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New Leaders Council

2016 Fellows



Uche Chibueze, Chief Psychologist, Harris County Juvenile Forensic Department

Dr. Uche Chibueze is a Licensed and Board Certified Clinical Psychologist in the State of Texas. She received her doctoral degree in Clinical Psychology from Texas Professional School of Psychology and her master’s degree in Counseling from Baylor University. Dr. Chibueze also earned her Diplomate in Clinical Psychology through the American Board of Professional Psychology (ABPP).

Dr. Chibueze presently serves as the Chief Psychologist of the Harris County Juvenile Forensic Department where she conducts forensic evaluations on the juvenile population. Dr. Chibueze also serves as an expert witness for the juvenile court and has provided testimony regarding juvenile competence to stand trial, risk for violence, waiver of jurisdiction considerations, and legal responsibility. Dr. Chibueze also serves as the Assistant Training Director for the Harris County Juvenile Probation Department (HCJPD) APA approved doctoral internship program. Her role as Assistant Training Director involves providing supervision and didactic trainings for doctoral level interns that come from a variety of psychology programs located throughout the United States. The HCJPD training program also provides practicum opportunities for students enrolled in doctoral and masters level programs at Sam Houston University, University of Houston, and Prairie View A&M University.

Dr. Chibueze is also the owner of a private practice called Houston C.O.P.E.S. PLLC (Houston Counseling Outreach and Psychological Evaluation Services) where she contracts with various group homes, residential treatment centers, and DFPS to provide assessment and treatment services. She also conducts immigration evaluations. Dr. Chibueze also serves as an adjunct professor for various universities in the Houston area including Prairie View A&M University, University of Houston, and University of Phoenix.

Dr. Chibueze was born in Nigeria but spent the majority of her formative years in England before immigrating the United States as an adolescent. Her experience as a child of the African diaspora has also influenced her to conduct research to explore the impact of the acculturation process on African immigrant families. She was also instrumental in creating one of the first clinical measures geared specifically for the African immigrant population. In addition, Dr. Chibueze has provided presentations on mental health issues affecting the Black population for the American Psychological Association and Texas Psychological Association annual conferences.

Marc Eichenbaum, Deputy Special Assistant to the Mayor for Homeless Initiatives

Marc Eichenbaum serves as the Deputy Special Assistant to the Mayor for Homeless Initiatives. Marc is a licensed attorney who specializes in public policy, strategic communications and governmental affairs.

Appointed by Houston Mayor Annise Parker, Marc manages the City’s involvement in The Way Home, Houston’s nationally recognized homeless housing initiative. Since 2012, The Way Home has housed more than 2,900 chronically homeless individuals and 4,190 homeless veterans, effectively ending veteran homelessness and reducing overall homelessness by nearly 50%.

Previously, Marc oversaw external affairs for the City’s Housing and Community Development Department – serving as the Department’s spokesperson while overseeing community and legislative relations. In addition to successfully advocating for the passage of over 200 pieces of local legislation, Marc worked on a variety of community revitalization and economic development initiatives.

Marc’s prior endeavors include managing a multi-million dollar political campaign and working on a national political convention.

Marc received a dual B.A. in Government and American Studies from The University of Texas at Austin and a J.D. from South Texas College of Law. He serves on the board of the Holocaust Museum Houston and on leadership committees for numerous organizations, including the Hermann Park Conservancy, the Alley Theatre, and the Jewish Federation of Houston. Marc is a Coca-Cola Scholar and a Leadership Houston Fellow, as well as a member of The University of Texas Friars Society.

