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Sarah Butler, Chair | Patron of the Arts

Board Service Since 1997

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 10 years.

Sly Majid, President | Volkswagen ADMT

Board Service Since 2019

Sly Majid is a Government Affairs and Community Relations manager at Volkswagen ADMT, an autonomous vehicle company and subsidiary of Volkswagen Group of America. In his role, Sly engages with state and local leaders across the country to support the deployment of autonomous vehicles to make getting around cities safe, easy, and enjoyable for all. Previously, Sly served as the City of Austin’s Chief Service Officer, where he focused on developing and delivering strategic initiatives that address the priorities of Mayor Steve Adler and the City of Austin. During his time in the Mayor’s office, Sly was vital in helping Austin secure the HUD designation for ending veteran homelessness in Austin, developing the Civic I/O program at the South by Southwest Conference & Festival for mayors across the country, and serving as the Mayor’s special advisor on the development of the Innovation Zone. Sly attended the University of Texas at Austin, earned a VA in government, and lives in the Mueller neighborhood with his wife Rachel, daughter Noa, and their dog Peanut.

Edie Rogat, Immediate Past-President | Patron of the Arts

Board Service Since 2012

Edie and her family moved to Austin in 2009. In addition to being a Ballet Austin board member, she is a trustee for the Ballet Austin Foundation. She is a board member of the Anti-Defamation League Austin and Education Committee co-chair. She previously served as Parents’ Association President and trustee of St. Andrew’s Episcopal School in Austin and St. Mark’s Episcopal School in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. Her work experience includes planning public programs for the Smithsonian Institution and management consulting for Ernst & Young. 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.

Tom Welch, Treasurer | Patron of the Arts

Board Service Since 2010

Tom is an independent legal advisor and business consultant, having retired from his position as Chief Legal Officer of EZCORP, Inc. in January 2023, a position he held since April 2009. During that time, Tom had responsibility for the legal, compliance and government relations functions and, from time to time assumed responsibility for loss prevention, risk management and information security. 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. 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 almost 30 years and have two daughters.

Joaquin Delgado, Secretary | Patron of the Arts

Board Service Since 2010

Joaquin Delgado holds a PhD in Polymer Science and Engineering from Lehigh University and worked at 3M from 1987 until his retirement in July 2019. He served as Executive Vice President since July 2009, having responsibility for three Business Groups consecutively: Electro-Communications Business Group, Health Care Business Group and Consumer Business Group.

Dr. Delgado has been on the Board of Directors of Stepan Company from 2011 to present. He also serves as a member of the Board of Trustees of Goldman Sachs Trust and Goldman Sachs Variable Insurance Trust and he also serves in the Board of Directors of Hexion Holdings Corporation.  He was a member of the Board of Directors of MacPhail Center for Music, a non-profit organization based in Minnesota, from 2013 to 2020 and was in the Executive Board.  Joaquin is not new to Ballet Austin as he served in the Board of Directors of Ballet Austin and its Executive Committee from 2010 to the end of 2012 and he is delighted to be once again part of Ballet Austin and the Austin community.

Alex Ladage, Long Center Liaison | Rockefeller Capital Management

Board Service Since 2004

Alex is a Managing Director of Investments for Rockefeller Capital Management 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 22 years.


Daniel Byrne, Management Committee | Fritz Byrne, PLLC

Board Service Since 1990

Dan Byrne is a 40-year plus 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 is also the Chief Justice of the Third Court of Appeals.

Nora Linares-Moeller, Management Committee | HousingWorks

Board Service Since 1993

Nora is the Executive Director of HousingWorks Austin, an affordable housing research and advocacy organization. Previously, as a consultant, she served clients in the areas of management efficiencies, project implementation and fundraising for nonprofits and political candidates. She spent 12 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 as President of the board of directors of the Sally M. Kingsbury Knock Out Sarcoma Foundation Inc. and President of the national board of directors of  La Union del Pueblo Entero (LUPE) organization (founded by Cesar Chavez) in 2006. She is also a member of the board of directors of Transit Forward and Texas Rural Communities.   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, Texas, with her husband Michael Moeller.

Everett Plante, Management Committee | NBG Home

Board Service Since 2016

Everett Plante is the Chief Technology Officer for NBG Home, an affordable home décor company headquartered in Austin. Prior to NBG Home, Everett was the Chief Information Officer at Silicon Labs, a position he held for over 12 years. Everett has been in the information technology field for more than 30 years working in various executive roles for Sysco Corporation, Compaq Computer, Manugistics Software, and Harcourt Assessment. He earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Finance from Loras College in Dubuque, Iowa.

Everett is passionate about giving back to the Austin community and makes volunteering a priority both personally and professionally. He was a member of the Board of Directors for Austin Habitat for Humanity for seven years, serving as Chairman in 2014 and 2015. He currently serves on the Board of Directors for the American Heart Association in Austin. He also served as a board member of the Austin Technology Council and chair of the Ballet Austin Technology Transformation committee.

Mireya Zapata, Management Committee | Lumbermen’s Association of Texas

Board Service Since 2022

Mireya Zapata applies her diverse leadership experiences in government, marketing, communications, and nonprofits as Executive Vice President of the Lumbermen’s Association of Texas.

She has deep communications and public affairs expertise ranging from media relations to speech writing to public policy development and advocacy. Mireya led legislative offices for a high-profile member of the Texas House of Representatives where she spent almost a decade of her professional career. During her time with a national health care non-profit, she developed relationships with business, civic and elected leaders in the states of Arkansas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, New Mexico and Texas to drive results for Americans living with chronic illness. Over her career she has led teams to reach the organization’s desired outcome via fundraisers, press events, policy roundtables and grassroots coalitions.

