2015/16 Board of Directors - Photos and Bios below
President: Alexander Ladage
Chair: Sarah Butler
Immediate Past President: Marla Bommarito-Crouch
Treasurer: Tom Welch
Secretary: Edie Rogat
Board of Directors
Paula N. Boldt
Priscilla Guajardo Cortez
Cynthia D. Fresch
Craig Kuglen, M.D.
Dr. Marcella Madera Obrecht
George Martin, Ph.D.
Shon Owens Saliga
Judge George Thomas
Jeffrey M. Trigger
Council Member Ellen Troxclair
Scott G. Yarborough
2015/16 Ballet Austin Board of Directors
Hunter Armstong, Blue Whale, Board Service - 2 year
Hunter Armstrong is a proud native Austinite, born and raised. Before he started working in the family business in 2008 he studied Physics at the University of Texas at San Antonio and did a short stint in Tech Support. After working nearly every job in the building, he took over as President of Blue Whale Moving Company and Humpback Junk Removal in 2014.
Hunter is and has been an active participant in the Austin community, having been a Physics tutor and now a mentor to Eanes ISD Students. When he’s not busy delivering peace of mind to Blue Whale’s clients, he enjoys playing with his dog Huginn, traveling, and long motorcycle rides through the Texas hill country.
Becky Beaver, Law Offices of Becky Beaver, Board Service - 14 years
Becky Beaver is widely regarded as one of Texas' preeminent family law attorneys. A graduate of The University of Texas at Austin, Ms. Beaver has practiced law for over 35 years, and handles all aspects of matrimonial and marital property litigation, including conservatorship of children and complex property issues. Her reputation as one of the best lawyers in the state is highlighted by Texas Monthly's recognition of Ms. Beaver as a 'Super Lawyer' for the last seven years.
Ms. Beaver has been an active force in developing and nurturing Austin's culture, having served on the board of directors of the Austin Children's Museum, Austin Women's Center, Planned Parenthood, Peoples Community Clinic, CASA of Central Texas, the Dispute Resolution Center, the Austin Bar Association, Travis County Family Lawyers, Travis County Family Law Advocates, Mexic-Arte Museum, Ballet Austin and the University United Methodist Church Foundation. She has also served on the Board of Advisors of the Austin Museum of Art. Becky has received the Profile in Power Award from the Austin Business Journal and the Women of Distinction from the Girl Scouts of Central Texas. She has also chaired events for the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center and the Austin Community Foundation and serves on various committees for many other organizations. For fun, Becky watches and plays basketball.
Eric Behrens, Dougherty, Hearon & Moody P.C., Board Service - 8 years
Eric is a shareholder at Graves, Dougherty, Hearon & Moody P.C. and focuses primarily on Trial & Appellate Litigation. He is a graduate of the University of Texas Law School. Eric also serves as a board member of the Austin Symphony Orchestra and the Writer's League of Texas. He has previously served on the boards of the Sharir Dance Company, Austin Public Library Foundation and AIDS Services of Austin, Inc. and is a graduate of Leadership Austin.
Wells Fargo Advisors, L.L.C. Board Service - 3 year
As a Regional Brokerage Manager with Wells Fargo Advisors, LLC, Brett leads a select group of Financial Advisors who help their clients build, manage, preserve, and transition their wealth. Brett's team works to understand what is most important to their clients about their wealth, so that they can devise a sound, long term investment plan. In 2012, On Wall Street Magazine named him one of the Top 10 Branch Managers in the nation.
Before entering the financial services industry, Brett graduated from Louisiana Tech University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Marketing. Now a Senior Vice President, management the San Antonio and Austin markets for the Wealth Brokerage Services division of Wells Fargo Advisors, he works closely with The Private Bank to deliver unsurpassed service and customized strategies for their clients.
Brett lives in Austin with his wife Sherrill and their two daughters, Arden and Piper. Outside of work, Brett enjoys golf, spending time with his family, and the outdoors.
Wells Fargo Advisors, LLC, which traces its roots to 1879, grew over the years through mergers with some of the industry's most respected regional and national firms. Throughout their histories, Wells Fargo Advisors' predecessors were known for exceptional service based on trust and knowledge and for corporate cultures that put client needs above all else.
Wells Fargo Advisors is a non-bank affiliate of Wells Fargo & Company, one of the nation's largest strongest and most respected financial institutions. In business since 1852 and named on Fortune magazine's "World's Most Admired Companies" list for 2009, 2010 and 2011, Wells Fargo is known and respected for its responsible stewardship of its clients' assets.
Rick Bennett, Durbin Bennett Peterson/Private Wealth Management
Board Service - 12 years
Richard B. Bennett is a C.P.A., C.F.P and founding Partner of Durbin Bennett Peterson. He has over twenty years of experience in individual, corporate, partnership, trust, and estate taxation. Rick graduated from The University of Texas. He is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, the Texas Society of Certified Public Accountants, the Estate Planning Council, and the International Board of Certified Financial Planners. He is a Past President of Extend-A-Care (a non-profit organization) and is active in a variety of community and professional group activities. Rick is presently serving on the Ballet Austin Finance Committee.
Michael Blue, Ernst & Young LLP, Board Service - 15 years
Michael Blue is the Managing Partner for the Austin office of Ernst & Young. Prior to assuming his roles in Austin, Michael was a Partner in the firm's Capital Markets Group in Paris, France and was responsible for European multinational companies going public in the US and other European multinationals registered on U.S. stock exchanges. He has also worked in San Jose, Frankfurt, Germany and Houston offices.
Michael has over 26 years experience serving high growth, technology companies, from venture backed start-ups to multinational public and privately held companies with a focus on the semiconductor, software and biotechnology industries. He has extensive expertise in SEC reporting, corporate governance, mergers, acquisitions and divestitures, as well as international accounting and auditing, and strategic transactions. His clients have included Luminex, GenSet, Whole Foods, Business Objects, Cirrus Logic, Hytek Microsystems, ISSI, National Instruments, SAS, Silicon Laboratories, Topaz Semiconductor, and Xilinx. Michael has served or currently serves on the Boards of Ballet Austin, The Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce, The University of Texas Accounting Department Advisory Board, and The United Way Capital Area. In addition, he serves on the Audit Committee for KLRU Public Television.
Paula Boldt, Patron of the Arts, Board Service - 13 years
Prior to moving to Austin from San Francisco in 2002, Paula was a board member for the Coyote Point Environmental Museum, where she chaired major fundraisers. She is a former VP in Trade Finance/International Banking Dept. of the Continental Illinois National Bank. Paula and her husband Bob, a former CEO of UTIMCO, were patrons of the San Francisco Ballet before their move to Austin.
Marla Bommarito-Crouch, The Bommarito Group, Board Service - 21 years
An award winning space planner and interior designer in Texas since 1976, Marla has been recognized for her professional achievements by the American Institute of Architects (AIA), American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) and International Interior Design Association (IIDA). She was elected into the College of Fellows of the International Interior Design Association, and was among the first interior designers to be inducted into the Design Hall of Fame at The University of Texas. Marla also serves as an Honorary Life Member of Zach Scott Theater's Board of Directors.
