Seminar Moderators and Panelists
Rafael Anchía was elected in November 2004 as the representative of House District 103 in the Texas House of Representatives. His participation in a "court observer" program inspired him to become a lawyer and enter public service. This son of immigrants from Mexico and Spain has always viewed educational opportunity and achievement as the gateway to personal and professional fulfillment.
Rep. Anchía began his public service at the local level where he was twice elected to the Board of Trustees of the Dallas Independent School District. Rep. Anchía is an attorney with the law firm of Haynes & Boone, LLP. He specializes in public and corporate finance. In addition to his legal work, Rep. Anchía has distinguished himself in pro bono service and contributions to his community, earning his prior firm's 2000 Pro Bono Associate of the Year award. He was also recognized with the "Rising Star" award from the Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Dallas and as the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) national "Man of the Year."
Rep. Anchía is a graduate with Honors from Southern Methodist University and received is Juris doctorate from Tulane University.
Manuel Aybar started his career in 1997 as a Planning Engineer for Levis Strauss upon finishing his Bachelor's in Industrial Engineering. In 2000, he attained a Master's in Industrial Management from Rochester Institute of Technology, New York. From this time up to 2008, Manuel worked as a Senior Engineer in Texas Instruments advanced semiconductor manufacturing operations. Manuel developed Toolsim Simulation Scenarios for numerous processes in manufacturing, contributing to the company profit from operations in excess of $US 5 million per year. He was awarded a US patent for inventing a mathematical model to accurately predict headcount in such a complex manufacturing environment.
In 2008, Manuel decided to pursue an opportunity as an entrepreneur, starting Synetek Solutions of Texas, where he currently serves as a managing partner. Synetek Solutions provides small businesses the type of IT support that is only available to large corporations. With his accrued experience, Manuel develops processes to improve the technical efficiency of the small companies Synetek supports. In his free time, Manuel volunteers for several charities, both as a speaker and in many fundraising efforts.
Senior Associate VP
University of Texas at Arlington
Michele Bobadilla is Senior Associate VP for Outreach Services and Community Engagement at The University of Texas at Arlington. She believes passionately in her community and in the power of its people to affect change. She has served on the boards of thirty-five organizations and has actively maintained her civic/community involvement in more than fifty committees.
Ms. Bobadilla has received countless honors throughout her 33 years of service and leadership in education. She is the first Latina in the history of one of Dallas' oldest schools to be inducted into the Woodrow Wilson High School Hall of Fame. She has also been awarded the USHCC Ultimate Latina Award – Education; Outstanding Women in Texas Government Award – Community Involvement; SMU Profiles in Leadership Award, 2010; Commencement Speaker at TAMU – Commerce, 2009; Hispanic 100 President's Award, 2008; Greater Dallas Hispanic Chamber of Commerce's President's Award, 2008; and the National LULAC Woman of the Year, 2004.
Dean, Meadows School
Southern Methodist University
José Antonio Bowen, Dean of the Meadows School at SMU, has taught at Stanford and Georgetown, written over 100 scholarly articles, edited the Cambridge Companion to Conducting, and appeared as a musician in Europe, Africa, the Middle East and the US with Stan Getz, Bobby McFerrin, and others. He has written a symphony (nominated for the Pulitzer Prize), music for Hubert Laws and Jerry Garcia, and his latest CD, Uncrowded Night. He is an editor for Jazz: The Smithsonian Anthology and is currently on the boards of the Journal for the Society for American Music, Jazz Research Journal and the Library of Congress, and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts in England.
Bowen holds four degrees from Stanford University: a Bachelor of Science in chemistry, a Master of Arts in music composition, a Master of Arts in humanities and a joint Ph.D. in musicology and humanities.
MW Logistics, LLC
Randy Bowman is the president and co-owner of MW Logistics, LLC, in Dallas with responsibilities including strategy planning and execution, sales development, finance, process management and human resources. He is also a licensed attorney with experience in large and small firms. His clients included Fortune 100 companies, start ups as well as a substantial entertainment and sports practice.
Bowman earned his Doctor of Jurisprudence, from Whittier College School of Law where he graduated magna cum laude and was Editor-in-Chief of the Whittier Law Review. He received his Bachelor of Arts in Advertising at the University of Texas at Austin.
He currently serves on the Parkland Foundation Board of Directors, Stampede Track Club Board of Directors, Dallas Symphony Board of Governors, J. L. Turner Legal Association and Procter & Gamble's Supplier Advisory Council. Bowman previously was a member of the New Hope Baptist Church Board of Trustees, Dallas Bar Association, Greater Dallas Chamber of Commerce Small Business Resource Council, Black Entertainment and Sports Lawyers Association Board of Directors, and Dallas Black Academy of Arts and Letters Board of Directors.
