Gene is a Fortune 500 technology veteran, with more than two decades of experience leading growth of young companies, as well as major business units at global corporations. Gene is formerly the CEO of BazaarVoice and previously worked at Blackbaud, Inc. Prior to joining Blackbaud in May 2012, Gene was the driving force behind Convio’s strong growth since July 2003. Previously, Gene served as Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing at Careerbuilder.com, where he contributed significantly to growth leading to a 1999 public offering. After CareerBuilder.com, Gene worked at Dell as Vice President and General Manager of Internet Servers, and, just prior to Convio, as BMC Software’s Vice President and General Manager of Enterprise Data Management.
Gene has been an active member of the Austin Chamber of Commerce and currently serves on the Executive Committee of the Board of Directors. Gene is also active on the Board of the Austin Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation International and the Texas Institute for Education Reform Board of Directors. Gene has an MBA from Washington University in St. Louis and a BS in Engineering Management from Southern Methodist University in Dallas.
Bill Boyar is a founding Shareholder of BoyarMiller, a Houston, Texas‐based law firm. Bill’s practice focuses on representing the various parties involved in the acquisition, disposition, capitalization and financing of assets and businesses on a national and international level.
He has served as lead counsel on numerous complex, multi‐party acquisitions and project financings, with significant experience in corporate finance, healthcare, energy, private equity, mergers and acquisitions, real estate and hospitality. Bill assists clients in their strategic planning and capital formation processes, maintaining a network of private and institutional clients and contacts worldwide. Additionally, Bill is a former columnist for the Houston Business Journal having authored more than 20 articles in the “Building Business” series.
Bill is proud to have served as Chairman of BoyarMiller from 1990‐2010. Today, he continues with his legal practice, mentoring business leaders and lawyers, and actively serving the Houston community. Bill serves or has served several organizations, including SEARCH Homeless Services (former Board Chair) and KIPP Houston Public Schools, where he currently serves as Board Chair, the Texas Business Hall of Fame Foundation Board, the Houston Food Bank, Lochinvar Golf Club, and the University of Houston Bauer College of Business Graduate Real Estate Program (former Board Chair).
Peter BrodskyDallas-Fort Worth
Peter S. Brodsky is an investor and business executive who, through a majority-owned company, owns the Reimagine RedBird development (formerly known as Southwest Center Mall and, prior to that, Red Bird Mall). He is investing in the mall and its surrounding land to restore it to a place of pride and quality in the community.
Prior to acquiring the mall, Peter was a founder and partner of HBC Investments LLC, a firm focused on investing both third party capital and the capital of its principals in growth-oriented companies. Prior to co-founding HBC, Peter was a partner at the private equity firm of HM Capital Partners and its predecessor, Hicks Muse, where he was employed for over 15 years. At HM Capital, Peter focused on the media industry and was responsible for deploying or managing over $2.6 billion of equity investments and completed over 100 transactions.
In the civic and non-profit arenas, Peter serves on several boards. He serves as Chairman of the City of Dallas’s Animal Advisory Commission, which advises Dallas Animal Services, the city animal shelter and control service provider. On the Commission, Peter’s focus is addressing the stray and loose dog crisis in southern Dallas. Peter also serves on the Boards of: KIPP Texas, a network of 55 schools with 29,000 preK-12 students in Austin, Dallas, Houston and San Antonio, as well as the Advisory Board of KIPP Texas – Dallas-Fort Worth, a network of seven schools serving over 3,000 students in grades K-10 in southern Dallas, which he chaired from January 2011 through June 2017. Formerly, Peter served on the following Boards: North Texas Public Broadcasting, the owner and operator of Dallas-Fort Worth’s PBS and NPR affiliates; AT&T Performing Arts Center; Vogel Alcove; and Dallas Symphony Orchestra.
Peter received a BA in Russian Literature from Yale College. He lives in Dallas, TX. Peter is married to Lael Brodsky and they have three young adult children.
