DI People: Perot Museum, Women’s Foodservice Forum, Nicholas Residential, and More Make Moves

In this weekly roundup of executive moves in North Texas, you'll also find news from Stack Sports, Perkins Coie, Duane Morris, INTRUSION, Plutus21, and more.

Across North Texas, companies are promoting and hiring people to take on leadership positions within their organizations.

Dallas Innovates covers prominent personnel moves in Dallas-Fort Worth businesses and nonprofits—from the newest startups to well-established companies. Here are the people moves tied to innovation and technology in the region.

Don’t miss a move: Get Dallas Innovates Every Day. Have a move? Let us know.

Perot Museum names a chief learning officer

Jessica Chavez

The Perot Museum of Nature and Science has named Jessica Chavez, a veteran education leader, as its chief learning officer following her relocation to Dallas.

Most recently, Chavez was the VP of Innovative Learning Strategies at the Arizona Science Center in Phoenix, where she has worked since 2015. There, she helped lead the creation of CONNECT, a digital platform that integrates outreach and formal educational programming to an online format for education and public users. She was also an educator for more than 15 years.

“Jessica brings extensive expertise in education, innovation and strategic planning—particularly in the digital arena—which will be crucial as the Perot Museum moves forward as a beacon for STEM learning and careers,” Dr. Linda Silver, Eugene McDermott CEO of the Perot Museum of Nature and Science, said in a statement. “We look forward to Jessica’s think-big approach as we strive to fulfill our mission of inspiring minds through nature and science.”

Women’s Foodservice Forum appoints new Board members

Kathleen Ciaramello

Dallas-based Women’s Foodservice Forum (WFF), which advocates for women in the food and beverage industry, has elected four senior leaders to its 2021 Board of Directors and named its newest Executive Committee members.

The Board is made up of industry executives from some of the world’s largest brands. They are tasked with increasing opportunities for women and cultivating gender-diverse leadership. WFF Board members serve two successive, three-year terms starting Jan. 1 and concluding December 31, 2026.  

Kathleen Ciaramello, the chief customer officer for Coca-Cola North America, was named the WFF Board Chair for 2021. Tracy Skeans, the chief operating officer and chief people officer at Yum! Brands, has been appointed Chair-Elect, and will succeed to Chair in the next year. Sysco SVP and Chief Accounting Officer Anita Zielinski has moved to the role of Treasurer, and will succeed to Chair-Elect and Chair over the next three years.

WFF Board members serve two consecutive three-year terms starting January 1, 2021 and concluding December 31, 2026.

The new Board members are: Christina Clarke, Wingstop’s SVP and chief marketing officer; Catherine Fox, VP of Brand and Product Marketing for Land O’Lakes, Inc.’s Dairy Foods Foodservice and Retail businesses; Kelly Lefferts, executive vice president, chief legal officer and secretary of Bloomin’ Brands; and Coley O’Brien, chief people officer at The Wendy’s Company.

Nicholas Residential hires a new COO

Tasha Krawiec

Dallas-based Nicholas Residential, a privately held real estate investment firm, has named Tasha Krawiec as its new chief operating officer to oversee operations for Bellevue holdings, a fully owned subsidiary.

Krawiec has around two decades of experience as a multifamily executive in operational and fiscal management. Specifically, in competitive markets, she has specialized in conventional, renovation, value add, new construction, and student and affordable properties. She previously held positions at Colonial Properties Trust, Bernard Allison Management Services, Landmark Apartment Trust of America, and, most recently, BH Management Services.

“The addition of Tasha Krawiec as COO of Nicholas Residential and Bellevue brings an experienced property operations veteran and natural leader to our firm,” Nicholas Residential President and CEO Paul Panza said in a statement. “We are excited to welcome Tasha to the Nicholas family and look forward to our continued growth in 2021.”

Stack Sports Leadership Team adds a VP of Growth and Market Strategy

Andrew Hiatt

Plano-based Stack Sports, a provider of tech-based sports league management solutions, has brought on Andrew R. Hiatt as its new VP of Growth and Market Strategy.

Hiatt will be tasked with partnering with clubs, leagues, and associations to grow soccer participation through Stack Sports’ technology solutions and services in his new role. He has around fifteen years of experience in youth soccer, most recently serving as COO for U.S. Youth Soccer. Before that, he was the CEO of Utah Youth Soccer.

“Drew’s extensive track record of growing the sport through partnerships and innovation make him a perfect addition to our leadership team,” Tom Arnett, general manager of Sports Connect and U.S. Soccer Connect for Stack Sports, said in a statement. “We’ve worked with Drew for a number of years in his previous roles, and his integrity, creativity, and understanding of the youth soccer landscape are unmatched. He makes our entire team better on day 1.”

Perkins Coie names a managing partner in its Dallas Office

Jill Louis

International tech-focused law firm Perkins Coie has appointed Jill Louis, a partner in the Corporate & Securities practice, as an office managing partner in Dallas.

