Women We Admire is pleased to announce The Top 50 Women Leaders of Houston for 2023. While the area is known globally for its aerospace and energy sectors, countless other leading industries like life sciences, biotechnology, education, healthcare and manufacturing contribute to its robust and growing economy. The contributions of this year’s awardees span across all sectors and are as diverse as the state itself. They have knowledge and expertise that is invaluable to the organizations they serve and their dedication does not go unnoticed.

Among this year’s awardees is Connie Bormans, Chief Laboratory Officer of Gene by Gene, who has over the last 16 years created numerous policies and procedures that enabled their laboratory to acquire national accreditations. Awardee Jessica Jackson, Vice President of Environment, Health & Safety at Apache Corporation. She is known for her “field focused” mindset and continuously improving safety, environmental management, regulatory, ESG and sustainability performance while inspiring integrity across the organization. Also awarded is Regina Mayor, Global Head of Clients and Markets for KPMG, who is a recognized global leader in areas including decarbonization, change management, and energy & natural resources

Please join us in celebrating the accomplishments of The Top 50 Women Leaders of Houston for 2023.

2. Sarah Fedele
Principal, Deloitte & Touche

Sarah Fedele has specialized in Internal Audit (IA), Internal Controls, and Risk Management her entire career, currently leading the US Internal Audit practice within Deloitte Risk and Financial Advisory where she is a member of Deloitte’s Global Internal Audit executive team. Sarah is hyper focused on modernizing the IA profession and assisting clients with not only delivering assurance to stakeholders but advising on critical business issues, better anticipating risk, and accelerating management action and organizational learning. Deloitte IA is driving innovation in areas such as Agile IA, Digital IA, ESG, IT IA, Outsourcing/Co-Sourcing, and Sarbanes-Oxley Modernization and Compliance fully leveraging automation and greenhouse labs. To support advancement in the profession of internal audit, Sarah sits on the Institute of Internal Auditors’ Internal Audit Foundation Board of Trustees. Lastly, Sarah leads Deloitte’s Chief Audit Executive Program where she works closely with CAEs at every stage in their career journey to confidently manage the complexities and expectations of the role and to transform the way that they do business today.

Sarah graduated from Louisiana State University with an undergraduate degree in information systems and decision sciences and a concentration in internal audit. She is a certified internal auditor and certified in risk management assurance.

4. Regina Mayor
Global Head of Clients and Markets, KPMG

As Global Head of Clients & Markets, Regina Mayor helps KPMG firms achieve their collective growth ambitions by developing and strengthening client relationships through insights, working together to achieve objectives and enabling consistent delivery of the KPMG brand promise. She was previously KPMG’s Global Head of Energy and Natural Resources. She is a recognized global thought leader on business transformation and key client issues across multiple sectors and geographies including ESG, decarbonization, change management, and energy and natural resources. Regina is a sought-after speaker and a regular contributor to major media channels and features frequently in top-tier business press.

Regina has more than 30 years of experience in client-facing roles, delivering large-scale business and technology changes. She specializes in complex business transformation, process redesign, organizational design and change management programs. She is also recognized for her strong advocacy for inclusion, diversity and equity, with a particular focus on gender equality.

Regina, the founder of KPMG’s annual Global Energy Transformation Conference, is a frequent keynote speaker at major global industry forums in Australia, Mexico, the World Energy Conference and Women’s Energy Network events, among others. She holds an undergraduate degree from Cornell University and a master's degree in public policy from Harvard University. She was an officer in the US Army Reserve and interned at the Pentagon as part of the Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe liaison office. Regina is also a staunch advocate of veterans, having served as co-founder of the KPMG in the US’s Veterans Network.

5. Geeta Thakorlal
Executive Group Director of the Information & Digital Delivery, Worley

Geeta Thakorlal has an influential industry presence and has held global leadership positions in technical consulting and operations in the international energy, chemicals and resources sectors. She currently serves as Executive Group Director of the Information & Digital Delivery group at Worley. In this role, she leads the transformation of the technology, information security, data and digital portfolios to enable the global organization to become a digitally enabled, data driven and knowledge-based technology organization providing sustainable solutions.

Geeta has held a number of senior positions across Worley since joining in 2011, including president of INTECSEA and SVP of upstream, midstream, LNG service line. She is currently a member of the advisory council of the Andlinger Center for Energy and the Environment at Princeton University, as well as an executive advisory board member for the Offshore Technology Committee in Houston.

6. Marilyn A. Swindle
AVP of Regional Clinical Effectiveness, Memorial Hermann Health System

Marilyn Swindle is the Associate Vice President of Regional Clinical Effectiveness for Memorial Hermann Health System. Memorial Hermann is one of the largest not-for-profit health systems in Southeast Texas, comprised of 17 hospitals, over 260 care delivery sites, numerous specialty programs and services.

As a healthcare executive leader with more than 20 years of experience, Swindle is responsible for executing, integrating, and implementing all components of the quality and patient safety program and provides oversight for accreditation and regulatory continuous compliance with The Joint Commission, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, and Texas Health and Human Services Commission for the North and South Regions. Swindle’s previously held positions include director of quality, patient safety and infection control, division director of quality assurance, chief clinical officer and multiple leadership and service opportunities in civilian and military medical command and medical device industry.

Swindle holds a Doctor of Nursing Practice degree from Samford University, an MBA from Webster University, and an undergraduate degree in nursing from Stephen F. Austin State University. She is a Certified Professional in Healthcare Quality and completed an Interprofessional Fellowship in Innovative Healthcare Leadership from Arizona State University, the Patient Safety Executive Development Program at the Institute for Healthcare Improvement and received a Safety, Quality, Informatics and Leadership certificate from Harvard Medical School’s Postgraduate Medical Education Program. She has held previous board appointments and currently serves as a member of the inaugural Doctor in Nursing Practice Advisory Board for Herzing University.

7. Susie Henderson
EVP of Strategic Growth Advisory North America

Susie Henderson is a business builder with over 25 years’ global experience in infrastructure investment and economics, including major natural resources, transportation, and port projects. She is highly regarded for her expertise in analysis of economic and stakeholder management of complex high-profile projects, and strategic positioning. In the past 10 years she has successfully built three consulting businesses from inception to strong strategic enterprises.

