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New Leaders Council

gentrification speakers

Thanks to our tremendous panel! We appreciate your time and willingness to share your experience, ideas, and perspectives. 

Venita Ray, Public Affairs Field Specialist for Legacy Community Health

Biko Mandela Gray, PhD candidate, Religious Studies, Rice University

Kent Loftin, Chief Development Officer, Montrose Center

Estella Gonzalez, Manager of Economic Opportunity, Neighborhood Centers Inc.

Eureka Gilkey, Executive Director, Project Row Houses

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

David Kim, Executive Director, Urban Land Institute 


Mustafa Tameez, Managing Director, Outreach Strategists

Venita Ray, Public Affairs Field Specialist, Legacy Community Health Headshot.jpg

Venita is an attorney with a passion for social justice, equity and advocacy.  Venita was diagnosed with HIV in 2003. Venita currently serves as the Public Affairs Field Specialist for Legacy Community Health in Houston, Texas where she monitors healthcare policy and manages an advocacy training program for people living with HIV called the Positive Organizing Project (POP+).  POP+ is an advocacy and leadership development program designed by and for people living with HIV. Venita serves on the board of directors of the Positive Women’s Network-USA and The Afiya Center, a reproductive justice organization in Dallas, Texas.   Venita is committed to raising awareness about HIV, eliminating stigma and teaching others to advocate for issues that impact the HIV community.  


Biko Mandela Gray, PhD candidate, Religious Studies, Rice University – NLC’16 gray_(1).JPG

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.

“Words are my weapon of choice, and knowledge is my ammunition. My name is my bio.”




Kent Loftin, Chief Development Officer, Montrose Center Loftin_Headshot.jpg

Kennedy “Kent” Loftin is a driven nonprofit development professional who learned about the dignity of hard work from his grandfather on their East Texas farm.

A Texas native born, raised, and educated in the Houston area, Kent began his career in development in the city as well. Soon thereafter he was invited to serve as the Director of Special Events for Miami-based Best Buddies International, a position which gave him the opportunity to liaise with celebrity partners and plan high-profile events with broad global impact.

In 2008, Kent returned home to Houston to serve as executive director for Best Buddies Texas, and was the youngest executive director in the history of the organization. Kent was tapped to become the Director of Development for Interfaith Ministries in 2008. During his tenure, the organization grew its annual campaign by 30%, increased their donor base by 63%, and completed a $14.5 million capital campaign for the new Meals on Wheels building.

Kent is a sought-after development educator and leader in the industry, with guest teaching at Rice University, Glasscock School Center for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Leadership. In his spare time, Kent is a devoted fan of live music, sparkling wine and delicious foods.


Estella Gonzalez, Manager of Economic Opportunity, Neighborhood Centers Inc.  estella_gonzalez_picture.jpg

Estella Gonzalez, the Manager of Economic Opportunity at Neighborhood Centers, earned her B.A. at the University of Houston, with a major in Political Science and minor in Mexican American studies. Her passion for service and dedication to the Latino community led her to a career in the public sector. After working in both federal and state government, Estella entered the non-profit sector to develop and offer local solutions to combat some of the most difficult challenges faced by low-income communities.

In her nearly ten years of non-profit work, Estella has occupied various roles - from administrative support, fundraising, and grant writing to direct client work, program development, and management positions. Estella is a resident of the East End, where she was born and raised, and serves as the Vice-President of the Second Ward Super Neighborhood.


Eureka Gilkey, Executive Director, Project Row Houses – NLC ‘16 Gilkey_(2).jpg

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.


Isabel Longoria, Associate State Director-Advocacy & Outreach, AARP – NLC ‘16 Longoria_(1).jpg

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 believes firmly in the principles of progressive leadership: integrity, action, and service.



David Kim, Executive Director, Urban Land Institute  David_Kim_headshot_(August_2011).jpg

David Kim is Executive Director of Urban Land Institute (ULI) Houston District Council. ULI is a nonprofit education and research institute supported by more than 34,000 members worldwide, including over 900 developers and other members involved in land use and development in the greater Houston metropolitan area. He collaborates with ULI Houston District Council and ULI to develop and execute strategies and activities to inform the discussion regarding local and regional development issues and land use policies. He builds upon ULI Houston District Council’s vibrant program of work that includes Urban and Suburban Marketplace conferences, Development of Distinction Awards Dinner, and technical assistance panels.

Kim most recently served as Deputy Assistant Director of the City of Houston Housing and Community Development Department. He identified ways to tackle food deserts and homelessness, sponsored a city-wide market value analysis, and administered federal Housing and Urban Development funds. He previously practiced real estate law with Cochran Baker Williams & Matthiesen, developed single-family housing with Covenant Neighborhoods, and began his career as a corporate law attorney with Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in History from Yale University and a law degree from Duke University.

A native Houstonian, Kim has built an extensive track record of local civic engagement. He serves as President of the Korean American Chamber of Commerce and previously served as Treasurer of Houston Habitat for Humanity. Kim has participated in the American Leadership Forum, Leadership Houston, the Center for Houston’s Future, the Network of Korean American Leaders Fellowship and the Kinder Institute’s Connecting Communities initiative. In 2015, he received the Houston Business Journal 40 Under 40 award and a Marshall Memorial Fellowship from the German Marshall Fund of the United States. He is happily married to Leah Barton, and they are proud parents of one son. 



Mustafa Tameez, Managing Director, Outreach Strategists MustafaTameez_headshot.jpg

As Founder and Managing Director Mustafa has had a standout career in communications and public affairs. Mustafa began his career in New York advertising, where he built a successful practice focusing on corporate clients. But Mustafa changed his focus after moving to Houston, where he has advised successful election campaigns for state legislators, mayors, members of Congress and various public institutions. Now, as a regular contributor and news analyst for FOX 26, the Houston Chronicle and the Texas Tribune, Mustafa combines his unique insights into media, politics and business to help our clients. Mustafa currently holds a seat on Unity National Bank’s Board of Directors as well as Diverse Works. He is Chairman of the South Asian Chamber of Commerce and a Senior Fellow with the American Leadership Forum. Texas Monthly Magazine named Mustafa one of 5 political players to watch in Texas.



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