At LAT, Mireya provides leadership and direction for the association where she is focused on further engaging LAT’s members and on recruiting others to join her in encouraging, protecting and growing the Texas lumber and building materials industry, representing a large group of Texas-based, family- owned companies. A seasoned government affairs professional, Mireya represented LAT during the most recent Texas legislative session in passing tort reform for trucking litigation and pandemic liability legislation. She is working to achieve greater impact by identifying emerging trends, engaging in critical policy issues, and advancing LAT’s mission through advocacy. Mireya also leads her members’ political engagement via LUMPAC and directing its endorsements and investments.

Mireya lives in Austin with her two children, Penelope and Joaquin. As a family, they enjoy evening walks with their dog Macie, reading, movie night, singing along to their favorite Broadway musicals and travel. Mireya volunteers her time on the Executive Committee for the Lone Star Stroke Research Consortium. She was recognized with the Chairman’s Award by the National Lumber and Building Material Dealers Association in 2022 and recognized as a Texas Lobby Rising Star by Capitol Inside in its biannual 2019 Texas Lobby Power Rankings.


Sofia Avila | Mandarin Design Lab

Board Service Since 2021

Sofia is the Co-Founder and Executive Director of Mandarin Design Lab, a plantscape design and holiday décor firm for commercial properties. Along with her sister Victoria, they started their family owned and operated business as a floral design and event décor company. Their work has received accolades since the early days of their company. In 2008 they were named among Austin Woman Magazine’s “Top 10 Young Women to Watch Under 30”. In 2012 they were winners of the Fedex + Me Small Business Competition; in 2013, Sofia & Victoria were presented with the Red Cross’ Rising Luminary Award. In 2019 they received the Austin Young Distinguished Leaders Award from the Young Hispanic Professional Association of Austin. Always passionate about causes that support the arts, Sofia served as a member of the Board of Directors of Mexic-Arte Museum from 2010-2016. Through her company, she has supported organizations such as the Blanton Museum of Art, Houston Grand Opera, Ballet Austin, Ballet Austin Guild, ZACH Theater, LBJ Library Foundation, Texas Cultural Trust, Texas Book Festival, Texas Tech University College of Architecture, among many others. Sofia graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with degrees in Plan II Honors and Chinese language and culture.

Grae Baker | Austin Montessori School

Board Service Since 2023

Grae Baker is the Head of School at Austin Montessori School, a position he has held since moving to Austin with his wife Nicole in 2014. Grae has served in Montessori school leadership since 2009 and currently sits on the boards of the Houston Montessori Institute, the Association Montessori International Teachers of Texas, and is an ex-officio board member at Austin Montessori School. Grae holds a B.A. in Political Science from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a Master of Education from Loyola College in Maryland.

Grae, Nicole, and their daughter, Kamryn, enjoy all things music, arts, and the outdoors. Grae attends nearly all Ballet Austin performances with Kamryn, who adores ballet and attends the BA Academy. Grae is also a lifelong musician who currently plays bass for the Austin rock band Mother Neff.

Joanne Bal | Vital Farms

Board Service Since 2023

Joanne is the General Counsel, Corporate Secretary, and Head of Impact at Vital Farms, Inc., an Austin-based, ethical food company whose mission is to improve the lives of people, animals, and the planet through food.  Joanne brings over 25 years of experience providing legal counsel to companies across a range of industries.  She previously served as a Vice President and Chief Counsel at Levi Strauss & Co., the iconic jeanswear company, and a Managing Director at Applied Materials, a global provider of semiconductor equipment and services.  Joanne received a B.A. from the University of California, Berkeley and J.D. from the University of Chicago Law School.  Joanne lives in Austin and enjoys spending her free time traveling and exploring Austin with her husband, Gnana, and their two labradoodles.  Joanne and Gnana have three children.

Becky Beaver | Law Offices of Becky Beaver

Board Service Since 2002

Becky Beaver is widely regarded as one of Texas’ preeminent family law attorneys. A graduate of The University of Texas at Austin, Becky has practiced law for over 46 years, and handles all aspects of matrimonial and marital property litigation, with a focus on complex property issues. Her reputation as one of the best lawyers in the state is highlighted by Texas Monthly’s recognition of Becky as a “Super Lawyer” for the last 15 years. Becky has been an active force in developing and nurturing Austin’s culture, having served on the board of directors of the Thinkery, Austin Women’s Center, Planned Parenthood, Peoples Community Clinic Foundation, CASA of Central Texas,  Ann Richards School Foundation,  Austin Bar Association, Travis County Family Lawyers and Family Law Advocates, Mexic-Arte Museum, State Bar Pattern Jury Charge Committee, Texas Board of  Legal Specialization, and the University United Methodist Church Foundation.  Becky is also an active supporter of UT Women’s Athletics, UT School of Law, KUT, Black Fret and many visual arts and musician support organizations, both in Austin and at her other home in Bentonville, Arkansas.  When not practicing law or working in the community, Becky plays basketball and pickleball, collects art, travels, and listens to live music.  Becky has received the Profile in Power Award from the Austin Business Journal, the W. Neal Kocurek Award for Health Care Advocacy from the People’s Community Clinic and the Patron de Artes Award by Mexic-Arte Museum, and she has been named Best Attorney in Austin by the Austin Chronicle, Art Patron of the Year by the Austin Visual Arts Organization, Fellow of the American Bar Foundation,  and  Woman of Distinction by the Girl Scouts of Central Texas. She has also chaired events for the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, the Texas Democracy Foundation,  KLRU, and the Austin Community Foundation, and she serves on various committees and belongs to active supporter groups for many other organizations.

Nikki Bryant | Patron of the Arts

Board Service Since 2005

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 Since 2015

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 six 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. Andy and his wife, Elizabeth, have two children.