Throughout her career, Susie has led numerous projects across a wide range of industries in the US, Australia, Canada, Latin America, Southeast Asia, and the UK. These include endeavors spanning water, government, smart cities, mining, infrastructure/logistics (rail/port/roads), and energy sectors. She most recently established the GHD Advisory venture in the Americas and is now focused on the expansion of this business via acquisitions and partnerships.

In addition to her degree in accounting, Susie completed the globally recognized and rigorous CPA® and AICD® Programs and was nominated for the EY Entrepreneur of the Year. She has served on a wide range of boards, including port, rail, mining, renewal natural energy companies, not-for-profit organizations, a credit union, and a high-profile public-sector entity.

Of special note, Susie served on the Board of Directors for Waterfront Toronto, appointed by the Mayor of Toronto. She was part of the strategic team overseeing one of the largest waterfront revitalization efforts ever undertaken in the world, a project which entailed a $1 billion budget for flood protection works and numerous targeted residential development sites. She was also the co- chair of the investment & real estate committee overseeing the very public proposed smart city with Sidewalk Labs. She is currently serving on an ASX listed renewable energy company in Alberta, Canada, that is developing pumped hydro energy storage, green hydrogen and wind energy.

9. Deepa Poduval
SVP & Global Advisory Leader, Black & Veatch

Deepa Poduval is a Senior Vice President, and Global Advisory Leader within Black & Veatch. In this role, she provides executive leadership for Black & Veatch’s Strategic and Digital Advisory Services including support for a wide variety of clients related to transactions due diligence, regulations, business strategy & planning, asset & risk management, operational technologies and infrastructure modernization. Their clients span governments, energy, water, commercial, industrial, and financial sectors and seek strategic and technical expertise related to their critical infrastructure as they pursue goals around sustainability, growth, and resilience.

Deepa is also Black & Veatch's Sustainability Leader and is the executive sponsor for WAVE, the women's employee resource group at Black & Veatch. She earned degrees from Birla Institute of Technology and Science and Dartmouth College.

11. Jessica Jackson
VP of Environment, Health & Safety, Apache Corporation

Jessica Jackson is the Vice President of Environment, Health and Safety at Apache Corporation. As a leading, global exploration and production company, Apache helps to meet the world’s energy needs in a cleaner, more sustainable way. In her role, Jackson oversees environment, health, safety, regulatory and sustainability activities for the company. Her experience in both the public and private sectors have enabled her to have a positive and lasting impact on the energy sector. She’s known for her “field focused” mindset and continuously improving safety, environmental management, regulatory, ESG and sustainability performance while inspiring integrity across the organization.

Jackson began her career in local government, where she held various crisis management roles supporting the Texas Gulf Coast area and the City of Houston. Before transitioning to the energy sector, Jackson served as a multi-industry consultant, where she helped prepare organizations for large-scale emergencies. Prior to joining Apache, she held several positions of increasing responsibility at Murphy Oil Corporation.

Jackson holds a master’s degree in public administration and an undergraduate degree in public policy and political science from the University of Houston. Jackson was named by the Houston Business Journal as a Houston Top 40 Under 40 recipient for leadership, overcoming oil and gas industry challenges and community involvement and recently has been recognized as a top 100 diverse leaders in energy by the National Diversity Council. She's a passionate driver of pragmatic business with a proven track record leading high performance teams.

View the complete list of awardees.

12. Maru Barrios
Chief People Officer, Rocket Lab

Dr. Maru Barrios has a doctorate degree in leadership and organizational change from USC, a master's degree in human development, and a certification in executive coaching. Today, she is the Chief People Officer of Rocket Lab (RL), a hypergrowth digital marketing company specializing in mobile app growth. RL today operates in Mexico, Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay, Spain, and India. The leadership model and the employee journey strategy that Dr. Barrios and her team have implemented in one year have not only led RL to be one of the best performers in terms of productivity in the region but also, according to the RL bot, the level of well-being and happiness of company’s employees also exceeds market standards.

Before being the CPO of RL, Dr. Barrios led Beehappy for more than 15 years in Latin America, facilitating successful models of emotional intelligence with clients such as AT&T, Lenovo, Scotiabank, Telefonica Movistar, Merck, and New York Life, among others. Likewise, she led the Powerful Women Circle program for more than eight years, in which more than 1,000 women developed emotional intelligence tools for personal and family well-being and entrepreneurship.

13. Joy Talk
Vice President of Account Management, Rystad Energy

Joy Talk has spent the last 12 years of her career focused on improving the energy industry landscape. From working with super major producers on identifying and implementing the best operational processes and technologies to supporting mid-sized operators' mergers and acquisitions - her goal has always been to do right by her client with integrity. She is a hard worker with a passion to learn and grow while empowering others to do the same. Currently, Joy is a Vice President of Account Management and the Global Upstream Practice Lead at Rystad Energy.

Joy's area of expertise falls in the energy industry specializing in upstream oil and gas operations including global oil and gas supply/demand forecasts, shale operations, supply chain, sustainability, and ESG. She graduated from Texas A&M University with an undergraduate degree in industrial distribution and engineering.

14. Connie Bormans
Chief Laboratory Officer, Gene by Gene

Connie Bormans is the Chief Laboratory Officer at Gene by Gene, a privately owned laboratory in Houston, TX. Dr. Bormans completed her undergraduate studies at Lafayette College and received her PhD in genetics from Texas A&M University, where she developed STR marker panels for plant breeding. As a research fellow at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, she managed three large-scale projects to identify genes related to cardiovascular disease before moving to Gene by Gene.

Over the last 16 years, she created numerous policies and procedures that enabled the Gene by Gene laboratory to acquire AABB, NYSDOH, and CLIA/CAP accreditations. Her expertise involves assay design, regulatory requirements, high throughput DNA analysis including STR, SNPs, and DNA sequencing, relationship testing, clinical diagnostic testing, and, most recently, investigative genetic genealogy use in law enforcement cold cases. Dr. Bormans grew up in New Jersey and now lives in the Houston area with her husband.