Geneva L. Englebrecht, Attorney, Thompson & Horton

Geneva L. Englebrecht joined the Houston office of Thompson & Horton in 2014. Prior to moving to Texas, Ms. Englebrecht was a Senior Attorney with the California law firm of Atkinson, Andelson, Loya, Ruud & Romo and represented school districts, county offices of education, special education local plan areas, and community colleges. Ms. Englebrecht has extensive experience in disability and special education law, advocacy, training, mediation, and due process hearings. She regularly advises clients regarding the Individuals with Disability in Education Act, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and the Americans with Disabilities Act. Ms. Englebrecht also has experience assisting clients with discrimination complaints filed with the U.S. Office for Civil Rights.
Ms. Englebrecht is a 2014 Super Lawyers Rising Star. In 2009 the California Bar Foundation honored Ms. Englebrecht with the Rosenthal Bar Exam Scholarship Award for her dedication to public interest law. Ms. Englebrecht is a Full Fellow in the Whittier Center for Children’s Rights and has been an invited guest speaker at Whittier College of Law on Disability and Special Education and at California State University Long Beach on higher education for the socio-economically disadvantaged.

Ms. Englebrecht is a frequent guest speaker for school administrators, attorneys, teachers, students, parents, community organizations, and school police on such topics as Section 504, student discipline, special education, deaf and hard of hearing litigation, and anti-bullying in general and special education, law enforcement on school campuses, and higher education for the socio-economically disadvantaged. Ms. Englebrecht served as an extern in special education matters and provided free special education legal training for low-income military families.

Prior to law school Ms. Englebrecht enjoyed a career in hospital, medical group, and health plan administration and management and is emergency response and light search and rescue certified. Ms. Englebrecht volunteered at a woman’s shelters as a Certified Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Crisis Counselor, provided in court support for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault, and was a featured guest speaker for nine years at California State University Long Beach on child abuse and molestation.

Ms. Englebrecht has also volunteered at a children’s shelter for court involved youth, homeless shelter, and juvenile detention center. She was a Girl Scout leader, color guard choreographer, and Founder of the annual Whittier Law School Diversity Fair which allows socio-economically disadvantaged high school and middle school student to visit the law school and encourages higher education.

Eureka Gilkey, Executive Director, Project Row Houses

Eureka Gilkey serves as the Executive Director of Project Row Houses, a community-based arts and culture non-profit organization in Houston’s northern Third Ward. Eureka manages a dedicated team that uses art as a mechanism to transform the community and preserve its culture while providing education and economic opportunities to its residents.

Prior to moving to Houston, Eureka spent over fifteen years working in Washington, D.C. on behalf of elected officials and progressive organizations. Eureka successfully served in various leadership roles in the Obama Administration including Senior Advisor and Director of Intergovernmental Affairs for the 2013 Presidential Inaugural Committee, Director of Intergovernmental Affairs and Outreach for the 2012 Democratic National Convention, White House Liaison for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development as well as National Deputy Political Director for Obama for America.

A passionate organizer, Eureka credits EMILY’s List for fueling her commitment to progressive causes by offering her a position in the organization’s political department in 1998. Eureka is a graduate of Howard University and resides in Houston’s Historic Third Ward..

Biko Mandela Gray, PhD Candidate, Rice University

Biko Mandela Gray is a PhD candidate in Religious studies at Rice University. He is currently in the process of developing the Alibi X Nation, a 501(c)3 organization that will focus on fostering leadership development, public engagement, and creative expression amongst young people of color.

Ariell Hardy Ojumah, Document Specialist, Percheron, LLC


Ariell Hardy Ojumah is currently a Document Specialist at Percheron, LLC, a land services company integrating energy, field services, and survey. She received her Juris Doctor from the University of Houston Law Center and is licensed to practice before the State Bar of Texas. Ariell earned a Masters in Social Work from Columbia University and a Bachelor of Science from the University of Texas.

While at UHLC, Ariell had the honor of clerking for the Honorable Emily Tobolowsky in the 298th Civil District Court, as well as interning for The United States Attorney’s Office – Southern District of Texas and the Department of Justice – Environment and Natural Resources Division in Washington, D.C. She was also a Senior Editor on the Journal of Consumer & Commercial Law.

Ariell is passionate about community service and advocacy. She currently serves on the board for Limby, a non-profit organization that identifies, creates, and shares resources for amputees and those with loss of limb sensations. Prior to law school, Ariell also served as a mitigation specialist at Texas Defender Service and as a social worker at Communities in Schools of Central Texas. Additionally, she was a proud mentor with Big Brothers Big Sisters – Greater Houston.

