2007 - University of Houston
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2007 Biographies

Constance Adams 

Constance Adams, Chief Architect of Synthesis Int'l USA, is a specialist in high-performance architecture and design innovation, particularly in the area of architecture for human spaceflight. Currently performing operations integration for the International Space Station, her work as an architectural consultant to NASA and Lockheed Martin has sensitized her to issues of human-machine interface, sustainable systems, the importance of biomimetic design and the need for new ways of mitigating risk in the design and building professions. 

Ms. Adams translated an early specialization in urban design and institutional architecture into a truly unique portfolio of designs for NASA's human spaceflight program, including two surface habitats for lunar/Mars exploration, a long-duration crew transit spacecraft, and vehicle architecture for the X-38 Crew Return Vehicle, the larger Crew Transfer Vehicle and the Orbital Space Plane. This work has been published in Metropolis, I.D., Popular Science, Architectural Record, Spin and other journals and has been exhibited at the Art Institute of Chicago and the Yale School of Architecture. She has won several NASA awards for her innovative technologies and currently works at the NASA Johnson Space Center as an integration expert for the Interational Space Station Program.

As principal and co-founder of the international design collaborative "synthesis," Ms. Adams enjoys tackling challenging problems together with a loosely-knit team of experts from various fields. Most recently, the National Geographic Society has honored her as an "Emerging Explorer" (2005) for her work in space and terrestrial architecture and the adaptive transfer of sustainable technologies, most notably in the design of the TransHab spacecraft and in creating the "Water for Two Worlds" program that adapts water purification methods developed for Mars exploration to meet the UN's Millennium Development Goals.

Ms. Adams has taught her fusion of architecture, systems engineering and industrial design at Yale University, the University of Houston, the University of Hong Kong and the Technical University of Munich and lectured on space architecture in many venues including Tokyo University, Washington University, the Art Center College of Design, SCI-Arc and Rice University. She was a featured speaker at the first Architectural Record "Innovations Conference" in 2003, at the AIAS 2004 National Convention and a session organizer for the AIA 2005 Conference and was twice nominated for the World Technology Network's Design Award. She holds degrees from Harvard/Radcliffe College and Yale University, she currently lives in Houston with her husband and little girl.


Debora B. Alsup 

Debora B. Alsup, a lawyer and partner in Thompson & Knight LLP, has represented clients at the U.S. Supreme Court, the Fifth Circuit, the Federal Circuit, the Texas Supreme Court, all 14 Texas courts of appeal, and a number of federal district courts. Ms. Alsup has significant trial court experience, including developing and arguing strategic legal motions, structure of jury charges, and preparation of post-judgment motions. She also consults with clients and trial counsel in analyzing potential appellate complaints and in preserving the trial record for mandamus and/or appeal. From 2003-2004 and again in 2006, Ms. Alsup was named by the Texas Monthly as a Texas Super Lawyer.


Nancy Ames 

From socialite to entertainer, gastronome, architect and designer, hybridizer, writer and creative director of her own special events firm. Nancy Ames has parlayed her vast talents and interests into multiple careers. Recognized by baby boomers as the singing "TW3 girl," Nancy was the signature cast member appearing in all episodes of that popular 1960s television show That Was The Week That Was. Nancy also co-wrote the theme to the Smothers Brothers Show with Mason Williams and headlined her own television show in Houston for five years in the 1970s.

Partnering with husband Danny Ward to pioneer an event-planning company, Ward & Ames  successfully transformed national events such as Black Tie & Boots Presidential Inaugural Balls into world renowned and chronicled phenomena. In addition to a book (a work in progress), this accomplished singer, songwriter is also penning a musical, Gala, and a television reality series.

In her spare time, her passions include cooking, oenology, growing exotics, remodeling homes, collecting art and doing crossword puzzles. She also has a line of fine jewelry for wine connoisseurs called Alfaro, A Nancy Ames Collection. You can see more about her companies at 
www.wardandames.com and www.alfarodesigns.net.


Dr. Nancy Ayres 

Nancy Ayres is a native Texan, born in Dallas. She obtained her undergraduate degree from the University of Texas in Austin and completed medical school at Texas Tech School of Medicine. Her first academic job as a pediatric cardiologist was at the University of Texas Health Science Center Southwester Medical School in Dallas, Texas. After a few years, she was recruited to Texas Children's Hospital to become the Director of Non-Invasive Imaging and Director of Fetal Cardiology and Fetal Echocardiographic Laboratory. Currently, she is employed by Baylor College of Medicine as an Assistant Professor of Pediatric Cardiology and Obstetrics and Gynecology.

In the last several years, she has been involved in Texas Children's Hospital Fetal Therapy Center and with a team of physicians has had the opportunity of operating on fetuses prior to delivery. These fetuses have a high risk of in-utero mortality unless the tumor is removed. We have successfully operated on fetuses in the second trimester of pregnancy, removed a large mass from the chest using partial delivery of the fetus' shoulder, arm, one side of the chest while the head and fetal body remained inside the uterus.

As a pediatric cardiologist, Dr. Ayres' work extends from the fetus through young adults born with congenital heart disease. Today many young adults are leading a normal life because as infants they were treated aggressively with surgical intervention.She is currently the Director of the Echocardiographic Laboratory at Texas Children's Hospital, where the echo team reads (or interprets) as many as 80 echocardiograms per day.

Pediatric Cardiology is an advancing field that Nancy believes offers challenging, but rewarding careers. She has now seen babies that she has diagnosed in utero with a congenital cardiac problems that have been operated on and are now in their late teens. It is very rewarding for her and for her associates to have made such an impact on many congenital cardiac patients.


Rogene Gee Calvert 

Rogene Gee Calvert, a native Houstonian of Chinese descent, holds her Asian cultural values and traditions in high esteem. Her father was a first generation American, born in a village near Canton (or Guangdong) Province, and her mother is a second generation American, born in San Francisco. She has seen Houston's Asian American community grow from a close knit, primarily Chinese enclave where everyone knew everyone else to one of the largest and diverse Asian American communities in the country. 

After graduating from the University of Texas at Austin with a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science, she became involved in the non-profit field for over three decades, working for the Community Welfare Planning Association, United Way of the Texas Gulf Coast, Child Abuse Prevention Network, Inter-Ethnic Forum and the Asian Pacific American Heritage Association. Rogene's expertise has been in organizational development and nonprofit management, starting up new projects and organizations, such as a Diabetes Awareness and Education Project in the Asian American community, Asian American Family Services and the Asian American Health Coalition/HOPE Clinic. 

Her foray into politics came in 1996 when she managed former Houston City Council Member Martha Wong's first political campaign, which resulted in the first Asian American ever elected to city council. She is now serving in Mayor White's administration as Director of Personnel and Volunteer Initiatives Program. Prior to this appointment, she was chief of staff for At-large Houston City Council Member Gordon Quan for four years. She also serves as the founding president of the Houston 80-20 Asian American Political Action Committee. 

Rogene has been a community volunteer and activist for a long time. She volunteers on a number of boards and advisory Committees that deal with issues important to her, such as children and families, Houston's Asian American community, diversity, and coalition building. It is fitting that she heads up Mayor White's volunteer initiatives program for the City of Houston.