Nikki Bryant, Lakehills Lending, Board Service - 11 years
Nikki Bryant opened Lakehills Lending after more than 20 years banking experience in Austin. A graduate of Texas A&M University, she was named Volunteer of the Year by Austin Chamber of Commerce in 1991 and was a member of Leaders' Club for Top Producers for major bank entity. In addition to serving Ballet Austin, Nikki also serves as Kappa Kappa Gamma House Board President, a Westlake High School volunteer, and is an active member of Westlake Hills Presbyterian Church.
Andy Buchholz, Austin Anesthesiology Group, Board Service - 1 year
Andy is partner in Austin Anesthesiology Group, a division of American Anesthesiology, and has lived in Austin since 1999. He grew up in the Dallas area and is a graduate of St. Mark's School of Texas. His undergraduate degree is from Duke University, where he studied French and chemistry. He obtained his medical degree from the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, then did his residency in anesthesiology through Harvard Medical School at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston. He remained on the faculty for one year at Harvard Medical School before returning to Texas.
He is currently an anesthesiologist in Austin, specializing in adult cardiovascular and thoracic anesthesia. He was the Chief of Anesthesiology at St. David's North Austin Medical Center for 6 years, where he served on the hospital's Medical Executive Committee and Peer Review Committee. He was elected to and currently serves on the Advisory Board of Austin Anesthesiology Group. He is an avid triathlete, a jazz and blues guitarist/singer, and a rabid Duke Basketball fan. His wife Elizabeth is also an anesthesiologist in Austin. He has two children, Sarah and Kellen. He came to know Ballet Austin through his daughter Sarah, who danced at the Ballet Austin Academy for 10 wonderful years.
Blaine Bull, ViaNovo, Board Service - 15 years
Blaine H. Bull is a founding partner of ViaNovo, an international management and communications consulting firm with offices in Austin, Texas; Dallas, Texas; Washington, D.C.; and Monterrey, Mexico. Prior to forming his own strategic communications company in 2004, the StratCom Group, Blaine was a founding officer and shareowner of Austin-based Public Strategies, Inc. During his 13 years as a managing director with Public Strategies, Blaine developed, managed, and helped implement dozens of successful international, national, multi-state, and statewide corporate campaigns. Blaine earned his master's degree at the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs at The University of Texas at Austin and his bachelor's degree at Texas A&M University. Blaine is a past president of the Ballet Austin Board.
Cass Burton, Burton & Hyde, P.L.L.C., Board Service - 4 years
Cass Burton has been practicing law in Texas since he was licensed in 2003. His firm, Burton & Hyde, P.L.L.C., focuses on administrative and business law. He represents regulated entities before state agencies, primarily the Texas Department of Insurance. Cass is both an advocate and a counselor. He seeks creative solutions to enforcement actions, and, when fundamental differences arise, he litigates cases at the State Office of Administrative Hearings. He advises clients on how to interact with regulators, provides compliance planning services, and assists in navigating the licensing process. His firm also handles many other routine business needs.
Cass earned his Doctor of Jurisprudence degree from The University of Texas School of Law in 2003. He received his clinical training in mediation. He graduated magna cum laude from Texas A&M University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Political Science in 2000 with special honors for his work as a University Undergraduate Research Fellow. Cass is a member of the American Council of Young Political Leaders, a bipartisan non-profit organization that has conducted bilateral exchanges with over thirty nations since the 1960's. He has traveled with ACYPL to Jordan, New Zealand, and Israel and on his own to fifteen other foreign countries. Cass calls Austin, Texas his home. He enjoys going to drop-in classes and Pilates at Ballet Austin weekly.
Sarah Butler, Patron of the Arts, Board Service - 19 years
Sarah and her husband are residents of Austin since 1969. Sarah's strong interest in Arts and Education has led her to serve on Ballet Austin Board of Directors. She has served as Chairman of Board of Directors over the last six years and as President of Ballet Austin Foundation over the last ten years.
Daniel Byrne, Fritz, Byrne, Head & Harrison, LLP, Board Service - 23 years
Dan Byrne is a twenty nine year lawyer representing clients involved in both straightforward and complex commercial disputes in a broad range of areas, including real estate, technology, financial institutions, employment, bankruptcy and general business litigation, both at trial and on appeal. He was voted by peers to Texas Monthly's list of Texas "Super Lawyers" as one of the best Business Litigation attorneys in Central Texas. He is a member of the Austin Bar Association, American Bar Association, Federal Bar Association, Fifth Circuit Bar Association, and the Texas Association of Bank Counsel. His wife, the Honorable Darlene Byrne, is a Travis County Judge.
Greg Casas, Greenberg Traurig, L.L.P., Board Service - 4 years
Greg Casas, Shareholder, Greenberg Traurig, focuses his practice in antitrust, complex business litigation, and energy and natural resources law. Greg's antitrust practice is international in scope and includes litigating price-fixing, bid-rigging, market allocation claims and providing counseling for DOJ/FTC investigations, joint venture formation, mergers and acquisitions, pricing plans and other contractual relationships. Greg's complex business litigation experience includes international dispute resolution, arbitration and class action litigation. His energy experience includes litigating power plant disputes, disputes arising out of oil and gas leases and joint operating agreements, product liability claims relating to oil field tools and supplies, and personal injury and death cases unique to the oil and gas industry. With regard to natural resources, Greg has experience in greenhouse gas emissions trading under The EU Emissions Trading System (EU ETS) and the Kyoto Protocol.
Socar Chatmon-Thomas, Elegant Estates by Auction, LLC, Board Service
For as long as I can remember, dance and movement has been a part of my life. I have fond memories of standing on my father's feet while being taught how to Waltz. Once I mastered the Waltz, we moved on to the Tango. After my Dad finished teaching me the traditional dances, my Mom taught me the cool hip dances like the jerk, the twist, the funky chicken, the electric slide and many more. As a family, dance and movement has always been a very important part of our lives.
My formal dance training began in 6th grade when I entered a magnet fine arts academy in Houston, Texas where I studied theatre and dance. We learned ballet first and then transitioned to modern and jazz. My first dance teacher, Ms. Rest, was the toughest teacher I've ever had. She was a stickler for dress code and she demanded strict adherence to technique. We learned terms, were tested frequently and performed in front to live audiences (our friends and family) at least once per semester. Although I did not become a prima ballerina, I continued dancing through out college and still love dancing today. The discipline that I learned from my years of ballet classes has translated throughout my life. Currently I am the CEO and Principal Broker at Elegant Estates by Auction, LLC a local boutique real estate firm. I have always had a love affair with dance and I'm so proud to be this year's President of the Ballet Austin Guild.
Jeff Coddington, Jones Lang LaSalle Americas, Board Service - 8 years
Jeff Coddington is a Senior Vice President of Capital Markets and National Director of Jones Lang LaSalle (NYSE: JLL), which provides commercial real estate and investment management services worldwide. Based in Austin and the San Francisco Bay Area, he assesses, strategizes and executes on the complex commercial real estate requirements of investors, corporations, public entities and non-profit organizations. Pleased to have started his real estate career in Austin in 1984, his clients include Applied Materials, Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority, Starwood Capital Group, the Thinkery and numerous others. Jeff formerly worked with the Austin affiliate of Cushman & Wakefield, another global commercial property services firm, for twenty years. Jeff double-majored in Finance and Real Estate at the University of Texas at Austin.