15. Jamie Safier
First Vice President, Marcus & Millichap Capital Corporation

Jamie Safier is a First Vice President of Marcus & Millichap Capital Corporation (MMCC). As the capital markets arm of the largest real estate brokerage firm in the US, MMCC provides financing for every product type with expertise across all major markets. With over thirteen years of finance experience, Jamie provides commercial real estate capital markets financing solutions for her clients. Jamie’s primary focus is the multifamily space, but she also boasts extensive experience sourcing debt and equity on all product types. Over the course of her career, she has closed more than $1B in capital including over $200,000,000 in 2022. At MMCC, she consistently ranks as a top producer nationally establishing prosperous, enduring relationships with multiple lenders and property owners across the country. As a senior member on her team, she continuously mentors talent from new graduates into originators. She coaches young professionals on the financing business and guides them on deals until they’re ready to take the lead.

Before entering the commercial real estate industry, she was an investment banking analyst focusing on bank and thrift sales and analysis. She is a member of The International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) and an active volunteer for the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. Jamie received an undergraduate degree with a concentration in finance from the McCombs School of Business at the University of Texas at Austin.

17. Meagan Edwards
Executive Principal & Head of Schools, YES Prep Public Schools

Meagan Edwards grew up in Sugar Land, Texas, a diverse community outside Houston, and is a proud two-time graduate of the University of Houston. She earned a degree in psychology and business management and later her master’s degree in educational leadership. Edwards initially desired to be a teacher but followed a different path after graduating high school and becoming a single mother in college. Edwards then worked in corporate America for five years; however, her wish to pursue teaching and fulfill that calling became a reality when she joined the Houston Independent School District’s Alternative Certification Program. Edwards earned her license in the district program and became a certified teacher, initiating her expansive career in education.

Edwards served as a teacher, teacher specialist, assistant principal, and principal during her 20-year tenure in Houston Independent School District (HISD). Since 2010, she has been a part of the Apollo 20 and Achieve 180 turnaround efforts in HISD. Edwards has a passion for breaking inequitable learning cycles by creating diverse opportunities in the educational system for marginalized students and underserved communities.

As such, Edwards has an excellent record of success in turning around campuses by effectively coaching and developing teachers and implementing school systems that maximize student outcomes. She is adept at improving school and organizational culture by pairing authentic relationships with a high-quality education to positively impact the whole child so that every child graduates college and is career-ready.

Edwards is a tenacious educator and is honored to have joined the YES Prep Family as Executive Principal in January 2022. She currently serves as a Head of Schools with Yes Prep and lives in the greater Houston area with her family.

18. Kirsten West Savali
Vice President of Content, iOne Digital

Kirsten West Savali is Vice President of Content at iOne Digital. She most recently served as executive producer at ESSENCE Magazine and as the magazine’s senior editor of News & Politics. She is also a member of the Me Too Movement's editorial team. As both a writer and cultural critic, her commentary explores the intersections of race, social justice, feminism, and politics. She is the recipient of the Vernon Jarrett Medal for Journalistic Excellence, which honors exemplary reporting on Black life in America, an NABJ Award for Journalistic Excellence, and a John Jay College of Criminal Justice/Harry Frank Guggenheim Fellowship for her work focusing on criminal justice.

Kirsten was named to EBONY Magazine's Power 100 List, where she was recognized as a “Black thought leader for a new generation.” She also serves as a board member of Being Black at School, a national nonprofit organization moving equity conversations into action to make schools safer for Black students. Kirsten currently lives in Houston, Texas, with her three sons and two dogs, and she carries her late husband, Savali Savali III, in her heart with every breath she takes.

19. Claudia Eguez Buchanan
VP of Operations, Tier One Aztec Property Services

Claudia Eguez Buchanan is the Vice President of Operations at Tier One Aztec Property Services. In this capacity, she is responsible for leading the day-to-day operations. Claudia oversees the service and delivery of all Tier One Aztec national account contracts, including general oversight and management of all service teams, client engagements, and partnerships. She is a performance-results-driven management executive with over 20 years in the facility services industry experience in operations, process optimization, and customer experience.

Before joining Tier One Aztec, Claudia held various leadership roles that have helped her define her position as VP of Operations. Her leadership style is inclusive, leading by example, mentoring, and coaching. She has a demonstrated track record of driving cost efficiencies, quality improvement, and shifting culture to rally around customer satisfaction. Claudia uses her broad expertise to help professionals in her organization to grow into new opportunities and perform with excellence by empowering, engaging, and encouraging them.

Claudia is passionate about cultivating a culture that creates an exceptional experience for clients and employees. She believes adhering to core values like transparency, excellence, inclusion, innovation, safety, and willingness to go the extra mile are the keys to building successful, long-term relationships. Claudia graduated from the Universidad Privada of Santa Cruz in Bolivia and holds an undergraduate degree in auditing and finance.

View the complete list of awardees.

20. Ninette Dunham
Chief Information Officer, BubbleUp

Serving as the Chief Information Officer at BubbleUp, a digital marketing agency located in The Woodlands, TX, Ninette Dunham plays a major role in ensuring that both information technology and information resources are acquired and managed in a manner that is consistent with governing laws. She has most notably worked with a team of software developers to successfully deploy custom data management tools & processes addressing enhanced data restriction laws both locally and internationally. This solution has been rolled out to over 500 digital properties.

Her professional objective is to identify secure and well architected tech (and non-tech) solutions to solve her clients and agency’s needs. In conjunction with her current role, Ninette spearheads the project management, people management and client services departments. She also works directly with key clients to develop and implement digital strategies to ensure their success. Prior to her career at BubbleUp, she was an operations project manager at Simplicity Financial Marketing and facilitated a large-scale data and systems migration as part of a company merger. Ninette is personally driven by her faith, family, and commitment to grow herself and others daily.

21. Donna Sims Wilson
Chief Operating Officer, Kah Capital Management

Donna Sims Wilson is the Chief Operating Officer of Kah Capital Management, an alternative asset management firm, where she serves on the Management Committee, the Investment and Risk Management Committee, and is Chairman of the Valuation Committee. Donna is an advocate of diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives, and she helps businesses break down demographic, social and geographic barriers to achieve expanded levels of success. Additionally, Donna brings extensive corporate governance experience through her international corporate board service, leadership positions with numerous not for profit boards and working closely with institutional investors and analysts.

