In honor of this column’s 10-year anniversary, we salute 25 past honorees—and one newbie worthy of a spot among the greats—for their outstanding service.
by Warner Roberts
H Texas is pleased to present 25 Beautiful Houstonians who, with the exception of one, have been selected from past honorees for their unwavering community service.
It was a beautiful sunny day in 2005 when I had lunch with Editor-in-Chief Laurette Veres to pitch her my idea for an article on “25 beautiful Houstonians.” Immediately, she liked it, agreeing that it would not only be an interesting article, but a great way to honor those who spend much of their lives serving others and making our community a better place.
To open my first article, I wrote something that I still firmly stand by: “I believe that there is something very beautiful about each and every human being. Therefore, this project has been, without question, one of the most difficult I have ever tackled.” And I must say that, choosing 25 candidates from the former 225 honorees, was nearly impossible.
Throughout history, writers have defined “beauty” through poetry and prose. It was Margaret Wolfe Hungerford who wrote, “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder,” and many writers and philosophers have expressed different versions of the same sentiment.
Benjamin Franklin wrote,“Beauty, like supreme dominion, is but supported by opinion.” And as we know, opinions differ. In the words of Shakespeare, “Beauty is bought by the judgment of the eye.” Ask 100 people to answer the question, “What is beauty?” and you will get 100 different answers. But our mothers probably described it best when they said, “Beauty is as beauty does.”
In a most eloquent description of the essence of beauty, John Keats wrote, “A thing of beauty is a joy forever: Its loveliness increases; it will never pass into nothingness.” Laurette and I both feel that Keats might have meant that, through service to mankind, we shall never pass into oblivion.
We at H Texas define beauty as the ability to spread joy, lift spirits, encourage and inspire, and we measure it through service. The men and women on this list are not only physically captivating, but they make our city a more beautiful place through their generosity of spirit, compassion, creativity and dedication to serving. Kahlil Gibran wrote, “Beauty is not in the face; beauty is a light in the heart!” And a quote from Audrey Hepburn, a famous beauty and actress, whose memory lives on, reads, “As you grow older, you will find that you have two hands, one for helping yourself, one for helping others.”
Congratulations and a heartfelt thank you to 2015’s 26 Most Beautiful Houstonians. H
MONICA HARTLAND BLAISDELL
Monica Hartland Blaisdell, as the third-oldest child of 14, quickly learned to care for her younger siblings. With an innate willingness to help others, she once committed to donating $83 a month for five years to the homeless women and children at The Mission of Yahweh when she had very little money for herself.
Having experienced her own crisis, her life’s goal is to be a torchbearer for those less fortunate. Monica has chaired The Mission of Yahweh’s most successful gala. For six years, she and her husband, John, have produced “Christmas on a Mission” for The Mission of Yahweh, which provides a snow-covered, fantasy Christmas for homeless women and children. Recently, Monica co-chaired the Houston Ballet Jubilee of Dance, and this year, she co-chairs the Work Faith Connection and the Children’s Assessment Center’s Spirit of Spring luncheons.
While working with her husband, Noble, and raising their two beautiful girls, she still finds time to sit on The Friends Board for the Children’s Assessment Center and will be co-chairing this year’s Clayton Dabney “Sun Kissed by an Angel in St. Barth’s” event on April 15. Proceeds will go directly to supporting families who face the devastating loss of a child to cancer.
Beginning this year, Anne was chosen as the first official brand ambassador for Valmont skincare. This exclusive French line, sold only at Saks Fifth Avenue stores, features a one-of-a-kind breakthrough technology for skin-care management.
Over the years, Anne has been involved in various charity organizations, including: The American Heart Association, Rienzi, Hermann Park Conservancy, The Amschwand Sarcoma Cancer Foundation, Ronald McDonald House, Second Baptist Church and The Children’s Museum of Houston.
Deborah Duncan has been a media personality for 25 years, anchoring news and hosting talk shows in Austin, Dallas, New York and currently Great Day Houston on KHOU-TV, Channel 11. Her job has called on her to provide calm in the mist of disaster, to give people information to empower their lives, to provide a voice to the business community and to lend a hand to many nonprofit organizations.
Deborah serves on the national board of directors of Mothers Against Drunk Drivers; she is also a board member of the Palmer Drug Abuse Program and Houston Sober Center. She has chaired numerous fund-raising events for such organizations as The Bridge Over Troubled Waters and performed for the past two years at The Mission of Yahweh’s “Unplugged and On a Mission.” Deborah recently won an Emmy for community service with the Star of Hope-For the Holidays album. One of the most popular emcees in the city, Deborah has volunteered her time and talent for countless fund-raisers.
