Dallas Innovates covers people in Dallas-Fort Worth business—from new hires to promotions to accolades. Here’s the latest news tied to innovation and technology moves in the region.
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Gov. Abbott Appoints Two North Texans to Independent Living Council
Governor Greg Abbott appointed Dallas’ Heisha Freeman and Haslet’s David Lunt, along with Texans Michael Garrett and Janet “Jan” McSorley to the State Independent Living Council. Joseph “Joe” Rogers was reappointed.
The council develops the state’s plan for independent living and also serves as a resource to state and local organizations on independent living and related issues for persons with disabilities. The terms are set to expire on October 24, 2024.
Heisha Freeman of Dallas is the executive vice president and chief customer officer for MoveCenter. She’s also a member of the Worldwide Employee Relocation Council and the founder of Special Needs Parents of North Texas, as well as a former member of the Agape Resource & Assistance Center Board and the Arc of Texas DFW Area Board. Freeman received a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Austin College.
David Lunt of Haslet is a senior supplier diversity manager at Fidelity Investments. A member of the Disability:IN North Texas Board and the Fort Worth Mayor’s Committee on Persons With Disabilities, he’s also co-founder and former chair of Fidelity Investments Enable Texas Employee Resource Group and the founder of the Fidelity American Sign Language Club.
The other Texas appointees include:
Michael Garrett of Missouri City is a retired Senior Equities Analyst for J.P. Morgan Chase. He is first vice president of the American Council of the Blind of Texas, board chairman of the American Council of the Blind Thrift Store, and board president of the Houston Center for Independent Living.
Janet “Jan” McSorley of Austin is Vice President of Accessibility for Assessments at Pearson and was previously a K-12 Educator and assistive technology specialist for 26 years.
Joseph “Joe” Rogers of Amarillo is CEO of Panhandle Independent Living Center and has previously served as a member of the Amarillo commission on People with Disabilities.
Rent-A-Center Names Uber Rides Tech Exec to Board
Plano-based Rent-A-Center announced Jen You has been elected to the Rent-A-Center Board of Directors as a new independent director. The company, which aims for tech-driven, flexible, no-debt-obligation leasing solutions for consumers, said the appointment is effective January 26.
The tech exec currently serves as head of product for Uber Rides, where she helms a global product organization in more than 80 countries around the world. Previously, she was VP of growth for RippleX Platform, a provider of technology infrastructure, tools, services, programs, and support for creation on the XRP Blockchain Ledger (XRPL). Other experience includes leadership roles at WeWork and digital content distribution company UnitedMasters, as well as various product and business roles at Facebook (now Meta).
In 2020, You launched a new open-source payment protocol called PayID, reaching more than 125 million consumers globally, and the Open Payments Coalition, a consortium of the world’s largest wallets and exchanges collaborating to make payments more open and interoperable for all consumers. You has an undergrad degree from Harvard and an MBA from Stanford Graduate School of Business.
You brings “extensive knowledge in technology products and platforms, including in the consumer space, along with her strong background and leadership skills, will provide a valuable addition to our Board as we continue to implement digital solutions for consumers and merchants across our business,” said Mitch Fadel, CEO of Rent-A-Center.
Dallas Regional Chamber Announces 2022 Chair of the Board, Chair-Elect
Bob Pragada, president and COO of Jacobs, will serve as the Dallas Regional Chamber’s 2022 Chair of the Board.
The news was announced at the DRC’s annual meeting event on Jan. 25. Pragada, along with 2021 Chair Michelle Vopni, Dallas Office Managing Partner for Ernst & Young, headlined the event.
Pragada joined Jacobs in 2006. A decade later, in 2016, the global technology-forward solutions giant relocated its HQ to Dallas from California. The company currently has some $14 billion in revenue and a talent force of about 55,000 employees in 30 countries,
“When Jacobs relocated, it was apparent the DRC was the go-to civic organization in the Dallas region to get things done,” Pragada said in a statement. “I’m honored to lead one of the largest business organizations in the country in this world-class city where Jacobs is involved with so many iconic projects. During my one-year term as chair, I will work to put the Dallas Region on the world stage, attract more tech talent to our area, and double down on the DRC’s diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts.”
Vopni, who will remain on the DRC’s Executive Committee, says she has enjoyed “leading the DRC Board in 2021 and am proud to be engaged with this remarkable group of Dallas business leaders,” Vopni said. “I am confident Bob and the DRC will continue to challenge the businesses to show up and make a difference now and in the future.”
Rafael Lizardi, CFO of Texas Instruments, was announced as the DRC Chair in 2023. At TI, Lizardi has held key leadership roles, including Director of Corporate Financial Planning and Corporate Controller.
“Bob graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy, and I’m a West Point grad, so we’ll keep the DRC board in line,” Lizardi said. “There’s no better place in the world to live, work, and do business than the Dallas Region, and I’m honored to collaborate with my board colleagues and DRC CEO Dale Petroskey and his talented team to make sure this area continues to thrive.”