Lawrence Collins, Lawrence Collins & Associates, Board Service - 5 years
Lawrence Collins' work in Austin, Texas began in 1992 as an intern in the Executive Office of Governor Ann Richards and continues today with his own independent consulting practice. Collins is a registered lobbyist and consults with various clients on state budget matters. Collins' active client list includes non-profits, municipalities and Fortune 500 Companies. Collins has been in solo private practice in Austin, Texas since 2004. During Collins' time at the state capitol he worked for both Republicans and Democrats and is the only person in recent memory to direct the two most significant committees of the Texas Legislature: the House Committee on Appropriations under the Hon. Robert A. Junell and the Senate Committee on Finance under the Hon. Teel Bivins. Collins is married with three children.
Ken Corby, Chief Executive Officer, KTC Advisors and Apogee Advisors, Board Service - 1 year
Ken founded and currently serves as Chief Executive Officer of KTC Advisors and Apogee Advisors. Both firms guide Boards of Directors and C-level Executives on strategies in consumer branded products by assessing, developing and then participating in carrying out various value-building activities of start up, established and mature enterprises encompassing every aspect of the organization. In the family, Ken is referred to as "The Company Doctor" healing those that are ill and taking to new heights those that seek direction.
Ken attended the University of Dayton earning his BA in accounting and is a Certified Public Accountant. He was guest for the New York market Business Nightly television program, was a guest panelist to a boutique CFO business conference, contributed to the 21st Century Schools program through in-class instruction at the collegiate level and has been involved with numerous charitable efforts.
Ken has resided in Austin Texas with his wife Candice since 2011 where as a father he provides encouragement, example and mentoring to his two sons and as husband runs as fast as he can to keep up with his wife.
Priscilla Guajardo Cortez, The University of Texas System/Bacon Lee
Board Service - 6 years
Priscilla divides her time between serving as the Director of Development for the Rio Grande Valley Initiative for the University of Texas System and as a nonprofit consultant with Bacon Lee & Associates. Priscilla earned a bachelor's degree from Texas A&M University, a master's degree in education administration from The University of Texas at Austin, and a law degree from St. Mary's University. Priscilla also serves on the board of KLRU-TV and is a founding member of FuturoFund Austin. She is a graduate of Leadership Austin's Emerge Program and Essential Class. Priscilla is married to John-Michael V. Cortez and together they have a daughter, Isabella.
Mark Cravotta, Cravotta Interiors, Board Service - 2 years
Mark Cravotta founded Cravotta Interiors in 1996 and has been the firm's creative and driving force ever since. Whether he's designing homes for A-list celebrities, corporate suites of CEOs, luxury lofts for leaders of technology, or designing custom furniture and one-of-a-kind fixtures to fill those environments, Mark's interiors always contain a sense of history and adventure. In achieving spaces that unfold in livable luxury, warmth and beauty, Mark uses a mix of natural elements, rich textural surfaces, and evocative furnishings.
Mark's passion for design was first realized in his years as an artist and jewelry designer. This understanding of, and personal connection to art has resulted in Mark's ongoing relationships with galleries, artists and collectors around the world, and make art procurement an additional and important element in his practice.
Today, working from his home base in Austin, Texas, Mark expresses his enduring passion for design in the homes he creates for clients. And whether the homes are across the country or around the world, Mark's goal is constant: to design a home that reflects the highest ideals of the people who live there.
Steve Dalbey, Moreland Properties, Board Service - 17 years
After 25 years of working in major advertising agencies, Steve joined Moreland Properties. In his first year he was named "Rookie of the Year" and in 2006 was named "Top Producer" in the Lake Austin office, Moreland's largest office. A graduate of The Ohio State University, Steve worked in sales and founded and managed two companies while still in college. Steve enjoys extensive travel, particularly international travel.
Kristen Day, Freescale Semiconductor, Board Service - 2 years
Kristen serves as the Community Relations and Inclusion Program Manager for Freescale Semiconductor based in Austin, TX. She oversees the Freescale Inclusion Council and guides the strategic initiatives that support the Freescale Foundation and Community Engagement team.
Kristen has more than 15 years human resources experience and has worked in a variety of industries including finance, publishing and technology.
Kristen's love of dance began with her first ballet class at the age of 5. She received her degree from the University of Texas and her SPHR certification in 2009. Kristen is an active member of the First United Methodist Church of Austin and volunteers with the Regents School of Austin. She is married to Aaron Day and they have 2 wonderful boys, Colin and Elliott.
Ann M. Downing, 2015-16 Ballet Austin Guild President, Board Service
Ann joined Austin Civic Ballet Guild (precursor to Ballet Austin Guild) in 1977 and has been a member every since. As a volunteer for Austin Civic Ballet Guild she worked on costuming, program ad sales, postal mailings, ticket sales. Ann served as the President of Austin Civic Ballet Guild 1981/82, served as the Ballet Austin Assistant Box Office Manager, Box Office Manager and Board Secretary as well as co-chaired the Ballet Austin Guild's New Year's Eve Ball and the Ballet Austin Golf Tournament. She created the Ballet Austin Travel Angel Program and has supported various fundraising events. In 2013 she was the recipient of Ballet Austin Guild's Sarah and Ernst Butler Award for her service with the Guild. Ann is also involved in various chairmanships at Laguna Gloria Art Museum's annual Fiesta, and is a Current Board member of BookSpring. She is a graduate of Austin High School and the University of Texas, BS in Elementary Ed 1967. She's been married for 50 years to Jim Downing and has 2 children and 5 grandchildren.
Cliff Ernst, Graves, Dougherty, Hearon and Moody, Board Service - 28 years
Cliff has practiced law for approximately 30 years, the majority of that time with the Austin law firm of Graves, Dougherty, Hearon & Moody. Cliff was born in Bartlesville, Oklahoma and received a BA from Oklahoma State University and his law degree from The University of Texas. Cliff and his wife Martha have one son, Rex, and enjoy gardening and travel. Cliff plays in a rock n' roll band called Rhythm Congress, which has enjoyed playing for various Ballet Austin events.
Kathleen Farlow, Deloitte, Board Service - 2 years
Kathleen Farlow joined Deloitte in 1983 and became partner in 1994. For most of her career Kathleen's role has been and continues to be as a client service tax partner on large multinational clients and high net-worth individuals. Kathleen is currently the Central Texas Managing Partner leading over 500 client service professionals in Austin and San Antonio.
Lauren Fornes, Board Service - 1 year
Lauren started her career in marketing at Sotheby's in San Francisco, before moving into a business development/corporate strategy role with Perricone MD, a luxury skincare brand owned by TSG Partners. Paralleling her 2009 move back to Texas with her husband (Don) and their Bernese Mountain dog (Stinson), Lauren decided to stay home a raise their growing family, which now includes their daughter (Hudson, 5) and sons (Stone, 3, and Brick, 9 months).
Lauren and her family support a variety of philanthropic organizations, including Texas Children's Hospital, Princeton University, UNICEF, Good Shepherd and, of course, Ballet Austin. Lauren's interest in supporting the ballet grew out of a tradition of attending Houston Ballet's Sunday matinees with her godmother. She enjoys carrying on this tradition with her daughter. She also loves skiing, hiking, running with her daughter, architecture and interior design, photography, travel and time spent with friends and family.
