Ashton Cumberbatch, Jr. (Chair) is currently Vice President, Advocacy and Community Relations, with Seton Healthcare Network where he is responsible for developing and implementing strategies to build, maintain and leverage effective internal and external constituency relationships. He is a board member of the Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce, KLRU, Central Texas Regional Visioning project. He has served as a co-chair of the 5-year plan curriculum committee for Austin Independent School District. Ashton is a speaker and author of several articles on employment law and employee relations. Ashton holds a B.A in economics from Brown University and a J.D. from the University of Texas School of Law.
Gene B. McMenamin (Treasurer), General Manager Omni Downtown, is responsible for all operational, sales and financial functions for the hotel as well as associate and guest satisfaction. He has spent the past 29 years with Omni Hotels. He has held various hotel management positions including; Director of Catering, Director of Restaurants, Director of Food and Beverage and Director of Operations. Prior to beginning his hotel career, he managed free standing restaurants.
Roger Davis (Secretary) is an accountant for 3M and is currently the President of the National Association of Black Accountants and a board member for the Black Professional Alliance. He is a graduate of Florida A & M University and is actively involved in the Greater Austin community.
Robiaun Charles is the assistant vice president for development and external relations for the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement (DDCE) at the University of Texas at Austin. In this role, she provides strategic direction and leadership for the development, communications, special events, and community relations operations of the division. Before joining UT Austin, Charles served as the special assistant to the president and director of diversity initiatives at the University of Evansville where she advised the president and senior administration on a range of diversity issues. A native of Atlanta, Georgia, Charles is currently working on her doctorate in higher education leadership and policy at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee.
Dr. Roderick Smothers is Huston-Tillotson University’s Vice President for Institutional Advancement and is responsible for guiding the University’s fundraising efforts in addition to directing the programs and initiatives within the offices of alumni affairs, communications/marketing, grants/sponsored programs, and development/major gifts. Smothers’ extensive experience in the higher education includes positions in academic affairs and student affairs, as well as advancement and development. Through his work with non-profit organizations, federal agencies and foundations, he has secured more than ten million dollars in corporate and private funding and he has written and/or influenced grants totaling 50 million dollars.
Patricia Hayes is the Principal/Owner of PVH Consulting Group, LLC,. Ms. Hayes provides expertise and consulting services in public policy, executive leadership strategy, legislative affairs and governmental relations, with the knowledge and experience necessary to generate value for organizational needs. Previously she has served as Vice Chancellor for Governmental Relations and Educational Policy at Texas State University System ; Associate Commissioner, Educator Quality and P-16 Initiatives at Texas Education Agency; and Governmental Relations Officer/ Legal Counsel at Independent Colleges and Universities of Texas.
Gary Linder is President & CEO, PeopleFund, is responsible for the overall mission of PeopleFund and its employees. He came to PeopleFund from ACCION Texas where he was Chief Operating Officer. While there, he quadrupled the outstanding loan portfolio to over $30 million – 86% to minority-owned businesses, over half women-owned. His outreach to public and private partners financed this growth and the development of new products, including SBA 504 loans. Previously, Gary headed a major division of a private company and held other, senior executive positions responsible for billions in capital investment and tens of thousands of personnel.
Joyce McDonald is the Executive Director and co-founder of Frameworks Community Development Corporation, Inc, a 501(C)3 non-profit community development corporation located on the eastside of Austin, TX. Out of her desire and passion to help others, Frameworks Community Development Corporation was created to expand opportunities for low-to-moderate income families in Central Texas to obtain affordable housing constructing, rehabilitating, preserving and providing decent, safe, and sanitary housing; to combat the deterioration of the community and contribute to its physical and economic improvement; and to provide home purchasing education and counseling, foreclosure prevention financial literacy and credit education.
Michael McLennan is President & CEO, KeepitDigital. The company has introduced to the world an exclusive new concept and line of products called the Keedjit™. Keep it Digital’s unique products and services are provided to various businesses, universities, school districts and individuals. Michael began with Applied Materials as an Engineering Technologist and served in varied positions and areas of management over his 18 year career with the company.
Steve Wanta is the Executive Program Director of Whole Foods Market’s foundation, the Whole Planet Foundation. In his role he oversees the Foundation’s global portfolio of microfinance projects in nearly 50 countries. Since beginning in 2006, Steve has been instrumental in defining the programmatic strategy and developing a team to execute the ambitious expansion plans of the Foundation. He is passionate about microfinance and other business solutions that are improving the lives of the poor.