Jose (Pepe) GuevaraDallas-Fort Worth
Pepe Guevara founded and leads Millstone Assets, an investment management firm with a focus on multigenerational wealth preservation. His investment interests span a wide range of topics: agriculture, life sciences, communications, and finance.
Prior to Millstone Assets, Mr. Guevara was a partner for the Boston Consulting Group. Over his 20 year career at BCG, he contributed to 5 offices in 4 continents. During the latter years, he held leadership positions in both health care and private equity practices for Latin America.
Mr. Guevara is actively involved on child development and entrepreneurial non‐profit organizations. He has served at the Regional North Mexico Board for Save the Children. He is an active mentor at Endeavor.org and an established angel investor for young entrepreneurs.
Born in Mexico, Mr. Guevara graduated Monterrey Tech with honors with a BSc in chemical engineering. He got his MBA from INSEAD in Fontainebleau. He is fluent in 4 languages.
Mr. Guevara has now settled in Dallas where he lives with his wife and three kids.
Dolores Ann Lozano joined BakerRipley, Texas’ largest charitable organization, as the Sr. Communications Specialist to the Office of the President and CEO in January 2020.
Dolores grew up in Houston’s East End and began her career in Speech Pathology upon becoming a firstgeneration graduate from Baylor University. She expanded her career in media, sports, and community impact. Her communications background includes Super Bowl LI, two NCAA Final Four tournaments, three NBA All Star games, and one TedxHouston event.
Dolores’ passion for Quality Education and Gender Equality led her appointment to help launch Impact Hub Houston, a locally rooted, globally connected nonprofit organization working to make Houston a role model for how the world solves its most pressing issues. Currently, Dolores serves as a Child Advocate, Young Friend of AVDA (Aid to Victims of Domestic Violence), Houston Area Women’s Center Young Leader, and member of the Junior League of Houston. Additionally, she is a member of the American Marketing Association, Houston Young Professionals and Entrepreneurs (HYPE) and Public Relations Society of America.
In the last year, Dolores founded The DAPR Group, a public relations firm working with non-profits and individuals on finding their voice to achieve their marketing communications objectives
Dolores has been shaping the KIPP alumni voice for over six years. She has served on the KIPP PALs board for three years and led two KIPP Voyage Young Ladies Leadership conferences. Last year, she became a KIPP Alumni Leadership Accelerator Fellow and Aspen Ideas Festival Scholar.
Gretchen has over 20 years of experience in technology marketing. She has worked in essentially every marketing discipline other than sales. Today, she manages Coheredge marketing and IT consulting with her husband, Dave. Coheredge was founded in 2015, and its client roster includes startups, agencies and mid‐ size to large multinational companies.
Today Gretchen is passionate about helping growing companies figure out what kind of marketing they need, and when. She loves to create customer messages for technology solutions ‐ from the easy to the highly complex.
Gretchen has been building and executing successful marketing strategies since graduating from UNC Kenan‐ Flagler business school in 1995. She spent 10 years at Dell in product marketing and product management roles on B2B and B2C mobile and desktop product lines. After several years of leading product lines and overseeing their respective P&L’s, she changed roles and moved into Dell’s Corporate Communications team. During this time, Gretchen played a lead role in managing the 2006 Dell battery recall for which Dell was awarded a Silver Anvil in Crisis Communications. Following this experience, she spent three years with WPP Group leading Dell’s public relations agency, AxiCom (now PPR Worldwide), a global client service organization built specifically to augment the Dell Corporate Communications organization. Gretchen later returned to Dell and was in‐house for five years, leading marketing teams responsible for sales enablement and global creative strategy and delivery.
Gretchen has a passion for education. After graduating from Haverford College, she was an administrator at Maret School in Washington, D.C.. She was a member of the Board of Directors for KIPP Austin Public Schools from 2007‐2014, including one year as Board Chair.
Ethan Phillips is a partner with Bain & Company in the Houston office. He is a member of the Global Oil & Gas Practice and has deep expertise in upstream operations and organizational transformations.