Cynthia Fresch, CBCInnovis, Board Service - 21 years
Cynthia Fresch is a native Austinite. She received a BA in Finance from UT Austin and worked as an SVP at Bank of America for 25 years. She also worked 10 years for First American/CoreLogic and is currently a National Account Executive for CBCInnovis. Cynthia has been involved with numerous Ballet Austin committees and groups during her membership including CORE, Ballet Noir, Artistic Director Search Committee, and Management Committee. Her hobbies include exercise boot camp, golf and travel.
Renee Gallagher, Comercia Bank, Board Service - 2 years
Renee is a graduate from the University of Texas with a degree in advertising. Her career is in investments and began more than 13 years ago at an investment advisory firm in Houston. She never thought that her path would take her to the financial industry, but once she got involved, she discovered a new world and has never looked back.
She currently works with Comerica Bank, and her primary role is investment management for institutional clients and retirement plans nationwide. She feels fortunate to be based in her favorite city of Austin.
Over the years, she has been a supporter for several non-profit organizations, including literacy programs for adults to aid to children worldwide. In addition, she supports her passion for the arts by being a past season ticket holder for the Houston Ballet and is a current strong supporter of Ballet Austin. When not working and spending time with family, Renee can be found getting lost in watching the beauty of the ballet, training for competitive ballroom dancing, or traveling around the world.
Jennifer Garcia, KBGE Engineering, Board Service - 2 years
Ms. Garcia has 15 years of experience in civil engineering-specializing in land development, dam safety and U.S. Naval shipbuilding. She has extensive experience in land development in Central Texas performing project management, engineering design, and regulatory permitting of mixed use, master planned, single family, retail and office development projects. She is experienced with dam safety, design and emergency action planning for the State of Texas.
Ms. Garcia is extremely knowledgeable in providing engineering design and project management services for all aspects of land development and engineering design projects in Central Texas. She is proficient in performing site investigations and producing conceptual site planning and construction plans. She has effectively worked with government agencies and has spoken at multiple City Planning and Zoning Commissions and City Councils for zoning and development proposals. She has spoken at numerous workshops throughout the State of Texas on providing knowledge to the public on Emergency Action Planning for dam safety. She is responsible for technical and supervision leadership over Professional Engineers, Engineers In Training and CAD Designers, and QA/QC for dam safety, site development and utility projects.
Wade Giles, Realtor, Moreland Properties, Board Service - 1 year
Native Texan, Wade Giles is a Realtor with Moreland Properties, serving the Central Texas area. He earned his degree in Finance with a concentration in Real Estate from LSU before starting out on his own business endeavors that led him across the globe to Australia, Guatemala, Southeast Asia, New York City, and finally, back to where he knew he ultimately belonged - Austin, Texas. Since his return, Wade has completely immersed himself in Austin's culture, specifically within the arts. Having studied at the International Center of Photography in New York, Wade has a true appreciation of all art in all forms and understands the importance of keeping culture alive and thriving in our City. In his spare time, Wade enjoys traveling, jogging the trail and Greenbelt with his rescue dog "Sport", water skiing on Lake Austin, and showing horses competitively throughout the country.
Richard J. Groos, King & Spalding LLP, Board Service - 1 year
Richard is a partner in the Intellectual Property Group of King & Spalding LLP, an international law firm having offices in the United States, Europe, the Middle East and Asia. Richard specializes in intellectual property law (patent, trademark, copyright, trade secret, internet, domain name, and related matters). Richard holds a Bachelor of Engineering Science in Environmental Engineering degree from The University of Texas at Austin and received his J.D. from The University of Texas School of Law. Richard has represented some of the most well-known brands in the world, and he specializes in providing creative solutions, strategic planning, and problem solving for businesses in branding and trademark issues. He is a frequent presenter and speaker, and has received a number of professional honors, including recognition in the World Trademark Review 1000; Chambers, USA; Legal 500 USA; The Best Lawyers in America, trademark law; Texas Super Lawyer, intellectual property; and designation as an IP Star by Managing Intellectual Property and a Global IP Luminary by Trademark World. In his free time, Richard enjoys writing music, primarily on guitar and keyboard.
Jennifer Guthrie, Texas Capital Bank Private Wealth Advisors, Board Service
Jennifer, together with a team of advisors at Texas Capital Bank, provides comprehensive wealth management advice and services including concierge private banking, investment management, and trust and estate administration. The advice is integrated by the development of a customized financial and wealth transfer plan designed specifically for each family. A Certified Financial Planner, Jennifer’s role on the team is to seamlessly manage the overall relationship, coordinate with the family’s attorneys and tax counsel, as well as to provide deep expertise on client banking and credit needs. With over 28 years of experience in the industry, she has expertise in structuring credit needs ranging from simple mortgages to complex interim construction loans and investment real estate loans.
Chris Hendel- Vice President & GM, Neiman Marcus Austin, Board Service
Chris was born and raised in La Jolla, CA and graduated from San Diego State University with a Bachelors in Business. Prior to Austin, he held positions in San Diego, Los Angeles, Palm Beach, Chicago and New York with Saks Inc. Christ is currently the Vice President & GM Neiman Marcus Austin. He is also currently on the board of Preservation Austin. He and his wife have a 1 year old daughter, Aria, and are also supporters of The Contemporary, Laguna Gloria, Austin Opera, MJM, The Thinkery. They are enjoying living in and exploring Austin and all that it has to offer.
E.D. Hill, CNN, Board Service - 6 years
E.D. is a reporter and host at CNN. She previously worked at Fox News Channel and CBS Morning News. E.D.graduated from the University of Texas with a Bachelor of Journalism degree. During her career, she has won both an Emmy and Golden Quill. She spends most of her time at the family ranch in Dripping Springs. E.D. is involved with the Junior League and the Austin Women's Symphony League. In New York, she was a board member of the New York City Children's Museum and the Big Apple Circus. She is married to financial executive Joe Hill and they have "numerous children and even more critters."
Aileen Hooks, Baker & Botts, L.L.P., Board Service - 18 years
Aileen Hooks regularly provides legal counsel to clients on regulatory and permitting matters relating to environmental, health, and safety issues, including air and water quality, solid and hazardous waste, and fuel regulations. Additionally, Ms. Hooks works on the environmental and facilities-related aspects of corporate and real estate transactions, including international matters. She is active in the United States Business Council for Sustainable Development. On a pro bono basis, she worked on the drafting and negotiation of a memorandum of understanding between the Council and the U.S. EPA on Scientific and Technical Cooperation in the Fields of Environmental Protection and Sustainable Development. Aileen received her undergraduate degree from Georgetown University, and her JD from the University of Texas.
Chris Hosek, Texas Star Alliance, Board Service - 3 years
Chris Hosek is a principal of Texas Star Alliance, specializing in direct lobbying and state agency relations. Chris has experience with a broad range of legislative issues and policy initiatives including a specific expertise in the energy sector. Chris served as the chief of staff for 5 years to the Chair of the Railroad Commission of Texas, Elizabeth Ames Jones. The Railroad Commission is the regulatory body that oversees Texas' energy industries including all levels of the oil and gas industry, pipeline safety, gas utility rates and the permitting and reclamation of coal and uranium mines.
Prior to his work at the Railroad Commission, Chris was also the legislative director for Jones in the Texas House of Representatives for the 78th and 77th sessions. Chris served as the House's committee aide to the Appropriations Committee, responsible for drafting the state's two-year budget. He was also committee aide for Jones on the House Energy Resources Committee, where he received his background in the energy field. Chris served in various roles for elected officials where he managed and developed legislative issues. Other committees Chris has worked on include the Urban Affairs and State Recreational Resource committees.