Admissions/Enrollment Management Specialist
Paul Quinn College
Marcus Cage III is an attorney, educator, and mentor. Mr. Cage is currently the Admissions/Enrollment Management Specialist at Paul Quinn College in Dallas, Texas. He is also a solo practitioner at the Law Office of Moses Cage III, P.C. After a graduating from Bethune-Cookman University in 2003 and the Southern University Law Center in 2006, the native of New Orleans, Louisiana moved to Dallas in 2006 to start his legal career.
At Paul Quinn College, Mr. Cage is engaged in recruiting, admissions, and student retention. He is also the Director of Eligibility and Compliance for the college's athletic department.
As the lead attorney in the Law Office of Moses Cage III, P.C., Mr. Cage handles several family law matters, including divorce and child custody issues, in the Dallas-Ft. Worth area. Prior to becoming a solo practitioner, Mr. Cage practiced law at Thompson & Knight LLP, where he represented companies such as American Airlines and Ashland, Inc. in a variety of legal matters.
Patricia Rodriguez Christian is co-founder of Alliance of Diversity Printers LLC, a minority owned print management company. She also founded CRC Group, Inc. a mail and print center management provider and recently acquired Bent Tree Florist and Marcus Café restaurant.
Ms. Rodriguez Christian was a consultant to the U.S. Dept. of Commerce on diversity initiatives at the Office of Executive Budgeting and Assistance Management. Her program increased university sponsored research at Minority Serving Colleges and Universities for which she was awarded the Bronze Medal Award for Superior Federal Service in 1999. She also served on the United States Presidential Task Force of the National Information Infrastructure Advisory Council (NIIAC) and was once a Territory Sales Manager for Phillip Morris.
She has BS from University of Phoenix, an MPA from University of New Mexico and also attended The Washington Institute at Georgetown University and the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth.
In 2004, Carl Dorvil started Group Excellence (GEX), a tutoring and mentoring company certified to perform Supplemental Education Services (SES) as well as In-School programs. Dorvil graduated from SMU in 2005 with a Triple Major in Public Policy, Economics, and Psychology, with Distinction. He also received his MBA from SMU Cox School of Business.
In 2010, Dorvil received the Minority Business Leader award from the Dallas Business Journal (DBJ) and GEX made it to the Top 100 on SMU's Dallas 100 Fastest-Growing Businesses list.
In 2011, Dorvil was the youngest honoree on the DBJ's 40 Under Forty, and GEX was Number 450 on the Inc. 500 List of fastest-growing companies in the United States. Dorvil currently participates on the Investment Committee with Dallas Social Venture Partners (DSVP) and is the chair of the Young Leaders in Education for the SMU Simmons School of Education. Today, GEX is still working toward a goal established by Dorvil from the beginning - motivating and inspiring students to achieve excellence.
Rocky Duron & Associates
Marcus S. Duron is President & CEO of Rocky Duron & Associates ("RDA"), a material handling company that has been in business for almost 25 years. The company was started in the back of the Duron family garage, and today is one of the top MBE firms in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex and one of the top leading material handling companies in the US, having been ranked in the US Hispanic Business Magazine Top 500 Hispanic-Owned businesses in the US since 2004.
Marcus graduated from Southern Methodist University with degrees in Psychology and Communications. He was President of the College Hispanic Student Organization, a tennis scholarship recipient and member of Alpha Tau Omega Fraternity. Upon graduation, Marcus worked in the international sales division of Dow Jones/The Wall Street Journal, where he traveled extensively throughout Europe and Asia. His experience includes a run for the New York State Assembly and an appointment by Governor George Pataki as one of the Director's for the New York Department of Economic Development.
Marcus is on the SMU Alumni Board of Directors, serves as Vice Chairman for the Greater Dallas Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and is a member of the Hispanic Contractors Association of DFW. He also received the 2008 Distinguished Alumni Award by SMU.
Tiffani Evans is Regional Director of External Affairs for AT&T, responsible for government and community affairs in the City of Dallas, Dallas County and parts of Ellis County. Her career in the telecommunications industry spans more than 15 years and has involved management positions in Operator Services, Installation & Repair, Account Management, Competitive Analysis and Long Distance Compliance.
Tiffani received a B.S. in Business Administration from Florida A&M University and a MBA in International Business from Dallas Baptist University. She is a graduate of the Leadership Dallas and Leadership Southwest programs and serves on the board of several organizations, including the Urban League of Greater Dallas and North Texas, the Dallas Black Chamber of Commerce, and the Baylor Research Institute.