Houston’s premier volunteer fund-raiser, author, art patron and philanthropist, Dr. Carolyn Farb personifies the essence of a life dedicated to public service. She is a native Texan whose passion shines internationally.
Dr. Farb’s fund-raising style, spirit and successes have set national standards. Her philanthropic service has benefitted more than 100 charitable organizations, raising in excess of $50 million. Once a cause touches her heart, it becomes part of Carolyn’s life forever.
When chairing an event, she is as devoted as any CEO is to their corporation. With each new project, Dr. Farb creates a strategic plan. Her goal is to operate on her “zero budget” philosophy to get expenses underwritten. The key to Dr. Farb’s success is in her dynamic vision, intensity of purpose and total commitment. Her hands-on planning and execution for every project serve as a model for others. Her life is an example of the power of one individual’s commitment to a cause. To quote the heroic Steve Jobs: “Those who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, do it.”
JOANNE KING HERRING
The Dame, The Knight, The Ambassador, Hostess, Author, Texas Hall of Famer and now Nominated for the Congressional Gold Medal (the civilian equivalent of a Congressional Medal of Honor), Joanne Herring has been named the Queen of Texas by People, Forbes and Fortune magazines, along with the Washington Post, CNN, Fox and others.
Joanne, with Charlie Wilson, played a critical role in ending the Soviet Union’s invasion of Afghanistan without the loss of one American life. Their efforts aided President George W. Bush and Secretary James Baker in the collapse of the greatest war machine in history. This action helped to end the Cold War and many say prevented WWIII. The film, Charlie Wilson’s War, made by Robin King and starring Julia Roberts, was shown to Charlie Wilson, Bill Casey, President Bush, Henry Kissinger and Prince Bandar, who convinced Saudi Arabia to fund half of the war and set in motion these extraordinary events.
Joanne’s biography, Diplomacy and Diamonds, was a best-seller on five lists in 2011 and is still in demand. The Joanne King Show, on the air for 15 years, was rated the fifth-most-popular TV show in the United States. She has been lauded by the press in England, France, Germany, Spain, Pakistan and Morocco, and has entertained their presidents and kings on their state visits to the United States. In her long career, Joanne has supported every ethnic group in Houston, and has chaired and been honored by every major charity.
Joanne also founded the Marshall Plan Charities for Afghanistan to aid villagers by providing them with the means to acquire food, water education, medical care and jobs needed for them to succeed.
Joanne’s family includes two sons, Robin and Beau King, daughter-in-law, Stanisse King, and three grandchildren. Her family and her faith are her main interests in life.
Sidney Faust is married to Don Faust, owner of Faust Distributing. Don and Sidney lived in Baytown until their move to Houston in 1992, when Sidney became involved in a number of organizations. In 1999, she co-chaired the Houston Symphony Maestro Luncheon with Cora Sue Mach. Since then, the successful team has run such events as the Winter Ball, Women’s Health Summit, Baylor Partnership, Greater Houston Alliance Gold Brick Dinner and The Chic Boutique.
Presently, Sidney is co-chairing the Celebration of Champions and New Barc Gala. She has been named a 2003 Woman of Distinction and Ambassador for the Winter Ball in 2013. Don and Sidney were honorees of the Harris County Hospital district. Sidney was also an honoree at the Mission of Yahweh, the Hope and Healing Luncheon, the Salvation Ladies Auxiliary Reflection’s on Style luncheon and the Women’s Health Summit. She served as ball advisor for the Centennial Houston Symphony Ball. Don and Sidney have held 65 retreats, called a Healing Tradition, for the children and their families from Texas Children’s Cancer Center.
Bill King is a life-long resident of the Houston area. He was born and raised along Galveston Bay in Kemah, Texas. He earned an undergraduate and law degree from the University of Houston. Bill has enjoyed a varied business and legal career. He is currently president of Southwest Airport Services, Inc. and also an investor or director in several other businesses.
Bill’s community involvement includes numerous public service and volunteer organizations. From 1992 to 2004, he served in various positions with the City of Kemah, including the Kemah Economic Development Corporation, City Council and two terms as Mayor. He has also served in many capacities with charitable and civic organizations, including Interfaith Ministries, the Methodist Debakey Health, Fire Fighter Foundation of Houston, Crime Stoppers and Galveston Bay Foundation. Bill has received numerous awards for his public service, including the Galleria Chamber’s “Texas Legend” award, the American Leadership Foundation’s Jaworski Leadership Award and the National Hurricane Conference’s Outstanding Achievement Award.
