multiple positions including administration of grant funded adult education programs, student activities, student services, admissions, advising, financial aid, and as a management/marketing/general business faculty member since 2001. Prior to her employment with the Dallas Independent School District, Leslie served as the Director of Adult Basic Education at Region 16 Education Service Center in Amarillo, TX. With these two diverse programs, Leslie brings experience from large and small, rural and urban, paid and volunteer, and abundantly funded and limited funded grant programs.

Leslie holds a bachelor's degree in Criminal Justice/Public Administration from West Texas A&M University and a master's degree in Management-Human Resources/Marketing from Wayland Baptist University. Leslie has a daughter who is a sophomore at Dallas Baptist University and a son who is an incoming freshman at the University of Oklahoma.

Rebecca Acuña | AT&T Assistant Vice President of CommunicationsRebecca Acuna

Rebecca Acuña is an Assistant Vice President of Communications for AT&T, focusing on Corporate Sustainability & Responsibility. She previously worked as a Director of Government Affairs for PepsiCo where she represented the global portfolio before public policy makers in seven states and the commonwealth of Puerto Rico. Prior to joining PepsiCo, she was the Executive Director of the Latino Center for Leadership Development, an organization that develops a diverse pipeline of policymakers and thought-leaders. A veteran of the Texas State capitol, Rebecca served as a Chief of Staff and Communications Director for three members of the Texas House of Representatives and one Member of Congress. Rebecca is the Board Chair for the Childcare Group of Dallas, and serves on the Board for the Workforce Solutions of Greater Dallas. She holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Texas at Austin.

Kerry McGeath | Desoto Public LibraryKerry McGeath

Kerry McGeath joined the Desoto Public Library in March 2014 as the Managing Director.

Kerry worked as a retailer for 25 years including as a general manager of stores for bookstore/cafes at DFW and Denver International Airports, and corporate Buyer for several national chains. He received his Masters In Library Science from Indiana University in 1989 but did not work in the library field until 1999. Initially he worked in all different aspects of libraries in varying communities to learn the business for four years before being named City Librarian for the City of Southlake, Texas.

Kerry has been President of the Texas Municipal Library Directors Association, an affiliate of the Texas Municipal League (TML), and President of the Public Library Administrators of North Texas. He was named 2009 Texas Librarian of the year by the Texas Library Association, and was nominated to run for President of that organization in 2014. He brings a business and retail sensibility focused on keeping costs down, developing an efficient and productive staff focused on providing superior customer service, and being out in the community developing partnerships that benefit the library as well as making the library an indispensable part of the fabric of DeSoto.

Cristina Criado | Criado and AssociatesCristina Criado

Cristina Criado is the President/CEO and founded Criado & Associates in 2001. Her experience consists of design and management of municipal projects, roadway and freeway projects, interchanges, hike and bike trails and land development projects. Her project experience includes coordination and management among all different disciplines required to complete any project from start to finish, including designs for grading, paving, water and sanitary sewer systems, storm sewer systems, horizontal and vertical geometric alignments and hydraulic analyses, cost estimating, preparation of boundary surveys, plats, and site inspection. As the founder, President and CEO, she has been involved in a number of key assignments and ensures client satisfaction and quality performance on every project.

Gabriella Draney | Tech WildcattersGabriella Draney

Gabriella Draney is Cofounder and Managing Partner of Tech Wildcatters. Most recently she was with HP Growth Partners, an early stage venture fund in Dallas. She co-founded an aircraft scheduling software company in 1998 that ended in a profitable exit. She went on to work for Morgan Stanley in private wealth management. True to her entrepreneurial roots, she left to follow her passion for nutrition by opening a specialty foods retail store, and simultaneously spent three years consulting with numerous Dallas-based startups on strategic planning and finance. Ms. Draney received her MBA in Strategy & Entrepreneurship from Southern Methodist University as a Cox Distinguished Merit Scholar, during which she interned for Silver Creek Ventures. She graduated Magna Cum Laude from the University of North Texas with a BBA in Finance.

Rolinda Duran | Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services (DARS)Rolinda Duran

Rolinda Duran is a Field Director at the Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services (DARS). She has over twenty years experience working with persons with disabilities, assisting with advocacy, independent living skills training, and employment services. Rolinda has coordinated workshops, seminars, and training sessions at the local, regional, and state level for persons with disabilities, school district personnel, and vocational rehabilitation professionals. Rolinda manages an office of 45 staff with responsibilities for direct supervision including hiring, performance appraisals, and compliance with HR policies, and ensures that the agency's mission is carried out.

Angela Farley | Dallas Regional ChamberAngela Farley

Angela Farley is the Chief Financial Officer and Chief Operating Officer for the Dallas Regional Chamber, one of the largest and most established business membership organizations in the nation, representing more than 1,100 companies and more than 500,000 employees. Ms. Farley leads the financial and operational efforts across the DRC's strategic pillars of economic development, talent attraction, education and workforce, as well as the pro-growth public policy agenda that supports these areas. Before being named as CFO and COO in January 2018, for five years Ms. Farley was the DRC's Senior Vice President of Education and Workforce, where she led the DRC's efforts to grow and develop the region's existing talent and workforce. In this role, she was responsible for connecting business members with education programs, legislative efforts, and partnerships to support regional educational improvements and workforce readiness from Pre-K through Higher Education. Before joining the DRC in 2012, Ms. Farley was the CFO of Command and Control Environments in Grapevine, Texas. Earlier in her career, she worked as a Certified Management Accountant and consulted for several national firms, including Haynes and Boone LLP, serving clients in highly regulated industries with a specialty focus on government contracts and accounting investigations. Ms. Farley was chosen by Governor Abbott in 2018 to represent the state of Texas at The White House Summit on State-Federal STEM Education, led by The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. She also serves on a number of boards and councils, including as Governor Abbott's appointee to the Pathways to Technology Advisory Council, the Dallas County Workforce Board, The EducateDallas PAC Board, the Texas Student Success Council, and the Junior League of Dallas' Advisory Board. She is also a member of the Executive Women's Roundtable. Ms. Farley and her husband, Travis, live in Dallas and have two grown children.

Susan Hoff | United Way of Metropolitan DallasSusan Hoff

Susan Hoff is a native of Midland, Texas. She earned a degree in bilingual/bicultural education from Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colorado and completed graduate work in early childhood education at the University of Texas of the Permian Basin and post graduate work in public administration and policy analysis at the University of Texas at Dallas. In early 2009 she joined United Way of Metropolitan Dallas where she currently serves as Senior Vice President of Community Impact.

Prior to joining the United Way of Metropolitan Dallas team in 2009, Susan was the CEO and President of ChildCareGroup, a Dallas based non-profit organization dedicated to promoting, delivering and expanding the best child care services available outside the home. She worked in several other nonprofit organizations including Educational First Steps, Good Shepherd Community Center, and Rainbow Days.

Mark King | Micropac Industries, Inc.Mark King

Mark has 30 years senior management experience in design, development, manufacturing, and business development serving the advanced electronics industry, including 22 years with Texas Instruments, Inc. and later Raytheon through acquisition. Prior to his current position, he was President and COO of Lucas-Benning Power Electronics, Inc. Mark holds a Bachelor's degree in Engineering and a Master's degree in Business Administration.

Mark is the recipient of many awards, including several outstanding technical achievement awards at Texas Instruments for his work in advanced technology for classified applications. He has participated in lobbying efforts in Washington, D.C. for technology policy and development, and has served on many panels in the Defense community. His business experience includes an emphasis on strategic development and business process improvements.

Mark's Board experience includes:

  • Chairman of the Board, Micropac Industries, Inc. (MPAD) Active
  • Board Director, Baylor Medical Hospital-Garland Active
  • Board Director, Garland Chamber of Commerce Active
  • Board Director, Workforce Solutions Greater Dallas Active
  • Board Director, Saint Vincent de Paul Society-Dallas Active
  • Board Director, Garland Summer Musicals Active
  • Board Committee/Member, CEO Roundtable, TechAmerica Active
  • Chairman-Industrial Advisory Board, IMAP Society 2007-2010
  • Chairman, Dallas County Manufacturing Association 2007-2009
  • Chairman of the Board, Garland Chamber of Commerce 2009


Mark and his wife Patti are from West Virginia. They moved to Texas in 1978, and have lived in various locations including Washington, D.C. and Dayton, Ohio. They have two children, Mark, Jr. and Mary Beth.

Jay Klingelhoffer | Texas Workforce CommissionJay Klingelhoffer

Jay has been with the state of Texas since the mid-70's. Working for the Texas Workforce Commission and it's predecessor agency, The Texas Employment Commission, he has made his way from a frontline employer interviewer, into positions of Senior Management both in the Region and across the state. Jay is currently a manager for the DFW Regional Tele-Center capping a career that included a year as the Deputy Director of the TWC Workforce Division. He received his Bachelors Degree at Indiana University.