He joined the company as a consultant in the Boston office in 2004 and served in the Dallas office from 2005‐2009 before moving to Houston to open the Bain Houston office.
While at Bain, Ethan has advised clients in a wide range of capabilities including growth strategy, organizational effectiveness, performance improvement and change management. In addition to Oil & Gas, he has also worked with the private equity, education, health care, telecommunications, and airline industries.
Prior to joining Bain, Ethan had several years experience as an entrepreneur, founding and growing two companies in his hometown of Austin, Texas. Ethan holds an MBA from MIT’s Sloan School of Management, and an AB in Economics from Harvard University. He lives in Houston with his wife and four children.
Shawn Raymond is a trial lawyer whose practice concentrates on heavyweight commercial litigation of all types. His clients describe him as “a passionate advocate,” “a skilled tactician,” and “meticulous in his preparation.”
- Named The Best Lawyers in America 2015 Litigation ‐ Antitrust “Lawyer of the Year” in Houston.
- Ranked as one of the top 100 lawyers in the Houston Region on the 2014 and 2015 Texas Super Lawyers List (presented by Thomson Reuters and the publishers of Texas Monthly).
- Included in the 2012‐2016 editions of The Best Lawyers in America (Woodward White, Inc.).
- Featured in either in Benchmark Plaintiffs: The Definitive Guide to America’s Leading Plaintiff Firms and Attorneys or in Benchmark Litigation as a Future Star (2014‐2016).
- Past President of the Federal Bar Association’s Southern District of Texas Chapter, which serves the federal judiciary and federal practitioners in all seven divisions of the District.
- Named to the Houston Business Journal’s 2011 “40 Under 40” list for being among Houston’s next 40 leaders who excel in their industry, are respected business leaders, and show dynamic leadership in their community.
- Recipient of the 2009 Woodrow B. Seals Outstanding Young Lawyer Award. Named in honor of a well-known federal judge, this award is given annually to one Houston attorney under the age of 38 who best represents professional excellence and service to clients, the community and the Bar.
Shawn attended George Washington University where he graduated magna cum laude. He received his JD from the University of Texas School of Law.
Manolo Sánchez is the former chairman and CEO of BBVA Compass, and was named U.S. country manager for BBVA Group in 2010. Under his leadership, BBVA Compass has established itself as a bank driven by people, principles and innovation and a model of community involvement from Florida to California. Manolo worked for BBVA for nearly 25 years. He joined BBVA Compass as head of community banking in 2008, having led Laredo National Bank for the previous three years after it was acquired by BBVA. Between 2002 and 2005, Sánchez served as chief risk officer for BBVA Bancomer in Mexico City. Earlier in his BBVA career, Sánchez served in New York from 1999 to 2002, Paris from 1994 to 1999, and Madrid from 1990 to 1994, holding positions in the corporate, investment and correspondent banking divisions of the bank. In addition to English and Spanish, he speaks French, German and Arabic.
He lives in Houston with his wife and three children.
Sánchez is a governing director of the Houston Symphony and a board member of the Institute of International Bankers, the American Bankers Association, KIPP Houston charter schools and the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. He is a member of the Greater Houston Partnership and the Houston chapter of the Young Presidents Organization, and is a trustee at the Post Oak Montessori School. Sánchez received the Laredo Gateway Rotary Club’s 2014 Paul Harris Fellow award and was named Alabama Citizen of the Year for 2011 by the March of Dimes. He served as chairman for the American Heart Association’s Heart Walk in 2007.
Alex SharmaDallas-Fort Worth
Alex Nila K. Sharma is a native of Massachusetts but has been a Dallas area resident of and on for more than 30 years. He earned his B.A. Magna Cum Laude from Southern Methodist University and a JD from the University of Texas at Austin. He also earned an LLM in International Law from Southern Methodist University. His early work experience was with the State Attorney General’s office in Austin.