Bill regularly writes for the Houston Chronicle and has authored two books. His most recent, Unapologetically Moderate, has recently been released by Bright Sky Press.
For two decades, Shelby Hodge, CultureMap editor-at-large, has been transforming the role of society editor into that of sophisticated social scribe, recording and photographing the comings and goings of Houston’s most influential citizens. Shelby’s coverage of charities, both large and small, of cultural and medical entities and of educational nonprofits, has provided a powerful voice for the nonprofit community. Being spotlighted in one of her columns is a badge of honor; her articles often lead to greater support for the organizations featured.
Even after two decades of covering this aspect of the social scene, Shelby maintains a fresh approach to her tasks, always with a pleasant and engaging demeanor. Along the way, she has been honored for her good works by Legacy Community Health Services, Houston Ballet, Houston Children’s Charity and the YWCA, among others. Shelby was society editor at the Houston Chronicle for 18 years before helping launch CultureMap in 2009.
Pamela Lockard founded her award-winning marketing agency, DMN3, in 1992. Today, her 30-person firm helps clients build revenue using lead generation and customer growth strategies. Raised in Galena Park, Texas, she learned the importance of leadership, hard work, perseverance and giving back at an early age.
While never achieving her childhood dream of becoming a missionary in Africa, Pam and her husband, Ronald Sterlekar, donate time and resources to the less fortunate in Houston. Pam has served on the board of The Mission of Yahweh for 25 years. She’s also a life-time member of the Kezia DePelchin Society and a past winner of the HBJ Enterprise Award for philanthropy. The University of Houston Alumni Association honored her in 2013 for giving time, resources and energy to the University.
Kim’s volunteering involves working with Children’s Assessment Center; The American Heart Association; Amschwand Sarcoma Foundation; Ronald McDonald House; The Museum of Natural Science; The Children’s Museum; the Nutcracker Market benefitting the Houston Ballet; The Women’s Health Summit for the Huffington Center on Aging; The Citizens for Animal Protection; the Bridge Over Troubled Waters for Women and Children; Houston Sweetheart Luncheon; Habitat for Horses; Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo; and The Joy School. Kim is currently chairing the Mission of Yaweh Gala, to be held May 8.
Kim has served on the board for the Children’s Assessment Center, and as president of the Children’s Assessment Center Friend’s Guild and of the River Oaks Country Club Women’s Association. Kim and Dan Moody have been married for 25 years, and have one daughter, Makell, who is the light of their lives. Kim and Dan, along with Dan’s mother, Mary, were honored in 2009 by the CAC at the Spirit of Spring Luncheon. They were also the 2007 recipients of the Pacesetters Award from the Cancer League of Houston. Most recently, Kim was named an ABC-13 Woman of Distinction by the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America.
Joel Osteen is the pastor of America’s largest church, Lakewood Church of Houston. He is the most popular inspirational figure in the U.S. and a New York Times best-selling author. Joel’s appeal is universal, allowing him to cross over to audiences that are diverse racially, politically and socioeconomically. His seven books have all been number-one national best-sellers. Each week, Joel’s broadcast is watched by more than 10 million people in the U.S. and in approximately 100 nations around the world. More than 1.2 million people watch his services online each month, ranking JoelOsteen.com one of the top 10 streaming sites in the world. More than 2 million people have attended his Night of Hope events across the U.S. and around the globe.
In 2014, Joel launched “Joel Osteen Radio”, a new exclusive channel on SiriusXM featuring live weekly call-in shows hosted by both Joel and his wife, Victoria. Through it’s many ministries and partners, Lakewood Church ministers to tens of thousands of individuals throughout the Houston area and the nation.
Born and raised in Houston, Kim Padgett serves as the president of The Padgett Group, a strategic marketing and public relations consulting firm based in Houston, and brings more than 20 years of experience in public relations and marketing communications to her clients.
Kim is an active community volunteer and animal advocate, and serves on several boards of directors and advisory boards focused on the health and welfare of Houstonians. She has chaired, co-chaired and served on host, auction and underwriter committees for many Houston fund-raisers, raising millions for local charities. She received her bachelor’s in journalism and foreign studies and her master’s in international journalism from Baylor University. Kim also attended college in Aix-en-Provence, France, and London. She was awarded by the Public Relations Society of America the inaugural “Media Relations Professional of the Year” award, nominated and voted on by media representatives from the Greater Houston area. She is a frequent speaker at public relations and marketing industry events, as well as a contributing author to multiple professional, business and lifestyle publications.