Leonor Marquez | Los Barrios Unidos Community ClinicLeonor Marquez

Accomplished healthcare administrator with 25 years experience in healthcare management and program development. Oversees $13 million non-profit healthcare organization. With a staff of 140, provides health care to 23,000 patients through 70,000 visits. Design and implement policies and procedures to maximize effectiveness and efficiency. Prior to joining Los Barrios Unidos Community Clinic, Leonor was employed at Parkland Health & Hospital System as the Site Administrator. She was responsible for the Youth & Family Health Center and the Homeless Outreach Medical Services.

Leonor has a Masters Degree in Business Administration from the University of Texas at San Antonio, a Masters Degree in Social Work from Our Lady of the Lake University, and a Bachelors Degree in Social Work from Arizona State University. She volunteers at the Texas Association of Community Health Centers, American Diabetes Association of North Texas, DFW Area Health Education Center and Anita N. Martinez Ballet Folklorico.

Elaine Lantz | Dallas AFL-CIOElaine Lantz

Currently, Elaine is the Union organizer for NOLSW/UAW Local 2320. Elaine negotiates union Collective Bargaining Agreements, processes grievances, conducts arbitration, trains union officers and members, and organizes new bargaining units. Elaine was previously employed at the US Postal Service as a clerk from 1997 – 2000. She organized, prepared and maintained records of various classes of mail, leave and FMLA usage, track productivity records and prepared graphs and presentations of records. Elaine has her Bachelor of Arts in Sociology with a minor in Education; she also has an Associate Degree in Spanish from Pace University.

Dr. Joe May, Ed.D. | Chancellor Dallas CollegeDr. Joe May, Ed.D.

Selected as the seventh chancellor Dallas College, Dr. Joe May assumed his duties leading the seven-campus, 165,000-student system in late February 2014. Throughout his career, May has expanded opportunities for students who want to pursue a bachelor's degree by starting at a community college. At the same time, he brings a strong commitment to improve the Dallas economy by helping to grow middle-class jobs. He is known both nationally and internationally as a result of his relentless advocacy of the role of community colleges in solving today's most challenging social issues.

As the first member of his family to attend college, the chancellor realized the profound impact that higher education had not only on his life but also on society in general. This background inspired May to help start and then become the founding president of Rebuilding America's Middle Class (RAMC), a national consortium of community colleges which is dedicated to ensuring that everyone has the opportunity to pursue the "American dream."

As a community leader and educator, May strongly believes in achieving academic excellence and has worked closely with public school districts, sponsored charter schools, career academies and early college programs. May was instrumental in expanding Early College High Schools in North Texas and in bringing Pathways to Technology (P-Tech) high schools to Texas.

May previously served as president of the Louisiana Community and Technical College System; president for the Colorado Community College System and president of Pueblo Community College before he accepted the system's CEO position. Respected throughout the world, May has provided consulting services to new community college initiatives in Japan, the United Kingdom, Russia and Saudi Arabia. He also served in leadership roles at Sul Ross State University in Alpine, Texas; Navarro College in Corsicana, Texas and Vernon College in Vernon, Texas.

A native of East Texas, May earned his Doctorate in Education from Texas A&M-Commerce. He also holds Master of Education and Bachelor of Science degrees from Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches, Texas.

May has been married for over 45 years to his wife, Jeanne. They have two children and three grandchildren.

Dr. May started his higher education career in 1978 as an adjunct faculty member at Cedar Valley College in the Dallas County Community College District (now Dallas College). Those initial experiences were the foundation for his strong belief that the role of community colleges is the solution for the greatest challenges facing individuals, employers and communities.

Dr. Michael McFarland | Lancaster ISDDr. Michael McFarland

Dr. Michael D. McFarland was named Superintendent of Lancaster ISD in May of 2010 and is entering his third year. He is an outstanding, energetic, dynamic leader with a proven track record of transforming educational organizations into high-performing institutions. He is an innovative leader who is currently leading the successful transformation of Lancaster ISD. Lancaster ISD is one of the largest predominately African American school districts in the state, with more than 85% African American students, and more than 87% of students receiving free or reduced lunch services. In spite of very challenging circumstances, the student performance over the last few years has consistently increased and acceleration toward the elimination of the achievement gap is ongoing.

McFarland came to Lancaster ISD from Champaign, Illinois where he served as Assistant Superintendent of Achievement for Champaign Unit 4 Public Schools. While serving in Champaign, McFarland led the development of a high school restructuring model that was adopted by the Illinois Board of Education as a model for transformation of low-performing secondary schools throughout the state.

Prior to serving in Illinois, McFarland served as principal of John Tyler High School in Tyler, Texas. When McFarland arrived at John Tyler, the school was low performing, academically unacceptable, and plagued with many challenges. Under McFarland's leadership, the school transformed into a high-performing high school that was recognized by the College Board with the 2006 National Inspiration Award.

McFarland is a native of Jasper, Texas and began his educational career in 1993 as an algebra teacher. He has a Bachelor Degree of Business Administration from Baylor University, his Master Degree of Education and superintendent's certi?cate from Stephen F. Austin University and his Doctorate Degree from Baylor University.

Bill O'Dwyer | MIINC MechanicalBill O'Dwyer

Bill O'Dwyer has thirty-two years in the mechanical contracting field. His capabilities to plan, administrate, and coordinate business development with regard to target markets, goals, and strategies are an asset to any company. He has come through the ranks in various roles in his career: HVAC and Plumbing estimator, Project Manager, Service Manager and Marketing Director. He began his career with The EMDE Company in 1980. In 1988 he joined Mechanical Interiors Inc. (MIINC) as marketing director and moved to Vice President of Business Development where he was promoted to President in 1999. From 2001 to 2002 he was the Executive VP of Business Development for Encompass Mechanical Services. He joined Way Engineering Ltd. in 2003 as Vice President of Business Development. Bill is a 1979 graduate of Texas A&M University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Engineering Technology, Industrial Distribution.

James Stubbs | KrogerJames Stubbs

James currently serves as Store Management for Kroger Southwest Division. He has worked with Kroger since March 2006. As the Store Manager for Kroger, James is responsible for 300 employees, manages day to day operations, drives sales and ensures clear and strategic direction for employees while offering great customer service. He is a member of the $4 million dollar sales club. Prior to his employment with Kroger, James worked at Riches as a manufacturing plant manager. He was involved in product development, productions and ensuring all orders were completed. James has also worked as an Operations Manager for the CSSD Region with Fed-Ex. He was responsible for managing 6500 employees. He managed all inbound and outbound operations at the Memphis Hub. He made sure all aircrafts inbound landed safely, with no damages to the aircraft and without delay. James was also responsible for the Washington DC flights and coverage for the LAX flight load crew (50 direct reports).

James holds a Bachelors' degree in Business Management from the University of Memphis. James attends Irving Bible Church and a member of the American Legion. He is an active mentor and strong advocate for the community involved in community service. He has a strong passion for people.

Ellen Torbert | Southwest AirlinesEllen Torbert

Since March 1987, Ellen Torbert has served Southwest Airlines as Vice President Diversity & Inclusion. In her role, Ellen provides leadership, vision, and advocacy as Southwest continues its work to foster an inclusive work environment. As part of Ellen's responsibility for Southwest's diversity and inclusion efforts, she provides coordination and leadership to our supplier diversity, diversity recruiting, and training efforts. Ellen also works with the Corporate Diversity Council on other "Matter of Respect" initiatives and awareness efforts.

Ellen has previously held the position of Reservations Sales Agent, Reservations Supervisor, Reservations Assistant Manager, Manager Reservations Training, Director Reservations Training, and Vice President Customer Support & Services for Southwest Airlines.

Lee Ann Valerio | Region 10 Education Service CenterLee Ann Valerio

Lee Ann joined Region 10 in March 2012 as a Consultant for Curriculum and Assessment Products for the Dallas Region. She provides training and services to approximately 85 districts, and oversees and develops new Bilingual/Dual language/ESL curriculum products, and consults with districts and schools in the implement of CSCOPE curriculum. Prior to working with Region 10, Lee Ann has worked with Keller ISD as a bilingual academic support specialist, and ESL specialist. Lee Ann has worked with Lamar Elementary School in El Paso, Texas as a campus staff development an d instructional site specialist. Ms. Valerio has received her M.Ed in Administration from the University of Texas at El Paso.

Ms. Valerio holds the following certifications: Texas Principal Certificate K-12, Elementary Self Contained 1-8, English as a Second Language Certificate K-12, Instructional Leadership Certificate, Professional Development and Appraisal System Certificate, Generalist EC-4, Bilingual Generalist EC-4, Bilingual Supplemental 4-8, Special Education EC-12, and Gifted and Talented EC-12.

Terry Richardson | KPMGTerry Richardson

Terry is the partner in charge of the Compensation and Benefits (CAB) practice for the West region with more than 23 years of business experience providing compensation and benefits consulting assistance to Fortune 1000 companies and privately held companies in all the tax aspects of employee benefit plans and arrangements, specializing in executive compensation. Terry was previously a partner at another Big 4 firm prior to rejoining KPMG in August 2016.