Greg Casas | Greenberg Traurig LLP

Board Service Since 2012

Greg Casas 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 Since 2014

Socar is chief executive officer of Elegant Estates by Auction LLC, a local boutique real estate firm. She is the immediate past president of the Ballet Austin Guild and has been involved in dance since she was a young girl. Both her daughters Guiny and Bella trained with the Ballet Austin Academy for many years and danced in The Nutcracker in various roles. She spends most of her spare time volunteering at Ballet Austin, Foundation Communities, and the Austin Board of Realtors. As a Past Chairman of the Austin Board of Realtors, she has a keen awareness of the need for dancers and other artists to be able to live where they work. She has a passion of the arts and is an advocate for affordable housing!

Ryan Coaxum | Guaranty Bank & Trust

Board Service Since 2019

Ryan Coaxum, an Austin native, is known for his striking energy and enthusiasm for life that drives him to give back to his community in various capacities. With over a decade of banking experience, he is part of the original team that brought Guaranty Bank & Trust to Central Texas. There, he works with a diverse group of clients across a broad range of industries focusing on their loan, deposit, and private banking needs. He serves on the boards of directors of a number of non-profit organizations including Ballet Austin, I Live Here I Give Here and The Trail Foundation. Ryan focuses on issues in arts education, financial literacy, economic development and expanding opportunities for underserved communities. Ryan has been recognized for his tireless work by both the banking industry and his peers. His career has been marked by recognition in Independent Bankers Magazine’s 40 Under 40 and Austin Black Business Journal’s Readers’ Choice Award. He is a graduate of Huston-Tillotson University, a historically black college and university in Austin, receiving his bachelor’s degree, magna cum laude, in business administration.

Jeff Coddington | JLL Capital Markets

Board Service Since 2008

Jeff Coddington is Managing Director of Capital Markets at Jones Lang LaSalle (NYSE: JLL), a global professional services and investment management firm which specializes in real estate. At JLL, he strategizes and executes on the complex commercial real estate requirements of investors, companies, public entities and non-profit organizations. Clients include Tishman Speyer, Applied Materials, Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority, Starwood Capital Group and numerous others.  Jeff double-majored in Finance and Real Estate at the University of Texas at Austin.  Jeff currently serves on the Advisory Board of the Real Estate Center at the McCombs School of Business at the University of Texas at Austin and the Advisory Board and Young Leaders Mentorship Forum of the Urban Land Institute. In addition, he is active with the Real Estate Council of Austin and the Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce, most recently serving on the Steering Committee for Opportunity Austin 5.0, a public-private business expansion and educational attainment initiative.

Ada I. Corral | Jobe Corral Architects

Board Service Since 2016

Ada I. Corral, AIA, is a partner at Jobe Corral Architects, a woman-owned architecture firm with an emphasis in residential design. Ada has practiced in Austin since receiving her architecture degree from The University of Texas. In addition to practicing architecture, Ada has taught at Austin Community College, and is active in several community organizations such as Austin Mothers of Multiples, Maplewood Elementary, and Leadership Austin, where she recently completed the Emerge program. Ada is originally from Puerto Rico, and now lives in Austin with her husband and three children.

Priscilla Guajardo Cortez | Thinkery

Board Service Since 2010

Priscilla G. Cortez is the Chief Advancement Officer at Thinkery. In this role, Priscilla leads the organization’s fund and brand development and community relationship building. Most recently, Previously, Priscilla served as Chief Community Impact Officer with Austin PBS where she oversaw the station’s community engagement efforts across Central Texas, managed board relations, and served as a liaison for neighbors, corporate and private foundations, and civic organizations interested in partnering with Austin PBS.

Priscilla earned a bachelor’s degree in political science 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 School of Law. Priscilla is a founding member of FuturoFund Austin and a graduate of Leadership Austin’s Emerge and Essential. Priscilla and her husband, John-Michael V. Cortez, live in Mueller with their daughter, Isabella, and their dog, Gigi.

Kristen Day | Patron of the Arts

Board Service Since 2014

Kristen has over 20 years of experience working in the human resources field. Throughout her career, she has worked with a wide range of companies and organizations, helping them build effective culture and engagement programs.She received her degree from the University of Texas and received her SPHR certification in 2009. Kristen is a member of Leadership Austin’s Essential Class of 2016. She is also an active community volunteer with Young Men’s Service League and Austin High School. Kristen is married to her high school sweetheart, Aaron, and together they have 2 sons.

Zahie El Kouri | Joyful Life Design Coaching & Consulting

Board Service Since 2021

Zahie El Kouri helps creatives, professionals, and entrepreneurs design lives that combine artistic callings with financial security and intellectual fulfillment. She is writing a novel about a Middle Eastern family that starts passing as American after 9/11. After earning an undergraduate degree from Williams College and a J.D. from Cornell Law School, Zahie practiced law for several years before enrolling at The New School and earning an M.F.A. in fiction writing. She then taught expository, creative, academic, and persuasive writing in universities and law schools while publishing short fiction and essays and parenting small children. She moved to Austin, Texas in 2012 for the quality and diversity of the vibrant writing and arts communities. She is passionate about supporting artists and creating equity and diversity in our beautiful and soulful city.

Cliff Ernst | McGinnis Lochridge

Board Service Since 1988

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, Okla., and received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Oklahoma State University with his law degree coming from The University of Texas. Cliff and his wife, Martha, have one son.