GM Financial CFO Elected Chair of Fort Worth Chamber Board
GM Financial CFO Susan Sheffield will be the chairwoman of the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce board of directors.
“I’m honored to serve as chair of the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce board of directors,” Sheffield said in a statement. “I’m optimistic about continued economic growth in our community and the role the FWC plays to help grow local businesses and attract new business.”
The Rios Group’s Rosa Navejar will serve as vice chair. Hillwood’s Charlie Campbell was announced as secretary/treasurer.
Marianne Auld, managing partner at Kelly Hart and Hallman, is Immediate past chair.
Michelle Green-Ford Is the First Woman to Helm Metropolitan Black Chamber of Commerce
The new president and CEO of the Fort Worth Metropolitan Black Chamber of Commerce is also the first female in the position. Michelle Green-Ford was picked for the position that’s been vacant since the death last summer of chamber executive Devoyd “Dee” Jennings.
“She has executive leadership and business ownership experience that prepares her to produce superior results for the Black Chamber. Her selection is historic in that she is the first female president in the Chamber’s more than 40-year history,” said board chair Reginald Gates in a statement.
Green-Ford recently served as vice president and chief diversity officer for JPS Health Network
Texas Women’s Foundation’s New CEO Will Take the Reins on Feb. 1
After a national search, Michelynn Woodard has been named the organization’s new president and CEO. Woodard, the former head of social impact, diversity, and inclusion for Bad Robot Productions, was picked by the foundation for her record of equity, cultural diversity, and social justice experience.
“Miki’s leadership skills, respected national voice, and powerful relationships in Texas and beyond—not to mention her lifelong passion for advancing cultural diversity and social justice—make her the ideal person to lead TXWF well into the future,” said TWF Chair Hilda Galvan in a statement.
Longtime president and CEO Roslyn Dawson Thompson will retire at the end of January after serving for a decade.
TDIndustries Board of Directors Welcomes Alan Quintero
Alan Quintero has been named as the newest member of TDIndustries’ Board of Directors.
Holding decades of experience in positions such as Senior VP Operations at Atwood Oceanics, Senior VP Operations at Transocean, and most recently as Senior Vice President of Business Development at Valaris, where he led the company in establishing the first ESG strategy.
“They say experience is the best teacher, and I’ve been taught for over 35 years as an operations and business leader,” said Quintero. “Now it’s time to give back, and TDIndustries is a perfect company with which to share my hard-learned lessons.”
Quintero has also been a Partner at Trenegy, served as a Member of the Board of Directors for Southwest Electronic Energy, and worked on the Executive Committee for the International Association of Drilling Contractors.
“A new year is an ideal opportunity to reinforce our vision and focus on the strategic goals we’ve built to benefit TD’s Customers and Partners,” said TD Board Chair Paul Minton. “We’re confident that Alan Quintero’s leadership, expertise, and unique perspective will help move us forward as we take on new opportunities and challenges.”
Former Math Teacher Is Lone Finalist for Superintendent in Lewisville ISD
Former math teacher Lori Rapp has been named the sole finalist in Lewisville’s search for a new superintendent. Rapp started her career in LISD as a classroom teacher in 1996.
The district’s Board of Trustees’ vote on Tuesday night was unanimous to name longtime district employee as LISD’s next superintendent of schools, reported NBCDFW.
Cariloop Co-Founder Transitions to Chief Impact Officer
Steven Theesfeld is the caregiver support company’s first impact officer. Theesfield, who helped found the company in 2012 alongside CEO Michael Walsh and serves as a board member, was previously chief integrity officer.
Culture is key at Cariloop, and it encourages a “people-first mentality,” it said. During the pandemic, Theesfield helped lead the conversion of Cariloop into a Public Benefit Corporation with the support of the board and shareholders.
In his new role, he’ll work “side by side with the entire team to “champion the company’s global impact strategy and lead the company in finding new and innovative ways to support the local, domestic and international communities they operate in.”
Theesfield underscores the importance of the move: “… we were able to engrain interdependence into the legal foundation of our company and further define our purpose.”
The company must consider what ‘success’ looks like from many perspectives—”the caregiver, the Looper, the customer, the investor, our global community, and define how we as a Company will make a positive impact on our society,” he said in a statement earlier this month.
Claire Logue Joins GivingDNA as Director of Technology Sales
Dallas-based GivingDNA, a donor engagement platform powered by Pursuant, announced that Claire Logue has been appointed as the Director of Technology Sales.
Logue comes to GivingDNA with over two decades of experience from her career helping nonprofits leverage data to inform and influence operating strategies. She has worked in various roles across nonprofits like Pepperdine and American Red Cross and other organizations like Salesforce and WealthEngine. She boasts experience in areas such as major gift fundraising, campaign management, and prospect research.