Neal Richards Group
Derrick Evers leads Neal Richards Group (NRG) with a versatile and deep knowledge of development, construction and planning, from both the design and execution perspectives. Mr. Evers has years of extensive and diverse project management experience, ranging from healthcare to government, corporate and academic developments. Under Evers' leadership, NRG has grown its business to over half a billion dollars of real estate and another half billion on the books in various levels of development.
Prior to co-founding Neal Richards Group, Mr. Evers was a lead in the health care practice of The Staubach Co., a leading provider of real estate services that has since joined with Jones Lang LaSalle. As an integral member of the company's project design services team, Mr. Evers led complex developments from inception to completion for all phases of projects. Under the mentorship of Roger Staubach, Mr. Evers' own strong sense of ethics and values was reinforced, forming the foundation for Neal Richards Group's entrepreneurial, client-first philosophy.
Before joining Staubach, Mr. Evers served on the Development Team with Trammell Crow Co., a national commercial real estate development company. He is also a Partner at glendonTodd Capital, a private equity firm focused on the business services sector and the healthcare industry. Additionally, he is an affiliate of Associated Builders and Contractors, Associated General Contractors, Healthcare Executives Network, Aggies Professional Network, Young Presidents' Organization - "Nominee", and a board member of the Frisco Square Development Committee. Mr. Evers was recently featured in D Magazines CEO edition for his under the radar success as the "Stealth Developer". Last year he was Neal Richard's Group recipient for DBJ's Best Real Estate Deal award.
Law of Office of
Cassandra M. Gandara graduated cum laude from the University of Texas at Dallas (UTD) with a BS in Business and was one of the first students to complete UTD's Academic Bridge Program. As a student, she founded and served as president of the Pancho Villa LULAC council for 3 years.
Cassandra received her Juris Doctor from the University of Houston (UH) Law Center and currently practices law. While at UH Law Center, she joined the Houston Business and Tax Law Journal and later served as Articles Editor. Her article Post 9/11 Backlash Discrimination in the Workplace-Employers Beware of Potential Double Recovery was published in 2007.
Cassandra is bilingual and has been an active member of LULAC for 9 years. In the wake of 9/11, she joined the Bill of Rights Defense Committee of Greater Dallas to help protect the fundamental rights of all Americans.
SVP, Analog Engineering Operations
Art George is senior vice president and manager over Texas Instruments' (TI's) Analog Engineering Operations. Formed in June 2010, his team is responsible for providing on-going engineering support and driving down production costs across TI's Analog product portfolio. George brought to the role unique insight gained through a variety of operational positions, where he managed or was involved in the development of thousands of new IC products.
He is a graduate of Southern University where he earned a bachelor's of science in electrical engineering in 1983. He also earned a master's degree in engineering management in 1990 from Southern Methodist University.
George has been honored at the Black Engineer of the Year Awards conference twice as one of the 100 Most Important Blacks in Technology. George is passionate about building up the next generation of engineers and he actively participates in engineering recruitment, talent development and diversity initiatives on behalf of TI.
As president of Howland PR, Lyria Howland is the lead strategist for the firm. With more than 25 years of public relations (PR) experience, she achieves business results for clients by building their reputations and relationships with diverse audiences.
Lyria is the former Chair of the National Diversity Committee for the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA), recipient of two PRSA presidential citations for leadership, and the D. Parke Gibson Award for Excellence in Multicultural Communications from PRSA. She serves on the advisory boards for Racing Toward Diversity Magazine and The Marcus Graham Project, and she co-chairs the Inclusion Initiative for the Dallas Women's Foundation. She is accredited in public relations (APR) by the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) and is a member of the Counselor's Academy.
PhD, MPH, CEO
2M Research Services, LLC
Dr. Marcus Martin is the founder and CEO of 2M Research Services, LLC. With offices in Atlanta, Georgia, Fort Worth, Texas, and Washington, DC, 2M Research Services, LLC is a minority-owned clinical research, health services research, and program evaluation consulting firm.
As a first generation college graduate who attended college on a football scholarship, Dr. Martin knows from experience that a great education along with a creative mind and an unwillingness to accept failure can produce success for anyone-regardless of where they start from in life.
He has served in leadership positions in the non-profit sector and academia, including as a college professor at the University of Oklahoma. He received his PhD in Sociology and Applied Statistics from Howard University and a Master's of Public Health Degree in Epidemiology and Community Health from the UNT Health Science Center.