Gracie R. Cavnar 

Gracie Cavnar is the founder and Chairwoman of the Recipe for Success Foundation and the Vice President of The Cavnar Foundation. She has also been actively involved with The Houston Grand Opera, the Houston Greeters, the Houston Preservation Alliance, Inprint, KIPP Academy Houston, Laffite's Nature Cove, Lawndale Art Center, Mind-OH, and The Nature Conservancy. These pursuits follow her retirement as an architect, hotelier, and marketing and public relations executive. 

In 2005, after five years spent researching the childhood obesity epidemic, Ms. Cavnar created the Recipe for Success Foundation, a non-profit charity that currently operates in five HISD elementary schools and features Chefs in Schools, Recipe Gardens, and Team Nutrition Mentioning Programs.

While not spending her time volunteering, Ms. Cavnar enjoys being with her husband, Robert Cavnar, Chairman, General Partner & CEO of Milagro Exploration, and their three children, Justin Hamilton, Robert, Jr., and Gina, and their four canine babies.


Marguerite Woung Chapman 

Marguerite Woung-Chapman is General Counsel and Vice President, Rate Regulatory Affairs of Tennessee Gas Pipeline Company and ANR Pipeline Company, both subsidiaries of the El Paso Corporation. She earned a bachelor's degree from Georgetown University and received her law degree from Georgetown University Law Center.

Woung-Chapman is a member of the District of Columbia Bar Association (Member, Environment, Energy and Natural Resource Section), Energy Bar Association, Women's Energy Network and OF Southern Gas Association's Regulatory Committee. She was a 2006 finalist of the Houston Business Journals Best Corporate Counsel Awards.


Janet Clark 

Janet F. Clark is senior vice president and chief financial officer of Marathon Oil Corporation. Clark joined Marathon on January 5, 2004 with a strong background in financial management and energy industry experience. She began her career as an investment banker specializing in corporate finance, primarily with The First Boston Corporation, predecessor to Credit Suisse First Boston.

In 1997, Clark joined Santa Fe Energy Resources, Inc. as chief financial officer and was named senior vice president and chief financial officer in 1998. Following the merger of Santa Fe Energy and Snyder Oil in 1999, she assumed the role of executive vice president of Corporate Development and Administration, with responsibility for corporate development, intemal auditing, human resources, information technology, purchasing, office services, security and environmental, health and safety Clark joined Nuevo Energy in 2001 in her most recent position as senior vice president & chief financial officer. While at Nuevo, she was responsible for all finance, accounting, investor relations and information technology functions within the company, serving as the direct point of contact with investment and commercial banks, Wall Street analysts and rating agencies.

Clark was bom in New Orleans, Louisiana. In 1977, she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics from Harvard University and a Master of Business Administration degree in finance in 1982 from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. Clark serves on the Board of Directors of Universal Compression Holdings, Inc., which trades on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol UCO. She serves also on the Board of two non-profit organizations: as a member of the Board of Directors of New Hope Housing and as a member of the Board of Trustees for The Joy School.


Ellen Cohen 

Ellen R. Cohen has been the President & CEO of the Houston Area Women's Center since 1991. In November 2006, Ellen was elected Texas State Representative for District 134. Ellen is a past president of Leadership Houston and the Medical Center Hospital. She is serving or has served on a number of boards including the Texas Council on Family Violence, the American Leadership Forum, the National Violence Against Women Advisory Council and the Texas Supreme Court Gender Fairness Task Force.

In July 2005 Ellen was named by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission as one of 40 outstanding contributors in the area of civil and human rights in Houston. She has been the recipient of the Harris County Women's Political Caucus "Shattered Glass Award" and the Women's Business Support Network "Women of the Year Award". She has also received the NAACP's Outstanding Service Award, Woman's Hospital Research and Education Foundation's "Celebration of Life" Award, the American Jewish Committee's Human Relations Award, and the Texas Executive Women's "Woman on the Move" Award.


Dr. Yvonne Cormier 

Yvonne Clement Cormier, an anesthesiologist in Houston, earned her B.S. degree in biology from SMU. She also received the "M" Award, was named to Mortar Board, designated as a Dedman Fellow, and selected as a Homecoming Queen nominee. After graduating from SMU, she earned a Ph.D. in pharmacology from Brown University and an M.D. degree from Baylor College of Medicine. She is a member of the Houston Parks Board and formerly served on the boards of the Houston Museum of Fine Arts, the Houston Ballet, the Houston Area Parkinson's Society, and Bayou Bend In recognition of her community service, she was selected as one of Channel 13's Women of Distinction and received the GIA Award. Yvonne is a former member-at-large of the SMU Alumni Association Board of Directors.


Chloe Dao 

Chloe Dao is the season 2 winner of Bravo's Emmy nominated series "Project Runway." She won the hearts of America with her mild, honest demeanor but won the votes of the judges Because of her of her consistent display of creativity and design talent. Dao's win created a great deal of media attention and "Chloe Dao" quickly became a household name.

Dao was featured on Access Hollywood, CNN's American Morning, ABC's The View, and El's Inside Edition. Major national and international press such as People. Time, US Weekly, Forbes, Forbes Asia, and New York Times covered the success story of an immigrant living out her American dream. She was the keynote speaker at Houston Community College's Class of 2006 Commencement, and a panelist at the Women's Leadership conference for V.A.N.B. in San Francisco. News of Dao's accomplishments reached the White House and she was honored with an invitation to a special conference celebrating Asian American heritage month with President Bush.

Dao emigrated from Pakse, Laos in 1979 with her parents and seven sisters. Dao graduated from the Fashion Institute of Technology with a degree in patternmaking. After graduation, Dao honed her design and patternmaking skills at Finity, Melinda Eng, and Gregory Parkinson. She learned the art of buying and merchandising at the intrnationally renowned buying office of Catherine Dietlein. She opened a boutique in her hometown of Houston called Lot 8, after the eight Dao sisters, where she now sells designs of her own, www.lot8online.com


Marian Davenport 

Marian Davenport is the President and CEO of Big Brothers, Big Sisters of Greater Houston - www.bbbshouston.org. She joined the agency in 2004. Since that time, the agency has achieved double-digit revenue and match growth. 

Davenport is a senior executive with extensive experience managing across functional and organizational lines. She has over 20 years of executive and legal experience, including key positions in commercial development and human resources. Prior to joining Big Brothers Big Sisters, Davenport held key positions with a major energy company. She focuses her skills on driving processes to achieve long-term stability within the organization. 

A graduate of the University of Denver College of Law in Denver, Davenport received her undergraduate degree from the Colorado College in Colorado Springs.

Davenport is actively involved in the Houston Community. She currently serves on the Board of Directors for Neighborhood Centers Inc. In 2003 she was acknowledged as a Key Women in Energy-Americas, Honoree. Davenport has been selected for membership in the American Leadership Forum Houston/Gulf Coast Chapter Class XXIV.


Judith Feigin, Ed.D. 