Terry has extensive knowledge serving as an external tax compliance consultant for public and private companies across various industries as well as not-for-profit entities. Terry spends significant time focusing on equity compensation, deferred compensation and golden parachutes. Outside of the executive compensation area, Terry has extensive experience in employee benefits in captive insurance, 401(a) and 403(b) retirement plans, and fringe benefits.

Terry is a frequent speaker at many trade organizations as well at many local and regional business organizations regarding compensation and benefits issues. Terry has spoken at national business organization meetings on the topic of employee benefits and captive insurance. Terry has written several articles about IRS and DOL compliance issues and has frequently contributed an annual update to The Tax Advisor on employee benefit issues.

Mark York | Dallas AFL-CIO Central Labor CouncilMark York

As the newly re-elected Executive Secretary-Treasurer of the Dallas AFL-CIO Central Labor Council representing 55,000 union members in Dallas County and two term Democratic Party Chair of Wise County, also former Wise County Grand Jury Commissioner. I have held multiple elected positions during the last 25 years of Union membership at TWU Local 513, including Shop Steward and Executive Board and currently serve as Strike Committee Co-Chair. I co-founded the Recreation Committee, the Bereavement Committee and the Strike Committee at Local 513.

Niki Shah Niki Shah

Baylor Scott & White Health
Corporate Vice President of Care Redesign & Equitable Care and
Vice President of Digital Health


Baylor Scott & White Health (January 2016-Present) Dallas, TX

  • Responsible for financial, quality and operational success of 37 Medicaid 1115 Waiver Projects valued at $121 million
  • Responsible for strategy, infrastructure, innovation, outcomes and sustainability development of enterprise Equity strategy
  • Developed strategic and operational frameworks for community partnership development and utilization of technology in underserved populations
  • Led development of clinical and financial analytics and outcomes strategy
  • Implemented texting platform for underserved patients across enterprise
  • Developed five rapid cycle community based pilots with structured outcomes
  • Created enterprise Paramedicine Committee and structure
  • Responsible for enterprise implementation of all Digital Health technology initiatives

University of Michigan Ann Arbor, MI

Master of Health Services Administration, 2010
Master of Business Administration, 2010
Bachelor of Arts in Economics and Political Science, 2004
Community Health Worker Certification, Projected March 2017

Kevin Faulkner | Texas Workforce CommissionKevin Faulkner

Kevin Faulkner has been employed with the Texas Workforce Commission for 20 years. He supervises the technical assistance team for the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), Wagner-Peyser Employment Services, and Trade Adjustment Assistance and has served in that capacity for over 3 years. Kevin began his career with the state in 1991 working for the State Job Training Coordinating Council, which later became the Texas Council on Workforce & Economic Competitiveness. In 1995, Kevin accepted a position at the Texas Employment Commission working in the Job Services Operation department. The Texas Legislature passed legislation during the 74th Regular Session that combined multiple employment and training programs from a number of agencies including the Texas Employment Commission to create the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC). In the early days of TWC, Kevin worked as the executive assistant to the Director of the Workforce Development Division. Later he joined the Workforce Investment Act (WIA) technical assistance team as a program specialist. Since that time, the technical assistance team has expanded to include additional programs. Kevin has also been very involved in several of TWC's Rapid Process Improvement projects and has worked closely with Subrecipient Monitoring to improve technical assistance to the local workforce boards.

Jim KrauseJim Krause

After graduating from The University of Texas in Austin in 1974, Jim began his career with the world's largest marketer, Proctor & Gamble, in field advertising management. Subsequently, he joined Bozell & Jacobs (now TM Advertising) as an account director on several retail and packaged goods accounts.

In 1979 Jim founded Krause Advertising. The agency has been named "Best Small Creative Shop in the Southwest" by Adweek magazine and has been honored in numerous awards shows.

Jim was selected by the Dallas Business Journal for inclusion in their "Forty Under Forty", a feature on young business entrepreneurs making an impact in their field. He has judged numerous advertising awards shows and is a frequent guest lecturer at his alma mater.

Jim is actively involved in the community, and has served as a board member and president of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, as well as a board member of Goodwill Industries and The Anti-Defamation League. He currently serves on the Board of Advisors for the Texas Program in Sports and Media in the Moody College of Communication at The University of Texas in Austin.

Through his involvement in charitable causes, Jim is proud to have worked with The North Texas Food Bank, The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, The Family Place, The Vogel Alcove, DIFFA, Goodwill, St. Phillips School, The Senior Source and Jubilee Park.

Jim and his wife Candace have two boys ages 30 and 27.

Holly CrowderHolly Crowder

Holly focuses on finding the right people to help with Beck's continued growth and making sure our people are trained and ready for the challenges of tomorrow. She leads a skilled team charged with recruiting, training and caring for the people of Beck. Holly had a self-described "crazy career path" to her current role. Starting in the field as an estimator, she's been involved with nearly every aspect of delivering projects including as a project manager and superintendent. Ultimately her passion to help people learn brought her to our corporate office, where she led Beck University for many years. It's this unique background that makes her a trusted member of our leadership team. I think my time in the trenches gives me an understanding of what it takes to get the job done. I know how hard the job can be at times and I know ways that we need to adjust to help our people be more successful. Holly's a graduate of Leadership Dallas and stays active with Dallas ATD and SHRM. While her life stays very busy outside the office ferrying her daughters to a host of activities, Holly makes sure to spend time enjoying the outdoors or curled up with a good book.

Carter HolstonCarter Holston

Carter Holston is the Director of Real Estate for NEC Corporation of America. NEC is located in Irving Texas where Carter oversees and manages their real estate operations in the US. He was recently responsible for all areas of the NEC US headquarters relocation in Irving. During the relocation he was responsible for the site selection, lease negotiation, design, construction management and budgetary control of this project. He has managed the real estate of NEC for 17 years including commercial and warehousing properties totaling in excess of 1.5 million square feet located in 16 states. Prior to NEC he was employed at EDS, Trammell Crow and AccuBanc Mortgage Corporation.

Carter currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Texas Association of Business ( He is the Chairman of the Economic Development Committee. The Texas Association of Business is the statewide chamber of commerce and is responsible for advocating for business in Texas. He serves on the Board of Directors for the Catch Up and Read Organization ( which provides after school tutoring for DISD students focusing on improving reading skills at the grade school level. He is a member of the Irving Las Colinas Chamber of Commerce where he has served as the Chairman of the Board of Directors, Chairman of the Economic Development Committee and Chairman -Technology Leadership Council. He has provided Economic Development consultation to the City Manager and CFO of the City of Irving. He also served on the Irving ISD Superintendent's Business advisory council. He oversees the Community Relations for NEC foundation which supports Irma Rangel Young Leadership School, Irving Family Advocacy Center, Dallas Heart Association, Herbert Marcus Elementary, Irving Cares and Habitat for Humanity.

Jason J. OliverJason Oliver

Vice President, Talent Acquisition at AT&T, Dallas/Fort Worth
Kennesaw State University - Michael J. Coles College of Business

Jason has 16 years of experience in the telecommunications industry and began his career with AT&T Wireless in 2000 as a recruiting coordinator supporting the Mobile Multimedia Services Organization in Seattle, WA.

Since then he has held a series of diverse strategic and tactical roles across human resources function. Past roles include Assistant Vice President of International Compensation-Benefits & Expat Services, Executive Director of HR supporting the Big Data, Chief Technology and Global Connects Organizations, Talent Attraction Manager for the Staffing Organization, HR Business Partner for the Retail Sales & Services Markets, Regional HR Operations leader for the Southeast Retail Sales & Services Region and Corporate HR Director supporting Mobility Operations.

Jason holds a Bachelor of Art in Business Management from Seattle University and a Masters of Business Administration from the Michael J. Coles School of Business at Kennesaw State University.

Jason has a strong commitment to family, community and personal development. He's the proud father of two young children. His hobbies include playing sports, home improvement projects and any activities that allow him to enjoy the company of family and friends.

Lewis Fulbright | Political Director AFL-CIOLewis Fulbright

Lewis Fulbright, AFL-CIO Political Director, began the position In August 2016. He retired from the US Postal Service in 2009. He served in the US Army in 1968.

Dr. Michael Hinojosa | DISD SuperintendentDr. Michael Hinojosa

Dr. Michael Hinojosa returned to Dallas ISD when he was named by the board of trustees to serve as superintendent in October 2015. Dr. Hinojosa has served 20 years as a superintendent/CEO of six public education systems, including two of the 25 largest school systems in America, Dallas ISD in Texas and the Cobb County School District in suburban Atlanta, Georgia. His career in public education, from teacher and coach to superintendent/CEO, spans more than three decades.

With a firm belief that education and not environment is the key to a student's success, he has led several school districts to improved student achievement. Dr. Hinojosa's recognitions include being named 2002 Superintendent of the Year by the Texas Association of School Boards and 2005 Superintendent of the Year by the University of Texas at Austin. He was honored as Distinguished Alumnus by the College of Education at Texas Tech University and as the Outstanding Latino Educator by the Association of Latino Administrators and Superintendents in 2014. He is a past president of the Texas Association of School Administrators. He has served as an educational consultant for various organizations that support public education, including as a master teacher and coach for the American Association of School Administrators and the Association of Latino Administrators and Superintendents.