Previously, Donna co-founded the National Association of Securities Professionals (NASP) Africa Financial Summit in 2015. Prior to joining Kah, she served as the president of Smith Graham & Co. Investment Advisors where she provided executive leadership and oversight in all aspects of business development, marketing and client relations. Prior to that, Donna served as EVP and head of equity sales and trading for CastleOak Securities.

Donna is a frequent speaker at financial service industry events, has testified before the US Congress on laws relating to diversity, and has appeared on CNBC’s Squawk Box and C-SPAN discussing issues of diversity, equity and how diverse populations are faring in the economic recovery. She was named One of the Most Powerful Women in Business by Black Enterprise Magazine and received NASP’s coveted Joyce Johnson Award in 2010. Donna received her undergraduate degree in political science from Yale University.

22. Kerri Quinn
Vice President, Arroyo Investors

Kerri Quinn joined Arroyo in 2017 and has nearly six years of experience in the private equity and power and energy infrastructure industries. Quinn serves as the Vice President and is responsible for managing Arroyo’s investor relations and fundraising efforts.

Prior to Arroyo, Quinn worked in private banking and commercial lending at Woodforest National Bank where she served as relationship manager and actively managed a loan portfolio comprised of real estate and land development financing. Quinn has nearly 15 years of experience, including administrative and managerial positions. She earned an undergraduate degree in business from the University of Houston.

23. Angela Alberty
Co-Founder & Chief Business Officer, myBasePay

Angela is Co-Founder and CBO of myBasePay, an on-demand global payroll technology company that has raised $60M in pre-seed funding and is looking to improve the extended workforce offering allowing organizations the capability to hire anyone, anywhere.

Having studied workforce trends and shifts an entire professional career spanning over a decade, Angela is an expert in the human capital sector. She is a thought leader and advocates for the worker population with a specialized focus on contingent workers. Angela has held leadership and executive roles at some of the most recognized national and global on-demand employer platforms. Her diverse background in areas of business development, marketing, and operational oversight has led to employment and working engagements for thousands of project-based and temporary workers through strategic implementation and workforce deployment programs.

With a strong acumen in the gig economy and contingent workforce sector, Angela is an expert on employment-related matters and is passionate about driving advocacy for the external worker population.

24. Din Chaney
Vice President of Talent Sourcing, Diverse Recruiting Experts

Din Chaney has spent the last two years as Vice President of Talent Sourcing for Diverse Recruiting Experts, a company dedicated to making meaningful change in diversity, equity and inclusion by partnering and assisting with their clients’ talent acquisition initiatives.

Under Din’s leadership with her “make it happen” and collaborative approach, she established processes and revamped the sourcing function driving the growth of the company. In Q4 of 2022, Diverse Recruiting Experts was acquired by HireBetter, a leader in talent recruiting and executive sourcing for entrepreneurial and growth-minded companies.With over 18 years of professional experience and successful stints at Morgan Stanley, American Express and ExpressJet, Din will now lead the as-a-service Recruiting Division at HireBetter.

Din holds an undergraduate degree in communication from the University of Texas at Austin and a doctorate in oriental medicine and acupuncture. Additionally, she is diversity sourcing certified and a certified IBM Data Science Specialist.

25. Deborah Levy
Partner, Junell & Associates PLLC

Deborah Levy is a Partner at Junell & Associates, PLLC, working with Bailey Peavy Bailey Cowan Heckaman, PLLC, and Potts Law Firm, dedicated to the Transvaginal Mesh docket. Her specialty focuses on mass tort for product liability, personal injury with a special interest in pharmaceutical cases involving clients who have been injured by dangerous drugs. Deborah has represented over 50,000 clients who have been injured by medical devices and pharmaceutical medications. She currently manages over 60 employees, while representing over 20,000 transvaginal mesh clients. Deborah’s extensive business and management experience has proven successful by helping to develop the first settlement claims center on behalf of 200+ plaintiff firms in the American Medical Systems litigation.

Before becoming a licensed attorney, Deborah worked at the firm during the day, attended law school at night, all while raising a family. Eventually she was promoted to supervise the firm's new call center. This position allowed her to learn the various mass torts and personal injury dockets. At the firm, Deborah participated in the AlloDerm cadaver hernia patch mass tort litigation along with a team of three other national law firms. She also clerked for Justice Ken Wise when he was judge of the 334th Judicial District Court.

Prior to law school, Deborah’s experience as a project manager for Xerox was instrumental in her understanding of the importance of data integrity and data management. Also, her management and leadership experience in a health and wellness company gave her critical insights into the use and health risks associated with the proliferation of prescription drugs in the treatment of patient’s symptoms. It was at this point in her life when Deborah decided her new goal in life was to obtain her law degree. She graduated magna cum laude from the University of Houston with an undergraduate degree in education, and also attended the University of Houston Law Center.

26. Claudia Ortega Hogue
Founder & CEO, Global Communities Houston, LLC

Claudia Ortega Hogue is the Founder and CEO of Global Communities Houston, a business entrepreneur, community advocate, and current president-elect and VP of Houston’s League of Women Voters. Her primary goal has been focused on nonprofit organizations, underserved communities and raising awareness on social concerns through education, immigration, and voting.

Claudia served as the district director for the 29th Congressional District of the US House of Representatives for one of the first Latina’s to ever represent the State of Texas. Prior to joining the US House of Representatives, she worked over a decade as the Southwest Regional and Texas State Director with the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) Educational Fund. She focused on naturalization, voter engagement and census mobilization campaigns throughout TX, AZ, NM, and OK.

Claudia serves in several nonprofit board positions, such as the League of Women Voters of Houston, Bonding Against Adversity, Discover Fitness Foundation, AVANCE-Houston and Houston Community ToolBank. Claudia is a senior fellow at the American Leadership Forum (ALF) graduate of Class LIV. She graduated from the University Language Institute in Oklahoma and holds an undergraduate degree in international business.

View the complete list of awardees.

28. Elena Ippolitova
Managing Director, Kroll

Elena Ippolitova is a Managing Director in the Restructuring practice, based in the Houston office. Elena brings over 15 years of experience in investments, corporate finance, operations and strategy, and specializes in advising public and private companies, corporate boards, special committees, financial sponsors, lenders and creditor committees across the energy sector.