Judith Z. Feigin, Ed.D. founded the Leaming Support Center in 1986, at Texas Children's Hospital. Dr. Feigin is the founder and Director of the Learning Support Center for Child Psychology, the founder and Executive Director of the Bridges Therapeutic Preschool Program, the founder and Chief of the Clinic for Attention Problems, and the founder and Chief of the Clinic for the Diagnosis of Autistic Spectrum Disorders. 

During the past 20 years, the Leaming Support Center has provided a comprehensive array of services to assist toddlers, preschool, and school age children with emotional, social, or cognitive weaknesses. Currently, the Learning Support Center focuses on the provision of comprehensive therapeutic and assessment services for children with a wide variety of emotional, behavioral, neurological, and medical disorders. 

Dr. Feigin has developed services to provide validated, evidence-based therapeutic interventions for children with cognitive, emotional, and behavioral disorders; and diagnostic neuropsychological evaluations and cognitive therapeutic interventions. She has assembled a faculty of outstanding child psychologists from nationally prominent programs throughout the United States. The Learning Support Center currently provides the preponderance of Texas Children's psychological and neuropsychological clinical services. 

In addition, Dr. Feigin has founded the BRIDGES Preschool Therapeutic Program, a comprehensive therapeutic pre-school program for children with Autistic Spectrum Disorders and other developmental disabilities. 

Dr. Feigin and the child psychologists and neuropsychologists of the Leaming Support Center also have developed lommal training programs accredited by the American Psychological Association for pre-doctoral and post-doctoral Child Psychology and Child Neuropsychology trainees and they provide certified continuing education credits weekly for the mental health providers at Texas Children's Hospital and the Houston community.


Fena Garza, Ph.D.

Orfelina (Fena) Garza, Ph.D. is president of Houston Community College Southeast. She has served as president of the 6,000-student institution since November 2004. Dr. Garza has more than 30 years of community college experience, including 20 years at an administrative level. She has served as the Associate Vice Chancellor for Educational Development and Chief Student Affairs Officer for HCC; Interim President of HCC Southeast in 2001; Dean of Student Services at HCC Southwest: Program Specialist and Campus Manager, Officer for Guidance and Counseling, as well as the Program Specialist for Upward Bound. Dr. Garza has also worked for the Texas Rehabilitation Commission, where she served as a psychological Counselor.

Dr. Garza received her Ph.D. in Educational Human Resource Management in Higher Education from Texas A&M in College Station. She has chaired numerous HCC and community based committees, including the Southern Association of Colleges & Schools (SACS) Administrative Services Committee, the Recruitment and Retention Committee, and the Childcare Services Committee. Dr. Garza has served as a commissioner for the Stafford Economic Development Commission in Stafford, Texas.


Gina Gaston

Gina Gaston is part of Channel 13's main anchor team. She was named Anchor of "Eyewitness News at 6” in September 2004 after joining "Eyewitness News Tonight at 10" in 2003. In 2003. she won the Gracie Allen Award in the Local News Documentary category for "A Conversation with Peter Jennings." 

Gina's career began at KLTV in Tyler, Texas. She then worked as a reporter and anchor in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, and Tampa, Florida. Gina first joined KTRK in 1992 as a morning anchor and reporter. During her time at KTRK, she has covered the Democratic National Convention the O.J. Simpson trial, the Rockets Championships in 1994 and 1995, and Tropical Storm Alison. 

In 1999, Gina left KTRK and joined MSNBC as host of a three-hour news show, "Homepage.” On this show, Gina interviewed such notables as Rev. Jesse Jackson, Senator Olympia Showe, former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and U.S. Energy Secretary Bill Richardson. She anchored breaking news coverage of the Elan Gonzales raid and return to Cuba, the 2001 US.bombing in the Iraqi No-Fly Zone, and President George Bush's Inauguration. While at MSNBC, Gina was a fill-in anchor on "Weekend Today." 

Gina has been active in many community groups, ranging from the Texas Southern University mentor project, to the Houston Urban League, and the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure. Gina has been honored as a "Young Black Leader of Houston" "Outstanding Mother" by United Cerebral Palsy, and Houston Press Magazine's Best Anchor 2002.

Gina is married to former Houston Rockets' guard Mario Elie, whom she met while on the job for KTRK. They are parents to triplets Gaston, Glenn, and Lauren.


Melanie Gray

Melanie Gray is a partner at Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP, where she specializes in complex commercial litigation, and is the co-chair of the Firm's Bankruptcy Litigation Practice Group. She has invaluable court room experience and has been a significant advisor to companies who find themselves facing "bet the company" litigation risks or financial distress. Ms. Gray began practicing law in 1981 in Chicago, after graduating from Syracuse University College of Law. She was deeply involved in the Firm's representation of Enron in its chapter. Il case. Ms. Gray's advocacy and personal skills have earned her the respect of the judiciary, co-counsel and opposing counsel. Clients appreciate her case management skills, and she is known for smooth coordination of complex cases requiring diverse teams of lawyers in different practice areas. 

Ms. Gray serves the community with the same zeal she gives to her clients. She currently serves on the board of Syracuse University, Planned Parenthood of Houston and Southeast Texas, Chair, The Post Oak School, and Society for the Performing Arts. She is also chairing the capital campaigns for Planned Parenthood and Syracuse University College of Law. As a consequence of her professional and public service activities, she was recognized in 2001 as one often Houston’s "Women on the Move" by Texas Executive Women and in 2003 as a "Woman Achiever" by the New York YWCA. In addition, Ms. Gray was named by Texas Monthly as a Texas Super Lawyer in each year since 2003 and received the distinction as one of the Top 50 Women Lawyers in the Texas in 2005 for her work in business litigation and bankruptcy. 


Mary Margaret Hansen

On her 55th birthday, Mary Margaret Hansen made a pact with herself to pursue dual careers. Her day job as President of the Greater East End Management District is exciting, satisfying, and ever-changing. In 2000, she was hired as the district's first employee and she has had the opportunity to build an organization that is successfully delivering programs supporting East End commercial property owners and partnering on projects that are changing the face of Houston's East End. (www.greatereastend.com) 

On weekends and often very late at night, she switches to the role of visual artist, photographer, and blogger. Most recently, she exhibited  work in the Houston Center for Photography's 25thAnniversary exhibition. In September 2005, Mary Margaret created an installation that included a series of photo collages in the adobe ballroom at Fort Russell in Marfa, TX. Two years ago, she began to crochet and last December exhibited one of a kind freeform wearable art at the Peel Gallery. She maintains two websites: www.pursestories.com and www.mmhansencommunicates.com. 

Most of her family now lives in the Pacific Northwest. A fourth grandchild was born just recently in Seattle. But she considers Houston home and has no plans to leave this remarkable community in which she lives and works.


Glenda Harris 

Glenda Hamis is a New Orleans native and a lifelong resident of the Lower Ninth Ward. Her early training and professional activity involved nursing and health care. After many years as a community activist and neighborhood spokesperson, in 2004 she was appointed Director of the Advocacy Center for the Lower Ninth Ward, a pilot project focused on creating a voice for embattled New Orleans neighborhoods at the highest level of city government. The day before Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast, she and a family caravan entailing some 40 cars came to Houston seeking temporary refuge. In January 2005, Glenda participated in the first field school mounted by the Surviving Katrina and Rita in Houston project. A year later, she continues to reside in Houston and works as the Katrina Coordinator for the Children's Defense Fund.