After several years Alex left the legal profession and began a career in real estate development. Primarily working in the Pacific Northwest for the past two decades Alex and one partner have built projects opportunistically, including offices, condominiums, and currently a second home resort development in Central Washington state.
Alex and his family are deeply committed to child welfare and children’s issues locally and all over the globe. The Family has given their time and energy to UNICEF for more than a decade. Alex is currently the Board Vice‐Chair for Family Gateway, an organization that assists homeless children and families in the Dallas area. He is also the current Board Chair of KIPP DFW Public Charter schools, which currently serve more than 2,400 disadvantaged children in Southern Dallas.
Alex and his wife Gowri have one high school aged daughter.
Allison K. Thacker joined Rice University in 2011 as President of the Rice Management Company with the responsibility of managing a $5.6 billion endowment fund and the University’s $968 million of debt. The Rice University endowment ranks in the top 20 endowments of private research universities in the US and funds
over 40% of the university budget. Over the 3, 5 and 10 years ending June 30, 2015, annualized endowment returns were 11.9%, 12.2% and 8.6%. Rice Management Company partners with third party investment managers and also internally manages a portfolio of direct real estate, oil and gas royalties, timberland and operating businesses.
Prior to joining Rice University, Ms. Thacker spent 11 years with RS Investments, a San Francisco‐based investment firm specializing in public equities. At RS Investments, Ms. Thacker held roles including Portfolio Manager, Managing Director and Research Analyst. In the earlier portion of her career, Ms. Thacker served
as a Summer Analyst at Putnam Investments and as a Financial Analyst in the energy investment banking group at Merrill Lynch & Co. She was a founding board member of KIPP Heartwood Academy, a college preparatory charter school serving East San Jose, California, is currently the board chair of the KIPP Texas Houston Regional board, a member of the Houston Ballet Board of Trustees, a board member for Black
Stone Minerals, and Chairman of the Board of Accelerate Learning.
Ms. Thacker is a graduate of Harvard Business School where she received an M.B.A. She has a Bachelor of Arts degree in economics with honors from Rice University
Velma Villegas, Ph.D.San Antonio
Velma Villegas, Ph.D. has served public school systems in Texas and California for over 40 years both in a teaching and administrative capacity. Over the course of her career in education, she has served in various leadership roles. Dr. Villegas holds her Ph.D. in Leadership & Human Behavior, USIU, in San Diego, CA, her M.A. in Educational Administration, San Jose State University in California, and her B.A. in Business & Economics, from Texas Women’s University, in Denton, TX.
Dr. Villegas currently serves in a leadership capacity at Texas A&M University-San Antonio, TX as the Special Assistant for Teaching & Academics and as the Interim Department Chair for Curriculum & Kinesiology. Previous leadership roles have included: Educational Consultant – Texas A&M University-San Antonio; Superintendent – Southwest ISD, San Antonio; Assistant Superintendent for Teaching & Learning – Spring Branch ISD, Houston; Assistant Superintendent for Instruction– Sacramento City Joint Unified School District, Sacramento, CA; Professor Educational Leadership– California State University System, Sacramento, CA; Interim Superintendent – Harlandale ISD, San Antonio; Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum & Instruction – Harlandale ISD, San Antonio; Associate Superintendent for Instruction – Woodland Joint Unified School District, Woodland, CA; Regional Director – San Diego County Office of Education, San Diego, CA; Principal – Elementary and Secondary levels, Woodland, CA; and as a Teacher – Pre-school, elementary, secondary and higher education.
Dr. Villegas has been a keynote speaker and presented on education and culture/diversity topics including “Communication Skills” for the Association of California School Administrators; “Service & Success for All” for the California School Boards Association; served as Keynote Speaker, Convocation Awards Ceremonies for Graduate Students in the Urban Leadership Program at California; “Purposeful Leadership” for the State University, Sacramento, California; “Honoring Cultural Diversity” for the California State Minicorps Program; has served on the Administration and Leadership Institute Superintendents Panel for Texas A&M , College Station, Texas; Texas Schools Public Relations Assoc., Superintendents Panel, San Antonio, TX; Hispanic Month Keynote Speaker for the Educational Testing System, San Antonio, Texas and as a Consultant at Local, County, State levels for Leadership, Cultural Diversity & Awareness, Curriculum & Instruction, Assessment & Communication Skills.