Ariell is a native of Austin, Texas but currently lives in Houston with her husband, Ufuoma Ojumah, and their dog, Raiden Marie.

Vinh Ho, Managing Attorney, Randall O Sorrels Legal Clinics, South Texas College of Law

Vinh Ho is the Director/Adjunct Professor of the Immigration Initiative and the Managing Attorney for the Civil Practice Clinics of the Randall O. Sorrels Legal Clinics at South Texas College of Law. Prior to STCL, he was Executive Director of BPSOS-Houston, an affiliate of Boat People SOS (BPSOS), where he was also the National Legal Services Manager. Prior to BPSOS, he was a staff attorney for YMCA International Services. At BPSOS and YMCA, he represented survivors of domestic violence, human trafficking victims, and low-income clients in VAWA, T and U-Visas, family petition cases, and family law matters.

LaTashia Irving, Houston Area Physician and Lone Star College Adjunct Professor

Dr. LaTashia Irving is a native of Houston, Texas and currently serves as a Care Coordinator and Assistant Physician in a Primary Care Practice in Northeast Houston. She also is an Adjunct Professor of Biology at Lone Star College-University Park Campus. She is an alumnus of M.B. Smiley High School where she earned the distinction of Valedictorian of her class of 300 students. She subsequently earned her Bachelor of Arts Degree from Duke University in Durham, North Carolina and her Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) Degree from the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, Texas.

Dr. Irving has a true desire and willingness to relate to patients of all ages and socioeconomic levels. She always goes beyond the call of duty to make sure that all patients have the services that they need to ensure the best health outcomes. She is also very passionate about making an impact both in the field of medicine and in education by actively working to address health and educational disparities and to ensure that our youth have adequate resources and mentorship to successfully navigate in today’s society. She has also served in several leadership roles including President of the Student National Medical Association, President of the Galveston Chapter of Phi Rho Sigma Medical Society, and one of the founding members of the mentorship committee in Mary Susan Moore Medical Society.

Jay Jenkins, Project Attorney for Harris County, Texas Criminal Justice Coalition

Jay Jenkins graduated from Wake Forest University in 2005, earning a B.A. in Biology and Classical Languages. He received his J.D. from Northwestern University School of Law, graduating magna cum laude in 2009. While at Northwestern, he worked at the Bluhm Legal Clinic’s Children and Family Justice Center, focusing on a number of juvenile justice issues. In his third year, Jay was the lone law student at the newly formed Juvenile Post-Dispositional Clinic, where he promoted policy reform throughout Chicago while also advocating on behalf of juvenile clients. After graduating in 2009, Jay was admitted to practice law in the State of Illinois and worked as a civil litigator in the private sector for three years. Most recently, Jay worked in Washington, D.C., for the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund, assisting the United States Department of Justice in its evaluation of claims and implementation of legislation passed in 2010. Jay serves as TCJC's Project Attorney in Harris County (Houston), where he continues TCJC's efforts to support the work of the local Public Defender’s Office while assisting TCJC in promoting broader criminal justice reforms throughout that county.

Abbie Kamin Associate Attorney, Brazil & Dunn, LLP

Originally from Houston, Abbie graduated from Tulane University in 2009 with a B.A. in Political Science. While in New Orleans, among other things, Abbie was involved in environmental and community organizing, was the student organizer Mitch Landrieu's mayoral campaign. In 2011, Abbie left New Orleans to attend American University's Washington College of Law, where she focused on voting rights and election law. While in the nation's capital, Abbie interned for both the Democratic National Committee's Voting Rights Division and the House (Minority Side) Oversight & Government Reform Committee, and worked for a Texas Democratic Strategic Communications Firm. After earning her Juris Doctorate in 2014, Abbie moved back to Texas and became a licensed attorney. Today she is an Associate Attorney at Brazil & Dunn, LLP. She remains committed to Democratic initiatives and empowering Texans.