Barbara Jo Harwell 

Barbara Jo Harwell joined Hermann Park Conservancy in March 2003 to develop a tree maintenance plan for Hermann Park. She currently serves as Conservation Director of the Hermann Park Conservancy (HPC), a non-profit organization which raises funds to improve Hermann Park She is a certified arborist, and president of the regional Houston Area Urban Forestry Council.

Additionally, she supervises HPC's volunteer programs manager who is charged with recruiting volunteers to assist the Houston Parks and Recreation Department (HPARD) with park maintenance. With her experience as an elementary level teacher and as a trained candidate for certified Gulf Coast (Texas) Master Naturalist, she also supervises and coordinates HPC's outdoor environmental education program Field Studies 101. She also manages the park's water management program for McGovern Lake and the Jesse H. Jones Reflection Pool.


Rachel Hecker 

Rachel Hecker was born in Providence, R.I. She received her BFA in Sculpture from Moore College of Art in Philadelphia, and her MFA in Painting from the Rhode Island School of Design. 

She moved to Houston in 1982 to become the Associate Director of the Glassell School of Art, Museum of Fine arts, Houston, and has been teaching at the University of Houston since 1991 as an Associate Professor, where she also holds the position of Associate Director of the School of Art.

One-person exhibits have included venues such as the Contemporary Arts Museum in Houston, the Dallas Museum of Art, and ArtPlace in San Antonio. She has shown in numerous museum exhibitions such as Postmodern Americans: A Selection at the Menil Collection in Houston, and in commercial and university galleries and alternative spaces throughout the United States.

Hecker has received extensive critical attention in newspapers and magazines including: The Los Angeles Times, Art in America, Art Papers, and Art Review (published in London). A portfolio of her work was reproduced in Grand Street in 1996.

She received a National Endowment for the Arts Award in painting and is represented in many public and private collections including the Houston, Dallas, San Antonio and New Orleans Museums of Art; and the General Services Administration and the Federal Reserve Bank in Dallas. Hecker has participated in civic art programs as a design team member for various projects and received the 1999 Artist Award from the American Institute of Architects Houston Chapter for those contributions. In 2006, she received an Artadia Artists Award for her work in sculpture and painting.


Winell Herron

A dynamic leader with strong ties in the community, Winell, as group vice president of public affairs and diversity, leads H-E-B's public affairs and diversity initiatives across the company. Winell began her career at HH-E-B in 1988 in store operations. She was later promoted to service team leader then to director of workforce diversity. In February 1999, she was promoted to vice president of customer service, and later to group vice president of diversity and people development, where she championed H-E-B's people development and diversity initiatives. In April or 2002, she was appointed to her current position.

Winell earned a bachelors degree in business administration from the University of Texas at Austin in 1988. She completed the Food Industry Management Program at the University of Southern California in 1992, and received her Executive MBA from the University of Texas at San Antonio in May 2000. 

Winell is highly involved in the community and serves on the board of several organizations including the Houston Area Urban League, Texans Care for Children. The Ensemble Theatre, Big Brothers Big Sisters and the Taskforce for Medical Indigent Care in Texas. She and her husband, William, reside in Houston.


Gigi Huang 

If there is a first family of Asian food in Houston, Gigi Huang's is it. When her father opened Hunan Restaurant 31 years ago in the Galleria area, he redefined the menu and presentation of Chinese food in Houston and it quickly became a favorite. Gigi's new restaurant, Hunan Downtown, innovates anew for Houston's next generation, offering Hunan classics as well as dishes from other Asian cultures in a modem space. She has also opened Hunan at Hobby airport, a joint venture with Pappas, and she will be opening a new ſab Asian concept in the Galleria late this summer. Her new hobby is in fashion as she has an agency selling the Worth Collection. All this keeps her busy!


Jackie Dukes Ingram 

Jacqueline Dukes Ingram has been providing financial advice and wealth management services for eighteen years. She joined Merrill Lynch in March 2005, and her focus is developing personalized, strategic solutions to address the complex needs of individuals, businesses, and foundations with substantial wealth. She has extensive experience assisting the Firm's clients with planning issues, private money management, wealth transfer, retirement, lax minimization, asset allocation, and concentrated stock strategies.

Jackie's eighteen years of experience in the investment management industry include nine years working at INVESCO, a large institutional investment firm, as a Partner and equity portfolio manager. She later spent three years in sales management with SunTrust Bank as the Director of their multi-manager wealth Management service.

She holds the Series 7, 66, and insurance licenses as well as the CFA, or Chartered Financial Analyst designation. She earned a B.A. from Yale University and an M.B.A. in Finance from Columbia University Graduate School of Business. 

Jackie is a native Texan and currently lives in the Clear Lake area of Houston with her husband and son. As a family, they enjoy helping others in need and being actively involved in the community and at Clear Creek Community Church.


Chinhui Juhn, Ph.D. 

Chinhui Juhn was born in Seoul, Korea and immigrated to the U.S. when she was 8 years old, landing in Queens, NYC. She received a B.A. from Yale University and a Ph.D. in Economics from University of Chicago. Dr. Juhn is currently the Henry Graham Professor of Economics at the University of Houston where she has been teaching since 1991. 

Dr. Juhn's research is in labor economics and has explored such topics as the rising income inequality in the U.S. and its impact on unemployment and the racial wage gap. Her current research examines issues in family labor supply, especially the impact of husband's earning on wife's work decisions. She and her co-authors have published articles which have been cited in journal articles, textbooks, and featured in popular press such as "The Economist" and "The New York Times." 

Dr. Juhn currently serves on the board of the Houston READ commission, the board of the Houston Yale Alumni Association, and the advisory board of Da Camera Society. She is married to Edward Allen, senior partner of Eagle Global Advisors, and is the proud mother of two teenage daughters.


Nathelyne Kennedy, P.E. 

Nathelyne A. Kennedy, P.E. is founder and president of Nathelyne A. Kennedy & Associates, a civil and structural consulting engineering firm in Houston, Founded in 1981, her firm has participated in the design of many visible highway, bridge, airport, marine, and sports venue projects in Texas, including Houston's Light Rail System. 

The firm provides its services to such clients as City of Houston, Port of Houston Authority, Harris County, Houston Independent School District, Prairie View A&M University and Texas Southern University, as well as to governmental/public entities and private engineering and architectural firms throughout Texas. Her organization of professional engineers, technicians, inspectors, and administrative personnel specializes in many facets of civil and structural engineering design and project/program management. 

Honoring a lifetime of professional achievement, on November 3, 2006 her alma mater, Prairie View A&M University, dedicated the new "Nathelyne Archie Kennedy Building'' on its campus at Prairie View. This contemporary structure houses the Prairie View A&M School of Architecture and the Texas Institute for the Preservation of History and Culture. 