Prior to joining Kroll, Elena served as managing director at Conway MacKenzie where she specialized in developing and executing financial, operational and strategic solutions for lenders, equity sponsors and companies in distressed and special situations across the entire energy sector. Before that, Elena served as energy investment officer at Jefferies Financial Group Inc, formerly Leucadia National Corporation, leading private equity and special situations investments in upstream and energy infrastructure and participating in multiple Chapter 11 oil and gas asset auction processes. Elena also held senior positions at APA Corporation, formerly Apache Corporation, and EIG Global Energy Partners, formerly TCW Asset Management Company.

Elena received an MBA from the University of Texas at Austin. She is a CFA Charterholder, a member of the University of Texas McCombs Energy Initiative (MEI) Advisory Council and a co-chair of the MEI Midstream Subcommittee.

29. Bridget Banks-Amos
VP Market Leader Document & Loan Administrator, Bank of America

Bridget is Vice President Market Leader Document & Loan Administrator at Bank of America, Private Bank Real Estate Division. She leads the Inline Quality Assurance department responsible for the internal controls business within Custom Mortgage Private Bank. She manages the daily production, performance, and loan quality and protects the firm's interest and real estate loans transactions for high profile wealth clients. She directs multiple functions of data quality related to delivering credit, maintaining key control regulatory metrics, and advancing processes and procedures within the end-to-end operations.

Bridget is known to achieve business results that have been a significant contribution to the responsible growth at the firm. She leads departments in firm Custom Mortgage and her dedication to driving operational excellence, engagement, and culturing teamwork delivers the core values. Her incredible leadership, intellect, and expertise within mortgage lending has been an asset within her career at the financial enterprise. She is the recipient of multiple leadership awards and recognitions. Bridget leads effective collaborations with leadership across lines of business, advanced engagement with employees and client priorities. She is intensely committed to serving on community outreach programs across multiple markets, employee engagement, and volunteerism.

Bridget has worked in mortgage operations and leadership to the world’s leading lending firms for over two decades. Starting as a loan processor, she was intellectually curious, a quick learner, and progressed within her mortgage career. Through her established experience in the industry, she maintains an advanced knowledge and impressiveness formulation of underwriting, origination, and processing. Bridget demonstrates confidence and empowerment. Her purposeful driven business ethics and leadership provide the ability to grow.

30. Keely Drouet Langkowski
Managing Director, Accenture

Keely Drouet Langkowski is a Managing Director at Accenture, the largest publicly traded professional services company in the world, with leading capabilities in digital, cloud and security. Highly regarded as one of the company’s leading experts in the Upstream sector of the energy industry, Keely is known for her high-energy and fearless leadership style, which focuses on understanding client needs, helping them shape solutions, and bringing expertise to solve critical business issues. Keely has gathered more than 20 years of experience serving global energy companies, exhibiting a track record of enhancing operational productivity through organizational change, business transformation, and solution integration.

A native Houstonian, Keely has made a point to lift her colleagues and community up. As she has advanced in her career, helping other women at Accenture create their own futures within the company has become her passion. She serves as the executive sponsor for Accenture’s Houston Women’s Employee Resource Group and hosts a monthly podcast series called, “Women’s REAL Talk”, which delivers candid, transparent, and authentic advice geared towards women looking to navigate their careers. Keely’s advocacy for women everywhere, has earned her Accenture’s North America Resource People Developer Award in 2012, and in early 2022, she was selected as one of Houston’s 50 Most Influential Women of 2020-2021 by Houston Woman’s Magazine, as well as being named one of Accenture’s Working Parents of the Year.

Keely’s passion for helping others has also led her to serve on the board of directors for Kids’ Meals, a charity whose mission is to end childhood hunger in Houston. Additionally, she joined Houston Women in Business for Good, an organization created to help women in Houston build connections and enrich their professional and personal lives while supporting the Houston community. Keely has been a member of the Junior League of Houston since 2001 and a member of Chi Omega Fraternity since 1995, where she remains an active alumni member. Additionally, Keely has been a member of the Society of Women Engineers since 1994. She received an undergraduate degree in engineering from Vanderbilt University and obtained a master’s degree in business administration from Loyola University while she worked as a civil engineer at Keystone Engineering in New Orleans, Louisiana.

31. Sarah Sims
Executive Director of Donor Engagement, University of Houston

With more than 20 years of experience in fundraising, donor engagement, program development, and leadership, Sims has been committed to developing strategic teams that inspire philanthropy at higher education and nonprofit organizations across the country. She currently serves as an Executive Director of Donor Engagement for the University of Houston. The Division of University Advancement serves the University of Houston by creating awareness and building and strengthening relationships with diverse constituencies that encourage and generate philanthropic investment in support of the University. Sims currently oversees multiple teams within UH Advancement that are dedicated to creating impactful donor giving experience at all levels.

Known for being a “builder”, Sims has won multiple industry awards for new and innovative programs under her purview. Serving also as an industry consultant, she is a trainer, public speaker, and strategist for clients from Maine to California. Sims earned her undergraduate degree from the University of North Florida and holds the CFRE Certification.

33. Connie Wong
Senior Director, Alvarez & Marsal

Connie Wong is a Senior Director with Alvarez & Marsal’s Transaction Advisory Group in Houston. She specializes in providing buy- and sell-side financial due diligence services for private equity firms and strategic buyers. Wong has worked across a range of industries, including manufacturing, distribution, CPG, software, business services, energy, infrastructure and utilities.

Previously, Wong spent two-and-a-half years on international assignments in London. Her expertise includes analyzing financial statements, quality of earnings, working capital requirements, debt and debt-like items and key performance indicators. Additionally, she assists clients with reviewing and advising on sale and purchase agreements and has participated in interim financial management support projects.

Prior to joining Alvarez & Marsal, Wong served with the assurance practice at PricewaterhouseCoopers in Houston, where she worked with public and private clients in the industrial products and utilities industries to assess KPIs, analyze financial risks and provide audit services. Wong earned an undergraduate degree and master’s degree in accounting from The University of Texas. She is a Certified Public Accountant licensed in Texas.