Bruce Padilla, the former director for Baccarat Crystal, is now the Regional Manager MCM Worldwide. He is an avid supporter of animal, children’s and medical charities. He is currently president-elect of the development board of the Huffington Center on Aging at the Baylor College of Medicine. He is also a member of the Friends Guild Board of the Children’s Assessment Center, the Advisory Board of
Houston Achievement Place, a member of the SDMC at Grady Middle School, past Capital Campaign Board member for the new CAP Shelter, and was a Man of the Year candidate for the Leukemia Society in 2014. He has chaired or co-chaired numerous fund-raising events for many different charities; his proudest accomplishment was serving as a co-chair for the 2012 CAP gala, which raised a record $800,000, their highest-grossing gala to date.
Rachel Regan has been involved in the philanthropic efforts in the Houston community since the minute she became a Houstonian 17 years ago. Rachel is currently the president of the Baylor College of Medicine Partnership Board, on the board of the March of Dimes, Memorial Hermann Children’s Hospital, executive board of VICTORY in support of the American Cancer Society, and the Children’s Assessment Center Friends Guild board. She has chaired or co-chaired events that have raised millions of dollars, including: the inaugural Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital Gala; The Houston Ballet Nutcracker Market; Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation Gala; and Citizens for Annual Protection Gala. She is extremely proud of her work with The Junior League of Houston, Inc., over the past decade, when she has served as the development vice president last year. She has been honored with the Sarah Houston Lindsey Outstanding Active Award Winner, recognizing her for exemplifying the League’s mission of promoting voluntarism, developing the potential of women and improving the community. Rachel also has given her time to Dress for Success Houston, Houston Zoo Friends and St. Luke’s Friends of Nursing Board, and last year, was recognized as a CCFA 2014 Women of Distinction.
Next up, Rachel is chairing the 1925 – An Epic Era Charity Ball, a three-night celebration of the 90th Anniversary for The Junior League of Houston in February, and in October, will co-chair the March of Dimes Signature Chefs Gala.
Rachel is most proud of her marriage to her supportive and loving husband, Tom, and their two beautiful children, Wynn Lawrence, age 4, and Eleanor Kathryn (Ella), age 2.
Rosemary Schatzman concentrates much of her time on raising money for organizations centered around children, family, and related health and human services groups. Her primary focus is helping further the mission of the March of Dimes to reduce birth defects and infant mortality. Rosemary has volunteered for this organization since 1997 and has served on the board since 1999. She has chaired multiple events for March of Dimes, and will chair the 2015 Houston Chronicle Best Dressed Luncheon and Neiman Marcus Fashion Presentation. She has participated in the annual March for Babies for 18 years. In 2014, Rosemary received the Elaine Whitelaw National Volunteer Service award.
Rosemary serves on the board of Dec My Room, and is on the Advisory Boards for Child Advocates and Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital. She has served on the boards of American Heart Association, JDRF, Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America, and Family Services of Greater Houston.
Jeff Shell has been a principal at the Neal Hamil Model and Talent Agency of Texas since 1997. Established in 1974, Neal Hamil Agency has several divisions, including fashion, runway, commercial, talent, fitness, plus-size and kids. The agency reps models, actors, hair and makeup artists, stylists and more, and they coordinate and produce fashion shows, special events, TV commercials, advertising and marketing services.
Since 2008, Jeff has served as the founder and executive director of the Little Black Dress Designer Foundation, one of Texas’ largest fashion-based competitions for students in fashion design, giving away more than $100,000 in scholarships to students who participate in the challenge to remake the LBD.
For 15 years, Jeff has been rubbing elbows with international fashion designers, including Carmen Marc Valvo, Naeem Khan, Badgley Mischka, Carolina Herrera, J. Mendel, Monique Lhuillier, Nicole Miller, Narciso Rodriguez and Tory Burch.
In 2005, Jeff Shell founded the Green Valentine. Taking root as a community tree planting at Stude Park in the Heights, the Green Valentine has sprouted up as a series of green-minded events promoting our love of community, living a sustainable lifestyle and supporting all things local.
Jeff regularly contributes to several nonprofits and arts organizations, including the Fashion Group International, Inc. of Houston, Houston Grand Opera, Houston Ballet, the Alley Theatre, DiverseWorks, Recipe for Success, Dress for Success and more. Jeff is also an artist, entrepreneur, photographer and gardener, and he raises chickens to boot.
