BOARD OF DIRECTORS

 
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Joseph Williams - Chairman

Joe Williams is the Founder and Lead Consultant of Beacon Street Financial Group, LLC, a Frisco, Texas-based Management Consulting firm specializing in providing financial and strategic consulting services to corporations, financial institutions, development organizations and governmental entities. 

Joe is a proven leader with over 35 years of experience in Banking, Investment Banking and managing complex businesses. Mr. Williams is the former President & CEO of Hibernia Southcoast Capital, a New Orleans-based Investment Bank acquired by Capital One. After Hurricane Katrina, at the request of the Mayor of New Orleans, he assumed leadership of the New Orleans Redevelopment Authority (NORA), an agency that, under his leadership, played a critical role in New Orleans’ recovery. 

Williams currently sits on the Advisory Board of the University of North Texas College of Music. His previous Board leadership experience includes serving as Chairman of the Finance Committee of the Louisiana Land Trust, Chairman of the Finance Committee of the Greater New Orleans Foundation and Chairman of the Intergovernmental Affairs Committee of the New Orleans City Planning Commission. Joe holds an MBA in Finance and Multinational Enterprise from The Wharton School and a B.S. in Finance from The Questrom School of Business at Boston University.  

 

Geoff Green - board Secretary

Geoff Green served as the CEO and co-founder of the recently sold company, Netvious Networks, a leading-edge mobility solutions provider. Netvious was recognized by Inc. Magazine as one of the 137th fastest growing company in the United States, and the 15th fastest growing IT Services Company in the nation with a three-year growth rate of 2,573%. 

Prior to Netvious, Geoff served as President of the Extended Warranty Group, a leading direct seller of warranty contracts. An entrepreneurial operating executive, Geoff brings over 20 years of experience in executive marketing, strategy and business development, as well as extensive global business proficiency across the financial service and technology sectors. Highlights include financial services marketing and strategy roles at such powerhouses as American Express, GE Capital, and Citigroup, as well as operating roles at AIG, including leading a global joint venture which promoted insurance and financial service products in 27 countries worldwide. Geoff has successfully worked across a broad range of geographies and cultures, including China, Asia, Europe, Russia, and Latin America 

Green currently sits on the boards of Visit Dallas, Dallas Contemporary, and Rainbow Days, a non-profit organization serving at risk children. Geoff is also past Board Chair of the Urban League of Southwestern Connecticut. Geoff holds a BA in Economics, as well as a BA in Chinese History from the University of California, and an MBA from the University of Michigan where he was an Exxon Fellow.

 
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Cindi Ellis - Board member

Cindi Ellis works for IBM in corporate advertising and has worked on campaign launches, cultivating strategic marketing partnerships and development of brand amplification campaigns demonstrating IBM Watson’s cognitive capabilities. 

Cindi is a respected multi-industry marketing professional with a background of more than 25 years that spans across a diverse set of preeminent global B2B and B2C corporate brands. She has a curious nature and a passion for solving marketing challenges with “the big idea” whether tackling small or large projects. Her innate ability to connect with others has enabled her to lead cross-functional teams and identify and build strategic partnerships that connect the dots between people, brands and culture. 

Cindi has served on the Board of Directors for Youth with Faces that provides nonprofit support services for juvenile offenders at the Dallas County’s Youth Village and Medlock Residential Treatment Center.

 

 
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CHAD HOUSER - BOARD MEMBER

Chad Houser is the Founder, CEO and Executive Chef of Café Momentum, Café Momentum, a Dallas-based restaurant and culinary training facility that transforms young people’s lives by providing a positive environment in which at-risk youth who have spent time in juvenile facilities receive intensive culinary, job and life-skill training, as well as continued mentorship and support, enabling them to achieve their full potential. As a 501(c)(3) nonprofit restaurant, Café Momentum teaches critical skills that allow youth to apply what they have been taught in pre-release programs in a safe, real-world environment of nurturing accountability. By participating in our program, at-risk young men and women rotate through every aspect of the restaurant from waiting tables to washing dishes, while working side-by-side with established chefs.