34. Meenakshi Bhattacharjee
Faculty Fellow & Executive Director CAAR, Rice University

Dr. Meenakshi Bhattacharjee is a Faculty Fellow and an Executive Director CAAR of Rice University. With 35 years of extensive experience, she is an independent consultant and is an internationally renowned biotechnologist and cyanobacteriologist. Her research interests are related to algal biotechnology which gives products like biofertilizers, biopesticides, algal bioactive compounds for use in pharma and nutraceuticals, and eco-friendly processes that benefit mankind. She is currently involved in bioremediation processes of highly toxic molecules in contaminated sites and wastewater treatment using algae.

Bhattacharjee has had the privilege of working in leading algal labs in Germany, UK and US on the prestigious DAAD, Commonwealth Fellowship and Department of Biotechnology Overseas Associateship respectively. She has previously supervised hundreds of students including over 25 individuals working to achieve their PhD. She has more than 250 publications in internationally and nationally reputed journals.

Bhattacharjee is decorated with several coveted awards and distinctions including the Albert Schweitzer International Medal for Science (UK), Netaji Shubhash Chandra Bose Award for Environmental Biotechnology (UNESCO), K.N. Katju Award for outstanding achievements in Life Science (DST Govt. of India), World Oil Award in the category of Innovative Thinker USA, 2017. She graduated from Banaras Hindu University with a PhD in plant sciences and has earned certificates from UC San Diego and Harvard Business School.

35. Becky Roof
Managing Director, AlixPartners

Becky Roof is a Managing Director for AlixPartners. She leads complex client engagements by way of a collaborative leadership style and a hands-on approach. She has an extensive background in providing advisory and c-suite interim management services for underperforming companies in a broad array of industries such as electric vehicle startups, life sciences, exploration and production (E&P), oil field services (OFS), healthcare, consumer, automotive, chemicals, retail, and manufacturing.

Becky is a member of the United Way Women’s Initiative in Houston. She was a 2013 winner of Consulting magazine’s Women Leaders in Consulting and in 2014 received the TMA’s Turnaround of the Year Award for her work at Kodak. In 2017, the Houston Business Journal named her as A Woman Who Means Business. In 2020, she received the TMA’s Transaction of the Year award for her work with Aceto Corporation and Rising Pharma. She is active in a variety of charitable and pro bono activities.

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36. Saba Syed
Senior Director of Clinical Quality Pharmacy, Village MD

Saba Syed is a skilled clinical leader and lifelong learner with a track record of execution at the intersection of healthcare services, value-based care business operations, technology, and data analytics. She has successfully developed, launched, and managed multiple clinical service lines with remote, diverse teams at a fast-growing healthcare technology and value based primary care start up. She is among the top 10% of US pharmacists in validated clinical skills by maintaining double board certification in ambulatory care and geriatric pharmacy. Additionally, she is training the next generation of pharmacy leaders through her role as the residency program director of a postgraduate year two population health and data analytics pharmacy residency. She currently serves as the Senior Director of Clinical Quality Pharmacy for Village MD.

Saba has over 14 years of experience in community pharmacy, mail order pharmacy, managed care, primary care, population health, value-based care operations, project management, product development, and leadership. This includes experience with prior authorizations (Medicare and Medicaid), Medicare formularies, medication reconciliation, transitions of care, medication therapy management (MTM), care management, accountable care organizations (ACO), Medicare quality measures, and medication adherence. She has earned degrees from the University of Houston, the University of Florida and the Quantic School of Business and Technology.

37. Mary Benton
Director of Communications, City of Houston

Mary Benton is the Director of Communications for the City of Houston. In her role, she serves as chief spokesperson and communications advisor to Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner. She is an experienced communicator with an expertise in public affairs, government, and community relations. Benton is a trusted spokesperson and strategic messaging expert with a successful record of leveraging relationships with media, community, nonprofit and business stakeholders. Benton is described as talented and committed to the community and a faithful public servant.

Starting out as the mayor's press secretary, Benton comes to the role after more than 2 decades as a TV reporter. She is a trusted voice, both as a journalist and now a communicator to the citizens of the city. Benton volunteers, runs an organization, and makes sure to get the messages out to the mayor and the city. She earned an undergraduate degree in journalism from The University of Texas at Austin.

38. Nicole Ledet
Director of Human Resources and Chief Human Resource Officer, Fort Bend County

Nicole Ledet is an accomplished human resources thought leader with over twenty years of progressive senior level management experience in both public and private sector organizations. Ms. Ledet has managed policy, compliance and compensation for teams of 6000 plus full-time employees as a leader with FBISD, Stewart Title, Headway Workforce Solutions and Fort Bend County. She has collaborated with leadership to drive the strategic vision and to foster a culture of accountability and trust. Nicole is a multi-faceted leader who uses innovative ideas for employee engagement initiatives, including employee development, pay equity and diversity and inclusion. Her expertise led her to facilitate a variety of human resource functions including compensation, training and development, talent acquisition, employee relations, leave administration, compliance and risk mitigation.

Nicole received her undergraduate degree in political science from Hampton University and a master’s degree in human resources and education from George Washington University. She holds professional certifications in human resources from the Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM) and the Human Resource Certification Institute (HRCI). As a resident of Fort Bend County, Nicole is committed to serving the community and providing efficient and effective human resource services to its employees.

39. Tamira A. Samuel
Co-Executive Director, ULF

Proud Tennessean and avid reader, Tamira Samuel was born focused on educational equity and working to dismantle systems that limit black and brown people. From early childhood, she was surrounded by a village of wisdom, guidance, love, and unwavering faith. At age 1, her father was murdered; sending her family on a mission to cultivate a reality of possibility. Through her lifetime she has dedicated herself to making a difference in the lives and productivity of others. Currently, she's the Co-Executive Director for ULF and was a Director of Policy & Advocacy with TNTP. She has a reputation for renowned expertise in leading strategy, school intervention & design, talent development, and policy implementation to facilitate growth across sectors. She focuses on expanding impact through use of human design concentration; has co-founded schools targeted in intervention; developed over 15,000 leaders, teachers, and coaches; and increased funding for nonprofit organizations through internal giving campaigns and diverse revenue sources. Tamira has extensive work in policy ranging from school accountability and choice, teacher compensation, reconstitution, racial equity, regulation, collegiate housing, domestic violence response with school boards, city councils, state representatives, senators, organizations, and unions.