Millette Sherman has embraced Houston with her charismatic, passionate spirit that makes the city so great. She is the devoted wife to Haag and mother of Carson, 13, and Julia, 8. Millette serves on the Board of Directors for numerous foundations within the Houston community. Her first involvement was with the March of Dimes. She currently serves on the Board of Family Services of Greater Houston, Children’s Museum of Houston and St Luke’s Hospital Friends of Nursing.
She has chaired many luncheons, events and galas over the years. Millette’s community honors include: Easter Seal’s Hats Off to Mothers Award; she was chosen as one of Houston’s Best Dressed honorees by the Houston Chronicle and she was honored with the ABC channel 13 Women of Distinction, Chron’s and Colitis Foundation award. Her business savvy, energy, attention to detail and focus on the bottom line make her an ideal volunteer.
Alicia Smith wears many hats: wife, mother, entrepreneur, volunteer and philanthropist. In 1992, she founded Associated Video Services, the first female-owned legal video enterprise in Houston. Her company, Innovative Legal Solutions, has been in business for more than 22 years.
Alicia serves on the board of directors of WBEA, the GHWCC, The Houston Ballet, March of Dimes and UNICEF Southwest Region; she is a member of Entrepreneurs Organization. Alicia has chaired numerous fund-raising events and most recently co-chaired the 2014 UNICEF Audrey Hepburn Society Ball; she is also chairing the Capital Campaign for Lutheran South Academy. Alicia’s honors include the Team Excellence Award – CAC Direct Service Volunteer – Children’s Advocacy Centers of Texas; CCFA Woman of Distinction; Leadership Houston Class XXVI, Crisis Intervention “The A List”; The Huffington Center on Aging Excellence in Bloom Award; Social Book Houston Treasure Award; and 2015 Mission of Yahweh Leaders & Legends Award.
She and her husband, Lance, are the proud parents of three sons, Justin, Cole and Chandler, who can always be found supporting their many activities.
MICHELLE LEYENDECKER SMITH
Michelle Leyendecker Smith is an active member of the Houston community. As a tribute to her sister Laura, who has cystic fibrosis, she has chaired numerous Gulf Coast Cystic Fibrosis Foundation events since 1995. She and her mother were honored at the Cystic Fibrosis “Mother’s Day Tea.” She has served as auction chair for March of Dimes Signature Chefs event in 2009 and 2011, and on the auction committee and underwriter committee for several “Stoney Creek Ranch” events, a Christian Camp providing scholarships for urban youth since 2005. She has been on the Texas Children’s Lifetime Ambassador Committee, and host committee for events relating to the Jan and Dan Duncan Neurological Research Institute and the Pavilion for Women. Michelle has served on the host and auction committee for The Center for Hearing and Speech in Houston. She co-chaired the Houston Ballet Nutcracker Brunch and Fashion Show, and chaired The Annual Gala for The Center For Hearing and Speech in 2013.
Sue Smith’s joie de vie is present in every part of her life and inspires others to live life to the fullest. Along with her husband, Lester Smith, Sue has been at the helm of some of the city’s most successful fund-raising events, including the largest single fund-raising evening in Houston’s history at Texas Children’s Cancer Center. The Lester and Sue Smith Foundation has provided upwards of $100 million to Texas Medical Center institutions, including Baylor College of Medicine, Texas Children’s Hospital and Harris Health System. In addition, Sue has made significant contributions of time and talent to many other non-profits, including Legacy Community Health Services; March of Dimes; Houston Children’s Charity; The Women’s Home; Holocaust Museum Houston; Mission of Yahweh; Thin Blue Line; and countless others.
Although Sue enjoys supporting charity events, her favorite pastimes are spending time with Lester, yoga, needlepoint, photography and growing orchids.
A native Houstonian and executive with Hines Interests, Claire Thielke devotes her time to numerous arts, health and environmental causes. She serves on the board of directors of Memorial City Bank and is chairman of the Endowment Board of Legacy Community Health Services. Claire also serves on the MD Anderson Advance Team, a cause that is dear to her heart as a former patient.
An urban planner by training with a master’s degree in sustainable construction and historic preservation, Claire founded and chairs Pier & Beam, an organization for young professionals interested in saving Houston’s historic buildings. She is also a member of the boards of Buffalo Bayou Partnership and Preservation Houston, and serves on the advisory board and finance committee for Hermann Park.
A member of the 2014 Houston’s Best Dressed List, Claire has numerous philanthropic efforts planned for 2015. Next up: a capital campaign for a new Gulfton Clinic for Legacy and the 2015 Tee Up for Counseling fete, benefitting the Nick Finnegan Counseling Center. Clair is married to her high school sweetheart, energy trader, Rick Thielke.