Cynthia Fresch | U.S. Bank

Board Service Since 1995

Cynthia Fresch is a native Austinite. She received a Bachelor of Arts in Finance from the University of Texas – Austin and worked as a Senior Vice President at Bank of America for 25 years. Cynthia is currently an Assistant Vice President/Relationship Manager in the Corporate Payment Systems, Prepaid Debit Products Division with U.S. Bank (6 years). This includes overseeing the prepaid debit cards for Unemployment, Child Support, Workers Compensation, Payroll, etc. for states including Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas, Ohio, North Carolina and Iowa. Cynthia also worked 10 years for First American/CoreLogic.
Cynthia has been involved with numerous Ballet Austin committees and groups during her time as a board member, including CORE, Ballet Noir, the Artistic Director Search Committee, and the Management Committee. Past board and advisory associations include the Texas Bankers Association, Texas Bar Foundation, Junior League of Austin and the Girl Scouts of Central Texas.

Dr. Montse Fuentes | President, St. Edward’s University

Board Service Since 2021

Montserrat (Montse) Fuentes is the 24th President of St. Edward’s University in Austin, Texas. In this role, she serves as the first Hispanic and second female president. Prior to this appointment, she joined the University of Iowa (UI) as executive vice president and provost in June 2019 and professor of Statistics and Actuarial Science in the College of the Liberal Arts and Sciences and professor of Biostatistics in the College of Public Health. She came to the UI from Virginia Commonwealth University, where she served as dean of the College of Humanities and Sciences, as well as professor of Statistics, and professor of Biostatistics in the School of Medicine. Before joining Virginia Commonwealth University in 2016, Fuentes was head of the Department of Statistics and James M. Goodnight Distinguished Professor of Statistics at North Carolina State University (NC State). Prior to that, she served as director of the Network on Statistical Methods in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences. A National Science Foundation (NSF)- funded center to promote multi-institutional and interdisciplinary research training at the interface of statistics and atmospheric and oceanic sciences, with 200 members and 21 affiliated institutions. In her leadership roles she has promoted a transformative educational experience, focusing on enhancing student success and promoting experiential learning with an unwavering commitment to diversity, inclusion and inclusive excellence, establishing innovative programs and partnerships while seeking fiscal sustainability and building a culture of appreciation and success. Fuentes has authored more than 100 scientific publications and served as principal or co-principal investigator on more than 20 research grants, with total funding of more than $28 million. Since 2019, she has been a principal investigator of an NSF ADVANCE award of $3M to promote diversity, equity and inclusion. In 2008, Fuentes was named an American Statistical Association Fellow for outstanding contributions to mentoring and advancement of statistical methods. In 2012, she received the United States Environmental Protection Agency’s Scientific and Technological Achievement Award for the development of an air quality model evaluation framework that fosters scientific credibility for model applications. In 2013, she received the NC State Equity of Women award, and was also awarded the NC State D.D. Mason Award in recognition of Fuentes’s outstanding leadership in 2016. In 2017, she was awarded the Medal of Distinguished Achievement from the American Statistical Association, Environmental Statistics Section, for major statistical methodology contributions, leadership, and mentoring roles. She is a first-generation college student and received a dual bachelor’s degree in mathematics and music (piano performance) from the University of Valladolid in Spain and a Ph.D. in statistics from the University of Chicago.

Renée Gallagher | Concord Advisory Group

Board Service Since 2014

Renée Gallagher is a graduate of the University of Texas. Her career in the institutional investment industry began over 20 years ago with an investment advisory firm in Houston. Today she is Director of Client Relations at investment consulting firm Concord Advisory Group, located in Princeton, NJ.
Renée has served on Ballet Austin’s board for 10 seasons. She has served in many capacities – as a Ballet Austin Advocate, on the Management Committee, the Finance Committee and as Treasurer in the 22-23 Season. Her expertise is with finance, and investments.
Renée’s love of dance began at a very young age, and today she passionately serves the dance community. She is also an advocate for financial literacy and volunteers for financial wellness programs. She and her husband enjoy the arts together, and they never miss a Ballet Austin performance.

Jennifer Garcia, PE | Harren Interests

Board Service Since 2014

Jennifer Garcia has 22 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. Jennifer 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. She previously was a partner with KBGE and sold the company in 2018.

Wade Giles | Douglas Elliman

Board Service Since 2015

Native Texan, Wade Giles is a Team Leader with Douglas Elliman Real Estate, serving the Central Texas area. He earned his degree in Finance with a concentration in Real Estate from Louisiana State University 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.

Richard Groos | King & Spalding LLP

Board Service Since 2015

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 Since 1999

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 more than 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.

Serena Hicks | CEO of

Board Service Since 2022

Serena Hicks is a Black biracial Money Mindset Mentor and unorthodox Business Coach. She is an economic freedom fighter. Many of her clients are entrepreneurs coming from historically marginalized communities. All are Love-led service oriented humans. Prior to certifying and working as an unorthodox Business Coach Serena began her career at MTV News in New York City. She holds a degree in PR from The University of Texas. She lives downtown with her two cats: Mookie and Kitty Bon Bon (both rescued from the not-so-great outdoors within a few months of each other).

E.D. Hill | Patron of the Arts

Board Service Since 2010

E.D. Hill is the CEO of the Lazy 8 Ranch Specialty Food Company, which specializes in kosher, organic and gluten free products. Previously, she co-hosted “In the Arena” on CNN, “Fox and Friends” on the Fox News Channel, and anchored the evening news in New York City, Boston, Pittsburgh, and Waco. Her work as a reporter earned her an Emmy and a Golden Quill. She has interviewed numerous world leaders, sports heroes and business leaders as well as written two books. E.D. is a graduate of Dripping Springs High School and attended S.M.U., Harvard, and the University of Texas. E.D. and her husband, Joe, have eight children and live in Driftwood where they raise exotic animals.

Chris Hosek | Texas Star Alliance

Board Service Since 2013

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 five years to the chair of the Railroad Commission of Texas, Elizabeth Ames Jones. 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. 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. 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 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.