During his time in the Legislature, Chris was instrumental in setting up Texas' first umbilical cord blood bank. The Texas Cord Blood Bank was created by statute in 2001 and funded in 2003. Stem cells from umbilical cord blood can be used to treat diseases such as leukemia, lymphomas, sickle cell anemia and primary immuno-deficiencies. Chris worked to secure a $1 million initial state grant for the bank, as well as an additional $2.5 million private/public matching grant. The bank is located in San Antonio and has currently banked over 1,500 cords.
Chris has met with numerous international trade delegations at the Railroad Commission. He also participated in the Texas Trade Mission to Mexico, Qatar and United Arab Emirates. In 2008, Chris was selected by the American Council of Young Political leaders as a delegate to participate in an overseas governmental exchange with Taiwan.
Chris graduated from Texas State University at San Marcos in 1997 with a bachelor's degree in communications. He is a member of the Texas State at San Marcos Alumni Association and the Phi Delta Theta Alumni Association. Chris and his wife, Chandra, live in Austin, Texas.
Laura Huffman, Nature Conservancy, Board Service - 7 years
Laura Huffman assumed the role of Texas State Director of the Nature Conservancy in June 2008. Ms. Huffman heads a Texas staff of more than 100 scientists, conservation experts and support staff working at 35 preserves and projects spanning from West Texas to the Big Thicket and the Panhandle to the Gulf Coast. A native of Austin, Texas, Ms. Huffman's has a long and distinguished record of public service.
Throughout her career she has devoted substantial energy toward advancing environmental causes to benefit the lives of citizens, including undertaking important projects to protect water supply quality and public green spaces. As deputy city manager of San Marcos from 1994 to 2002 and assistant city manager of Austin from 2002 to 2008, she spearheaded important watershed protection and neighborhood and economic development initiatives for both cities. Ms. Huffman has earned a Master of Public Affairs degree from the University of Texas at Austin and a B.Sc. in Political Science with a minor in History from Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas.
Jon Ivester, Silicon Laboratories, Board Service - 10 years
Jon Ivester is the Senior Vice President of Worldwide Operations for Silicon Laboratories, a mixed signal semiconductor company headquartered just 2 blocks from the Butler Dance Education Center in downtown Austin. Jon has lived in Austin since 1993 when he came to town to start up the Austin manufacturing activities of Applied Materials. He and his wife, Jo, an adjunct professor at St. Edwards University, have raised 4 children in Austin. Jon has a bachelor's degree in chemistry from MIT and an MBA from Stanford Graduate School of Business. He has also served as the chairman of the board of directors for the American Red Cross of Central Texas.
Jannette Keating, Patron of the Arts, Board Service - 4 years
Jannette Keating is an art advocate. She was a dancer, and always loved art as a child. She developed a deep appreciation for art in its many forms throughout her life. She stems from Canada where she enjoyed a career as a French Immersion teacher. Here in the US, her passion for dance, and visual art has become the focus of her energy. Involvement with art museums such as LACMA and the Contemporary as a volunteer art educator has enriched her personal lifework as an artist. A recent graduate degree in Art Education/ Arts and Cultural Management from the University of Texas has directed her energy toward service on various local art- related boards of directors. Involvement on the boards with the Texas Society of Sculptors, the Contemporary and Ballet Austin are some of the interests that she has in Austin.
Dr. Craig Kuglen, Patron of the Arts, Board Service - 8 years
Dr. Kuglen has been active in arts organizations for over 40 years. After "mostly retiring" from medicine, he moved to Austin and has worked with Chorus Austin, The Austin Chamber Music Center, Austin Lyric Opera, Ballet Austin, and The Austin Symphony in various board positions. An honors graduate of Colgate University, he obtained an MD degree from the University of Alabama and moved to Texas for internship and residency in Galveston at UTMB. Craig founded an ophthalmology clinic in the Rio Grande Valley which expanded to include major subspecialties and operated two surgery centers. He and his wife Peggy, an active choral singer, have four children and seven grandchildren. Hobbies include tennis and sailing and competing in over 350 triathlons, nationally and internationally.
Alexander Ladage, UBS, Board Service - 12 years
Alex is a Senior Vice President of Investments for UBS and manages the financial affairs for a select number of families and privately held businesses in Central Texas. A graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point and former Airborne Ranger, Alex has been in the private banking and investment management business for the last eleven years. In his free time he enjoys high altitude mountain climbing and racquetball. Alex is married to Heather Ladage who is the publisher of the Austin Business Journal.
Ava Late, BMW of Austin, Board Service - 10 years
Ava Late is a wife, mother, community volunteer, and co-owner of BMW of Austin. She has been a media spokesperson for 20 years in the Southwest United States and owner of a Music Publishing Company for 15 years. Since the birth of her daughter, Olivia, Ava has only worked for her family businesses. Presently she is the Director of Marketing and Public Relations and Community Affairs at BMW of Austin. A graduate of The University of Texas, she has volunteered and served in various capacities with the Susan G. Komen Foundation, Hospice Association, Alzheimer's Association, Women's Symphony League, Ballet Austin Guild, Bridge Point Booster Club, Good Shepherd Episcopal School, The Sam Houston Society of Friends of the Governor's Mansion, The Littlefield Society, the Chancellor's Council of UT, Austin Country Club Women's Association, Board Member of Summit Homeowner's Association, and the Alzheimer's Association. Ava is married to Steve and they have 3 children, Olivia, Blair and Christopher.
Nora Linares-Moeller, Nora Linares Consulting, Board Service - 23 years
Nora is a consultant serving clients in the areas of management efficiencies, project implementation and fundraising for non-profits and political candidates. She spent the first twelve years of her career in state government management, including serving as the first Executive Director of the Texas Lottery Commission. As a community volunteer, Linares-Moeller currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Sally M. Kingsbury Knock Out Sarcoma Foundation Inc., as President of the Board of the LBJ Museum of San Marcos, Treasurer of the Board of the Friends of the Family Justice Center (Hays County) and Secretary of the La Tina Foundation. She was appointed as a National Board Member of the La Union del Pueblo Entero (LUPE) organization (founded by Cesar Chavez) in 2006. A graduate of Southwest Texas State University (SWTSU), now Texas State University, she is also a 1989 graduate of Leadership Texas and a 1990 graduate of Leadership America. Linares-Moeller currently resides in Wimberley, TX with her husband Michael Moeller.
Dr. Marcella Madera Obrecht, Board Service - 4 years
Dr. Marcella Madera came to Austin from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine where she was a faculty Instructor of Neurosurgery and an AOSpine fellow. She completed her residency in neurosurgery at the University of Cincinnati and Mayfield Clinic. Marcella performs both spinal and cranial surgery to treat a variety of conditions for central Texas residents.
Marcella has studied ballet since the age of 9, and she minored in ballet at Washington University in St. Louis. She continues to enjoy classes at Ballet Austin living downtown with her husband, Austin software entrepreneur Mark Obrecht.
George Martin, Ph.D., St. Edward's University, Board Service - 15 years
George E. Martin, Ph.D., president of St. Edward's University since 1999, has led the university's collaborative effort to attain national recognition as one of the best small universities in the country. Currently, the university is ranked 20th in the West by U.S. News & World Report, and donors have responded to Martin's vision by investing more than $70 million in St. Edward's. Martin volunteers with a number of higher education organizations and is equally dedicated to community development and the arts in Austin, serving on the boards for several important civic and artistic organizations.