Phoebe Tudor is an active community volunteer. She earned her bachelor’s in art history from the University of Virginia and master’s in historic preservation from Columbia University. She is the founding chairman of the Julia Ideson Library Preservation Partners, which spearheaded the effort to renovate Houston’s oldest library. She is also chair of the Centennial Campaign, raising money for the new Centennial Garden at Hermann Park, as well as president of the board of the Houston Ballet Foundation, the former chairman of the Houston Archeological and Historical Commission, and last year’s Preservationist of the Year, designated by Mayor Parker. Phoebe serves on the board of the Museum of Fine Arts Houston, is a Best Dressed Hall of Fame inductee, and will be honored at the 2014 Ballet Ball and at Hermann Park’s Gala.
She and her husband, Bobby, are high school sweethearts from Louisiana, and have three wonderful children.
MARTHA FULLER TURNER
Martha Fuller Turner is a leading realtor, creative entrepreneur, humanitarian, teacher and family woman with a unique blend of energy, optimism and humor. She graduated from University of North Texas, where she was a member of the Board of Regents. Martha was president for 34 years of Houston’s outstanding independent real estate firm Martha Turner Properties, which was purchased by Sotheby’s International Realty in January 2014.
Since 2001, Martha has been a member of the Alexis De Tocqueville Society. Martha was president and board chair of Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation, a founding member of United Cerebral Palsy Women’s Board and a member of Texas Business Hall of Fame, American Diabetes Foundation—their winning “Kiss-a-Pig” Candidate and Fundraiser. She also served on the advisory board of directors of Texas Commerce Bank. She is presently on the board of trustees of Houston Baptist University. Martha was the honoree at the 12th Annual Legacy Community Health Services Luncheon in September 2014.
Martha lives and moves in the arenas of hope and thankfulness, focusing on the positive—on actions to open up possibilities for a brighter future for all people.
JUSTIN JAMES WATT
The only new Most Beautiful Houstonian in this column, superstar Houston Texan JJ Watt works as hard on the football field as anyone ever has. But, luckily for many young people, he also works hard to give back. He is the president and founder of the Justin J. Watt Foundation, a charitable organization that provides after-school opportunities for children in various communities, in order for them to get involved in athletics in a safe environment. He and the JJ Watt Foundation host a Charity Classic Run/Walk, Golf Outing and Tailgate annually. The Charity Classic is a softball game held at Constellation Field in Sugar Land, Texas, in which Texans players participate in a game and Home Run Derby to raise money for the foundation. Last year, JJ received the Texans Spirit of the Bull Community Award, and was nominated for the NFL’s Salute to Service Award, which honors a coach, player or owner for their efforts in supporting the country’s service men and women.
MARGARET ALKEK WILLIAMS
Margaret Alkek Williams is chairman of the Albert and Margaret Alkek Foundation. Together with her son, Charles Williams, who is president of the foundation, she continues the legacy of giving established by her parents, Albert and Margaret Alkek.
Once described by the Houston Chronicle as “the most powerful, committed female philanthropist in Houston since Ima Hogg,” the impact of Margaret and her family’s generosity to the medical, cultural arts and educational communities has been profound. The majority of the Alkek Foundation’s support has been to the Texas Medical Center with more than $100 million going to Baylor College of Medicine.
Margaret’s support of the cultural arts in Houston has been nothing short of transformational with major gifts directed by Margaret for the Alley Theatre; Houston Grand Opera; Houston Ballet; the Museum of Fine Arts Houston; Society for the Performing Arts; Houston Symphony; and Theatre Under The Stars.
Margaret has devoted her life to supporting our community through her charitable giving. Her tireless efforts have helped Houston to become the vibrant, world-class city it is today.
Lynn Wyatt is a third-generation Texan and Houston socialite, a legendary philanthropist, a style icon and an international hostess. Truly a renaissance woman, she is just as comfortable as a member of the International Best Dressed Hall of Fame, or when she was appointed by President Reagan to the Board of the U.S. Naval Academy, being interviewed by Vogue or practicing Tae Kwon Do, even earning a Black Belt First Degree.
Lynn has chaired prestigious events in Houston and elsewhere too numerous to mention. She is a Lifetime Trustee of the Star of Hope; vice-chair of the Houston Grand Opera; executive committee member of The Alley Theater; founding trustee of the Film Department of MFA; honorary director for the American Hospital in Paris; executive committee member of The Houston Ballet; a founding trustee for The Princess Grace Foundation USA; Elton John AIDS Foundation member; and the Rothko Chapel’s Cultural Ambassador.