The first female graduate of Prairie View A&M University School of Engineering and the first African-American female registered as a Professional Engineer in Texas, Ms. Kennedy is an award-winning entrepreneur.


Nancy Levicki 

Nancy Levicki's extensive involvement in the Houston community during her 34 years here includes service as Chairwoman for the Episcopal High School Auction, underwriting co-chair for Cattle Baron's Ball, member of the Susan G. Komen Board, and member of the Advisory Board of The Nature Conservancy of Texas for over ten years. 

Nancy is a founding board member of Dress for Success Worldwide where she chaired the board development committee. Nancy currently serves on the membership committee of Dress for Success Worldwide participating in the selection process of Dress for Success Affiliates throughout the world. In September 2002 during the "Speaking of Women's Health conference, Houston Public Broadcasting System honored Nancy for her leadership role at Dress for Success Houston. In 2003 Nancy received the Humanitarian Award at the American Red Cross Every Day Hero Luncheon, and in 2004 Nancy was the recipient of the Hannah Solomon Award given by the National Council of Jewish Women in Greater Houston. The Houston Business Journal profiled Nancy and the work of DFSH April 2005, and the Texas Executive Women named her a "Woman on the Move" in October, 2005. In 2006 she was named a Houston Icon by the Neuhaus Center.

Nancy has published three books. She is the author of The College Cookbook for Students by Students, and Your Housekeepers Cookbook. She co-authored Awesome Teen, a lifestyle guide for teenagers. She was also the couture buyer for Sakowitz for six years. Nancy is married and has 2 grown daughters.


Kristen Loden

Kristen Loden is a respected arts administrator with special expertise in fund development. Her career has taken her to the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, The Juilliard School, and the Alley Theatre, where she held the position of executive director of development. During her time at the Alley Theatre Ms. Loden managed a multi-faceted fundraising program that generated $4 million annually, and she oversaw a capital campaign that raised $27.5 million in support of capital projects and endowment enhancement. Ms. Loden joined Houston Center for Contemporary Craft as its executive director in the spring of 2006 and has been a dedicated leader and driving force in establishing infrastructure initiatives, revitalizing the Center's advisory Council, and cultivating strategic alliances with community groups, craft guilds and educational organizations.

Ms. Loden has served as a music panelist for the Cultural Arts Council of Houston/Harris County (CACHH; now Houston Arts Alliance) and lectured at Rice University and the University of Houston, and her board affiliations have included CACHH and the American Festival for the Arts. A magna cum laude graduate of Rice University's Shepherd School of Music, she also earned a master's degree in vocal performance from the University of Houston before performing in opera and musical theater performances locally and regionally. Ms. Loden remains active at Rice as a Will Rice College Associate and member of the Will Rice College Alumni Advisory Board.


Janeice Longoria 

Janeice Longoria was first appointed to the Port of Houston Commission on September 4, 2002, and served as one of seven commissioners. She has worked diligently since that time to expand opportunities for small and minority owned businesses, foreign trade, and security enhancements at the Port of Houston.

Ms. Longoria is a graduate of the University of Texas School of Law and was formerly a litigation partner with the firm of Andrews & Kurth L.L.P. Aside from her duties for the Port of Houston, she is a partner with the law firm of Ogden Gibson White Broocks & Longoria, where she focuses her practice on the trial, arbitration and appeal of a broad range of commercial litigation cases. She also has broad experience in a wide range of commercial matters including contract disputes, employment claims, and defense of premises liability and personal injury claims. Ms. Longoria is a member of the Legal and Compliance Division of the Securities Industry Association, and was a former contributor to the annual broker dealer survey of litigation published by the SIA.

She also serves on the Board of Directors of Center Point Energy, Inc. As a member of the board of directors, she serves on Center Point Energy's audit and finance committees. She is a member of the Board of directors of the Greater Houston Partnership, serves on the Transportation and Infrastructure Advisory Committee and is a member of the World Trade Division of the Partnership. She was recently elected to the board and the executive committees of the Galveston Bay Foundation, and is active on the board and the executive committee of the Houston Heritage Society, an organization dedicated to preserving Houston's past as a gift to future generations. She is the former treasurer and served on the board of directors of The Houston Convention Center Hotel Corporation, which spearheaded the design and construction of Houston's first convention Hotel, and formerly served on the Board of Trustees for the Houston Symphony Endowment.


Aurora Losada

Aurora Losada is assistant managing editor and editor of Spanish publications of the Houston Chronicle. She previously worked as a financial editor for Reuters news agency in Miami, as an editor for The Wall Street Journal Americas in New York, and as the correspondent of Spanish Daily El Mundo in Washington D.C. Aurora is a native of Spain with an M.S. in journalism and an M.A. in international and public affairs, both from Columbia University. She was the recipient of the Editor of the Year award in 2005 at the Houston Chronicle’s annual Jesse Awards. Aurora is married to an Argentine award-winning writer, Ruben, and has a daughter, Camila.


Sue Lovell

Sue Lovell is currently serving her first term as Houston City Council Member. Ms. Lovell has been a long-time resident of Houston and has been serving the city  longbefore she was elected to council.

Sue has been involved in starting non-profit agencies, and worked for the State Comptroller's office on economic development issues. Council Member Lovell also designed and implemented an award-winning jobs program for the Mills Corporation. She has been a small business owner and a courier for Federal Express. The Council Member has been active in her neighborhood as well. She is the President of the Friends of Ervan Chew Park and even helped start the Neartown Little League, of which she is also a coach.

During her first year, the Council Member has taken on the fight against graffiti, supported the smoking ban ordinance and has worked to increase funding for HIV/AIDS spending in the city budget from $75,000.00 to $1 million Sue was recently appointed chair of the Historical Preservation Subcommittee by the Honorable Mayor Bill White Council Member Lovell is leading the effort to strengthen the Historical Preservation Ordinance She recently was elected by her fellow Council Members to represent the city of Houston on the Houston/Galveston Area Council Transportation Policy Committee. Sue's proudest accomplishment is as mother to her three boys ages 18, 16, and 12.


Sultana Mangalji 

Sultana Mangalji is a Board Member for the U.S. Fund for UNICEF. Previously, she served as the Hotel Group Director of Operations for Westmont Hospitality Group. She worked with Holiday Inn, Inc., Hyatt Hotels, and Cendant Corporations for Franchise Relations. She also implemented risk management strategies and set up budgets and capex for all the hotels in the U.S. portfolio. Additionally, Ms. Mangalji was the owner and operator of Kaleidoscope Kids daycare facility in 1995. 

Ms. Mangalji is active as a civic community volunteer. She has served with the American Hotel and Motel Association, the Post Oak School Parent Board, and the Kinkaid School's Academic Advisory Committee. Her board memberships include UNICEF, the Aga Khan Foundation National Committee, Teach for America, Houston READ Commission, Houston Greeters, and Texas Children's Cancer Center.

She received her Bachelor of Communication with a minor in Education from UBC in Vancouver and completed the Program for Managers at Rice University.