Isabel Longoria, Associate State Director - Advocacy & Outreach, AARP


Isabel Longoria is a native Houstonian and a proud champion of civic engagement and equal rights in Texas. Graduating with a degree in Sociology from Trinity University inspired Isabel to pursue a career of public service to affect positive social change at a community-wide scale, and she has since gone on to earn a Master's in Public Affairs from the UT LBJ School of Public Affairs and worked in progressive politics across the state of Texas for the better part of five years. Isabel recently accepted a new position with AARP in order to advocate for age friendly policies in the City of Houston, and continues to be engaged in the fight for equal rights for women, the LGBT community, Latinos, and immigrants. She is excited to be a part of New Leaders Council because she believes firmly in the principles of progressive leadership: integrity, action, and service.

Cheryl Lovelady, Development Associate, ACLU of Texas

Born and raised in Texas, Cheryl is currently a Development Associate with the ACLU of Texas, focusing her efforts on grant-writing, foundation relations, and cultivation of an individual giving portfolio. After earning her law degree from the University of Houston Law Center and joining the State Bar of Texas in 2012, she spent a year as a Legal Fellow for the ACLU of Texas, and stayed to learn how to run a non-profit organization from the inside. She takes pride that the priority issue areas of the ACLU of Texas mirror her own, and appreciates the chance to work each day protecting immigrant rights, LGBT equality, criminal law reform and fair justice, reproductive rights, free speech, and religious exercise.

As a student attorney with the University of Houston Immigration Clinic, Cheryl wrote a successful appellate brief to Board of Immigration Appeals for a transgender client seeking safety in the United States. She won a forced-marriage and religious persecution asylum case for a mother and her children, and prepared successful civil petitions for an unaccompanied child who survived a treacherous solo journey to the United States. She represented a client who had survived domestic abuse through her VAWA petition, and helped her gain legal status and ensure her ability to work in the United States. She appreciated this opportunity to combine her personal empathy for the struggles of immigrant members of her own family, with the challenge of besting our broken immigration system on behalf of her clients.

Cheryl graduated with honors from the University of Texas at Austin, completing dual degrees in science and the Plan II Honors program. She was nominated for a Plan II model senior thesis award, and participated in entirely too much guerilla theater. After college, Cheryl taught educational and independent living skills for students with developmental and physical handicaps, and advocates support and expanded autonomy for individuals with autism, including her younger brother. She studied American Sign Language, and combined her loves for theater, ASL, and disability rights as a founding member of DeafACT, an Austin-area theater troupe for Deaf children.

Outside of professional roles, Cheryl pursues her passion for the arts as a member of the Houston Masterworks Chorus. She was proud to accept a nomination to the board of directors of the Stonewall Law Association of Greater Houston, which offers support, training and leadership opportunities for LGBT and ally attorneys throughout Houston.

 Brandon Mack, Senior Assistant Director of Admission, Rice University


Brandon Mack is the Senior Assistant Director of Admission & Coordinator of Transfer Admission at Rice University. He has been with the Office of Admission since 2009. Mack works specifically on minority recruitment initiatives, community based organization partnerships, and community outreach efforts to educate students on highly selective college admissions. He also oversees and manages the transfer admission process and is the liaison to the Rice School of Architecture.

In addition to his day job, Mack is a community activist and sociologist dedicated to issues related to the intersections of race, gender, and sexual orientation. He has conducted research on effemiphobia, the negativity related to effeminate gay men. His work has been featured in a GLAAD Media Award winning article and he has presented his work at national conferences such as the National LGBTQ Task Force: Creating Change and NBJC's Out on the Hill. He has taught classes on sociology and gender studies at Rice University. Mack also founded the Houston Civil Rights Strategy Group, a collective of activists dedicated to issues related to LGBT communities of color. He is the former National Secretary and lifetime member of Delta Phi Upsilon Fraternity, Inc., the first fraternity for gay men of color. He received the fraternity’s Presidential Trailblazer Award for his work within the fraternity and the community. He is a board member of the Houston GLBT Political Caucus. He is also active in the League of Women Voters of Houston Education Fund and is a member of their Speaker’s Bureau. The League awarded Mack the Rising Star Award in 2014. The National Black Justice Coalition, the nation's leading civil rights organization dedicated to the empowerment of Black LGBT people recognized Mack as part of their inaugural 100 to Watch class.