Lynn’s priority has always been her family: Her husband, Oscar, and their four sons, Steven, Douglas, Trey and Bradford, and her wonderful grandchildren, Ford and Catherine, of whom she is so proud!
PHOEBE TUDOR serves on the boards of the Houston Ballet, the Hermann Park Conservancy, the Shepherd Society at Rice University and the Greater Houston Preservation Alliance. She devotes much of her time as chairman of the Julia Ideson Library Preservation Partners, and has chaired or co-chaired with husband, Bobby, the Houston Ballet Ball, Teach for America Gala, the Houston Symphony Ball, Shepherd Society Gala, the Hermann Park Conservancy Luncheon, Heritage Society Luncheon and the SPA Gala, twice.
Photo by Gittings
DONNA VALLONE serves on the board of the Holocaust Museum Houston and is a past co-chair of its gala. She also serves as a board member of the Cancer League, Moore’s School of Music, Galleria Chamber of Commerce, Friends of Nursing at St. Luke’s Episcopal Hospital, The Maxine Mesinger Multiple Sclerosis Clinic and Theatre Under the Stars. She is on the founding advisory committee for the Design Society of Houston Community College.
Photo by Gittings
MILTON TOWNSEND is a native Houstonian and an executive with Jackson and Co. Catering. He has volunteered his time and expertise to raise funds for many non-profit organizations. Some of his favorites include the Houston Grand Opera, Houston Symphony and AIDS Foundation Houston. Milton’s charm and positive high energy make him a particularly effective force in the fundraising community.
Photo by Kim Coffman
CLAIRE CORMIER THIELKE is the founding chair of Pier and Beam, Greater Houston Preservation Alliance’s Young Professional Organization. She is on the board of directors for Recipe for Success and ArtBridge; as well as the endowment board of Legacy Community Health Services and Houston Grand Opera Young Professionals – Opening Nights. This year she chaired “Yelloween,” benefiting Society for the Performing Arts, as well as the Hermann Park Urban Green Fall Fete and the Museum of Cultural Arts Houston Cirque De MOCAH Fashion Show.
Photo by Thielke PR Boutique
BRIAN H. TEICHMAN, well known as “Houston’s Life of the Party,” is also well known for his open hearted philanthropy. A long-time supporter of Citizens for Animal Protection, he chaired “The Best Little Doghouse in Texas” fundraiser. He is a founding co-chair of “Cabaret for a Cure,” which provides funding to Legacy Community Health Services for Houston’s HIV/AIDS initiatives. Since joining Taping for the Blind as Director of Development, he has been instrumental in securing federal funding for broadcast services for more than three thousand visually impaired clients throughout the Houston area.
Photo by Gittings
Houston Texans quarterback, MATT SCHAUB, donates season tickets to Make-A-Wish Foundation families, allowing them to attend games and meet players through the Aerial Attach program. He is the spokesman for Methodist Hospital and Methodist’s Huddle Up for Women’s Health event and he and his wife, Laurie, have started the GR8 Hope Foundation, which promotes medical care for children and supports the Texas Children’s Hospital. Together, they have raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for Houston Tackles Autism, Houston’s Avondale House, Young Texans Against Cancer and the Garth Brooks Foundations’ Teammates for Kids programs.
Photo by Houston Texans
ANGIE ROBERTS’ new adventure, HopeYouPrayForMe.com offers t-shirts with special messages for chronically ill children, vacation bible schools and anyone in need. She has dedicated much of her time to volunteer work at Casa de Esperanza and has spent 12 years volunteering at her sons’ school, St. Francis Episcopal as Booster Club Chair, Managing Board Member, Docent of the Art History and Appreciation Program and Parent Association Speaker Chair. She pioneered the school’s first fundraising cookbook, Hungry Like a Wolf.
Photo compliments of Roberts
STEPHANIE PERKINS is a dedicated philanthropist and major donor to Child Fund, International, which provides medical services and food to the most underprivileged children in the world. She also serves on the Boards of the March of Dimes and Children’s Assessment Center, and is a former volunteer crisis counselor for the Crisis Pregnancy Center. She has underwritten events at the March of Dimes Signature Chefs, the Children’s Assessment Center Spirit of Spring Luncheon, the Family Services of Greater Houston Gala, and the Trees of Hope Gala. She is the proud mother of three, and she and husband, Bill Perkins, are some of Houston’s biggest advocates for children.