Dr. Hinojosa, a proud graduate of Dallas Independent School District, holds a doctorate in education from the University of Texas at Austin. He and wife Kitty have two sons, graduates of Princeton University and Harvard University. He has a son from a previous marriage who graduated from Texas Tech University. All three attended Dallas ISD for a significant portion of their K-12 careers.

Robert Mong | President University of North Texas at DallasRobert Mong

University of North Texas at Dallas President Robert "Bob" Mong is leading UNTD's efforts to help students blaze a pathway toward social mobility. Named the third president of UNT Dallas in 2015, the University has achieved record enrollment numbers under Mong, as it transforms into a residential campus and deepens its role as a community-changing force in South Dallas and beyond.

Perched on a hilltop, overlooking the Downtown Dallas skyline, UNTD is the only public, accredited 4-year university in the City of Dallas. Serving a city and region that is the fastest-growing job market in America outside of New York is a huge responsibility, but UNT Dallas and its President dream big and the University hasn't backed down from a challenge since its establishment in 2010.

Under Mong, who previously served as Editor in Chief of the Dallas Morning News, the University has set lofty strategic goals for growth, fundraising and community involvement in a traditionally underserved area. UNTD has a diverse student population (41% Hispanic, 35% African-American, and 17% white) and offers its students the opportunity to earn bachelor's degrees and master's degrees, as well as a juris doctor degree from its Downtown Dallas law school.

A 1971 graduate of Haverford College in Pennsylvania, he attended on a Scott Paper Company scholarship. He received the Archibald Macintosh Award for scholarship, integrity and academic achievement. He captained both the school's football and baseball teams and his .357 batting average ranks 10th all-time at Haverford.

Mong attended Stanford University's Executive Program in the Graduate School of Business. He is married to former Los Angeles Times reporter Diane Reischel, and they have two adult children Eric, who attends medical school, and Elizabeth, a divinity school student.

Michelle Thomas | Vice President, Global Philanthropy Corporate Responsibility JPMorgan ChaseMichelle Thomas

Michelle Thomas joined JPMorgan Chase in 2000. She is vice president of Corporate Responsibility and Community Relations for JPMorgan Chase and responsible for managing a multi-million dollar corporate giving budget for the Dallas-Fort Worth and Oklahoma region. Michelle is also responsible for implementing the firm's strategic approach to philanthropy, which is multifaceted and aims to address community needs in the local market. She serves on the Dallas Market Leadership Team and represents the firm at community events.

Michelle has been in the financial industry for more than 25 years as a banker, human resource and community development professional. A Dallas native, Michelle earned a Bachelor of Science in Business Education from the University of Oklahoma and a MBA from Dallas Baptist University. In addition, she received her teaching certification from the State of Texas and Oklahoma.

She is personally committed to the community through her many volunteer roles, including Advisory Board of the Center for Nonprofit Management, Junior League of Dallas and the Kipp DFW Council, Board of Director for the African American Museum, Dallas Summit, Methodist Health Foundation and UT Southwestern Medical Foundation. She is an alumnus of Leadership Dallas and a member of Dallas Assembly and Dallas Summit. Michelle was recently recognized as a 2014 Minority Business Leader in the Dallas Business Journal and the recipient of the 2015 Business and Civic Leader award by the Dallas Black Dance Theater and the 2015 Income Award by United Way of Metropolitan Dallas. Under Michelle's leadership, JPMorgan Chase received Outstanding Corporation of the Year by the Association of Fundraising Professionals in 2015. Being a catalyst for meaningful, positive, and sustainable change within high need neighborhoods and communities across the globe is important to JPMorgan Chase and to Michelle as a champion of the firm's commitment to corporate responsibility.

Chase and J.P. Morgan are affiliates of JPMorgan Chase & Co., which employs more than 26,000 Texans. The firm employs more than 12,500 people in North Texas, making it one of the 10 largest employers in North Texas.

Alan Cohen | Child Poverty Action Lab | President and CEOAlan Cohen

Alan Cohen is the President & CEO of the Child Poverty Action Lab (CPAL). He is a seasoned executive leader with demonstrated experience supporting low-income children by applying business strategies and entrepreneurial spirit to complex problems faced by government, private, and non-profit organizations.

Best known for his work at the Dallas Independent School District (DISD), Cohen is the architect of DISD's nationally recognized early childhood education strategy. Other career highlights include his role as the President & CEO of Washington State's public-private partnership for early learning, and his time as a key member of the startup team that launched Commit Partnership. He has been recognized as one of Dallas' "40 Under 40" by the Dallas Business Journal.

Cohen earned his MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, and a B.A. in Sociology from Tulane University.

Magda Hernández | Irving ISD SuperintendentMagda Hernández

A long-serving Irving ISD employee with deep ties to the community has been hired as the next leader for the Irving Independent School District. The Board of Trustees has approved the hiring of Magda Hernandez as superintendent of schools for the 33,000-student district.

I am humbled by the opportunity to lead this incredible district. I have proudly served Irving ISD for more than two decades because of our remarkable students and because it is a great community, says Superintendent Magda Hernández. I am fully committed to guiding the district with my leadership and passion for education to meet every student's highest potential, improving our engagement with families and the community and positioning Irving ISD as a premier district.

Thank you to my colleagues for the shared passion to see each student succeed. Principals, teachers, support staff, administrators' ' your zest for doing what's right by kids is contagious. It is an exciting time to continue to be a part of team Irving, now in the role of Superintendent of Schools, and I look forward to continuing excellent success for our students and staff, added Hernandez.

Hernandez was named the lone finalist for the position last month. After completing the state required 21-day waiting period on Monday, she signed a contract during a special-called board meeting Tuesday afternoon.

The three-year contract is effective immediately.

"Although we are making history today with the hiring of the first female superintendent in Irving ISD, we are hiring someone who is also dedicated to this district," says Board President Randy Randle. It was important to the board that the next leader of the district know Irving ISD, the students and the community. We are ready to hit the ground running, pairing her long tenure with the great momentum already in place.

Hernández began her career in the district 26 years ago as a bilingual aide before earning her teaching degree from Texas Woman's University. Hernandez was then a bilingual and gifted and talented teacher at Good and Townley elementary schools before promoting to assistant principal at Townley. She then moved up to the administration building where she has served as human resources staffing and recruiting coordinator, director of human resources, assistant superintendent of human resources, associate superintendent of human resources and deputy superintendent of administrative services.

Hernández also held the position of assistant superintendent of human resources in Waxahachie ISD. She graduated cum laude with a bachelor's degree and master's degree in educational administration from TWU. She holds superintendent certification from the University of North Texas. She currently serves as Region 10 Human Resources Advisory Board Member and District IV representative for the Texas Association of School Personnel Administrators (TASPA).

Shannon D. Gray | Program Manager
Texas Department of Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC)Shannon Gray

Shannon has 28 years of experience with HHSC. She is currently a Program Manager with Access and Eligibility Services for the: Dallas Blair, Dallas Cadiz, Greenville and Richardson offices. In this role, she provides effective leadership to a team of direct delivery supervisors and their staff as well as the administrative support staff. She also leads the region's morale team. Every day, she strives to inspire, guide, and enrich her team who connect Texans, with services and supports. Over the years she has managed 100's of staff members who determine the eligibility for: Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, Medicaid, and Medicaid for Elderly and People with Disabilities programs.

From 1989 to 2014, Shannon held various positions of increasing responsibility at HHSC, including clerical support for family services, investigator of quality assurance, advisor for Texas Works and program supervisor for Office of Eligibility Services.

Shannon was a dedicated fulltime employee of HHSC and also worked for the Army Air Force Exchange Service for 16 years part-time in the Exchange Credit Program Department (ECP). ECP was established by Congress in 1979 to protect service members from predatory lending. In that role, she served a customer base of 24.5 million active-duty military; retirees; National Guardsmen; Reservists; honorably discharged Veterans; authorized Public Health Service associates; authorized National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration associates; US Coast Guard members; authorized State Department associates; and Department of Defense authorized associates.

Shannon was born and raised in Dallas TX, she attended University of Phoenix where she studied Sociology.

A quote that has really motivated Shannon throughout her career comes from William Shakespeare "Be not afraid of greatness"

Kellie Teal-Guess | Executive Vice President, Chief People OfficerKellie Teal-Guess

Kellie is our Chief People Officer who brings over 30 years of industry experience working in high tech, fast growing, companies and has a strong background in HR, M&A Integration, Talent Management, Organizational Design, Change Management and HR automation. Kellie oversees all areas of Human Resources and is responsible for managing the company's most critical resources our team. In addition, she is responsible for internal Real Estate for the company.