Diana Marshall 

Principal of Marshall & Lewis LLP, Diana Marshall was born in Odessa, Texas, and attended North Texas State University and UT Law School. She was admitted to the Texas bar in 1973. Ms. Marshall speaks on Trial Advocacy and Litigation to Local, State and National Organizations. She has been a Guest Speaker at the American Bar Association's Litigation Section Annual Program. In addition to being an attorney. Ms. Marshall is a Civil Litigation Arbitrator, Mediator. She is a member of the Houston Bar Association and the State Bar of Texas, a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers, American Board of Trial Advocates, and American Law Institute. (Board Certified, Civil Trial Law, Texas Board of Legal Specialization). She practices law in the areas of Civil Litigation, Arbitration, Appellate Practice, Jury Selection Consultant, Contested Wills, Contract Disputes, and Products Liability.


Su Marshman

Su Marshman is a certified early childhood and special education educator who discovered yoga in 1995, studying with Robert Boustany in Houston. Combining her love for children and love for yoga with her pedagogical skills, she began teaching Kid Yoga in 1999 with her 3-year-old daughter Amora (who still practices!). Su teaches kids ages three and up at Boustany Hatha Yoga Studios, Awty International School, Grace United Methodist Church, The Jewish Community Center and The Houstonian, and she offers private yoga therapy to children with special needs including Down's syndrome, cerebral palsy, spina bifida, asthma, diabetes, ADHD and anxiety disorder. Her students learn breathing practices, asanas, focus and relaxation - exploring yoga postures through playful connections to animals and the natural world. Su also incorporates healthy dietary tips and holistic ayurvedic treatments into her classes, and she teaches the Ayurvedic health module of Robert Boustany's yoga teacher training course. 

Besides teaching children, Su offers private instruction to women who need personalized yoga practice. She specializes in using seemingly simplistic poses as a path to greater strength, energy and awareness and ultimately, release and freedom.

Su is an enthusiastic member of Ecstatic Dance Houston; she plays guitar and is studying the sitar. In between her regular local teaching schedule and trips to study with her spiritual teacher, Mukunda Stiles of Structural Yoga Therapy in Boulder, CO, Su has taught Kid Yoga at the La Leche League statewide conference and led an in-service for the entire staff of HISD's Kolter Elementary on how to incorporate yoga into the classroom.


Rebecca McDonald

In March 2004, Rebecca McDonald joined BHP Billiton as President of Gas and Power Marketing and a member of the BHP Billiton Executive Committee. In this role, Ms. McDonald has responsibility for the development and implementation of BHP Billiton's gas marketing and commercialization strategy. 

Ms. McDonald has over 20 years' experience in the energy industry. Prior to joining BHP Billiton, Ms. McDonald served as President of the Houston Museum of Natural Science having been on the board of trustees for a period of five years. 

From 1999 to May 2001, Ms. McDonald served as Chaiman and CEO of Enron Global Assets. She was responsible for the development, construction and operation of Enron's asset portfolio throughout Asia, Africa and South America. 

Prior to joining Enron, she served as group vice president of Amoco Corporation and was responsible for Amoco's natural gas commercialization world-wide, North American natural gas liquids business and establishing their North America trading operations. She oversaw completion of more than $10 billion in projects worldwide.

McDonald currently serves as an independent director for Granite Construction Company and the BOC Group. She received her bachelor's degree from Stephen F. Austin University.


Sister Jane Meyer, O.P.

Sister Jane Meyer, O.P., has been active in Catholic education for many years. Currently, she is the Head of School at St. Agnes Academy (1981-present). Previously, she served as principal at Kelly Beaumont High School. Before that, she was a high school Mathematics and Business teacher. She regularly offers workshops and in-service programs for private and public schools on a variety of issues including master teaching, sexuality, Myers/Briggs, advancement and leadership, and has served as an evaluator of the U.S. Department of Education's Blue Ribbon School Program and on Southern Association of Secondary Schools evaluation committees.

Her many professional affiliations include serving as a recent Region 10 representative for NCEA's Secondary Schools Department. For her outstanding work, she has received numerous awards including the NCEA Catholic Secondary Education Award (1986), the Federation of Houston Professional Women outstanding award (1987), Texas Council Women School Executives Award (1989). Houston Post GAIA award (1992), the Free Market Foundation Leader of Excellence Award (1996), and the St. Anne's School Distinguished Alumna Award (2000). St. Agnes Academy, too, has received several awards, most notably, the U.S. Department of Education Blue Ribbon School Award.


Nicky Mondellini

Nicky Mondellini was born in Milan, Italy to a British mom and Italian dad. Her father moved the family to Mexico City when she was 3 after he was transferred by his engineering company.

Nicky was introduced to the art of acting and dancing from early childhood by her mom, who is a professional choreographer. She began her acting career when she was 12 (Musical Sweet Charity), and continued her career in soap operas with TELEVISA (Mexican TV Company) classical theater plays, and movies.

Among her accomplishments, she was nominated twice for best performing actress, and she is fluent in 5 languages (Spanish, English, Italian, French and German). In addition, she is a professional dancer and has a B.A. from Escuela De La Rivera Mexico City and a M.A. from Nucleo De Estudios Teatrales, Mexico City. Nicky, her husband, and their 3 children recently moved to Houston.


Rosanna Moreno

Rosanna Moreno is Assistant Vice President and Executive Director for International Business Development at Memorial Hermann-Texas Medical Center. In addition, Ms. Moreno is a Texas licensed attorney.

Her career began in 1983 at Frost Bank in San Antonio, Texas. In 1991, she left her position as an officer of the bank to stay home with her daughter, Analissa. She earned her MA in International Relations from St. Mary's University and a Juris Doctorate from South Texas College of Law during her tenure at home.

She returned to the workforce in 2001 as an investment banker. In November 2005, Ms. Moreno accepted the opportunity to learn a new industry and develop the international services department for the Memorial Hermann Healthcare System.

As an active member of the Houston Community, she serves on several community boards which include Prepared4Life, the Mexican Institute of Greater Houston, the Mental Health Association of Greater Houston, Amigo de las Americas, Teen Health Clinic and the Houston Holocaust Museum.

Her commitment extends to serving on the Houston TEXANS Hispanic Advisory Board, the Junior League of Houston Community Advisory Committee, chair of the University of Houston Center for Mexican American Studies Endowment Campaign and chair of the HISD Graduation Oversight Committee. Ms. Moreno is also the 2006 and 2007 Chair of Houston's Edward James Olmos Latino Book and Family Festival. In addition, Ms. Moreno is a member of the State Bar of Texas and a former member of Texas Economic Development State of Texas/Mexico Office Advisory Committee.


Georgianna E. Nichols

Georgianna Nichols is president and chief operating officer of CenterPoint Energy's Houston Electric Division. Georgianna first joined the company as a power consultant in 1978. Since then, she has held positions in the areas of marketing, operations and management for the company in both electric and natural gas businesses. 

Currently, she provides the vision and strategic direction for the financial, operational, and market success of CenterPoint Energy's Houston electric operations.  Georgianna serves on the board of directors for the Houston Downtown Alliance and Society for the Performing Arts. She also serves as Chairman on the Advisory Council for the University of Idaho and is active in American Leadership Forum Class of 2003, Leadership Texas, The Committee of 200 and the Greater Houston Partnership's Executive Women's Partnership program. She is a former director on the executive committee of the Buffalo Bayou Partnership and life member of the Greater Houston Partnership.