Photo compliments of Perkins
TODD RAMOS, called “Houston’s Fashion Guy” by the Houston Chronicle, designates much of his time to charitable efforts. He is a founding board member of BodyPositive Wellness Center, a founding board member of Evin Thayer Scholarship Foundation and a board member of Montrose Clinic, now known as Legacy Community Health Services. Todd offers discounted rates for non-profits when producing fashion shows for the Houston Rockets Gala, Children’s Assessment Center, Star of Hope and the March of Dimes.
Photo by Collin Kelly
DIKEMBE MUTOMBO is committed to improving the quality of life for people around the world, as well as for his native Democratic Republic of the Congo. He is the NBA Global Ambassador, board member of UNICEF and the National Constitution Center and former spokesman for the international relief agency, CARE. His Dikembe Mutombo Foundation received the Steve Patterson Award for Excellence in Sports Philanthropy this year.
Photo by Houston Rockets
The Emmy-award winning face of PBS Channel 8, ERNIE MANOUSE inspired Walter Cronkite to say, “Ernie is among the best interviewers I have ever experienced.” In addition to spending innumerable volunteer hours on the Channel 8 telethons, MANOUSE volunteers as master of ceremonies and host for many charitable events. He also serves on the advisory board of STAGES Theatre and the Dominic Walsh Dance Theatre.
Photo by Evin Thayer
ALISSA STEPPE MAPLES serves on the Heroes for Handbags Advisory Board, Ms. Wheelchair Texas and the Sarah Woolrich Fund. She also volunteers for the American Heart Association, Casa de Esperanza, Children’s Assessment Center, Salvation Army and the March of Dimes.
Photo by Tara Sylvester
MELISSA KING has served on the boards of the Alzheimer’s Association, both Houston and Southwest Chapters, the Boys and Girls Harbor, the American Diabetes Association, Neighborhood Centers, SEARCH Homeless Services and Theatre Under The Stars. She has co-chaired events for Galveston Bay Foundation, Culinary Institute of Houston, Ensemble Theatre, Weather Museum, H.E.A.R.T. Program, U of H Women’s Studies, Fire Fighters Foundation, El Centro de Corazon and the Baylor Teen Health Clinic.
Photo by Gittings
MARYANN HOFFER has chaired numerous events including the Arts & Science Achievement Dinner honoring Dr. Jonas Salk, Juvenile Diabetes Foundation Gala, the Symphony Scores Dinner Series and the first Crystal Ball for the Huffington Center. She has served on the boards of the March of Dimes, Juvenile Diabetes Foundation, Houston Grand Opera, Citizens for Animal Protection, the Susan B. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation and the Houston Symphony Guild.
Photo by Alexander’s Fine Photography
GINA GASTON, ABC13 News Anchor, serves on the board at the Houston Children’s Museum, where she is committed to making the museum accessible to people of all income groups; and The Missouri City Links, which is committed to improving the health, education and well-being of African American communities in particular. Much of her volunteer time is devoted to Awty International, where her children go to school, and where she works on the fundraising galas, in the school cafeteria, and as the room mom.
Photo by Channel 13
As an outgrowth of her outstanding work as a volunteer, JACKIE GARNER has become the Director of Women’s Ministry at Lakewood Church. In addition, she volunteers, along with her husband, as a Prayer Partners and Marriage Mentor. Jackie is a sought-after lecturer and motivational speaker where she “encourages women to see themselves through God’s eyes and urges them to take their rightful place of authority.”
Photo compliments of Garner
ELLIE FRANCISCO has chaired many prominent philanthropic galas, including the first-ever $1 million gala for the Ronald McDonald House of
Houston with over 1,300 attendees on the floor of the world-famous Astrodome. She chaired two American Heart Association Balls, raising over $1 million for each event. She has chaired the CCFA Woman of Distinction Winter Ball for two years. She serves on the Boards of American Heart Association, Friends of Nursing for St. Luke’s Hospital and the Advisory Boards of Dress for Success and Child Advocates.
Photo by Gittings
MARLENE FINGER began volunteering one day a week at the Texas Children’s Hospital Gift Shop, and she has continued to do so for the past 25 years. She has added to her volunteer efforts by taking on the role as chief buyer for the shop. She and her husband, Alan, support innumerable charitable projects.
Photo by Alan Finger
RUDY FESTARI, owner of Festari for Men, along with his wife Debbie, support numerous charities through the Festari Celebrity Men’s Fashion Show which has benefited Child Advocates, M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston Grand Opera, UNICEF, Baylor College of Medicine Breast Cancer Center and Family Services of Greater Houston.
Photo by Daniel Ortiz