Jon Ivester | Patron of the Arts

Board Service Since 2006

Jon Ivester is a retired high tech executive who lives in Georgetown, Texas. Jon and his wife, Jo, moved to Central Texas over 30 years ago and raised their 4 children in Austin. Jon’s career included 13 years with Applied Materials and 18 years with Silicon Labs, where he served as Senior Vice President of Worldwide Operations. Jon splits his time between Central Texas (where his activities include helping to provide daycare for his 3 local grandchildren), Colorado (where he skis in the winter and stays cool in the summer), South Padre Island, and travel to all parts of the US to support Jo’s speaking engagements as an LBGTQ activist. In the Austin area, Jon is an avid supporter of Dance and Theater, serving on the boards for The Ground Floor Theatre as well as Ballet Austin.

Janette Keating | Patron of the Arts

Board Service Since 2012

Janette Keating is an art advocate. She hails from Canada where she enjoyed a career as a French Immersion teacher. In the United States, her passion for dance, and visual art has become the focus of her energy. Involvement with art museums such as LACMA and The Contemporary Austin 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, including the Texas Society of Sculptors and The Contemporary Austin.

Winnie Law | DPR Construction

Board Service Since 2023

Winnie Law is DPR’s National Technical Architecture Practice Leader. She leads the development of DPR Self-Perform Work detail library standardization effort, and strategizes Design Quality Initiatives for Design Management Framework across the company. Prior to joining DPR, Winnie was South Central Region Technical Director at Gensler for 20 years and led large-scale commercial projects domestically and internationally. Her technical knowledge in Architecture has elevated DPR’s effort in collaboration with the design team and trade partners. She bridges the culture gap between design and construction teams during each phase of the project – from Pre-construction through close-out.

Winnie is a member of American Institute of Architects. She is a graduate of University of Houston, receiving her bachelor’s degree, Magna Cum Laude, in Gerald D Hines College of Architecture and Design. In her free time, Winnie enjoys traveling extensively. She has been to 25+ countries and 5 continents. Winnie is originally from Hong Kong, and she has been living in Texas over 30 years.

Ana-Barbara Llorente | Pendas International, PLLC

Board Service Since 2021

Ana-Barbara is the founder and managing partner of Pendas International, PLLC, a boutique CPA firm focused on international tax and finance services for corporates. Ana-Barbara is a global finance executive with more than 15 years of experience in management and public accounting in North American and European markets in multiple sectors. Prior to founding Pendas International, Ana-Barbara worked for Deloitte in Madrid, Spain, managing audits for large listed and private companies in the TMT sector. Ana-Barbara has a BA in Business and a Master in Accounting and Auditing from the University of Oviedo in Spain and she holds a CPA license and other international professional certifications. Ana-Barbara supports and has been involved with other local organizations, including the World Affairs Council of Austin, Foundation Communities and others. Ana-Barbara enjoys spending time with her husband and their three young kids.

Jennene Mashburn | Patron of the Arts

Board Service Since 2001

Jennene Mashburn has been an active Ballet Austin Guild member for 14 years, serving as president in 2000/01. 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 Mashburn and has two married daughters and three grandchildren.

Judy Matula | Patron of the Arts

Board Service Since 2019

Judy is a long-time supporter of various animal and arts-related organizations in the Austin area.  She currently serves on the boards of Austin Chamber Music Center, where she was repeat Gala Chair, and Texas Pets Alive!  As a volunteer at her daughter’s former school she served in many capacities, such as Annual Fund Parent Chair for two years and Fine Arts Booster Club Co-Chair. For almost a decade she has supported Austin Pets Alive! as a former founding board member and a continuing supporter.  In previous lives she spent several years as an Account Manager at GSD&M and went on to teach psychology as an adjunct instructor at Austin Community College.  She received a BS in Advertising and an MA in Educational Psychology from The University of Texas at Austin.  Judy and her husband Michael have a daughter Grayson, currently in college.  The family loves to travel, host chamber music concerts, and spend time at home with their rescue cats who run the household.

Nikelle Meade | Husch Blackwell

Board Service Since 2010

Nikelle is an attorney and Partner with Husch Blackwell LLP. Her practice involves representation of clients in real estate, development, and construction transactions and in a variety of matters before local and state agencies. Her practice involves not only commercial real estate, development, and construction but also procurement, transportation, business negotiations and transactions, economic development incentives, zoning, platting and land use. Nikelle’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, the Urban Land Institute, the Downtown Austin Alliance, the Austin Chamber, and the Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority. Nikelle 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.

Virginia Miracle | Showpad

Board Service Since 2019

Virginia Miracle is Chief Customer Officer of Showpad, a Sales Enablement software company co-headquartered in Chicago and Ghent, Belgium.

Virginia has worked in digital since dinosaurs roamed the internet. Before joining Showpad in fall 2022, Virginia spent 2 years as CCO of Austin-based Upland Software and 8 years at Khoros (formerly Spredfast) where she developed their customer success teams and practices through hyper-growth culminating in acquisition by Vista Equity Partners in 2018. Prior to Spredfast, she led the North American social media consulting practice at Ogilvy & Mather. She developed a passion for word of mouth marketing with a stint at Brains on Fire and served on the board of the Word of Mouth Marketing Association for 6 years after holding marketing roles at Trilogy Software and Dell.

Virginia is a former board member of Generation SERVE and proud member of Leadership Austin’s Essential Class of 2019. She spends her off hours with her 1 husband, 2 kids and 2 tiny dogs. She adores 80s movies & music and loves dancing at Ballet Austin. She holds a BA in English from Princeton University.

Emily Moreland | Moreland Properties

Board Service Since 1989

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 Long Center. Additionally, Emily is a past president and former chair the board for Ballet Austin. 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.

