Governor Abbott Appoints 12 To Governor’s Commission For Women
Governor Greg Abbott has reappointed Estela Avery, Tina Yturria Buford, Starr Corbin, Karen Harris, Amy Henderson, Karen Manning, Imelda Navarro, Rienke Radler, Jinous Rouhani, Catherine Susser, and Laura Koenig Young, and appointed Nathali Parker to the Governor's Commission for Women for terms set to expire on December 31, 2019. Additionally, Susser will continue to serve as chairman and Harris will continue to serve as vice chairman. Governor Abbott is charging this commission with developing a strategy and implementation plan to help make Texas the number one state for women-owned businesses, to help address the issue of human trafficking, and to help rebuilding efforts following Hurricane Harvey. Within the Texas Governor’s Economic Development Division, the commission specializes in outreach, education, research and referral services.
In addition, Michelle Esper-Martin has been hired to serve as the executive director of the Texas Governor's Commission For Women.
Estela Avery of Fredericksburg is the former executive director of the San Antonio River Foundation. Previously, she was a consultant for Lee & Associates and owned a gift shop in Fredericksburg. After her retirement last year, Estela has now opened a special events venue, Alegria, in Fredericksburg. She is a member of Impact San Antonio and serves on the National Parks Conservation Association Board. Additionally, she served on the boards of Providence Catholic School, YMCA, KLRN, Nursing Advisory Council for The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio School of Nursing, Peterson Regional Hospital in Kerrville, Good Samaritan Clinic, and the Needs Council in Fredericksburg. Avery graduated as a registered nurse from the San Antonio College School of Nursing and also attended the Institute for Charitable Giving for non-profit training.
Tina Yturria Buford of Harlingen is the education project manager for the East Foundation, developing natural resource education programs for South Texas youth. In addition, she works alongside her family at the H. Yturria Land and Cattle Company. She is president of Texan by Nature, director of the Sand County Foundation, and advisory board member for the Texas Agricultural Land Trust. She previously served as president of both the Texas Wildlife Association and Texas Wildlife Association Foundation. Buford received a Bachelor of Science in rangeland ecology and management from Texas A&M University and a certificate in ranch management from Texas Christian University School of Ranch Management.
Starr Corbin of Georgetown is the vice president of Programming and Playback Systems for iHeartMedia. Previously, she was an information technology consultant for Capgemini, and a senior IT manager for the University of Texas (UT) at Austin. She began her career in the Unites States Army as a Signal Officer, and served with the First Cavalry Division and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers during Operation Iraqi Freedom in Baghdad, Iraq. She is a trustee of the First Cavalry Division Foundation and a board member for the First Cavalry Division Association. Additionally, she is the former co-founder of the Student Veteran’s Association at UT Austin. Corbin received a Bachelor of General Studies from Texas Christian University, a Master of Arts in women's studies, and a Master of Business Administration from UT Austin.
Karen Harris of Lakehills is owner and CEO of Proton Mechanical Systems. She is the Chaplin for Safe Harbor Compliance, founder of Medicine for the Heart Ministries, Inc., and a teacher and leadership team member for Women Wanting Wisdom Ministries International. She is a former member of the Health and Human Services Council and the Texas Education Agency for Academic Achievement Distinction Advisory Committee. Harris received an Associate of Science in radiologic science from Virginia Commonwealth University - Medical College. Additionally, she is an ordained minister with training in Christian counseling from the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor and the Therapon Institute.
Amy Henderson of Amarillo is a commercial loan officer with Amarillo National Bank. She is a board member for the Amarillo Chamber of Commerce Business Council and WT Enterprise Center Advisory Board, and board secretary for Window on a Wider World. Additionally, she is a member of the Risk Management Association and the Independent Bankers Association of Texas, and past board president for the Texas Panhandle Regional Development Corporation. Henderson also served in the United States Air Force as an Information Management Specialist. She received an Associate of Arts in accounting from Amarillo College and a Bachelor of Arts in finance from West Texas A&M University. She is currently pursuing a Master in Business Administration in general business from West Texas A&M University.