As an educator, design strategist, and policy advisor, Tamira serves on the What's Next Washington Employment Advisory Council and was appointed by former Houston Mayor Annise Parker to the Commission of People with Disabilities in Houston. Her notable experience includes being a Development Director of Corporate Sponsorship & Grants Strategy; City of Houston Commission of People With Disabilities K-12 Issues in Public Education Committee Chair; Founding Campus Leadership at YES Prep; BES Founding School Board Vice Chair; Houston ISD New Teacher Support and School Support Manager; Houston ISD DAC Parent Rep; HFT Policy Fellow; an Associate for Nashville Metro Government, Mayor Karl Dean and the Beacon Center of Tennessee; Congressional Visit Lobbyist; and a Peace Child International World Youth Congress U.S. Delegate with the General Governor of Canada, Michaelle Jean.

A dedicated volunteer, she’s involved in issues impacting women, education, and economic development; a member of Harris County Child Advocates Grad Committee and APSU National Alumni Association Board of Directors. Tamira was a National Major League Baseball, PEOPLE Magazine, Target Teacher All-Star Finalist and the 2009 Miss Black Kentucky USA. She has been featured and recognized by SHAPE Magazine, Glamour Magazine, USA Today, Tennessee Titans; Chi Omega National J.H. Outstanding Panhellenic Alumna Award Recipient; Houston Business Journal 40 Under 40, Bizwomen Mentor, and Women Who Mean Business Outstanding Leader in Education Honoree for her leadership and impact. Tamira earned her undergraduate degree in English and MAT in curriculum and instruction from Austin Peay State University; MPPA from Northwestern University; and was a Rice University Educational Entrepreneurship Business Fellow for School Leaders where she was named the top student and REEP Award Recipient in her cohort.

40. Brittney White
Director of Build to Rent Lease-Ups & Operations, Mynd

Brittney White is the Director of Build to Rent for Mynd Management, where she oversees the lease-up and operations of national BTR portfolios. Mynd is a tech-enabled real estate company serving the $85B+ property management and real estate investment market. While she has more than 21 years of various real estate experience, White has narrowed her focus to both commercial and residential property management for the past 14+ years. White has specialized in the management of challenging assets and has successfully navigated numerous takeovers, sales, due diligence, refinancing, renovations, structural rehabs, lease-ups, acquisitions, new construction and even pre-development phases. White's use of performance driven business strategies, coupled with her comprehensive industry knowledge, has resulted in recognition as Residential Project of the Year by Engineering News Records, Best Multi-Family Project Award Finalist by Houston Business Journal, Top 40 Under 40 Nominee by Houston Business Journal, Leading Ladies Awardee, Leadership Award in Historical Preservation and Rookie of the Year Awardee.

White demonstrates a passion for professional and community leadership as an active member of charitable and nonprofit organization initiatives. She sits on the board of directors for Texas Center for the Missing, a nonprofit dedicated to bringing hope and healing to the missing and their families; in addition to the management of statewide Silver & Amber Alerts. White is also a member of Houston CREMM, a nonprofit focused on professional women in the commercial real estate industry and was a volunteer as a Child’s Mentor with Big Brothers Big Sisters Gulf Coast for many years. She strives to set the standard as an industry leading expert within the rapidly growing Build to Rent asset class.

42. Patty Williams Downs
Executive Director, OneGoal

Patty Williams Downs is a transformative executive coach, educational equity leader and entrepreneur who supports people and organizations to actualize their bold mission and vision. She’s a former Division I student-athlete who earned an undergraduate degree from Fordham University and a graduate degree from The George Washington University. Patty began her professional career as a Teach For America corps member, followed by several positions aimed at advancing systems-level change in organizations like YES Prep and KIPP Texas. Patty is the Founder and CEO of BreakingBounds, an executive coaching firm that supports executives to break boundaries in their sector.

Patty is a Houston Business Journal 40 Under 40 honoree. She currently serves as a turnaround Executive Director at OneGoal Houston, one of the fastest growing, effective education nonprofits in the city of Houston, where she is leading by transforming the region’s vision, assets and scale to deliver high quality results for thousands of kids and families. Patty enjoys spending time with her family. She’s a proud mother of three children: Joshua, Zoe and Zara and a proud wife of her husband, Tony.

43. Marthea Davis
Director, TrailRunner International

Marthea Davis is a Director at TrailRunner International, a strategic communications advisory firm serving organizations around the world. She advises clients on a wide range of matters, including corporate positioning, crisis management and preparedness, digital media, executive positioning, internal communications, and reputation and change management.

Before joining TrailRunner, Marthea worked at EnerGeo Alliance, supporting the trade organization’s efforts to advance global energy exploration and other long-term needs of the oil and gas industry. Prior to the energy trade group, she worked for the City of Houston’s convention facilities operator and destination marketing arm, Houston First Corporation. While there, she implemented corporate communications strategies, developed visitor and media activations for Visit Houston, and marketed the downtown entertainment district and city-owned facilities, including the George R. Brown Convention Center and Wortham Theater Center.

Previously, Marthea worked in Washington, DC, for the Association of Corporate Counsel, promoting the business interests of chief legal officers and raising awareness of the group’s advocacy efforts in over 90 countries. She also worked at the National Bar Association. There, she managed a broad range of projects related to legal actions impacting racial minorities, including gun control, law school admissions, judicial procedures, and voter protection. She was part of the team that developed a national communications plan for Michigan’s Proposition 2, which barred public institutions from considering race or sex in public education, employment or contracting. Marthea has also served as a communications liaison with the Houston Area Urban League and the Federal Emergency Management Agency to provide housing and ownership education to people displaced by Hurricane Katrina. She started her career as an agent trainee for William Morris Agency, now Endeavor Group Holdings, focusing on motion pictures and motion picture literary projects.

Marthea is on the board of directors for FirstCash Holdings Inc. and is a member of Public Relations Society of America. She volunteers her time in the community as a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., The Junior League, and The Links, Incorporated. Marthea graduated from Howard University.