Meeta Morrison | MMD Architecture

Board Service Since 2019

Meeta is the owner and principal architect at MMD Architecture. She is interested in making buildings that address the needs of its inhabitants, while using the specific environmental characteristics of the site to design sustainable spaces. She was a studio artist for many years, producing large scale figurative oil paintings. Painting, gardening, cooking, art, music, and history continue to inform her design. A well-designed building is like a custom garment, providing fit, comfort and ease in all the right places. Meeta has worked on a variety of project types and sizes, but her current practice is focused mainly on residential design.

Meeta holds a graduate degree in Architecture from the University of Texas, Austin. Her undergraduate is in Art and Art history from Rice University.

Originally from India, she considers herself a Texan and has established deep roots in the Austin community and enjoys volunteering with various local nonprofits and her Alma Mater Rice University. In her spare time, she loves to putter in her garden, cook, paint and travel as much as possible.

Nidhi M. Nakra | Patron of the Arts

Board Service Since 2016

Nidhi M. Nakra has worked passionately for the past 15 years to advance health policies that reduce preventable disease. She has held leadership roles in both the private and public health sectors. Most recently, she was the Director of Education and Advocacy for a Texas-based nonprofit, The Immunization Partnership. Prior to this position, she served as a CDC Public Health Advisor for the Los Angeles County Department of Health Services. Nidhi also worked internationally as a technical officer for the World Health Organization’s Stop Transmission of Polio/Measles program in the South Pacific. Nidhi began her career as a consultant for healthcare delivery systems and non-profit organizations. She received her undergraduate degree from Washington University in St. Louis, her Master of Public Health degree from Emory University, and completed a Fellowship in Child Advocacy at the University of California-Los Angeles. Nidhi and her husband live in Austin, where they are raising their two children to follow a life of compassion and gratitude. In her free time, Nidhi enjoys reading, yoga, and the performing arts.

Elizabeth Newman | Filigree Theatre

Board Service Since 2023

Elizabeth V. Newman is the founder and Producing Artistic Director of The Filigree Theatre, an independent Austin-based theatre company committed to producing high-level, professional theatre by creating thoughtful, innovative work for the stage. Elizabeth is a theatre director and filmmaker who has directed and produced critically-acclaimed theatre and film projects in New York, Los Angeles, Canada and Austin. She has likewise written several award-winning screenplays. She graduated from Yale University with dual B.A. degrees in History of Art and Theater Studies and earned her M.F.A. degree in Film Production at Boston University. She has twice served as a panelist at The Austin Film Festival and is a member of DIRECTOR’S LAB: NORTH. She was the Founding Co-President of Women in Film and Television: Austin (WIFT-Austin). She is passionate about supporting the performing arts and arts education for children. She grew up studying modern dance (technique and choreography) at The Martha Graham School of Contemporary Dance in New York.  A native New Yorker, she has lived in Austin for the past ten years with her daughter.

Melissa Perez | Fidelity Investments

Board Service Since 2022

Melissa is a Software Engineer professional with 17+ years of experience in delivering technical solutions in application development in a scaled Agile environment. Melissa works for Fidelity Investments and has a track record in leading the project team towards a successful implementation. Melissa is originally from Mexico City, but grew up in Ottawa, Canada. Melissa danced ballet up in Canada for many years and tries to attend classes at Ballet Austin when able. Melissa has lived in Austin for five years with husband and two daughters (ages 13 and 10) who are now students at Ballet Austin’s Academy. Melissa loves going to Ballet Austin’s Performances with her family!

Charles Phillips | Deloitte

Board Service Since 2018

Charles is a managing director in Deloitte Human Capital’s Organization Talent Practice. With more than 18 years of consulting experience, Charles’ primary focus has been to provide strategic advisory services in the areas of: business transformations, software implementations, and mergers and acquisitions (due diligence through post merger Integration). He has deep expertise in the design and execution of global talent and change programs comprised of: communications, training, business readiness and adoption programs to solve all manner of leadership, culture, talent, future of work and organizational challenges across the finance, IT and HR functions.

His project experience has been assessment through implementation phases, individual contributor to program lead. Charles is currently the global management of change lead for a Fortune 10 media company, undergoing a global finance transformation.

Prior to joining Deloitte, Charles worked as a benefits consultant at Hewitt Associates, Towers Perrin and PricewaterhouseCoopers. Charlie holds a Bachelor of Arts with Honors from the University of the Arts, Philadelphia, Penn.

Elizabeth Powdrill | Hopper Mikeska PLLC

Board Service Since 2015

Elizabeth is a partner with the Austin law firm of Hopper Mikeska, PLLC, and focuses her practice on estate planning, estate and trust administration, and guardianship.  Elizabeth is Board Certified in Estate Planning and Probate law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization, and she serves as a Council Member of the Real Estate, Probate and Trust Law Section of the State Bar of Texas.  Elizabeth received her undergraduate degree from Boston University and her J.D. from the University of Texas School of Law.  Elizabeth is originally from the greater Boston area where she studied ballet at the Boston Ballet School.  Elizabeth resides in Austin with her husband, Brent, and their two young children.

Forrest Preece | Patron of the Arts

Board Service Since 1998

Forrest Preece is a fifth-generation Austin native who grew up seeing Austin’s ballet company perform on the cement stage at Zilker Hillside Theatre in the 1950s. He has been involved with Ballet Austin since 1993. After earning his degree in Plan II/English from the University of Texas at Austin, he worked in the advertising business for 39 years until he retired in 2005. The last 28 years of his career, he ran Good Right Arm Advertising Agency. Currently, he is the Master Scribe for the Knights of the Vine/Austin Chapter, and serves with his wife, Linda Ball, on the Directors Council of the Butler School of Music at The University of Texas. He and Linda have endowed annual “Young Authors Awards” for elementary/middle school/high school students in the Badgerdog creative writing program at the Austin Library Foundation. Forrest has been a board member of Visit Austin (formerly the Austin Convention & Visitors Bureau), the Austin Advertising Club, Badgerdog Literary Publishing, and the Texas Hill Country Wine & Food Festival. Along with Linda, he 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. During many summers, Linda and Forrest screened hundreds of films for the Austin Film Festival and they co-chaired that organization’s Film & Food annual fundraiser twice. Since 2001, he has written a personalities column called “Westside Stories,” for West Austin News. Forrest and Linda are now active dilettantes. They enjoy traveling and being part of the Austin social scene.