In July 2002, Texas Executive Women and the Houston Chronicle named Georgianna as one of Houston's 10 Women on the Move. Additionally, she is a YWCA Outstanding Woman of Achievement Business 2003 Award winner and in 2006 was named Girls, Inc Strong, Smart, and Bold Honoree.

Georgianna holds a bachelor's degree in mass communications from the University of South Florida.


Suzanne Nimocks

Suzanne is a director (senior partner) in McKinsey & Company's Houston Office. Since joining the Firm in 1989, she has served clients in the energy, healthcare, transportation, and insurance industries on a broad range of strategies, corporate finance, portfolio management, operations, organization, and risk management-related issues.

In addition to client work, Suzanne is a leader in McKinsey's Organization Practice, where she has recently led the Firm's work on generating and sustaining cost reduction benefits and is directing the Firm's current research in leadership.

Suzanne served as the Office Manager in Houston for several years and serves on the Firm's worldwide Partner Review Committee.

Suzanne serves on the boards of the Greater Houston Partnership, the United Way of the Texas Gulf Coast, St. John's School, the Houston Zoo, and the Masquerade Theatre.

Prior to joining McKinsey, Suzanne spent two years with the New York and London Offices of Stategic Planning Associates. In addition, she spent four years as an Underwriter with the Travelers National Accounts Group.

Suzanne holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics from Tufts University and a Masters of Business Administration from the Harvard Graduate School of Business. She is married and has two teenage children.


Sarah Peterson

Sarah Peterson is the Senior Vice President of Corporate and Investor Communications at Amegy Bank and serves as the Special Projects Chaiman for Zions Bancorporation. She manages and directs corporate and investor communications and is responsible for the political action committee, corporate contributions and economic research.

Previously, Sarah served as Vice President of Corporate Communications at Waste Management, Inc., Senior Managing Director and General Manager at Hill and Knowlton, Inc., Vice President of Marketing at Columbia/HCA Healthcare Corp., Senior Vice President of Public Affairs at J.P. Morgan Chase, and Vice President of Corporate Communications at St. Luke's Episcopal Hospital. Additionally, she was Bureau Chief at U.S. News and World Report and a Feature Writer at the Houston Chronicle.

Sarah's current community involvement includes the American Red Cross, Buffalo Bayou Partnership, and Sheltering Ams. She has also been involved with the Houston Challenge 2000, Greater Houston Partnership. United Way, Houston I.S.D. Marketing Task Force, Houston Symphony. Houston Host Committees, Texas Space Commission, and Kappa Alpha Theta.

She has received several awards and honors, including 3rd place 2003 and 1st place 2004 for annual report from the American Business Communicators, the Gold Award and Silver Award from the Public Relations Society of America, and Gold Coin Award for External Communications from the Bank Marketing Association. Sarah received her BA from the University of Houston.


Belinda Phelps

Belinda Phelps is a Director in the Houston, Texas office of The Citigroup Private Bank in collaboration with Citigroup investment advisors and product specialists, Ms. Phelps provides wealthy individuals, families, endowments and foundations with comprehensive and personalized wealth management and advisory services, including investment management, wealth transfer, risk management, and estate planning.

Ms. Phelps joined the Citigroup Private Bank in mid 2004 with over 20 years in the financial services industry. Prior to joining Citigroup, Ms. Phelps had been Client Advisor in the JP Morgan Private Bank and its successors.

Ms. Phelps has a BBA from Texas A&M University and a Graduate Degree from Southern Methodist University. In addition, Ms. Phelps is active with many philanthropic endeavors and is currently on the Board of Trustees of the Contemporary Arts Museum and the Chinquapin School.


Michele Pola, Ed.D.

Michele Pola, Ed.D., is Executive Director of the Houston A+ Challenge, a not-for-profit education organization working to build leadership capacity that results in higher student achievement Houston A+ Challenge directs the largest sum of private money ever dedicated to school reform in the greater Houston area. The A+ Challenge provides professional development for quality teaching and learning in a personalized learning environment and collaborates to align knowledge and resources.

Before joining Houston A+ Challenge, Dr. Pola served in the Houston Independent School District for 20 years as an elementary teacher, early childhood special education resources teacher, assistant principal and principal. She joined the staff of The Houston A+ Challenge in April 1999 from River Oaks Elementary, where she had been principal since 1988. In 1997, she was instrumental in creating the Lamar vertical administrative learning community through the Houston Annenberg Challenge Lamplighter grant.

Ms. Pola has a vast cultural education background from growing up in France, Italy, Germany and Cuba. Her formal education includes a BS in Education from Lesley College, an MS in Mid-Management from UH Clear Lake and a Doctor of Education from NOVA Southeastern. In 2004, she completed the Change Leadership Program at Harvard Graduate School of Education.

Her professional experiences include the Texas Education Agency Mentor School Network: Harvard's Principals' Institute, Texas A&M's Principals' Center, and the Texas Elementary Principals and Supervisors Association Leadership Academy.

Dr. Pola serves on the Greater Houston Partnership Education and Workforce Advisory Committee, the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board P-16+ Council and the Texas Association of Partners in Education Board of Directors. She chaired the 2005 Convocation on Public Education for the American Leadership Forum and was recently accepted as a fellow of the American Leadership Forum Class XXIV.


Jeanne Scheper, Ph.D.

Jeanne Scheper joined the Women's Studies Program at the University of Houston in the Fall 2005 as a postdoctoral fellow. Recent courses at the University of Houston include Feminist Theories of the Archive, Feminist Approaches to Performance Studies, and Introduction to Women's Studies: Gender in a Transnational World. She is a former Managing Editor of the feminist film and media journal Camera Obscura (1998-2002).

Her current book project, "Moving Performances," on race, gender and visual culture in New York, Paris, San Francisco, and Tokyo (1892-1940) theorizes mobility and identity in the early 20th century, including Orientalist dance crazes (Salomania), diasporic performances (Josephine Baker), the collision of race and sexuality on stage and screen (primitivism and la femme fatale). A section from this project, "Of La Baker, I am a Disciple: The Diva Politics of Reception" is forthcoming in Camera Obscura.

As an activist who has worked on Gay, Lesbian, and Transgender rights, as well as feminist and labor issues, she is interested in the use of visual culture and media as tools for social change. She has published on the gendered rhetoric of labor debates and the importance of archives for feminist visual culture in a piece for Feminist Studies that builds on her experience in the campaign to unionize Teaching Assistants at the University of California.

Here in Houston, she has written on the Guerilla Girls and the future of the "F" word for the Blaffer Gallery Newsline, appeared on a panel on gender and the arts at the Museum of Fine Arts in conjunction with the Center for Contemporary Craft's Show, Finding Balance; and recently co-hosted the KPFT radio show Go Vegan Texas! for a special Black History month show, "Sistah Vegan: Decolonizing Our Bodies."

Jeanne Scheper is also a writer for the New York shadow performance art group Cave Dogs. Her work has been performed at venues such as PS 122 (NYC), Henry Street Settlement (NYC) and Mobius (Boston).