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44. Rita Elrod Pintavalle
Principal, Brazoswood High School

Rita Pintavalle is the current Principal at Brazoswood High School in Brazosport ISD where she and the staff have led the campus to a National Capturing Kids Hearts Showcase Campus, a Platinum Level Jostens Renaissance Award and Multiple TEA Distinctions. Her focus on building relational capacity for a positive campus culture has led to her being selected a guest presenter/advocate for the Baylor School of Education, Jostens Renaissance (JRNGC), Houston Women Leaders Panel, and Texas Association of Secondary School Principals (TASSP). Rita is a past president and state coordinator for TASSP where she represented the State of Texas in all 20 Regions as well as DC. She currently serves as the chair of the Texas Study Committee. She has been awarded as the Region XI Principal of the Year, BISD Secondary Principal of the Year, HEB Excellence in Education top 25 Semi-Finalist and the Lifetime PTA Contribution Award.

During her career, Pintavalle has served as teacher, coach, athletic coordinator, assistant principal, school board member, principal, director of discipline and grants, as well as an adjunct facilitator for Arkansas State University and the American College of Education. She has also served on several steering committees with the Texas Education Agency and as a cruise port agent for MLSBC providing embarkation and debarkation with Carnival Cruise Lines. Before arriving in Brazosport ISD, she was in Kennedale ISD and DeSoto ISD in multiple roles. Rita believes intertwining high academic expectations with true caring relationships that provide creativity and student voice empowers the next generations of leaders. She received her BSEd from Baylor University, MEd from the University of North Texas and Superintendent Certification from the University of Houston Victoria.

45. CJ Joiner
Director of Business Development, REV™ The Multifamily Leasing Company

Who grows up wanting to be in the multifamily industry? "Not I," says the0 girl who majored in broadcast journalism while working as a part-time leasing agent at her off-campus student housing apartments. Fast forward to many years post college, her multifamily tenure allowed her to experience it all. From zero industry aspirations to changing the multifamily industry, CJ's life and professional experiences make her a franchise player in the organization by being able to adapt, pivot, and change our business model.

Moving every few years was normal as the daughter of a retired US Marine and sister of a Captain in the Air Force Reserves. Once promoted to a property manager, moving every year from one lease up to another from coast to coast created lease up records while learning about the development side of the business. As national operations director, the weekly travel to different markets for new developments, acquisitions, and dispositions is part of my unique education. In this role, CJ was servicing underperforming properties by quickly assessing the situation, making effective changes, and implementing effective strategy was a foreshadowing of her REV™ future.

The change up, from operator to realtor, responsible for her own income, high impact sales activities and the entrepreneurial mentality she never knew had surfaced. CJ's multifamily experience became valuable to her career as a Texas Realtor and the entrepreneurial mentality of feast or famine kicked in. This same mentality carried over when REV™, a brand-new concept and first of its kind was presented to CJ. Combining 19+ years of multifamily experience with her newly acquired entrepreneurial mentality made REV™ a no brainer. As REV™’s Director of Business Development, PR & Marketing at REV™ CJ was given a stage to put REV™ on the map.

46. Tracee Seals
Executive Director, 100 Black Men Houston Chapter
CEO, TraceeSealsSpeaks, LLC

Tracee Seals serves as the Executive Director for 100 Black Men Houston Chapter as well as the CEO of TraceeSealsSpeaks, LLC. She has worked as an education director for health-related nonprofits as well as for profit educational organizations. She serves as an advocate for healthcare and wellness. Tracee works within the community educating individuals on aspects of healthy living and disease processes. She is an entrepreneur, wearing many hats; one of her business ventures is serving as the VP for Elevating Women Empowerment Group.

In addition, Seals is a branding, imaging, and marketing consultant who works with independent artists, public speakers, and spoken word artists. She is the author of the upcoming book The Day I Planned It All but God Said …………Ha! In addition, she offers 501c3 document preparation for start-up nonprofit organizations. Tracee holds an undergraduate degree in business administration and literary arts, master’s degree in healthcare administration, from Belhaven Christian University and is currently working on her PhD in public health. Tracee holds certifications as a Certified Fund-Raising Executive, Orthopedic Physician Assistant-Certified, Certified Community Health Worker, and Certified Public Speaker.

47. Trina Edwards
Director of Operations & Customer Success, Diversity Recruitment Partners

Trina Wilson Edwards is a seasoned professional with extensive experience in both the healthcare and education industries. She currently serves as the Director of Operations and Customer Success for Diversity Recruitment Partners and is the publisher of DIVERSITY in Ed magazine. Additionally, she is the founder of Lifecycle Career Coaching, where she provides career development services to job seekers at all stages of their careers. With almost a decade of experience as a registered nurse manager and educator, followed by 20 years in the teacher recruitment industry, Trina has a proven track record of success in helping professionals recruit and hire diverse teachers. She is also a certified Professional Career Coach.

Trina graduated from Rush University with an undergraduate degree in registered nursing, nursing administration, nursing research and clinical nursing. She earned her master’s degree from the University of Phoenix.

48. Corina Davila
VP, Exalt Real Estate Group
President, Empressa Construction Group

Corina Davila is the Vice President of Exalt Real Estate Group and President of Empressa Construction Group. With over 15 years of experience in commercial real estate, Corina’s career encompasses the acquisition and management of investment grade office portfolios as well as, the development, planning, and land disposition of master-planned retail and land developments.

Early on, Corina joined a governmental and urban planning consulting firm as a governmental planner and grant administrator. This is where she became intimately familiar with zoning, urban planning, and other developmental approval processes for master-planned developments. Due to her extensive experience, she has been able to oversee the underwriting, planning, and construction of complex development projects. In addition to her commercial and construction career, she's an entrepreneur and investor managing several personal private entities.

Corina was recently asked by the Top 100 Magazine, “You’re so passionate about helping minority women succeed. Where does this come from, and why is it important to you?” Her response, “When I use the term “minority,” I’m referring to being a woman in the commercial real estate space, which has predominantly been a male-dominated industry. It’s not only been rewarding to me to earn the respect of my peers in the industry, but to also have the opportunity to pay it forward by empowering other women to pursue a successful career in commercial real estate. Ultimately, I give God all the honor and glory because it was He who rewarded me and elevated me. I encourage more women to actively take on more executive leadership roles, as I firmly believe women bring a unique perspective to the boardroom.”

View the complete list of awardees.