Prior to CyrusOne, Kellie was with ProQuest LLC, an information technology company, in Ann Arbor, Michigan, where she was Senior Vice President, Global Human Resources. As the top HR Executive, she was responsible for HR Strategy, Organizational Effectiveness, Leadership Development, Global People Strategy and leading the charge across the organization on their Global Vision, Mission and Values.

Prior to ProQuest, Kellie was with Dell Corporation in Austin, where she was the Executive Director, Human Resources, supporting more than 18,000 employees in its global Services Delivery group. Over an eight-year span at Dell, Ms. Teal-Guess worked in successively more strategic and advanced roles, overseeing all core human resource operations as well as key initiatives including organizational effectiveness, acquisition integration, and talent development. Prior to Dell, she held positions in Human Resources and Operations management at Foodmaker, Inc., and Six Flags Theme Parks.

Kellie is married to James Guess and has a son who is a recent graduate from TCU and a daughter who is a recent graduate from Baylor. Kellie is a lifelong Texan, who holds MBA, MPA, and BA degrees from the University of Texas System. She also sits on the Board of KIPP DFW. Her passions are giving back to the community, travel and time with friends and family.

Richard Collins | Chairman and CEO !stationRichard Collins

Richard (Dick) H. Collins was born in Dallas and is a sixth-generation Texan. He is a former Chairman and CEO of two banks and has been active in real estate, energy, and media investments. Collins currently serves as Chairman and CEO of !station, an interactive education company with more than five million students enrolled in its network across all fifty states. He is actively involved in philanthropy, supporting many causes in the arts, in education and historic preservation. Collins has served on the board of various charitable and philanthropic organizations. He was appointed by the Governor to the Texas Historical Commission, and the Texas Board of Criminal Justice. He has two daughters and lives in Dallas, Texas.

Ken Malcolmson | President and CEO
North Dallas Chamber of CommerceKen Malcolmson

Ken has served as the President and CEO of the North Dallas Chamber of Commerce (NDCC) since June 2017. He is responsible for the oversight of all Chamber programs, operations, new member generation and communications with the Board of Directors. In addition, he leads the staff of the NDCC and the Chamber's strong public affairs presence in the Dallas area.

Prior to joining the NDCC, Ken had a lengthy career as an executive in the health insurance and benefits business with Aetna, Towers Perrin, CIGNA, Express Scripts and most recently as the West Region CEO for the Commercial Segment of Humana. Immediately before joining the Chamber, Ken served as the CEO of a health care start-up - Afferent Provider Solutions.

Ken also has a real passion for civic engagement as evidenced by his key impact roles in numerous non-profit organizations. He has served on the Boards of Directors of the YMCA of Metro Dallas, the Dallas Regional Chamber, Momentous Institute, the Dallas Breakfast Group, the Dallas Friday Group and the Friends of Katy Trail.

Ken has a B.A. in political science and government from Southern Methodist University, where he has served on the Board of Trustees, Chair of the SMU Alumni Board, and a multitude of executive and advisory Boards.

About the North Dallas Chamber of Commerce
The North Dallas Chamber of Commerce is an association of businesses and individuals who come together to promote the most favorable environment for business. We are here to make Dallas a better place to live, work, raise a family and build a business.

Dr. Stephanie Knight | Leon Simmons Dean of the
Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education
& Human DevelopmentDr. Stephanie Knight

Stephanie Knight is the Dean of the Simmons School of Education & Human Development at Southern Methodist University. Stephanie is a nationally recognized education leader, researcher and professor. Formerly the associate dean and professor of education in the College of Education at Pennsylvania State University, Stephanie assumed the role of Dean in August of 2017.

She began her education career as a classroom teacher of Spanish and French in Texas, Saudi Arabia and Pennsylvania. She received her doctorate in Curriculum and instruction at the University of Houston before beginning a 20-year tenure at Texas A&M University, where she was professor of educational psychology and teaching, learning and culture. In addition, she held the Houston Endowment, Inc. Chair in Urban Education at Texas A&M, received the University Distinguished Teaching Award and was named a University Faculty Fellow. Stephanie joined Pennsylvania State University in 2009 as professor of educational psychology, where she taught courses in educational psychology and effective learning. In 2013 she became associate dean at Penn State, leading the College of Education's undergraduate and graduate studies programs.

Her scholarly interests demonstrate a dedication to bringing the results of evidence-based research to the K-12 classroom. Her research into relationships between instructional strategies, classroom processes, learning environments and student outcomes; teacher professional development, and the use of observational techniques to study classroom processes has been published in hundreds of professional journal articles, book chapters and books and presented at numerous professional conferences.

In addition, Stephanie has directed university and national research centers, including serving as associate director of research into practice for the National Science Foundation Information Technology in Science Center for Teaching and Learning and director of evaluation and assessment for the National Center for Science and Civic Engagement in Washington, D.C. She recently concluded five years as co-editor of the Journal of Teacher Education and also served from 2004 to 2006 as co-editor of the Teaching, Learning and Human Development section of the American Educational Research Journal. She currently serves as associate editor of the Review of Educational Research.

Daniel J. Micciche | Partner Akin Gump Daniel J. Micciche

Key Experience
  • Extensive experience in tax and business planning.
  • Handles federal and state tax controversy matters.


Dan Micciche advises in business and tax planning for:

  • acquisitions
  • divestitures
  • specialized capital structure planning
  • the formation and operation of corporations, partnerships, and limited liability companies.

Dan has a long record of service within the legal community in Texas. He is a former chair of the Section of Taxation of the State Bar of Texas and was elected by the Council of Chairs of the State Bar of Texas as one of six representatives on the State Bar of Texas Board of Directors. He served on the Comptroller's Tax Advisory Group under three different Comptrollers.

Dan chaired the firm's School Partnership Program with James Fannin Elementary School in Dallas, winning the Texas State Board of Education's highest award for community partnerships. He currently serves on the Dallas office's Inclusion Council and on the firm's pro bono and retirement committees.

J.D., University of Chicago Law School, 1981
B.A., Stony Brook University, State University of New York, with highest honors, 1978

Public Service and Affiliations
Trustee, Dallas Independent School District.
Member, board of directors, American Red Cross Dallas

Named in Turnarounds & Workouts Top Bankruptcy Tax Specialists list, 2017-2018, 2020.
Honored by Advocate magazine for his work improving schools and fighting for children at the Children at Risk annual gala, 2019.
D Magazine, The Best Lawyers in Dallas, 2011 to 2020.
Chambers USA, Tax, 2003 to 2020.

Molly Belt | Dallas Examiner Molly Belt

Publisher/CEO The Dallas Examiner since 1986. She previously attended Lincoln High School, graduated in 1961 with honors, Spelman College, University of Denver, B.A. degree (Sociology major, Psychology minor), Tulane University, U.S. Department of Labor training for Employment Counselor. Molly has worked for the Texas Employment Commission, Employment Counselor, Harris County Manpower Program, Assistant Director, City of Dallas, Manager of Title VI program, U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare, Investigator, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Branch Chief, Office for Civil Rights giving her a great depth of experience to serve on the board. Her affiliations are extensive, including National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA), Texas Publishers Association (TPA), Texas Press Association, Dallas Press Association, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., NAACP Life Member, and St. Luke Community United Methodist Church.

Among her many accomplishments and recognition, Ms. Belt has received the Publisher Lifetime Achievement Award, NNPA 2020, Publisher of the Year Award, NNPA 2015, Distinguished Journalist, Dallas Press Club; Texas Hero Award, Texas NAACP; History Makers Humanitarian Award, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.

Joanne Caruso | JacobsJoanne Caruso

Joanne is EVP, Chief Legal and Administrative Officer at Jacobs, a 55,000-employee, Dallas-based firm providing consulting, technical, scientific and project delivery services to clients worldwide. In this role she leads global functions that work together to align to the overall business plan and strategic direction of the Company, specifically in the areas of Legal, Compliance and Insurance, Human Resources, HSE, Global Security and Sustainability, Enterprise Risk Management and the Sales Center of Excellence. She is also the Executive Sponsor for Prism, Jacobs’ employee network for LGBTI+ people and their allies. Prior to her current role, Joanne had the roles of SVP, Human Resources and Vice President, Global Litigation. Prior to joining Jacobs in 2012, Joanne was a partner in 2 international law firms. She was named one of the top 100 attorneys in California (2006) and was repeatedly named as one of California’s Top 75 Women Litigators. Throughout her career, she has been involved in many professional and civic organizations. Joanne is currently a member of the Economic Leadership Council of the Texas Women’s Foundation. Previously, she served on the boards of Break the Cycle, a national non-profit organization that is dedicated to ending relationship violence for young people, the Constitutional Rights Foundation, a non- profit, non-partisan, community-based organization dedicated to educating America's young people about the importance of civic participation in a democratic society and was the Vice-Chair of California’s Access to Justice Commission, a statewide Commission dedicated to exploring ways to improve access to civil justice for Californians living on low and moderate incomes. She is a graduate of Boston College and Boston College Law School. Joanne is based in Jacobs’ Dallas Texas office and relocated to Dallas in 2017 when Jacobs moved its global headquarters here.

