Growing up, service was part of my family's DNA. From a very young age, I was taught to be generous and to be of service; that when you had something, whatever it was, there was always enough to share. When I was little, we would have Sunday dinners at my grandparents’ house, and my grandmother would ask me if I wanted to take a plate to the widower gentleman that lived next door. At first, I was scared because I did not know him and he kept to himself, but as time went on, I got to know him and we became friends. It didn't take before I was gobbling my dinner so that I could go to Mr. Lister's house. For several years I would always go and see him when visiting at my grandmother's, even if it was not Sunday or not to deliver dinner. Some years later, he wrote a letter to my family telling them of what a positive impact I had on his life; all along I had thought he was serving me. That relationship, and the consciousness of my family, imprinted in me the importance of serving others with dignity, compassion and generosity.
I attended Texas A&M University and got a BBA in management, taking a particular interest in organizational behavior and development. I went to work in my mother's hair salon as a receptionist/manager and worked to bring my new-found knowledge to her business. We were early adopters of computerized client scheduling and records. We developed active marketing plans and required each stylist to also have some type of community service. Ultimately, we became one of the most productive salons in the area, and our salon was invited to join an exclusive international fashion organization, and my mother was invited to meet with the president of a global hair products company to share our strategies. Our success was built on the knowledge that the more we understood and truly served our clients, the better our business was.
I became more interested in the fields of mind-body medicine, massage, and other non-traditional healing modalities, all holistic approaches to wellbeing. I trained in herbology, Chinese acupressure, pyschokinesiology and other modalities. What I noticed as I worked with people was that often they would feel great and have a positive outlook only to call me days later and be back in their same negative place. I realized it was the system they were in (their work, their family, their community) that was part of the issue. This created a desire to know more about how to intervene in systems that were not serving the very people within them. I learned that social work could give me that knowledge.
I attended the Graduate College of Social Work at UH. At first, I was unsure how I would integrate my diverse background with the new knowledge I was seeking. Then I met Dr. Jean Latting, and she helped me to see how it all fit together- bringing my business training and my interest in creating systems that serve people together in organizational practice. We have been friends and partners ever since.
I sincerely believe that the curriculum that Jean has researched, and we have jointly developed, brings about positive, life-changing skills for those that will learn and practice.
Along with my professional life, I seek to serve my community in ways that I can. I led the creation of Unity in the Community; the community outreach group of Unity of Houston, my church, and continue to serve on the leadership team. We are active in the areas of hunger, homelessness, and child and youth advocacy. We seek to model our spiritual principals and do what I was taught early in life - serve others with dignity, compassion, and generosity.
I am native to the Houston area and enjoy the benefits of living in a great multicultural metropolis. I am married to my high school sweetheart; we have two sons, a daughter and son-in-law, and two granddaughters.