“I am excited to have Claire join my team to partner with our clients,” said Dawn Galasso, Vice President of Technology Sales at GivingDNA in a statement. “She was my mentor when I entered nonprofit technology nearly a decade ago. I am thrilled to work with her again and to have such a powerhouse of nonprofit data and technology experience on the team.”
Two Roads Consulting Promotes Three Key Leaders to Partner Roles
The North Texas-based management consulting firm announced this week that Kelly Purdom, Eric Krchnak, and Jeremy Dunford have all been promoted to partner for Two Roads Consulting. Kelly Purdom is the first female partner at the firm.
Purdom and Dunford have been a part of Two Roads Consulting since its launch in 2015—both playing a major role in helping the company achieve its 262 percent growth over the past three years—and helping the firm land a spot on the Inc. 5000 list in 2021.
Becoming the first female partner at the firm, Kelly Purdom has over 16 years of consulting experience spanning multiple industries including energy, retail, and transportation. Her consulting experience ranges from IT strategy, program management, process optimization to workforce strategy, digital workplace solutions, training, and change management.
Specializing in cost-driven transformation, operating model design, workforce strategies, and program management, Jeremy Dunford has over 15 years of industry expertise in technology, transportation, financial services, energy, and defense.
Eric Krchnak, who is responsible for firm growth, expanding client partnerships, and talent recruiting, joined the management consulting firm in 2019. He has two decades of experience in program leadership, information analytics strategy, and technology enablement across industries, including energy, healthcare, consumer goods, travel, and hospitality.
“These three leaders have helped us establish a really special organization that clients turn to time and time again because of the results we help them deliver and is attracting talent because of the unique culture we’ve formed. We’re super proud to have these leaders on our team and could not be more thrilled to promote them from within,” said Denton Newham, founding partner of Two Roads Consulting.
Shannon Ashkinos Named President of Greater Fort Worth Association of REALTORS
Vice President of Connections and Career Success at JPAR Real Estate, Shannon Ashkinos, has been appointed as President of the Greater Fort Worth Association of REALTORS (GFWAR). The president holds the position for one year and is elected by members of the association.
Replacing former GFWAR President Elizabeth McCoy, Ashkinos takes on the role with over 26 years of real estate experience behind her belt. Throughout the years at REALTOR Associations, she has participated and volunteered in various roles and committees. She most recently served on the Technology, Professional Development & MLS committee as well as a Board of Directors Member for four years.
Ashkinos was presented with the Marie & Dayton Sheridan REALTOR Spirit Award in 2019 for her involvement in the profession, the association, and the community.
“I’m so proud and excited to see Shannon take on a leadership role at GFWAR,” said Mark Johnson, President at JPAR Real Estate. “Her leadership in career development and technology will provide exceptional value for every member of the association.”
Washima Huq Has Been Named Executive Director of the Texas Trust Gives Foundation.
This week, the Texas Trust Credit Union launched the Texas Trust Gives Foundation created to serve as the charitable arm for the credit union. Washima Huq with Texas Trust will be the Executive Director of the Foundation.
The foundation will be focused on providing grants and scholarships to local schools and organizations that improve the well-being of the community and help create brighter financial futures. Operating independently from the credit union, the Texas Trust Foundation will have its own board of directors and leadership team.
Prior to being named Executive Director, Huq helped the credit union establish a number of strategic partnerships with school districts, civic and community leaders, and small businesses in her role as Business and Community Engagement Partner.
“Supporting our communities is the core of what the foundation is about,” said Huq. “The Texas Trust Gives Foundation will fund initiatives that enhance the education experience for children and make a positive difference in the lives of those being served by the numerous organizations we will support.”
Axxess Elevates Three People to Its Executive Leadership Team
Christopher Taylor, Shradha Aiyer, and Greg Orleans were named to new positions on Axxess’ executive leadership team.
Now the senior vice president of channel partnerships, Taylor will manage and develop relationships for Axxess. “I am excited to help further develop the robust partnerships Axxess has within the care at home industry,” said Taylor. “We are committed to helping our partners and the entire industry succeed and the best way to do that is by working together.”
Aiyer has been promoted to vice president of product development and will be responsible for strategic direction, architecture, and development of all of the company’s software solutions. To accomplish this, she will be working closely with external clients and internal stakeholders to outline the specifications for solutions that deliver a user-friendly experience.
In his new role as vice president of engineering, Orleans will drive the strategic direction of Axxess’ global engineering team in order to be hyper-responsive to client needs. He will work closely with Axxess’ product development and client experience teams in this role.
“As we continue to build our global capabilities to support our clients, our executive team is taking on even greater responsibilities to ensure we have the partnerships and solutions to meet industry needs even beyond what they have thought possible,” said Axxess founder and CEO John Olajide.
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