Jennene Mashburn, Patron of the Arts, Board Service - 16 years
Jennene Mashburn has been an active Ballet Austin Guild member for 14 years, serving as president in 2000/2001. She has held several volunteer postions in Assistance League of Austin since 1993, and currently serves as one of their Thrift House day chairs. Jennene is married to Ray and has two married daughters and three grandchildren.
Michael Matula, Investor, Board Service - 3 years
Michael has accumulated a diverse business background over the past twenty years. He holds a PhD and JD from UT, and has been a practicing attorney and businessman with experience in real estate development, oil & gas exploration and services, investments, and law. From 2004 to 2009 he was President & CEO of an oilfield services company in Carthage, Texas. Currently, he is an investor and member of Central Texas Angel Network
Andrea McWilliams, McWilliams Governmental Affairs, Board Service
Founder of McWilliams Governmental Affairs, Andrea McWilliams navigates the corridors of power at the Capitol advocating relentlessly for her high profile clients. Her firm is consistently recognized as the leading full-service governmental affairs firm in Texas and trusted at the local, state and national level. Lobbyist, political fundraiser, philanthropist, cancer survivor and - most importantly - a mother of 3, she combines grit and patience with persuasion to advocate tirelessly for her clients and the charitable causes she champions.
Nikelle S. Meade, Brown McCarroll, L.L.P. Board Service - 6 years
Nikelle became associated with the firm in 1998. During prior legal appointments she has served as Judicial Intern for Justice Jack Hightower of the Supreme Court of Texas, as a Legislative Intern for State Representative Dawnna M. Dukes, and as an Associate Attorney with the law firm of Minter Joseph & Thornhill, P.C. Her practice involves representation of clients before local and state agencies, and she provides legal advice in the areas of procurement, transportation, commercial and residential real estate, business negotiations and transactions, economic development incentives, zoning, platting and land use. Ms. Meade's professional affiliations include the State Bar of Texas, the College of the State Bar, the Austin Bar Association, the American Planning Association, the Texas Chapter of the American Planning Association, the Real Estate Council of Austin, and the Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority. She is currently the President of the Hill Country Conservancy. Ms. Meade received a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and Psychology from the University of Texas at Austin in 1992 and a Doctorate of Jurisprudence from the University of Texas School of Law in 1995.
Emily Moreland, Moreland Properties, Board Service - 27 years
Emily Moreland plays an integral role in the day-to-day operations of the real estate company she started in 1986. Her top priority is supporting her agents and their clients, but she still finds the time and energy to be very involved in many organizations that create the quality of life that we all enjoy in Austin. Emily was privileged to serve on the Board of Directors of the Long Center for the Performing Arts from its inception until 2008. At the present time, she serves on the Advisory Committee for the Center. For many years she maintained that a performing arts hall was an absolute necessity for a city the size of Austin. She believes the Long Center benefits economic development in Austin as much as it benefits the performing arts. As past President and Chairman of the Board for Ballet Austin, Emily continues to serve on the Board of Directors for the ballet. As a member of the Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce, she actively supports the Opportunity Austin initiative which the chamber created to focus on bringing and keeping jobs in Austin. Emily is President of the Dell Children's Medical Center Foundation Grandparents Club and actively supports raising funds for the hospital. She also currently serves on the steering committee for Foundation Communities which provides housing for the working poor. Emily looks forward to continuing her involvement with many issues that enhance our beautiful city of Austin.
Susan K. Nestegard, Hormel Foods, American Capital, LTD, Board Service
Susan currently serves as a corporate director for Hormel Foods, Inc. and American Capital, LTD. From 2008 - 2012, Susan was Executive Vice president and President of Global Healthcare for Ecolab, Inc., and from 2003 to 2008, Susan held the position of Senior Vice President of Research Development and Engineering and Chief Technical Officer. Prior to joining Ecolab, Susan was with 3M Co. for over 20 years in research and development, technical management, and business leadership. Susan has served on numerous nonprofit and industry boards, and continues to be equally passionate about giving back to the arts, science encouragement, and business leadership.
Minsok Pak, Actium Corporation, Board Service - 2 years
Mr. Minsok Pak serves as the Managing Director at Actium Corporation. Mr. Pak served as Director at McKinsey & Company from 1991 to 2010. Mr. Pak led Asia Pacific Marketing Practice from 2003 to 2008. He served as a Member of Industry Leadership Teams for high technology, telecommunication, packaged goods, and retail sectors in Asia and was a Member of North American Operations Leadership Team from 1999 to 2003. While at McKinsey & Company, Mr. Pak was seconded to LG Electronics in Seoul, South Korea where he served as an Executive Vice President and Chief Strategy Officer from 2007 to 2009. He holds an MBA from Stanford University and a BA degree from Oberlin College.
Kate Perez, Board Service - 1 year
Kate Perez is an experienced marketing professional focused on the technology industry with over 10 years' experience building strategic programs for companies such as a Cisco and Dell. Kate is a graduate of the University of Texas with a B.A. in Economics and an M.B.A. from the McCombs School of Business. She is actively involved in Ballet Austin's Fete*ish Committee, Symphony BATS, The Blanton Museum, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Texas. Kate is also part of the Advisory Board of the Texas Conference for Women and is a Next Generation Project Texas Fellow with the LBJ School of Public Affairs. She is a graduate of Leadership Austin's Essential Class of 2013 and Emerge Class of 2009 and has previously been involved in organizations including Leadership Austin and Greenlights 501 Council. In her spare time you'll find her at one of the Austin's amazing restaurants, indulging in a good book, or exploring the world with her husband Hector.
Deborah Portman, International Bank of Commerce, Board Service
Deborah moved to Austin from Laredo, Texas and is First Vice-President for IBC Bank. Deborah was a ballet student in Laredo from the age of three, and went on to study ballet at the Peabody Conservatory of Music while attending college. While in Laredo, Deborah served on the boards of the Women's City Club, United Day School, and the Society of Martha Washington. She has a daughter, three sons and five grandchildren.
Elizabeth Powdrill, Hopper Mikeska, PLLC, Board Service - 1 year
Elizabeth is an associate with the Austin law firm of Hopper Mikeska, PLLC, and focuses her practice on estate planning, estate and trust administration, and guardianship. Elizabeth received her undergraduate degree from Boston University and her J.D. from the University Of Texas School Of Law. She is a member of the Austin Bar Association, the Estate Planning Council of Central Texas, and the Travis County Women Lawyers' Association. Elizabeth is from Boston, Massachusetts, where she attended the Boston Ballet School and performed in the Boston Ballet's Nutcracker.
Forrest Preece, Patron of the Arts, Board Service - 18 years
Forrest Preece is a native Austinite who grew up seeing our town's ballet company perform on the cement stage at Zilker Hillside Theatre. He worked in the advertising business for thirty-nine years until he retired in 2005. The last twenty-eight years of his career, he ran Good Right Arm Advertising Agency. Currently, he is on the board of the Austin Convention & Visitors Bureau. Forrest has served as a board member of The Austin Advertising Club and The Texas Hill Country Wine & Food Festival; was a board member and founder of Longhorn Associates (a support group for UT Women's Athletics); and has held leadership roles with other organizations. Forrest and his wife, Linda Ball, are now active dilettantes and do volunteer work for several non-profits; in his spare time, he writes a personalities column for West Austin News.