Bessie Gray | Texas InstrumentsBessie Gray

Bessie Gray serves as Vice President and Ethics Director at Texas Instruments (TI). She began her career at TI in 1986 and has held leadership roles in various Human Resources positions across the company. She's known as a trusted confidant, adviser and partner for the more than 30,000 employees at the Dallas-based semiconductor company. Bessie has a bachelor's degree in business management, and is also an executive coach. She serves in HR and the marriage ministry at her church. Bessie is married with 2 daughters and lives in Murphy.

J. Susie Battie | AFL-CIO J. Susie Battie

J. Susie Battie (Upshaw) was born in Chicago, Illinois. She is happily married to her husband, Derrick Battie and together they are loving parents and grandparents to 6 sons, and 8 grandchildren.

Susie has been a Dallas resident for over 25 years and a Texan for over 35 by way of Houston. She is an Alumna of Southern Methodist University graduating with her Bachelor's degree in Psychology and History and Master's Degree in Liberal Studies with a concentration in Organizational Dynamics and Leadership. Graduating with honors, she is also a member of the Psi Chi Honor Society as an undergraduate and the Association of Graduate Liberal Studies Program (AGLSP) Honor Society with her Master's.

Mrs. Battie has been working in educating our youth for over 16 years and has earned the status of "Master Teacher" by the Texas Education Association and was awarded the 2019-2020 Campus Teacher of the Year for Townview School of Business Management. Over the years, she has taught at schools throughout the southern sector including Lincoln High School, Maynard Jackson Middle School, South Oak Cliff High School, Dade Middle School, and currently at Townview Magnet Center. She has taught a multitude of courses from English to most Social Studies classes including AP Macroeconomics.

Susie has been serving the South Dallas and South Oak Cliff community and the city of Dallas for over 20 years. She has worked with the District 3 Economic Development Steering Committee, Dallas Black Chambers of Commerce Economic Development Committee, member of the NAACP, curriculum developer for Southwest Coalition For A Better Dallas Youth Construction Program, member of SBDM committees in both Dallas ISD and International Leadership of Texas Lancaster Campus, serving on South Oak Cliff PTA, and partnered with the Dallas Parks & Recreation Department to help bring new green space and parks to the 75216 area code. Her and her family have given tirelessly and countless hours to the community by coordinating back-to-school events, food drives, community and park clean-ups, voter registration, working with our homeless student population, and serving on numerous community committees and organizations for a better quality of life for all residents in the southern sector of Dallas. She was featured as one of the Who's Who in Black Dallas for 2017 for her achievements and leadership in the city. Mrs. Susie Battie is proud to serve the City of Dallas.

Miquel Solis, Literacy | The Commit Partnership Miquel Solis

Since 2009, Miguel Solis has served the residents of Dallas in the areas of education, housing, and transportation. Miguel began his professional career in Dallas as a teacher and later, special assistant to the Superintendent in the Dallas Independent School District; co-founded the non-profit Latino Center for Leadership Development; and ran the urban policy think tank Coalition for a New Dallas. In 2013, Miguel was elected to the Dallas ISD Board of Trustees at the age of 27. During his tenure he has also served as the Board President and Vice-President making him the youngest person ever to hold these roles.

As Dallas ISD Trustee, Miguel's efforts included drafting and unanimously passing the district’s first early childhood education policy; a ban on out-of-school suspensions for the district’s youngest children which is now state law; a comprehensive racial equity policy and department; and helping to create the district’s revolutionary teacher excellence evaluation, support, and pay system among other initiatives. During his decade of service to the district, Dallas ISD underwent a monumental transformation which saw the number of its improvement required schools significantly reduced and its innovative concepts used as models for other districts across Texas and the nation.

Currently, Miguel serves as a Special Projects Consultant for The Commit Partnership. He conducts a national, state and local landscape analysis of school district professional development, recruitment opportunity racial equity policies and programming. He spearheads the design thinking process leading to the removal of discretionary in-school and out of school suspensions for DISD. Miguel serves as the program manager of professional learning for the Texas Urban Council consisting of ten of the largest school districts in Texas (Houston, Dallas, Austin, Fort Worth, Aldine, and San Antonio ISDs). He also manages the creation of a regional tutoring support infrastructure to support Dallas County school districts with post-COVID19 academic recovery.

Miguel graduated from Lamar University with a Bachelor of Arts in History and Harvard University with a Master of Education in Education Policy and Management.

Taura Collier | Eligibility Operations Program Manager, HHSC Taura Collier

Taura is currently the Eligibility Operations Program Manager for Texas Works with the Access and Eligibility department at HHSC. In this role, she and her team provide a structured and intentional approach to the eligibility process, and offer tools to help staff determine eligibility effectively, with the goal of optimizing positive performance, and increasing accuracy during the eligibility determination process.

Previously, she began her career with the State in the DADS department at HHSC (currently known as CCSE) as an Intake Screener, and later became a Texas Works Hospital Based Worker where she determined eligibility for State and federally funded benefits at various HHSC contracted hospitals. She later entered into management, where she served as a Texas Works Field Office Advisor III and Unit Supervisor for several offices. Taura has participated in various HHSC pilot programs across the Region.

Taura attended college at Stephen F. Austin State University where she studied Political Science, and currently attends Western Governor’s University Academy where she’s currently studying to get her 4-year degree in Business Administration Management.

Taura currently lives in Dallas with her husband and enjoys spending time with family and friends. Taura has a passion for influencing and developing future leaders and hopes to start her own business someday, where she can help others reach their full potential in accomplishing their career goals.

Courtney Arbour
Director, Workforce Development Division
Texas Workforce Commission Courtney Arbour

Courtney Arbour is the Director of the Texas Workforce Commission’s (TWC) Workforce Development Division where she oversees an integrated workforce development system that provides oversight, coordination, guidance, planning, technical assistance, and implementation of employment and training activities, with a focus on meeting the needs of employers and job seekers in Texas.

In her role as Director, Courtney provides oversight and support for more than 500 million dollars in workforce programs and initiatives, which are primarily administered by 28 Local Workforce Development Boards, through 180+ American Job Centers in the state. This integrated model includes Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, Reemployment Services and Eligibility Assessment, CHOICES Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Employment and Training, Wagner-Peyser Employment Services, Trade Adjustment Assistance and Rapid Response programs. In addition, Courtney directs the administration of many state operated programs to include Adult Education and Literacy, Apprenticeship and Texas Veterans Leadership program as well as a number of specific statewide initiatives.

Diane Gomez-Thinnes | Ella Executive LLC Owner and President Diane Gomez-Thinnes

Diane Gomez-Thinnes is the owner and President of Ella Executive, LLC through which she provides advisory services in the MedTech sector. She serves as Operating Advisor with Revival Healthcare Capital, a TX-based private equity firm specializing in the medical device and diagnostic sectors of healthcare and serves as the Executive Strategic Advisor to InSoma Biotech, an early-stage start-up.

Diane recently served as Chief Commercial Officer for Better Therapeutics, commercializing the first FDA-authorized prescription digital therapeutic for Type II Diabetes. Previously, Diane served as President of Galderma leading the transformation of the company into a standalone premium pure play dermatology enterprise relocating its U.S. Headquarters to Dallas, TX. Diane spent nearly two decades at Johnson & Johnson, ascending through strategic and commercial roles in its MedTech sector and served as Worldwide President of Mentor, one of its medical devices companies with manufacturing in Irving, TX.

Diane serves on the Boards for Workforce Solutions Greater Dallas, Association of Latino Princeton Alumni, Preston Hollow YMSL, DFW chapter of the Kellogg Network of Texas, and Princeton Club of Dallas-Fort Worth.

Diane holds a B.S.E. in Chemical Engineering from Princeton University and an M.B.A. from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.

Harry Jones | Shareholder, Polsinelli Harry Jones

For three decades, Harry Jones has advised global, national, regional, and local employers on all areas of employment law.

He has led more than 90 board-level high-profile investigations for school districts, cities, colleges and institutions. Harry is a published author on Dallas’ rivers and dams.

Harry provides day-to-day advice to human resources professionals on hiring, training, pay, discipline and termination, including complex C-suite misconduct issues.

With a national and international focus in his practice, he guides general counsel and HR departments through 50-state and complex cross-border issues, particularly in Europe, Africa and Latin America.

Dev Rastogi | VP and Dallas Executive, AECOM Dev Rastogi

Dev Rastogi, P.E., Vice President and Dallas Executive, is responsible for strategy and growth of AECOM’s business in North Texas. A proven leader with 36 years’ experience successfully delivering solutions for complex projects in the public and private sectors, Dev has worked for clients including the City of Dallas, Dallas County, the United States Army Corps of Engineers, Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART), Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport (DFW), Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) and Frito-Lay. She serves on the Executive Committee of the North Dallas Chamber and is the Public Policy Council and Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Task Force Chair. She is the incoming Chair of the North Dallas Chamber of Commerce and the 2021 Chair for the Dallas Friday Group, a non-profit organization whose members share an interest in public affairs and business issues. Dev was recognized as Dallas Innovates’ Future 50 Innovator in 2021 and the Dallas Business Journal’s 2021 Women in Business Awards Honoree.