Beth Schneider 

Beth B. Schneider is the W. T. and Louise J. Moran Education Director at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. Under her direction, the museum's education department has grown dramatically to a staff of twenty, and the museum has received challenge grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities. The department offers many successful and innovative programs both in the museum and at locations throughout Houston and Harris County.

She holds an M.A. in the history of art from the University of Pennsylvania and earned her B.A., cum laude, in art history from Harvard and Radcliffe College. Before coming to the museum in 1984, Ms. Schneider served as staff lecturer at the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D. C., and in 1977-78 was director of the Fayetteville Museum of Art in North Carolina. She served as a grant reviewer for the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Wallace-Reader's Digest Funds, and the Texas Commission on the Arts. She is an active member of the American Association of Museums and the National Art Education Association, making presentations at the NAEA annual conference on a wide range of museum education topics. From 2005-2007 she is director of the NAEA Museum Education Division and a member of the NAEA executive committee. 

In 1993, the NAEA named Ms. Schneider outstanding museum educator in the western region. In 2003, Young Audiences of Houston awarded Ms. Schneider its Community Leadership Award and in 2006 she received the Texas Association of Museum Educators' Committee Award


Cecelia Tsai

Cecilia Tsai is a technologist with GE Water and Process Technologies. She was born in Taiwan and educated in both Taiwan and the United States. After receiving a Master of Science in Chemistry from Carnegie-Mellon University, Cecelia worked in various industries. As a minority woman in science, she has always been passionate in promoting gender and cultural equality in the workplace. Cecelia has also been active in the Taiwanese community. She has served asa board member and Vice President of the Taiwanese Association of America, Houston Chapter, as well as the President of the Houston Taiwanese Women's Association. In 2004, Cecelia became President-Elect of the North American Taiwanese Women's Association (NATWA) one of the most respected and well-run Taiwanese organizations in the United States and Canada. While serving as President of NATWA, Cecelia focused on bridging the generational gap between first and second generation Taiwanese American and Taiwanese Canadian women, and the cultural gap between immigrant and mainstream cultures.


Laura Viada

Laura Vada has been a handweaver and fiber artist since 1996. Prior to embarking on her career in the arts, she practiced and taught banking law for 20 years. Laura left the legal profession in 2002 to devote all of her energy to developing as a weaver and fiber artist. Laura's work is focused on geometric form and color theory, and she dyes most of her own yams.

Her work has been exhibited nationally and has won many awards. Laura also teaches color theory and advanced weaving classes at the national level. Laura lives, weaves, and dyes in Houston, Texas, with her husband, three parrots, and an English springer spaniel.


Dancie Ware

One of the foremost professionals in the field of public relations, Dancie Perugini Ware heads one of the region's most prominent public relations firms with a 20-year history of orchestrating high-visibility events and contributing to corporate successes. Dancie attracts Fortune 500 companies and the kind of clients that young careerists delight in saying, "Looks good on the resume" because hers is a results-oriented, high-energy kind of place. Dancie is a serious, pragmatic, bottom-line practitioner with a rare vitality, vision and imagination. She is the consummate professional. 

A dedicated fifth-generation Galvestonian, Dancie Perugini Ware has been an instrumental force in the renaissance of her native city, leading the revival of Mardi Gras Galveston, spearheading the repositioning of The Strand and Galveston's historical district, creating The Galveston Arches, an enthusiastically acclaimed civic art project by noted architects Michael Graves, Aldo Rossi, Cesar Pelli and Helmut Jahn and honored by The Smithsonian's Cooper- Hewitt Museum in New York. Her dreams of a tribute to Galveston's preservation movement resulted in two widely acclaimed literary works: Historic Galveston and the re-publication of The Galveston that Was.

In the past two decades, many of the unique and monumental public events of the times were born as creative dreams of Dancie Perugini Ware Public Relations, moments of a larger-than-life excitement for the fourth largest city, adding an artful dimension to our national image. Jean-Michel Jarre's Rendezvous Houston lightscape on the downtown skyline; the colorful and inspired opening of the George R. Brown Convention Center, Downtown Houston's $40 million Sesquicentennial Park Redevelopment, Space Center Houston's national launch, and artistic unveiling of the MFAH's Audrey Jones Beck Building, all major events launched with the firm's signature flair and creativity.

Dancie currently serves on the Board of Trustees of Houston Grand Opera; Development Board of the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston, Advisory Board for the Alley Theatre; and Board of Advisors for the San Jacinto Girl Scouts. An honors graduate of The University of Texas at Austin, she is married to attorney James L Ware and is the proud mother of 17-year-old twins, Carter Randall and Lane Tieman.


Rabbi Amy Weiss 

Rabbi Amy Weiss is the founder and executive director of the Initiative for Jewish Women, an educational and experiential forum for liberal Jewish women in Houston. Rabbi Weiss' rabbinate has focused on integrating Judaism and Jewish Ethics in particular into our everyday ethics, values, and choices. An important aspect of Weiss' rabbinate is educating teens about sell-esteem and sexuality in a Jewish context, creating a Jewish Teen Community Sexuality Retreat weekend that has met with acclaim from students, parents, and rabbis. Weiss grew up in Dallas, graduated from the University of Texas, was ordained at Hebrew Union College in New York City and also holds a master's degree in Jewish Education from HUC's School of Education


Toni Whitaker

Toni Whitaker received her bachelor's degree in apparel design from Syracuse University. A native of Camdem, South Carolina, Whitaker earned a second bachelor's degree in textile technology at North Carolina State University in Raleigh. Before moving to Houston in 1982 Whitaker taught at Arizona State University in Tempe. In Texas, she has taught courses ranging from the history of costume and clothing design to visual merchandising at Texas Southern University, the University of Houston and Prairie View A&M University.

As a professional designer, Whitaker has worked for over 20 years in Houston. Her boutique Toni Whitaker has long been a major fashion institution in the trendsetting Rice Village area near Rice University. Known for her stylish and elegant designs often accented by a daring touch of the imagination, Whitaker has established a rapport with her clients that provides for that long association with a particular designer preferred by well-dressed women.

Several of Whitaker's clients are repeat honorees on Houston's Best Dressed list. In 2004, the designer was named the Houston Chronicle's "Ultimate Fashion Designer." Most recently, Whitaker launched two very popular lines of couture hats and elegant ready-to-wear. Her love of fashion history led to her in-depth study of the contributions of African American designers and style makers to the fashion world, and to her key role as one of the three curators of High Style: A Story of Black Fashion, which opened in October 2006.


Andrea White

Andrea White - attorney, author, voracious reader, mother of three, and almost-lifelong Texan grew up in Houston and attended Memorial High School. After graduating Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Texas, she attended the University of Texas Law School and went on to become the second female partner at the law firm Locke Liddell. 

As Houston's First Lady, she continues her years of work as an advocate for children, and a champion of progressive public school reform. Her publisher, HarperCollins released her book for pre-teens, Surviving Antarctica: Reality TV 2083, in April or 2005. She is currently at work on her second book.

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