Ryann Reaud, Travis County Attorney's Office, Board Service - 2 years
Ryann Reaud was born and raised in Beaumont, Texas. She attended college at Southern Methodist University, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in History. Ryann went on to graduate with honors from the University of Texas School of Law. She then served as a law clerk for United States District Judge Royal Furgeson in the Western District of Texas. She currently works as a prosecutor in the Travis County Attorney's Office.
Edie Rogat, Patron of the Arts, Board Service - 4 years
Edie and her family moved to Austin in 2009. Her work experience includes planning public programs for the Smithsonian Institution and management consulting for Ernst & Young. She previously served as Parents' Association President and Board Member of St. Mark's Episcopal School in Palm Beach Gardens, FL. She has an MBA from the Fuqua School of Business, Duke University and a B.A. from the University of Virginia. Edie and her husband, Cotter Cunningham, have three children, Hailey, Peyton and Truman. Peyton dances in the Ballet Austin Academy.
Alejandro Ruelas, LatinWorks, Board Service - 4 years
Alejandro Ruelas, CMO & Managing Partner - LatinWorks After spending 18 years in the beer industry - most of them with Anheuser-Busch - Alejandro and Manny Flores, a fellow marketing executive, founded LatinWorks, a cultural branding agency headquartered in Austin. The agency helps Fortune 500 clients in marketing their goods and services to the U.S. Hispanic population. In its 13 years of operation, LatinWorks has distinguished itself for creating some of the most memorable advertising campaigns in the industry, including the number one spot in the 2007 Super Bowl broadcast that featured comedian Carlos Mencia for the Bud Light brand.
As co-founder Alejandro has been instrumental in the strategic management of the agency and its work. He heads its business development efforts and dedicates significant time to nurturing relationships with key clients such Anheuser-Busch, General Motors, Domino's Pizza and Wrigley. LatinWorks, a minority certified enterprise, is the most awarded agency and widely considered the creative leader in its space. In addition to four Cannes Lions, in the last three years the agency has twice been recognized by Ad Age and Adweek magazines as Multicultural Agency of the year. And in 2010 was named to Ad Age's prestigious A-List as one of the top 10 advertising agencies in the country.
Alejandro is a graduate of California State University, Los Angeles. He also received an MBA from the John M. Olin School of Business at Washington University in St. Louis where he was recently recognized with the Olin Distinguished Alumni Award.
Shon Saliga, IBM, Board Service - 12 years
Shon Saliga works as a Market Manager for IBM focusing on service related offerings for the Financial Sector including Banking, Financial Markets, and Insurance and supports marketing programs that drive more than a quarter of a billion dollars in annual sales. During the past 25 years, he has held numerous executive and senior management positions that span many aspects of IBM's business from operating system design and development, to server strategy / competitive analysis, pervasive computing operations and accessibility research. In his spare time, Shon is the President of Our BellaRosa Group, LLC an Austin based company specializing in the design and construction of exceptional Tuscan farm homes and villas. Both Shon and his wife Jani enjoying traveling the world in search of architecture that captures old world romance and charm. Shon is an active musician (i.e., saxophone), designs commercial sound reinforcement systems and has written five books on operating systems that have been translated into five languages and sold around the world. Both Shon and Jani are avid paragliding pilots and have four beautiful college age children and a herd of cats.
Cord Shiflet, Moreland Properties, Board Service - 15 years
Cord and his wife, Anne are one of our youngest Ballet Austin families. Cord has been involved with Ballet Austin since 1991 and Anne since 2002. Cord has served on the Board since 2001 and Anne was President of the Guild in 2005-2006. Cord is a Residential Realtor with Moreland Properties and is the #1 Realtor in Austin (Austin Business Journal) from 2002 - 2007, 2009 and 2011. In addition, he's been Moreland Properties' top salesman for 10 years. He is among the top 1% of producers in Austin and Texas. Formerly a realtor with Moreland Properties, Anne now stays at home with their 3 children Tatum, Tinsley and Banks.
Jare Smith, Patron of the Arts, Board Service - 31 years
Jare Smith is a past president and past chair of the Ballet Austin board and a former Ballet Austin Guild president. She currently serves on the Long Center Board and the Advisory Board of Texas State University Fine Arts College. Jare is also a past president of the Lone Star Girl Scout Council and served as co-chair of their Capital Campaign.
Will Steakley, DEN Property Group, Board Service - 5 years
Native Austin serial entrepreneur and urban core real estate advocate Will Steakley is the co-founder of DEN Property Group. With over $180 million in closed transactions, Mr Steakley consistently ranks one of Austin Business Journal's top real estate producers. With a strategic focus on architecturally significant homes and the downtown lifestyle, Mr. Steakley is the top grossing agent at his firm exceeding the expectations of his diverse client base. Additional accolades include a vested interest in several local businesses ranging from clean technology to the live music sector that include The Mohawk, GreenLight Energy Services, KLD Energy Technologies, SoZo Global and Austin Surf Company. In addition, his wife Karen Steakley is a very active patron of Ballet Austin and State Representative Sid Miller's Chief of Staff. Together they have 2 children Stella Rose and Miller.
Judge George Thomas, Board Service - 1 year
Born in New York City, and raised in Houston, George C. Thomas graduated from Trinity University in San Antonio in 1998 with a B.S. in Biology and a B.A. in History. He then earned his law degree from the University of Houston Law Center in 2002. After graduating, he worked as a Legislative Assistant in the Texas House of Representatives and practiced immigration law in Houston. He moved to Austin in 2004 and became a criminal prosecutor for the City of Austin. In 2010, he accepted a position as a prosecutor with the Travis County Attorney's Office-Criminal Division. After almost 10 years of being a prosecutor, he was appointed as a Judge to the Municipal Court of the City of Austin in 2014. He is the first Indian-American judge in Travis County history. Judge Thomas has been active in a variety of local civic and political organizations in the Austin-area for several years, and is excited to join the board of Ballet Austin, and continue his commitment to the Austin community.
Cathy Thompson, Motion Computing, Board Service - 12 years
As CEO, Catherine Thompson is responsible for guiding Motion's direction and day to day activities. Working closely with Motion's Chairman, executive team and Board of Directors, she helps set Motion's strategic direction and oversees company activities focused on growth, innovation and industry leadership. Prior to her position as CEO, Catherine was Motion's Chief Operating Officer (COO) and was responsible for the strategic and operational leadership of Motion's finance, operations and service and support organizations. Prior to joining Motion, Ms. Thompson served as Vice President of Finance for Dell's Global Marketing organization, where she was responsible for the controller functions for those Chief Marketing offices. After beginning her career with Dell in 1993 as Vice President, Internal Audit, she also held roles as Vice President and Corporate Controller, Vice President of Business Operations in the Americas, Vice President of Customer Support within the Relationship Group, Vice President of Global Customer Programs and Vice President of Finance supporting the sales segments in the Americas and Commercial Business Group. Before joining Dell, Ms. Thompson was a partner at the accounting firm of Arthur Andersen & Company where she was director of the Dallas/Ft. Worth telecommunications and utilities audit and financial consulting practices. Ms. Thompson is a Certified Public Accountant and received a bachelor's degree in accounting from the University of Texas in 1974, where she currently is a member of the Advisory Board for the Evening MBA program. She is also on the Boards of Ballet Austin and the Capital Area Food Bank.