Karen Manning of Houston is a healthcare professional who volunteers in her community focusing on women, children, and healthcare issues. She is a pharmacist who has served in roles of management at a large retail pharmacy chain and is a mentor to many interns. She is a former board member of Project Row House and the Houston Museum of African American Culture. Manning received a Bachelor of Science in pharmacy from Texas Southern University.
Imelda Navarro of Laredo is president of Retail Banking for International Bancshares Corporation. She is a board member for Mercy Ministries Development Council. She previously served as a director for the Laredo Chamber of Commerce and as president of the Texas A&M International University Alumni Association, Domestic Violence Coalition, Laredo Commission for Women, Financial Women International, and the Laredo Business Professional Women’s Association. Additionally, she is former chairman of the Laredo Center for the Arts and former member of the Mercy Regional Medical Center Advisory Board. Navarro received a Bachelor of Business Administration from Laredo State University.
Rienke Radler of Fort Worth is a community volunteer and philanthropist. Previously, she worked as a physiotherapist in South Africa and the United Kingdom. She is a member of the Fort Worth Pregnancy Center and the Radler Foundation and a former member of the Texas Ballet Theater Executive Board of Directors. She is also a group leader at Bible Study Fellowship International. Radler received a Bachelor of Science in physiotherapy from the University of the Freestate in South Africa.
Jinous Rouhani of Austin is CEO of Austin Area Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Fertility. Previously, she served as CEO of Medexecs and as CAO for Texas Cardiovascular Consultants. She is a member of the Medical Group Management Association and a mentor for the St. David’s Healthcare Foundation and the Young Women’s Alliance. She previously served as an advisor to the Austin Children’s Shelter and the organization Aware, Awake, Alive. She has also participated on the Children of Haiti support team. Rouhani received a Bachelor of Science in computer science and mathematics and a Master of Business Administration from St. Edward’s University.
Catherine Susser of Corpus Christi is a community volunteer and school board member for the Corpus Christi Independent School District (ISD). She has served as chief accountant for Corpus Christi ISD and a senior accountant at Price Waterhouse. She is a “Go Red for Women” member of the American Heart Association of Corpus Christi. She also serves as an appointee by Speaker Joe Straus to the Texas Commission of Next Generation Assessment and Accountability. She is former president of the Corpus Christi Charity League and the Windsor Park Elementary Parent Teacher Association. Susser received a Bachelor of Business Administration and a Master of Public Accounting from The University of Texas at Austin.
Laura Koenig Young of Tyler is president of sales and marketing for Brighton Collectibles. She is a member of the International Council of Shopping Centers and the Harvard Club of Dallas visionary member of the Women’s Fund, and a sustainer member for the Junior League of Tyler. Additionally, she is a board member for Cancer Foundation for Life, East Texas Symphony Orchestra, and the East Texas Communities Foundation, and a former board member for the Southern Methodist University (SMU) Alumni Association. Young received a Bachelor of Business Administration in marketing from SMU, and has completed the Owner/President Management program at Harvard Business School.
Nathali Parker of Round Rock is owner and president of KLP Commercial, a heavy civil wholesale construction materials company out of Rosebud. Previously, she was the owner, creator, and producer of NatPark Productions, Inc, and a business development executive consultant for companies such as Montblanc, 24 Hour Fitness, and Valla S.p.A. She is a committee member and task force member of the Association of General Contractors (AGC) – Heavy Civil and Utilities Division, committee member of the Texas Asphalt Pavement Association (TXAPA), and an association member of the Austin Contractors and Engineers Association (ACEA) and the National Utility Contractors Association (NUCA). Parker received a Bachelor of Science from Texas State University.
Michelle Esper-Martin serves as the executive director of the Texas Governor’s Commission for Women. Most recently, she served the Texas Department of Agriculture in its Trade and Business Development Division. Prior to joining the state, her experience included over 20 years at Fortune 500 companies. Esper-Martin holds a Bachelor of Business Administration in marketing from the University of North Texas and a Master of Arts in organizational management from the University of Phoenix.