Dev was past president of the Texas Society of Professional Engineers’ Dallas Chapter and was active with the Trinity Commons Foundation, North Texas Commission, Perot Museum of Nature and Science and Leadership Dallas. Her community leadership was recognized by the North Dallas Chamber as their 2020 Paul Hanson Award winner and by Texas Society of Professional Engineers as the 2013 Dallas Engineer of the Year. Dev graduated from Washington University with a Bachelor of Science in civil engineering and is a licensed professional engineer.

Dr. Justin Lonon | Chancellor, Dallas College Justin Lonon

For more than 15 years, Dr. Justin H. Lonon has provided proven executive and strategic leadership for Dallas College, guiding the institution to fulfill its mission of “transforming lives and communities through higher education.” Following a unanimous vote by the Dallas College Board of Trustees in 2021, Lonon was selected to be the college’s eighth chancellor in 2022.

Lonon previously served as executive vice chancellor leveraging his institutional knowledge to provide intentional leadership to the finance, governmental relations, legal, board relations, diversity, equity and inclusion, facilities, human resources, innovation and technology, marketing and communications, safety and security, emergency management, institutional effectiveness and strategic initiatives functional areas.

Lonon served as a driving force in the consolidation of the 55-year-old Dallas County Community College District — and its seven colleges — into one Dallas College. The historic move helps to meet the needs of Dallas County students, improving their access to in-demand degrees and credentials.

With a keen focus on equity and inclusion, Lonon championed the creation of the college’s inaugural Office of Social Responsibility and Inclusion. The office is in response to Dallas College’s longstanding commitment to creating and promoting a diverse and inclusive environment that supports all students’ and employees’ pursuit of excellence.

Lonon’s experience as a collaborative leader in higher education transcends the executive suite. He previously served as interim president of Dallas College’s Brookhaven Campus, overseeing the 13,000+ students the campus welcomes each semester.

Prior to joining Dallas College in 2005, Lonon worked in the private sector providing public affairs council to local and national companies and non-profit organizations. Lonon began his career in Dallas at City Hall serving as press secretary for the Mayor’s Office.

Because of his commitment to higher education and the Dallas community, Lonon serves on several national and local boards including the Austin-based United Ways of Texas, the YMCA of Metropolitan Dallas’ Advancement Committee, the North Texas Crime Commission, the Dallas Father of the Year Awards, Rebuilding America’s Middle Class (RAMC), COMBASE, a national consortium of leading community colleges, and as past chair of the Task Force on Higher Education Government Relations for the American Association of Community Colleges, among others.

The Arkansas native earned a bachelor’s degree in public administration from Missouri State University, a master’s degree in public administration from the University of North Texas and a doctorate in management from the University of Maryland – Global Campus.

Nakia Douglas | Executive Director of TRIO Nakia Douglas

Nakia Douglas is the Founding Executive Director of TRIO and Pre-Collegiate Programs at UNT - Dallas. In this role, he works collaboratively with members of the University, School Districts, Business and Local Community to create engaging, nontraditional educational experiences for students throughout the DFW area. Prior to his current work, he served as the Executive Director of the South Oak Cliff Feeder Pattern in Dallas ISD. Additionally, Nakia was the Founding Principal of “The” Barack Obama Male Leadership Academy. A twenty-five year (K-16) Educator, he has served students and communities from North Carolina, Georgetown, Pflugerville and Dallas, Texas as either a Teacher and/or Administrator.

Within his spare time, he serves the community on various boards and committees. Nakia has received several recognitions for his work in education including the KERA - American Graduate Champion, SMU Luminary Award, Trailblazer Awards, Dallas ISD Magnet Principal of the Year and D CEO Dallas 500 (2021 & 2022).

Nakia graduated from Lincoln High School in Dallas ISD. Received his Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education from Livingstone College and Master’s in Instructional Technology from Houston Baptist University. He and his wife, Gloria are both career educators and have two children.

Stephanie Huerta | WIOA/Employment Services Manager Stephanie Huerta

Stephanie currently serves as the WIOA/Employment Services Manager within the Workforce Development Division at the Texas Workforce Commission. She and her team provide targeted technical assistance and consultative services for these programs to all 28 workforce boards with a strong interpersonal focus on collaboration as well as successful outcomes for program participants and employers across the state of Texas. This includes the creation and production of content, webinars and presentations related to program; representing TWC at conferences throughout the state; and serving as the SME for WIOA/ES grant funded or policy issued special projects. Additionally, Stephanie serves as the Fidelity Bonding Coordinator for the state of Texas. Before this role, Stephanie also served as the SNAP and TANF Supervisor and began her career with TWC as a Board Grant Manager.

Stephanie began her 29+ year state career with the General Land Office/Texas Veteran’s Land Board. This work included project management, budget preparation, contract management, real estate valuation services, and coordination of annual valuations of state agency owned properties in accordance with state and federal legislation and policy.

Born and raised in Dallas, Texas, Stephanie and her husband live in Austin but travel to Dallas frequently to visit family and friends.

Terry Jones | Black Jack Enterprises, Owner Terry Jones

Terry Jones was born on May 14, 1961, in Dallas, Texas. He attended Thomas Jefferson High School and while still in school, he worked several part time jobs.

Terry began working for Zale Corporation as a computer operator in 1979 after he graduated high school. He worked there for at least 4 years. During this time, he also attended El Centro College in Downtown Dallas.

He was offered a better opportunity at Fidelity Union Life Insurance Company as a senior operator in 1985.

In 1985, Jones was offered a new assignment at Lomas and Nettleton, where he worked as a senior analyst.

Upon his retirement from Lomas and Nettleton in 1990, he founded Black Jack Pizza.During this time Jones also established his own record label, Black Jack Records where he managed and produced several local recording artists and also produced several music videos.

Mr. Jones has since established Black Jack Enterprises where he has developed several other business projects.

He is an avid golfer and enjoys playing golf throughout the city and around the world.

T. Dupree Scovell | Woodbine Development Corporation T. Dupree Scovell

T. Dupree Scovell is the managing partner and chief investment officer at Woodbine Development Corporation, a full-service real estate company that specializes in hospitality. He got his start in the hotel business at the age of 16, working as a dishwasher at Hyatt Regency Dallas. In 2011, Dupree joined Woodbine and expanded its footprint with the opening of a West Coast office in Los Angeles before returning to Dallas in 2019. Currently, he and his brother, King, work together as managing partners to lead the team, cast vision and provide strategic direction for the company. Dupree is also responsible for Woodbine’s acquisition platform and capital markets efforts, as well as overseeing Woodbine Legacy Investments, a private equity fund dedicated to the acquisition and development of upscale select-service and full-service branded and boutique hotels throughout the United States.

Prior to joining Woodbine, Dupree spent five years working for Trammell Crow Company in Dallas, where he focused on retail and mixed-use development projects. He was named one of “Tomorrow's Newsmakers” by the National Real Estate Forum and was listed among “40 Under 40” by the Dallas Business Journal, which spotlights local executives for their professional and civic contributions to the local community. Early in his career, he was recognized by Dallas CEO magazine as one of the “Top 30 Real Estate Professionals Under 30.” Recently, he was named one of the Dallas CEO magazine's 500 most powerful business leaders in Dallas-Fort Worth.

Dupree earned four bachelor’s degrees from Texas Tech University and two master’s degrees from Stanford, including a M.Ed. from the Stanford Graduate School of Education and an MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business. Beyond real estate and hospitality, his passions include supporting public education, racial reconciliation and organizations that prevent human trafficking.

About Woodbine Development Corporation Woodbine Development Corporation is a full-service real estate company with more than 45 years of development, investment, acquisition and asset management experience. With offices in Dallas, Phoenix and Los Angeles, Woodbine specializes in hotels, resorts and mixed-use developments throughout the United States. The company’s hospitality portfolio features major brands, independent hotels, full-service destinations and select-service stays alike. Since 1973, Woodbine has been involved in more than $7 billion in commercial real estate projects, including the development, ownership, asset management, repositioning or renovation of over 17,000 hotel rooms. To learn more, visit

Lisa Sherrod | Assistant Vice President, External and Legislative Affairs at AT&T Lisa Sherrod

Lisa Sherrod is Assistant Vice President, External and Legislative Affairs at AT&T’s headquarters where she leads stakeholder relations for Dallas and North Texas. In this role, she focuses on achieving AT&T’s legislative, regulatory and community priorities, in addition to supporting and implementing AT&T Foundation grants.

Previously, Lisa worked as Director of External and Community Relations for Tenet Healthcare. At Tenet, she managed national and local community relations efforts, supporting all of Tenet’s markets and hospitals. Lisa also managed the Tenet Foundation and supported Tenet government relations with a focus on coverage reform, in addition to serving on Tenet’s Diversity and Inclusion Council.

She successfully led company initiatives, including a national campaign connecting residents to healthcare coverage and the Healthy Over Hungry Cereal Drive. In 2019, this signature program collected over 4.5 million pounds of cereal by employees and donated to local food banks across the country.