Deanna Rankin | Merrill Lynch Wealth Management

Board Service Since 2017

Deanna Rankin started her career at Merrill Lynch Wealth Management in 1998. As a registered senior client associate for The Heidmann/Jefferson Group, one of the largest private wealth management teams in Central Texas, she is the team lead for event planning, marketing, and client communications. Rankin is currently serving on the Advisory Council for Young Women’s Alliance of Austin as well as the Campus Advisory Council for Kiker Elementary School. Previously, Rankin served five years on the board of directors for Young Women’s Alliance as both President and Chair for the Austin Under 40 Awards Gala. As a Texas native, Deanna graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Texas A&M University in 1996.

Ryann Reaud | Privateer Capital

Board Service Since 2014

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.

Andrew Roth | Teacher Retirement System of Texas

Board Service Since 2023

Andrew is the Deputy Director for the Teacher Retirement System of Texas, one of the nation’s largest public pension funds. TRS provides retirement security for its nearly 2 million members along with health care benefits for some 750,000 active and retired educators and school employees. Andrew has worked for TRS since 2019, and previously served as an executive at the California State Teachers Retirement System. Andrew is also a former professional ballet dancer who trained and performed with the School of American Ballet in New York City, the Pacific Northwest Ballet in Seattle, the National Ballet of Canada in Toronto, and Spectrum Dance Theater in Seattle. After retiring from dance, he completed undergraduate and graduate degrees at the University of Washington, where he met his husband Kevin Little. Andrew began a second professional career in government and finance in Sacramento, where he also taught dance, choreographed, and served on the board of the Sacramento Ballet. Andrew is thrilled to support the artistic excellence and dynamic organizational innovation for which Ballet Austin is renowned.

Cord Shiflet | Moreland Properties

Board Service Since 2001

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 Ballet Austin Guild from 2005-2006. Cord is a residential realtor with Moreland Properties and was the No. 1 realtor in Austin from 2002-2007, 2009 and 2011-2014 (Austin Business Journal). In addition, he has been Moreland Properties’ top salesman for 10 years. He is among the top one percent of producers in Austin and Texas. Formerly a realtor with Moreland Properties, Anne now stays at home with their 4 children Tatum, Tinsley, Banks and Bevo.

Jade M. Shopp | Deloitte & Touche LLP

Board Service Since 2023

Jade is the Leader of Deloitte’s Risk and Financial Advisory business in the U.S. West Region. Jade has accumulated over 25 years of dedicated experience advising Finance functional leaders at Deloitte’s financial services industry clients on operational and technology modernization, corporate transactions, strategic risk and finance matters.

Jade is also Deloitte’s US and Global Payments Segment Leader for Risk & Financial Advisory. In such role, he aligns the Firm’s capabilities in the finance, regulatory, cyber, strategic risk management and compliance domains to serve clients in the rapidly evolving and innovative payments ecosystem.

Prior to time in Austin with wife, Masa, and two children, Los Angeles, Tokyo, New York, Kansas City, Colorado, and Nebraska were called home. Jade is on the Board of Directors at the United Way Los Angeles and is active with the Los Angeles County Art Museum’s (LACMA) Modern and Contemporary Art Council, and the University of Kansas School of Business Advisory Board. Jade cherishes time with family and friends on alpine adventures, cycling, playing tennis, and exploring arts and culture when traveling.

Janice Ta | Perkins Coie LLP

Board Service Since 2019

Janice Ta is an intellectual property lawyer who regularly provides legal counsel on patent, trade secret, copyright, and trademark issues. She helps clients protect and maximize value from their intellectual property portfolios across a broad range of technologies in a variety of industries, ranging from computer software to consumer electronics to biotechnology. A first generation college student, she graduated in 2003 from Stanford University with a B.A. in Art History and a B.S. in Symbolic Systems.  Before law school, she worked as a product designer at Plaxo, Inc., a start-up in Mountain View, California, which was later acquired by Comcast.  She also served as the Interim Director of Disability Mentoring Day when she worked at the National Association of People with Disabilities.  From 2007-2010, she attended Yale Law School and was appointed in 2010 as the President of the National Association of Law Students with Disabilities. After law school, she served as a judicial clerk at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington, D.C.  Janice has been recognized as a 2018 and 2019 Texas Rising Star for her work in intellectual property litigation.  She lives in Austin with her husband, John, a professor at the University of Texas, and her two kids.

Sarah Teten | Us Living

Board Service Since 2022

Sarah Teten is General Counsel of Us Living, a multi-family developer based in Houston, TX. In addition, Sarah currently serves as the Municipal Court Judge for Rollingwood, TX.

Sarah graduated with highest honors from the University of Texas at Austin with a B.B.A. in finance. She received her JD from University of Houston Law Center, graduating cum laude.

Sarah grew up dancing ballet in Corpus Christi, TX and attended a summer intensive session at Ballet Austin. She continues to take dance classes at Ballet Austin’s Butler Center for Dance and Fitness. Her daughter also enjoys ballet classes at the Ballet Austin Academy.

Judge George Thomas | Austin Municipal Court

Board Service Since 2015

Born in New York City and raised in Houston, Texas, Judge George 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. He has been active in a variety of local civic and political organizations in the Austin-area for several years.