President & Founder
RAIZ Public Relations
Mauricio Navarro is President and Founder of RAIZ Public Relations and Special Events Inc. (RAIZ Inc.). He is responsible for overseeing all departments and day-to-day activities that extend through a full-service marketing, web development, special events, corporate sponsorship sales/fulfillment, public relations and community relations firm, all targeting the growing Hispanic market. Mr. Navarro originated from a social work field of studies at the University of Texas at Austin. In the mid 90's, Mr. Navarro served as an Economic Development Coordinator for the City of Dallas. In 1998, he was contracted by the Dallas Burn of Major League Soccer to catapult the organization into the Hispanic community, as Director of Community Relations.
In 2000, Mr. Navarro was contracted as Director of Education for the Greater Dallas Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (GDHCC) where he developed a strong corporate and non-profit contact base, deeply rooted in education programs. Over the years, he developed a niche with the Hispanic community, journalists, corporate community, and non-profit community, enabling the creation of RAIZ Public Relations and Special Events Inc.
Mr. Navarro has served in numerous volunteer, advisory and community leadership positions including as past board president of the Anita N. Martinez Ballet Folklorico, Dallas Reads, Calumet Community Center Board, and as Chairman of the Board for Dallas, Texas and America Can! Academies.
Bracewell & Giuliani, LLP
Michael Pegues is an attorney in the Dallas office of Bracewell & Giuliani LLP. Michael has experience in complex business litigation, with an emphasis on patent litigation. He has also litigated cases involving copyrights, trademarks and trade secrets. Mr. Pegues actively consults and works closely with various types of clients on matters of protecting and enhancing the economic value of their intellectual property. Mr. Pegues is a former judicial clerk for the Honorable Richard A. Schell of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas. He received his Juris Doctor from Tulane University Law School in 1991 and his Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from Southern Methodist University in 1984.
He was selected by Texas Monthly as a "Super Lawyer" from 2003 - 2007, and he was recognized as an Emerging Leader by his alma mater, Southern Methodist University, School of Engineering. He was also recognized by Eclipse Magazine as one of its Dynamic African-American lawyers in the Dallas/Ft. Worth Metroplex and was named among D Magazine's "Best Lawyers in Dallas" in 2007 and 2008.
Manager, Higher Education & Student Programs
Arturo rejoined NASA's Johnson Space Center in 2012 as the Manager for Higher Education and Student Programs where he delivers NASA's contribution to our nation's efforts in achieving excellence in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, or STEM, education.
Prior to returning to NASA Arturo was Director, Education & Workforce for Texas Instruments (TI) where he was responsible for leading TI's K-12 science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education programs and investments, as well as managing TI's regional strategic university investments and relationships.
A function of human resources and public affairs, his activities included understanding TI's investments in education, leveraging university relationships and investments, growing the number of diverse students prepared to work in STEM based fields, and advocating for policies that support STEM initiatives.
Arturo began his career at NASA's Johnson Space Center, where his experiences included roles in Human Resources, Equal Opportunity, Education, Public Affairs, Community and Government Relations, and Communications and Outreach.
Arturo received his bachelors in business administration from Texas A&M International University in Laredo, Texas, and completed a master of public service administration at the George Bush School of Government and Public Service, at Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas.
Deputy Chief of Staff
Dallas Independent School District
Rawly Sanchez is the Deputy Chief of Staff for the Dallas Independent School District. Sanchez was promoted to his current role after serving five years as high school principal at W.H. Adamson High School, located in the heart of the Oak Cliff neighborhood of Dallas. While at Adamson, Sanchez and his staff moved the campus from a low-performing standard to Recognized, the second highest rating awarded by the Texas Education Agency. Adamson was a campus where 85 percent of the students qualified for free and reduced lunch; 80 percent were designated as ESL (English as a Second Language); and achieved only a 50 percent graduation rate.
Sanchez, earned a Master's of Education from Texas A & M University at Commerce, a Bachelor's of Interdisciplinary Studies from Southwestern Assemblies of God University, and is a doctoral student at The University of Texas in Austin.
Sanchez has been featured in a week-long series in the Dallas Morning News for the success of ESL students' graduation rates and by D Magazine as the "Tough Talker." He also received the Bronze Leadership Award from Junior Achievement and the Local Hero Award from Bank of America.
General Mgr, Communications
The Dallas Morning News
Publisher, Al Día
Alejandro "Alex" Sanchez is a Senior Executive with a 20-year record of success in the media industry including: Television, radio, print, online and event marketing. Leadership experience throughout the US and Mexico spans general management, sales, marketing, operations, news, programming, strategic partnering, and public relations.
Alex is the General Manager of Communications for The Dallas Morning News and Publisher of Al Dia where he is responsible for leading the company to profitability for the first time in its six year history.