Mack graduated from Rice University in 2006 with a Bachelors of Arts in Sociology & Political Science. He earned his Masters of Science in Sociology from Texas A&M University in 2009. In 2013, Mack earned a Masters of Education in Higher Education Administration & Supervision from the University of Houston.

 Jay Mays, Volunteer Coordinator, The Montrose Center

Jay Mays is an intersectional advocate committed to diversity, inclusion, respect, and fun! Jay works as the volunteer coordinator at the Montrose Center, Houston’s LGBT community center. Jay organizes volunteers to support integrated wellness initiatives and care teams for LGBTQ youth, adults, and seniors.

Jay Mays has also been performing and producing theater and gender-blended variety shows as a co-founder of the quietly subversive Houston Gendermyn since 2006. When not producing, Jay teaches, trains, and works collaboratively on the GENDER book (, a multimedia, fully illustrated, community-sourced gender primer that makes accessible the beautiful diversity of gender in hardback and ebook. Downloaded in almost more than 30 countries, the GENDER book is bringing interested educators, administrators, young people and professionals into the fold of creating safer spaces for gender diverse adults and youth.

Jay also works collaboratively on film festivals in Houston, including QFest, and most recently on the inaugural Gender Reel Houston Film Festival, a film, visual art, and performance event dedicated to enhancing the visibility of and celebrating transgender voices in art.


Annette Ramirez, Executive Director of Tax Litigation, Aldine ISD

Annette Ramirez is currently the Executive Director of Tax Litigation at Aldine Independent School District. As Executive Director she supervises litigation involving the collection of tax revenue for the District and is responsible for identifying property within the District to accommodate future growth. Ms. Ramirez regularly updates the General Counsel on legislative developments impacting ad valorem taxation and school finance. She is also responsible for establishing and maintaining productive and engaging relationships with other local government agencies.

Annette has over 15 years of experience in community organization and volunteer management. She has been directly involved with the development and implementation of long term community improvement plans, budgeting, event planning and fundraising. She enjoys coordinating and engaging her local community, parents and students.

Annette graduated from Texas A&M University at Galveston with a B.S. in Maritime Administration and received her J.D. from South Texas College of Law in Houston, Texas. Ms. Ramirez is a member of the Houston Bar Association and Women Professionals in Government where she sits on the Scholarship Committee. Annette is a resident of League City and when she is not working or volunteering she juggles the demands of her three children and their ever increasing list of extracurricular activities.

Summer Belleperche Rudd, President, Belleperche Consulting

Summer Belleperche Rudd is owner and President of Belleperche Consulting, a firm focused on advancing entrepreneurship from walking individuals through the business identification and buying process to assisting new businesses in growth opportunities.

Prior to starting her own business, Summer worked as both an internal and external consultant with Fortune 100 companies leading a variety of company-wide projects in market analysis and development, customer retention, process reengineering and technology implementation.

Summer has over eight years of non-profit leadership experience including strategic direction, event planning and execution, volunteer recruitment and management and development. She currently sits on the advisory board for the Stimulating Urban Renewal through Entrepreneurship (SURE) program with University of Houston. The SURE program provides free financial and business education, ongoing business consulting and prepares entrepreneurs for access to capital and long-term success.

Summer received her MBA from the University of Texas, McCombs School of Business and graduated with a B.S. in Industrial Distribution from Texas A&M University, Dwight Look College of Engineering.

What is most fascinating about Summer is that she grew-up a conservative, evangelical Christian, including meeting her husband at the Leadership Institute.  Her move toward progressive activism was a slow and gradual process, but she has found her home. She is excited to use her passion, business acumen and leadership skills to ensure strong democracy, social justice, and equal opportunity."