Cathy Thompson | Patron of the Arts

Board Service Since 2004

Cathy was the chief executive officer of Motion Computing from 2011 to 2014. Prior to her position as CEO, Cathy was Motion’s chief operating officer and was responsible for the strategic and operational leadership of Motion’s finance, operations and service and support organizations.
Prior to joining Motion, Cathy 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 of 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, she 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. Cathy is a Certified Public Accountant and received a bachelor’s degree in accounting from the University of Texas in 1974. She is also on the board of Austin Achieve Public Schools.

Natasa Valocchi | Patron of the Arts

Board Service Since 2022

Natasa Valocchi has been a supporter of various causes over the years. Her latest involvement is with My Wardrobe HQ, the first platform in the UK for luxury rental and resale with plans to expand into NYC. Natasa is an investor, on the new business development team, and focuses on international business relations. She is also a new addition to the Second Stage Theater Board of Trustees in New York City (where she resides) bringing a little bit of Texas to the Big Apple. Natasa served on the Board of Ballet Austin prior to moving to London and is a past chair of the annual Fête gala. She is also an active member of the Texas Women of the Arts serving on the Executive Committee and is past Chair of the Young Masters event. A 20 year member of the Junior League, Natasa has served in numerous capacities in the Austin, London and NYC chapters. She has chaired or has been a committee chair for A Christmas Affair, Boutique de Noel, Financial Development committee, Resale Shop, and has served in numerous volunteer placements.

Natasa was a Senior Event Manager with George P. Johnson, an experience driven events agency. In this role, she planned and executed executive level experiences for a Fortune 10 company. She also attended Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising.

In her free time Natasa enjoys spending time with her husband Michael, her daughter, and the four legged love of her life. Natasa enjoys celebrating and lifting up all genres of the Arts and one of her favorite sayings is, “Art is home, because there is something magical that happens between artist and attendee that is comforting”.

Dr. Melva K. Williams | Hutson-Tillotson University

Board Service Since 2023

Dr. Melva K. Williams assumed the position of 7th president and chief operating officer of Huston-Tillotson University (HT) in Austin, Texas, on August 15, 2022. Prior to this appointment, she served in various senior leadership roles in higher education and in corporate America. A student-focused servant-leader, President Williams has taken the first steps in setting into motion an aggressive agenda that will expand and strengthen HT’s academic programs, galvanize its faculty, invigorate active participation among alumni, broaden its external donor base and increase financial support, improve the physical plant, and embrace a broader commitment to shared governance. Lauded nationally as a highly respected visionary with an immutable and demonstrated record as a staunch advocate for the increased accessibility of education for children of all ages, the Shreveport, Louisiana, native earned a doctorate in higher education from Jackson State University (Mississippi) and a master’s in public administration and a bachelor’s degree in mass communication from Grambling State University (Louisiana).

David Webber | Webber + Studio Architects

Board Service Since 2013

David Webber, AIA, is a native Austinite. He earned 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. David resides in Austin with his husband.

Thea Whalen | 2023.24 Guild President

Board Service Since 2023

Thea Whalen is the incoming Ballet Austin Guild President for the 2023/2024 season. She joined the Guild in 2011.
Thea is the Executive Director of the Texas Justice Court Training Center where she oversees one of the state’s judicial education grants. She is a former criminal prosecutor and a former civil defense litigator. Originally from Florida, Whalen graduated from Baylor University and Stetson University College of Law. She lives in Austin with her husband and two children.

Aisha White | Quintessence Plastic Surgery

Board Service Since 2019

Dr. Aisha White is a board certified plastic surgeon specializing in breast reconstruction and cosmetic procedures.  She graduated from Howard University with a B.S. in microbiology and then completed her medical education at the Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University.  She has also completed the MBA program at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.  Dr. White completed her internship and residency in General Surgery at SUNY Health Science Center at Brooklyn and a Plastic Surgery residency at the University of Illinois at Chicago.  She is a member of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons and a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons.  Dr. White grew up in New Orleans, but has lived in Austin since 2012.  She is a graduate of the Leadership Austin Essential Program and a sustaining Member of the Junior League of Austin and the Vivent Health Board. Dr. White is a former member of the Leadership Austin Board, AIDS Services of Austin Board, and CommunityCare Board.  Dr. White is also faculty at the Dell Medical School.  When she is not otherwise actively engaged in the Austin community, Dr. White enjoys baking, swimming, and playing tennis.

Jason Wills | American Campus Communities

Board Service Since 2013

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.

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.

Samantha Wiseman | Silicon Labs

Board Service Since 2022

Samantha Wiseman is a senior HR business partner and programs lead at Silicon Labs. She is responsible for talent management strategies including learning & development, DEI, and performance management. Prior to Silicon Labs, she held various HR roles in talent acquisition, employee engagement, and leadership development. She is passionate about applying agile and design thinking methodologies to deliver value adding HR programs. She lives in Austin, TX with her husband, son, and dog. She is a certified Professional in Human Resources (PHR), SHRM Certified Professional (SHRM-CP) and Certified Scrum Master (CSM). Wiseman received a master’s in HR management from New York University. @siliconlabs

Scott Yarborough | Dynamis Ventures

Board Service Since 2008

Scott Yarborough is Managing Partner of Dynamis Ventures, a private fund focused on SMB acquisitions. Prior to Dynamis, Scott held key roles at eHealth, Aquasana and the Global Consumer Group at Dell Inc. Scott received his M.B.A. from the University of North Carolina and a B.A. in Economics from Davidson College.

Jare Smith, Board Chair Emeritus | Patron of the Arts

Board Service Since 1985

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 the organization’s Capital Campaign.

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