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Board of Director & Leadership

Mayor Sylvester Turner

Honorary Chair | Mayor of Houston

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

Thomas Jones

President | Partner, McConnell Jones Lanier & Murphy, LLP

Thomas Jones is a named partner of McConnell Jones LLP, a top 25 Houston CPA firm. The firm was formed 25 years ago after and now ranks as one of the top 25 CPA firms in Houston, 2nd largest African-American owned firms in the country and was named as one of the top 20 fastest growing firms in the country by Accounting Today in 2020.

Barron Wallace

Vice President | Partner, Bracewell

As a result of his experience with virtually all types of governmental entities and diverse finance structures, Barron Wallace’s public finance practice is both unique and broad. His clients benefit from his knowledge of traditional and highly structured project finance conduit transactions involving state agencies, cities, school districts, airports, higher education, housing, industrial development, private and primary secondary schools, cultural arts organizations, regional mobility authorities, special districts and not-for-profit organizations.

Stephanie Nellons-Paige

Secretary | CEO, Nellons Paige Group, Inc.

Stephanie D. Nellons-Paige has more than 30 years of senior executive experience leading business and strategic partnership development for Fortune 500 companies in public transportation, fleet and facilities maintenance and food services management. A lifelong servant leader and philanthropist, her career has spanned the public and private sectors and focused on improving outcomes for cities through infrastructure building and partnership development. She is adept at working with diverse constituencies and exhibits refined and transformative leadership that moves the pendulum toward success on complex projects.

Winell Herron

Treasurer | Group VP of Public Affairs, Diversity and Environmental Affairs, H-E-B

Winell serves as Group Vice President of Public Affairs, Diversity and Environmental Affairs for H-E-B. In her role, Winell has made her mark as a statewide community leader through strategic decisions related to philanthropic giving throughout the H-E-B footprint (Texas and Mexico).

Gerald Alley

Board Member | President / CEO, Con-Real, LP

Mr. Alley founded Con-Real in 1979 and was immediately joined by his brother and partner, Troy Alley. The company now has offices in Arlington, Dallas, Houston, Little Rock, Atlanta, and San Francisco and performs a wide array of construction and real estate services for many Fortune 500 corporations and public entities nationwide.

Gaurdie Banister, Jr.

Board Member | CEO, Different Points of View

Gaurdie Banister is a seasoned executive who as CEO of Aera Energy LLC led one of the most successful and largest oil and gas ventures in the US. He is an experienced director with global leadership, strategic and operational expertise that is applicable to multiple markets.

Paul Cannings

Board Member | Managing Partner, Paul Alexander Company

Mr. Cannings has served as Global Head of Investment Strategy for over a decade, heavily vested in the intersection of technology, economic development, healthcare and real estate internationally.

Shauna Clark

Shauna Clark

Board Member | Global and US Chair; US Head of Employment and Labor, Norton Rose Fulbright US LLP

Shauna Johnson Clark is Norton Rose Fulbright’s Global and US Chair as well as its Head of Employment and Labor, United States. Joining the firm in 1994, she served as the Partner-in-Charge of the Houston office from 2011 until 2013. A nationally recognized expert in labor and employment law, Shauna was certified by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization for Labor and Employment Law in 2003.

Vanessa Gilmore

Board Member | United States District Judge

In 1994 when Judge Vanessa Diane Gilmore was sworn in, she was then the youngest sitting federal judge in the nation. The native of Silver Spring, Maryland was also the youngest member of her freshman class at her alma mater, Hampton University in Virginia. Gilmore decided to undertake a career in law after she represented herself and won a minor civil lawsuit. She graduated from the University of Houston Law Center in 1981.

Dr. Bernard A. Harris, Jr.

Dr. Bernard A. Harris, Jr.

Board Member | CEO, National Math & Science Initiative

Dr. Harris currently is Chief Executive Officer, National Math & Science Initiative and leads the organization’s efforts to improve teacher effectiveness and student achievement in communities across the country. He has been involved in math and science education for over 25 years through his philanthropy as founder of the Harris Institute & Foundation.

Kimberly Slaughter

Board Member | CEO, SYSTRA USA

Kimberly Slaughter is SYSTRA USA’s chief executive officer. She is focused on promoting the company’s vision of being the signature team for transportation solutions. SYSTRA’s focuses on delivering planning, design, architecture, engineering, and program and construction management solutions to rail and transit agencies throughout the United States.

Valerie Marshall Williams

Independent Board and Audit Committee Member

Valerie M. Williams is a former Southwest Assurance Managing Partner for EY. She has over 35 years of audit and public accounting experience, serving numerous global and multi-location companies, primarily in the energy and technology sectors. Ms. Williams held several other senior leadership positions at EY and served on multiple strategic committees, including the firm’s Partner Advisory Council, Inclusiveness Council, Audit Innovation Taskforce and the Diversity Taskforce.

Dr. Gena L. Jerkins

Executive Director

Her life-passion, empowering others, is at the core of Gena L. Jerkins. Ed. D service within the humanitarian, philanthropic, and education arenas.

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