Jylise Smith, Afterschool Specialist, Houston ISD


Jylise Smith has been a member of the Houston community since the tender age of 9 years old. She grew up in Alief Texas, where she attended grade school and graduated from Hastings High School. She received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Texas Southern University in May 2012.

As an undergraduate, Ms. Smith was the epitome of “Excellence in Achievement.” She was an Alpha Kappa Delta, International Honor Society Scholar, actively involved in the Sociology Scholars Association and very respected student leader on campus. Ms. Smith served in many roles before serving as the President of the collegiate chapter of the NAACP during her last two years. While president, the chapter was recognized nationally as “chapter of the year,” and received a national issue award for the best Voter Empowerment Initiatives at the 2012 National Convention for the very first time in history. Because of her academic performance, and leadership abilities, Texas Southern University selected Miss Smith to be featured in the March 2012 “Hollywood Edition” of Ebony Magazine, featuring outstanding graduates of the school such as; Barbara Jordan and Yolanda Adams. The ads appeared all across the country, highlighting Texas Southern University’s 85th Anniversary under the theme “A Legacy of Women Who Lead.”

Miss Smith now works for 21st Century After-School Programs as an afterschool specialist for at-risk youth in the Houston Independent School District. She also serves as the youngest person on the NAACP Houston Branch Executive committee where she chairs the newly re-instated Young Adult committee, co-chairs the Political Action committee and has been instrumental in the branch's membership advocacy efforts. During December 2015 Ms. Smith served as a United States/NAACP Youth Delegate in Paris, France at the United Nations Conference on Climate Justice as the only delegate representing the South, and reported on Human Rights issues pertinent in the Houston community. She serves as the Social Action chair of the Houston Metropolitan chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated and became a member through the Delta Gamma chapter at Texas Southern University. Ms. Smith will soon be pursuing Juris Doctor and Masters in Public policy at Texas Southern University. Additionally, Ms. Smith just completed the “Houston Black Leadership Institute,” a leadership class sponsored by the Greater Houston Black Chamber of Commerce. She enjoys reading, painting and plans to attend law school to become a Civil Rights and Juvenile Justice Attorney in the near future. 

Alex Triantaphyllis, Director of Immigration and Economic Opportunity, Neighborhood Centers Inc.


Alex Triantaphyllis is the Director of Immigration and Economic Opportunity at Neighborhood Centers Inc., where he primarily oversees the expansion of an immigration legal services office and the establishment of a small business development program. Alex is the founder of PAIR: Partnership for the Advancement & Immersion of Refugees—a nonprofit organization that works with refugee youth from around the world that have resettled in Houston—and is the co-founder of Marka, LLC, a company that worked with small businesses in East Africa. Alex’s previous work experience also includes investment banking at Goldman Sachs and management consulting at McKinsey & Co. Alex is a graduate of Harvard Law School, where he was an editor of the Harvard Law Review. He has completed coursework for a Masters in Economics from the Universidad de San Andrés in Argentina. A native Houstonian, Alex graduated from Rice University with a B.A. in political science and Hispanic studies.

Alison Young, Vice President and Financial Advisor, Bernstein Private Wealth Management


Alison Young is a Vice President and Financial Advisor in Bernstein’s Houston office. She assists clients on their holistic wealth planning needs by offering comprehensive advice on strategic planning and asset allocation to meet their current and future objectives. Before joining the firm in 2015, she was vice president of banking with J.P. Morgan Private Bank where she focused on the investments, credit and planning needs of ultrahigh-net-worth clients in Houston and Louisiana. She specialized in planning for executives within the energy industry. Prior to that, she was executive director of the American Heart Association in Austin. Young received dual BAs, cum laude, in history and communications from Huntington University and an MBA in business entrepreneurship from the Jones Graduate School of Business at Rice University. She is a member of the Houston Energy Finance Group, Women’s Energy Network, Houston-Galveston Area Local Development Corporation and the Greater Houston Partnership. She is a board member of the Jones Graduate School of Business and the Quick Reaction Foundation and volunteer with the Alzheimer’s Association.

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