Jeffrey Trigger, La Corsha Hospitality Group, Board Service - 16 years
Jeff Trigger is the founder of La Corsha Hospitality Group, a hotel management and consulting company. La Corsha Hospitality was recently selected to oversee the restoration and repositioning of two historic Texas hotels, the St. Anthony Hotel in downtown San Antonio and the historic Stoneleigh Hotel in uptown Dallas. The company will also oversee the construction and manage the planned Seaholm Plaza Hotel in downtown Austin. Jeff has previously overseen the transformation of The Driskill Hotel in downtown Austin, as well as The Mansion on Turtle Creek and The Adolphus Hotel in Dallas. Jeff is also on the boards of the Downtown Austin Alliance, the Austin Public Library Foundation, Communities in Schools, and Housing Works Austin.
Council Member Ellen Troxclair, Board Service - 1 year
Ellen Troxclair is an accomplished businesswoman and an active member of our community. Elected to public office in 2014, she is the youngest woman to ever serve on the Austin City Council. In addition to her role at City Hall, she manages a successful residential real estate business and is a founding partner of Luxe Property Group.
After graduating with a degree in business from the University of Texas, she began a decade long career in public policy. In her capacity at the State Capitol she worked with constituents, local municipalities, state agencies, and interest groups in researching and developing effective policy on a vast array of issues. She played an integral role in crafting statewide legislation on topics such as improving our education system, assisting veterans, providing reliable water infrastructure, ensuring election integrity, and truth in budgeting and taxation. This experience gave her an appreciation for serving others and a passion for effecting positive change at City Hall.
Currently, she is honored to serve as the Chair of the City Council's Economic Opportunity Committee and as the Vice Chair of the Audit and Finance Committee. She also represents the City on the Regional Affordability Committee, the Capital Area Council of Governments, and the Joint Committee on Education.
Ellen and her husband live in Southwest Austin with their two dogs. As a member of the committee for the St. David's Foundation Neal Kocurek Scholarship Fund, she dedicates her time to raising scholarship money for Central Texas students wishing to pursue health related careers. She is also a long-time volunteer for Meals on Wheels, a Steward of the Wild with the Texas Parks & Wildlife Foundation, and a member of the Ballet Austin Guild. She is passionate about helping a new generation become involved and invested in their communities.
Ellen is honored to serve as the first City Council Member representing District 8, and is a true advocate for Southwest Austin, dedicated to protecting our quality of life while making it affordable to live in the city that we love
David Webber, AIA Webber+Studio, Board Service - 3 years
David Webber, AIA, is a native Austinite, he took a Bachelor of Architecture degree with Highest Honors from the University of Texas at Austin in 1992 and founded Webber + Studio, Architects in 1997.
David has established himself as a prolific presence on Austin's architectural landscape, and the Studio has built a diverse portfolio of residential, retail, personal services and public projects.
His award winning designs have been featured internationally through print, web, and broadcast media.
A member of the American Institute of Architects, he is active in the Texas Society of Architects, and sits on the Board of Directors of The Frameworks Community Development Corporation.
David resides in Austin with his husband, and their Border Collie.
Tom Welch, EZCORP, Inc.,
Board Service - 6 years
Tom Welch, Senior Vice President, General Counsel, Secretary, EZCORP, Inc., Board Service - 2 years Tom joined EZCORP in April 2009 and has responsibility for the legal, compliance, government relations, loss prevention and risk management functions. Prior to joining EZCORP, Tom was Vice President - Legal and General Corporate Counsel for Dell Inc., where he had primary responsibility for legal support of Dell's corporate securities, corporate finance, mergers and acquisitions, financial services, executive compensation and benefits, facilities, corporate governance and general corporate matters. Prior to joining Dell in May 1995, Tom was Vice President - Corporate Development of Parker & Parsley Petroleum Company (predecessor to Pioneer Natural Resources), Midland, Texas, where he was primarily responsible for merger and acquisition, corporate securities and corporate finance matters. Before joining Parker & Parsley in July 1992, Tom was a shareholder with the law firm of Johnson & Gibbs, P.C., Dallas, Texas, having joined the firm upon graduation from law school in 1980. Tom received a B.S. degree in Management from Purdue University in 1977 and a J.D. from The University of Texas at Austin in 1980. He is a casual golfer, a slow reader, a frustrated pianist and an accomplished putterer. Tom has been active in past United Way annual campaigns (serving as chair of the Professional Division for two years) and had the pleasure of doing meaningful volunteer work for Caritas during his career break (April 2008 to April 2009). Tom and his wife, Sally, have lived in Austin for 15 years. They have two daughters, Lucy (age 16, a sophomore at Westlake High School), and Lilly (age 11, a sixth-grader at Hill Country Middle School). Both girls are avid dancers - Lucy is a member of the Westlake Hyline Dance Team and favors jazz and ballet; while Lilly is a member of the Synergy Dance Company and favors hip-hop. Variety IS the spice of life! Sally is a stay-at-home mom who is rarely at home, being quite active in the girls' school and dance activities. She serves on the Board of Directors of the Eanes Education Foundation and, with both girls, is a member and active participant in the National Charity League.
Jason Wills, American Campus Communities, Board Service - 3 years
Jason Wills is the senior vice president of development for American Campus Communities, the largest developer, owner and manager of high-quality student housing communities in the United States (NYSE: ACC).
Wills has a diversified background in the functional areas of the student housing industry ranging from residence life, management operations, marketing, leasing, development and finance. He began his career in student housing in 1993 as a Resident Assistant at the University of Texas at Arlington. He continued his career in student housing operations when he joined American Campus Communities in February 1997. After serving in increasing operational capacities with ACC, in 1999 he moved into the company's on-campus development division. In 2003, Wills was promoted to the position of senior vice president of development and selected to lead American Campus Communities highly successful on-campus development business segment, which has developed more than $ billion in on-campus student housing.
Wills also played a key role as a member of the company's senior management team when ACC led the student housing industry to a new plateau to become the first student housing company to go public. He is a frequent speaker on trends in student housing at industry conferences and served as a trustee on the ACUHO-I Foundation. In 2005 Wills was one of the founding members of the 21st Century Project, an ACUHO-I think tank seeking innovation in student housing. He continues to participate on the 21 Century Project's steering committee.
American Campus Communities, Inc. is the largest owner and manager of high-quality student housing communities in the United States. The company is a fully integrated, self-managed and self-administered equity real estate investment trust (REIT) with expertise in the design, finance, development, construction management, and operational management of student housing properties. American Campus Communities owns 160 student housing properties containing approximately 98,800 beds. Including its owned and third-party managed properties, ACC's total managed portfolio consists of 191 properties with approximately 122,800 beds.
Scott Yarborough, Triple Tap Ventures - 8 years
Scott Yarborough is Director of Business Development for Aquasana, a leading manufacturer of consumer water filtration products and a member of the Inc. 500. Prior to Aquasana, Scott held key roles at Triple Tap Ventures (a franchisee of the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema) and the Global Consumer Group at Dell Inc. Scott received his MBA from the University of North Carolina and a BA in Economics from Davidson College. Scott resides in downtown Austin and loves to spend time running on the Hike & Bike Trail.