Most recently, Alex was the Vice President and General Manager at LBI Media where he ran seven media properties (one TV and six radio stations) in the Dallas-Fort Worth market.
Alex began his career in media at Univision TV in San Antonio Texas, as local Account Executive. He also worked for Telemundo Network, where he received promotions from national Account Executive in Dallas to a sales manager in Miami, then on to a regional sales manager in Los Angeles.
He was then recruited to launch and operate the first Spanish-language TV and radio networks for the Dallas Cowboys Football Club. He was responsible for operations, sales, marketing and affiliate relations. Alex also served as executive producer an on air talent. Over the next seven years, Alex held General Management positions with Radio Unica in Houston and New York and with Entravision Communications in Monterey, California where we ran two television stations (Univision and Telefutura) and three radio stations.
Anchor / Reporter
KDFW Fox 4
Natalie Soils is an anchor and reporter for Fox 4 News. In her 10 years in television news, she's covered everything from presidential elections to natural and man-made disasters to immigration issues and the positive stories that shape the community. Natalie was born and raised in San Antonio, Texas. She went to Brown University and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science.
She's worked for television stations in New Jersey and Miami and has traveled extensively abroad. After three years in the sunshine state, she knew it was time to return home to Texas to be with friends, family and the community she loves most. In her free time, Natalie volunteers with Education is Freedom at North Dallas High School. She enjoys interacting with students and is passionate about getting them college-ready.
VP, Corporate Responsibility
As VP of Corporate Responsibility and Community Relations for JPMorgan Chase, Michelle Thomas manages a multi-million dollar corporate giving budget for Dallas and Austin and implements the firm's multifaceted strategic approach to philanthropy. She serves on the Dallas Market Leadership Team and represents the firm at community events.
Michelle has been in the financial industry for more than 20 years. A Dallas native, she earned a BS in Business Education from the University of Oklahoma and an MBA from Dallas Baptist University. She also received her teaching certification from the State of Texas and Oklahoma.
Michelle is personally committed to the community through her many volunteer roles, including Advisory Board Member of the Center for Nonprofit Management, Board of Director for the African American Museum, Vogel Alcove and UT Southwestern Medical Foundation. She is an alumnus of Leadership Dallas and a member of Dallas Assembly.
Teach for America
During high school, Tamara Urquhart was an exchange student to Brazil. This experience developed her love for community involvement and sustainable economic development. She studied Government and Economics at Cornell University, focusing specifically on economic and education development in Latin America. After graduating, she joined Teach For America as a fifth grade teacher in Atlanta, GA where she led 51 fifth grade scholars to achieve over 2.5 years of growth in Reading and Math.
Tamara later joined Teach For America’s recruitment team where she managed a portfolio of thirteen schools across Texas and Oklahoma. She enlisted students in the movement to end educational inequity in our country, resulting in over 200% application growth. As a result, Teach For America welcomed the largest, most diverse corps in organization history, placing over 4,500 teachers in 39 regions across the country.
Isaul Verdin has practiced immigration law since 1999 and has been certified in Immigration & Nationality Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. He has successfully represented clients in complex immigration matters before the 5th and 9th federal circuits, as well as the Board of Immigration Appeals.
Mr. Verdin graduated from Pepperdine University in Malibu, California in 1996 with a degree in International Studies, and a minor in History. He graduated from Loyola Law School in Los Angeles in 1999, where he obtained honors in International Law and began his work in immigration law by volunteering to defend immigrants in removal proceedings.
Mr. Verdin served as a distinguished military officer in the U. S. Army during the Iraq War and received the Meritorious Service Medal. He achieved the rank of Captain in the Judge Advocate Generals Corps. While in the Army, Mr. Verdin represented hundreds of soldier clients and their spouses to obtain permanent residency and citizenship. He also litigated criminal cases as a Trial Attorney. He received a prestigious appointment from the U. S. Attorney's Office to serve as a Special Assistant United States Attorney. In this capacity, Mr. Verdin prosecuted hundreds of federal misdemeanor cases.
Mr. Verdin also has had the great fortune to have successfully litigated hundreds of complex cases at both the trial and appellate levels throughout the United States. Mr. Verdin victoriously has argued cases involving withholding of removal, adjustment of status, fraud waivers, criminal waivers, termination, and cancellation of removal.
Mr. Verdin is a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association. He also is admitted to practice in the state of Texas, in the Federal Eastern District of Texas, and in the Fifth Federal Circuit of the United States. Additionally, Mr. Verdin is an avid runner and adventure enthusiast. He has run several marathons and is airborne qualified, as he successfully jumped out of military aircraft while in the military. Mr. Verdin is fluent Spanish and is a student of the French language.