Louis succeeds Dean Harvey, who has held the position since May 2019. In her new role, she will continue to focus her legal practice on private equity and corporate representation. Louis has a breadth of experience advising multi-location retail and industrial sector companies, and is an active member of the Dallas community, serving on the Board at the AT&T Performing Arts Center and North Texas Public Broadcasting.

“Jill is a highly regarded attorney with strong leadership experience who is respected by clients and peers alike. She will make an exceptional office managing partner in the Dallas market,” Bill Malley, Perkins Coie’s firm-wide managing partner, said in a statement. “Jill has deep connections across the Dallas business community and beyond. Combined with her entrepreneurial spirit, we know she will be an effective and inspiring leader for all our Dallas attorneys and staff.”

Duane Morris opens a Dallas Office

Duane Morris LLP, a law firm headquartered in Philadelphia, has opened a new office in Dallas and added four Trial partners to its team there: Robert M. Castle III, Randy D. Gordon, Jamie R. Welton, and Lucas “Luke” Wohlford.

The opening represents Duane Morris’ efforts to boost domestic operations within the high-technology and energy sectors in Texas. The firm sees Dallas as “one of the most diverse regional economies in the nation,” with a thriving commercial environment.

“For more than 20 years, we have focused on and invested in Texas. With our new Dallas location and team, our commitment is clear,” Matthew A. Taylor, chairman and CEO of Duane Morris, said in a statement. “Duane Morris now has a critical mass of legal talent and a footprint in key markets, including Houston and Austin, and we expect to expand our presence in Texas in the years to come.”

The group comes to Duane Morris from Barnes & Thornburg LLP. Castle represents clients in a variety of industries, with a focus on the healthcare industry; Gordon has more than 25 years of experience in complex litigation for public and private companies; Welton represents clients in high-profile, complex commercial claims in state and federal courts; and Wohlford is a trial attorney who represents individuals, family-owned businesses, and publicly and privately held companies in commercial disputes. 

INTRUSION adds to its Board of Directors

Plano-based INTRUSION—a provider of entity identification, high speed data mining, cybercrime, and advanced persistent threat detection services—has appointed Katrinka McCallum as the newest member of its Board of Directors.

McCallum was most recently the VP of Customer and Product Experience at Red Hat, a provider of enterprise open source solutions that was acquired by IBM in 2019. She has more than two decades of experience in enterprise software, previously leading business units, sales and marketing organizations, and engineering and operations teams. 

“We are beyond thrilled to have Katrinka join INTRUSION’s Board of Directors and welcome her to our team,” Tony LeVecchio, chairman of the Board, said in a statement. “Her outstanding executive experience and board involvement brings great perspective and fresh ideas to our company. Katrinka’s background and skillsets make her a natural fit for this seat.”

Plutus21 expands

Narmeen Merchant

Tania Dawood

Hamiz Awan, the founder and a partner at Dallas-based Plutus21 Capital, announced on LinkedIn that Narmeen Merchant and Tania Dawood were joining his team to lead the firm’s next stage of growth.

Merchant will serve as an associate and Dawood as a marketing associate.

Plutus21 is a local multistrategy investment firm that focuses on alternative assets like crypto, venture capital, and real estate. The firm believes that by tracking adoption and targeting market inefficiencies, it can maximize risk-adjusted returns.

Plutus21 Capital generally works with high-net-worth investors and family offices, but recently is started to “make a concerted push to raise institutional capital.”

Texans Can Academies names new leadership

James Ponce

Texans Can Academies, a district of dropout recovery schools, has announced that its superintendent, Dr. James Ponce, will assume responsibility for all areas of School District operations following the retirement of CEO and President Richard Marquez.

Marquez has been with the organization since 2007, leading expansion efforts to promote literacy and thinking and provide services to students in need.

Ponce joined Texans Can in 2016 as its chief of schools, and has since overseen all academic strategy, staff, and instructional implementation in the district. He also managed the district’s facilities and instructional budgets. He has some 28 years of experience as an educator and administrator, previously serving as the superintendent of schools for the McAllen, Texas, school district.

The Catholic Foundation adds new trustees to its Board

Aileen Pratt

The Catholic Foundation, a Dallas-based trusted giving vehicle for the Catholic community, has elected Fernando Blanco, Dr. Mauricio Delgado, John Dziminski, and Jeff Schiefelbein to its Board of Trustees and Aileen Pratt as its Board Chair.

Blanco is the VP and chief information security officer at CHRISTUS Health, Delgado is a professor at UT Southwestern Medical Center and retired pediatric neurologist, Dziminski is president and CEO of The Rosewood Corporation, and Schiefelbein is the chief cultural officer for 5.

Pratt succeeds G. Marc Lyons, who has been Board chair for the past two years. She will serve in a two-year term and the new trustees will serve a three-year term.

“The Catholic Foundation is honored to have Aileen as our new board chair given her strong leadership and service to The Catholic Foundation over the years. This past year demonstrated that goals can be accomplished, and dreams can be realized even in the most difficult circumstances,” Matt Kramer, president and CEO of The Catholic Foundation, said in a statement. “With great confidence and gratitude, I welcome Aileen and our four new trustees to continue the outstanding legacy of The Catholic Foundation in the years ahead.”

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