In 2011, she received her Masters in Public Administration from the Barbara Jordan-Mickey Leland School of Public Affairs at Texas Southern University and completed her undergraduate studies at Alabama A&M University. Prior to working as Outreach Director for Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson in Dallas, she served on the Washington policy staff of Congresswoman Johnson and Congressman Ken Bentsen.

In addition to her professional work, Lisa is committed to several civic organizations, including The Family Place, Dallas Breakfast Group and the Dallas Regional Chamber Public Policy Council.

She is an alumna of Leadership Dallas and Leadership Texas programs. In 2020, Lisa chaired the UNCF North Texas Walk for Education which raises money for deserving college-bound minority students. She served as a 2023 Northpark Ambassador and was recognized as one of PNC’s 2021 North Texas Women in Business.

Lisa is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. and the Dallas Chapter of The Links Inc. volunteer organization where she co-chaired the 2023 Women Who STEAM Awards Luncheon, which honors women in STEAM fields and provides scholarships for high school students.

Lisa has been featured in Roll Call, Congressional Quarterly, Paper City and Who’s Who In Black Dallas.

Jason Villalba | Frost Brown Todd Attorneys Jason Villalba

Jason is a financially trained business advisor and corporate strategist, experienced in emerging growth companies and companies operating primarily in the middle market in industries including tech-enabled services, retail, hospitality, manufacturing, health care, and communications. Jason’s background as an attorney, business advisor, economist, and as a former member of the Texas House of Representatives, provides him with deep knowledge in a number of business-critical areas including regulatory compliance, governmental relations, analytics, and corporate governance. Jason’s legislative experience bringing together disparate constituencies to achieve a common objective provides a unique problem-solving facet to his skillset as a corporate advisor.

Jason serves most frequently as a seasoned business advisor, partner and general counsel for companies that have engaged him for his strategic, corporate, and legal advice on matters spanning financing, litigation, government relations, executive compensation, and operations.

Karen Hughes | President and CEO Vogel Karen Hughes

Vogel’s President and CEO, Karen Hughes. Since 2011, Karen has devoted her expertise to strengthening internal processes and expanding Vogel’s programs. Karen has a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education/Kindergarten from Baylor University and a Master’s of Science degree in Educational Management from the University of Houston-Clear Lake. She currently lives in Allen with her husband and son.

Early Career Karen has 41 years experience in early childhood and 25 years in nonprofit management. Her history includes teaching kindergarten in the public school system and owning her own early childhood center.

Prior to joining Vogel, Hughes was President & CEO at The Campagna Center Alexandria, VA, an organization operating high-quality programs that support child education. The Center’s services prepare children for school and ensure academic success at each grade level. Additional previous positions include Associate Executive Director/COO at the National Association for the Education of Young Children and Director of Child Care Services at Houston Community College.

Vogel During her tenure at Vogel, Karen Hughes’ leadership has transformed the nonprofit into the comprehensive facility it is today. She guides the staff through challenges and identifies goals that best support the children and families of Vogel.

Internal process successes include implementation of a strategic plan to measure outcomes of goals and objectives and development of an electronic data collection system. Hughes revised “customer friendly” enrollment procedures and implemented an EOS operating system to track outcomes of strategic initiatives.

William M. Behrendt | PhD, PCCWilliam Behrendt

William (Bill) Behrendt has over 30 years’ experience in Human Resources and Organizational Development in retail, healthcare and academic organizations. He most recently served for 13 years, until his retirement, as Vice President for Human Resources at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, Texas, where he was responsible for all “people” issues at the Medical School, and its University Hospitals and Clinics. Prior to coming to Dallas in 2003, Dr. Behrendt served as Vice President for Human Resources for CareGroup Health System and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston Massachusetts. He previously held the role of Senior Vice President for Human Resources at the BJC Healthcare System in St. Louis, Missouri. He also served as President of Barnes-Jewish West County Hospital in St. Louis. In these positions, Dr. Behrendt gained extensive knowledge and experience in Recruitment, Organization Development, Mergers and Acquisitions, Change Management, Strategic Planning and Executive Coaching. He has served as both an internal and external coach for executives, physicians, high potentials, new hires and other individuals, logging over 1500 hours and is accredited at the Professional Certified Coach level of the International Coach Federation.

Dr. Behrendt began his career in retailing with the May Department Stores Company headquartered in St. Louis, where he held positions in consumer research, strategic planning, recruitment, executive development and human resources. He earned a B.S. in Psychology from Tulane University in New Orleans, and his PhD in Clinical Psychology from Washington University in St. Louis and completed a psychology internship at UT Southwestern in Dallas. He is also a graduate of the Certificate in Executive Coaching Program at University of Texas at Dallas.

Dr. Behrendt has held faculty positions in the Jindal School of Management at University of Texas at Dallas, where he taught management and coaching classes to MBA students, as well as Southern Methodist University, Simmons College in Boston, and UT Southwestern. He has served as a board member for the Barnes and Jewish Colleges of Nursing, the Picker Institute, My Possibilities and HealthPartners of the Midwest. He was named the 2015 “Talent Development Champion of the Year” by Skillsoft, and is a 2011 recipient of the “Top 10 Breakaway HR Leadership” Award from the Global HR Summit, the 2014 Strategic HR Leadership Award from Strategic HR Excellence, and winner of the 2012 “PRISM” award for Excellence in Coaching from the International Coach Federation – N. Texas Chapter.

Gunnar Rawlings | Cristo Rey Dallas College Prep Gunnar Rawlings

Gunnar Rawlings currently serves as Vice President of the Corporate Work Study Program & Strategic Initiatives at Cristo Rey Dallas College Prep located in the heart of Pleasant Grove. He holds a Bachelor of Art in English from Boston College and a Master of Education from the University of Notre Dame. From 2013-2017 Gunnar held various roles at Cristo Rey Dallas during its start up phase, including running lead on the initial feasibility and business planning for the school. He worked closely with the founding board and Cristo Rey Network to make sure Cristo Rey Dallas met the high standards set for its opening. When he left in 2017, Gunnar was serving as the Executive Director of the Corporate Work Study Program where he led the recruitment and servicing over 100 corporate partners.

After that, he worked in the commercial construction space for five years leading business development efforts for two separate large general contractors, Suffolk and DPR Construction. He helped Suffolk establish a North Texas office in 2017 and left to join DPR in early 2020 helping guide their business planning through the COIVD-19 pandemic.

Gunnar lives with his wife, Gaby, in Old East Dallas. He serves on the board of Jubilee Park and Community Center as well as the Texas advisory board for the Trust for Public Land. Previously, Gunnar worked with neighborhood advocates to get Crockett Dog Park built in their neighborhood. Currently, he is the Dallas District 2 appointee on the Community Bond Task Force for the anticipated $1.1 Billion 2024 bond election.

Crystal Sanders | Texas Workforce Commission Integrated Services Area Manager (ISAM) for Region II Gunnar Rawlings

Crystal Sanders is currently serving as the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) Integrated Services Area Manager (ISAM) for Region II. She oversees the expansive region covering the Dallas, Fort Worth, North Central, and Texoma board areas. Encompassing 19 counties across 15,575 miles, she provides invaluable technical assistance to board and contractor staff, focusing on matters related to employment services. Ms. Sanders was led to begin a career with the Texas Workforce Commission from her passion to help and encourage people. She started by matching job seekers with employers while working in the Denton Workforce Solutions office. This provided the opportunity to utilize motivational skills which earned her numerous “Great Motivator” accolades. Ms. Sanders was educated at Baylor University with a bachelor’s degree in communications. She was also a letterwinner with the women’s basketball team which aided in her belief of teamwork. Those skills provided a strong foundation for her current position. With over two decades of experience, Ms. Sanders’ team is responsible for conducting over 250 career schools and colleges monitoring visits annually; inspecting over 74 foreign labor houses prior to the workers arrival; and facilitating the seamless integration of the Texas Model into the broader workforce system for over 120 TWC employees in the region.

Jeffrey Caldwell | Eligibility Operations Program Manager, HHSC Gunnar Rawlings

Jeffrey is currently the Eligibility Operations Program Manager for Texas Works with the Access and Eligibility department at Texas Health and Human Service Commission. In this role, he provides a structured and intentional approach to the eligibility process, and offer tools to help staff determine eligibility effectively, with the goal of optimizing positive performance, and increasing accuracy during the eligibility determination process.

Jeffrey began his career Texas Health and Human Services in 2004 as a Texas Works Advisor where he determined eligibility for State and federally funded benefits for the citizens of the Texas. In 2012, he later entered management, where he served as a Texas Works Advisor III and OJT (On the Job Training) Mentor and Unit Supervisor. Jeffrey has been on various HHSC committees to assist in improving quality for the clients.

Jeffrey currently lives in Dallas and enjoys cooking and enjoying life. Jeffrey has a passion for encouraging and assisting future leaders to assist them in furthering their career and enhancing their abilities in doing great things.