After 17 years as a chef, Chad sold his partnership of Parigi Restaurant to devote his full attention to the role of Executive Director of Café Momentum in 2012.

In the community, Chad has previously served as President of the board of directors for Dallas Farmers Market Friends and as vice Chair of the El Centro Exes Association (Houser received his culinary training at El Centro) where is also a member of the El Centro College Food and Hospitality Institute “Hall of Fame.”

 

JASON HERNANDEZ - BOARD MEMBER

Jason Hernandez, at the age of 21, was sentenced to life without parole for a nonviolent drug offense in 1998. Thirteen years into his prison sentence Jason started his own grass roots sentencing reform organization called “Crack Open the Door”. In addition, Jason also filed his own clemency petition along with a personal letter to then President Barack Obama. Over two years later December 19, 2013, President Obama responded by granting Jason clemency. 

After seventeen and half years in prison Jason was released On August 11, 2015, and immediately began assisting in the filing of clemency petitions on behalf of prisoners serving life without parole: Jason, ultimately, through President Barack Obama gained the freedom for nearly a dozen of these prisoners. He continues to file clemency Petitions for Prisoners.

Recently, Jason has worked as the Youth Outreach and Program Developer for A Substance of Center Called Grace to Change and mentors and volunteers with schools in his city of McKinney through programs he has created that involve yoga, Christmas events for kids with incarcerated parents, poetry project for students in juvenile, and other programs. 

Jason is a leading voice and advocate for criminal justice reform and has written and spoke on topics from clemency reform, bans the box, ending mass incarceration for media outlets such as The Guardian, The New York Times, MSNBC and others. He is currently writing his memoir and creating a Clemency Toolkit for people incarcerated through a Latino Justice Fellowship and a Soros Justice Fellowship.

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Kathleen Leonard - Board Member

Kathy Leonard is co-founder and President of Freeman + Leonard. Freeman + Leonard provides marketing communications services, from strategy and planning to execution—in all disciplines, including advertising, promotions, retail, digital, public relations and corporate communications.

Kathy’s background includes brand strategy and advertising, promotional marketing and retail/shopper marketing and her career in advertising features more than 25 years in account service. Formerly, Kathy was president and a member of the executive leadership team of Tracy Locke. She was also president of The Integer Group, a retail and promotions agency, and was senior account director with international advertising agency DDB.

Kathy has served as a Board Member or Director, Executive Women's Roundtable of Dallas Regional Chamber since 2001; The Executive Women's Roundtable (EWR) is an exclusive group of Dallas' 150 Top Professional Business Women.

Kathy was recently honored by the Dallas Business Journal as one of the 25 most influential women in business. She serves on several academic and community boards. Kathy has bachelors and master’s degrees from Oklahoma State University.

 


EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

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Jerry SilhaN

Jerry Silhan is the former VP of Sales, Marketing and Distribution for Bertelsmann Music Group. In 2005 as the industry downsized and merged he took early retirement and moved back to Dallas, Texas. Jerry has been a volunteer in public corrections agencies for over 30 years.  

Jerry has also served on the Board of Directors and as the Executive Director of The Youth Village Foundation, a 501(c)3 with a mission of helping adjudicated youth learn skills that would reduce recidivism. Jerry worked with the BOD and developed community partners to create programs for the young men and women geared to education and employable skill development.  

Jerry is a noted community leader responsible for developed programs including: Nutrition/Culinary Arts via partnership with the North Texas Food Bank,  Horticulture/Farming via partnership with Texas Agri-Life Extension, Serve Safe Federal Food Handler via partnership with El Centro Community College’s Culinary Program, Career/Jobs Readiness and Financial Capability via partnership with Texas Workforce Commission, Dog Training Program via partnership with Canine Dimensions and the nationally recognized Cafe Momentum via partnership with Janice Provost, owner of Parigi Restaurant and Chad Houser.