Community service and activities are very important to Dr. Villegas and she has served the following organizations: P-16 Plus Council City of San Antonio; Texas A&M University System P-20 Co-Chair for Teacher Preparation; Challenger Program Board Member, Brooks AFB; San Antonio Women’s Chamber of Commerce Board Member; Boy Scouts of America Board Member, Sacramento, California; Teacher Preparation Design Committee, Texas A&M University-San Antonio; Library Board Member, Woodland, California; and the San Antonio Public Library Board.
In recognition of her service and accomplishments, Dr. Villegas has received the following honors Superintendent of the Year (2008-09) Texas Education Computer Association; Southwest ISD Superintendent of the Year Nominee (2008-2009) Region 20, San Antonio, Texas; Women of the Southern Sector Award (2007) Southside Chamber of Commerce; City Year Hidden Hero Award (2006), San Antonio, Texas; Leadership Award (2001-2002) Sacramento City Joint Unified School Board , Sacramento, California; Leadership Series Honoree, San Antonio Women’s Chamber of Commerce.
Originally joining the team in 2001, Kent Wallace is a Partner with The Sterling Group where he is responsible for sourcing, executing acquisitions, and the oversight of portfolio companies. Kent currently serves as Chairman of the board of Time Manufacturing, and on the boards of Evergreen North America Industrial Services, and Saxco International. He was formerly the Chairman of the board of B&G Crane, Chairman of the board of Stackpole International and served on the boards of Universal Fiber Systems, Hudson Products, and Panolam Industries. He was also involved in investments in Propex and North American Energy Partners.
Prior to Sterling, Kent was a Summer Associate with Rocky Mountain Capital Partners, focusing on mezzanine investments in basic manufacturing and services businesses, and an Assistant Vice President at Long‐Term Credit Bank, where he managed an energy loan portfolio. He began his career at Coopers & Lybrand. Kent received a B.B.A. and an M.P.A. in accounting from the University of Texas and an M.B.A. with honors from the Graduate School of Business at the University of Chicago.
Kent serves on the Executive Board for KIPP Houston and is a member of the Advisory Board for the Hicks, Muse, Tate and Furst Center for Private Equity Finance at the University of Texas in Austin. Kent has also served as Treasurer on the executive committee of the board of directors of the Zina Garrison Academy since 2005 and has served as a volunteer to Yellowstone Academy since 2006. Kent and his wife, Mollie, have 3 children aged 14 (son), 12 (daughter) and 9 (son). Kent and his family have been active parishioners of St. Anne’s Catholic Church since 2001 and Kent serves in St. Vincent de Paul Society at the church.
Darla WhitakerDallas-Fort Worth
Darla Whitaker is a senior vice president of Texas Instruments responsible for human resources.
Prior to this role, she served as vice president and manager of TI’s compensation and human resources systems and services. Throughout her career at TI, she has held various leadership positions in human resources, including director of human resources for the Application‐Specific Products organization, human resources manager for the Application‐Specific Integrated Circuit organization and compensation manager for the Asia region. Prior to her experience in human resources, she served in a variety of manufacturing and engineering roles.
Whitaker joined TI in 1984 in the wafer fabrication facility in Sherman, Texas. She is a graduate of Southern Methodist University where she earned a Bachelor of Science in electrical engineering. She also earned a Master of Business Administration from the University of Dallas.
In addition to her role at TI, she serves on the board of directors for the TI Foundation, TI’s Political Action Committee and Knowledge is Power Program (KIPP) DFW. She is also an alumnus of Leadership Texas.