Meet our 2019 - 2020 HOLT Values-Based Leadership™ Fellows

Hamilton Barton

Hamilton Barton

Chief executive officer, Pay It Forward, Clean & Sober Living

Hamilton is honored to serve Pay It Forward, Clean & Sober Living as the CEO.  He started his service with Pay It Forward as a member of the Board of Directors in January of 2016 and was hired as the CEO in August of 2018. Hamilton himself is a person in long term recovery and has a deep understanding of the needs of the individuals we serve through our programs at Pay It Forward. In his previous vocation, he was a litigation and contractual law paralegal.

Hamilton works tirelessly to advocate for those suffering from homelessness due to chemical dependency and strives to ensure that the mission of Pay It Forward will continue to have a positive impact on the lives of those we serve, their families, and the community at large for generations to come. When not at work, he loves traveling and spending time outdoors with his wife and five children.

Angelica Cervantes

Angelica Cervantes

Chief program officer, Providence Place

Angelica Cervantes is a licensed clinical social worker with over 12 years’ experience working with various populations to include pregnant and parenting teens in foster care, unaccompanied minors, young adults with disabilities, adoptive families, birth mothers, families with young children, and survivors of trafficking, sexual trauma, and domestic violence. In her current role as chief program officer at Providence Place, she is responsible for all programmatic operations to include adoptions, community outreach, disabilities, and transitional living services. She is passionate at developing best practice programming that meets the unique needs of all individuals through a trauma informed lens. In addition to daily practice she also serves as adjunct faculty for the Department of Social Work at UTSA. Angelica also holds dual licensure as a child care administrator, as well as a child placing agency administrator, TBRI Practitioner, and is a board approved clinical supervisor.

Empowering individuals by engaging in collaboration and partnership is a daily passion for her. She is humbled and honored to be able to serve each day and is constantly reminded of the resiliency of the human spirt.

Sarah Coulombe

Sarah Coulombe

Chief administrative officer

Sarah Coulombe started at Children’s Association for Maximum Potential (CAMP) in 2007 through the AmeriCorps Public Allies program. She is a University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) graduate with a Bachelor of Business Administration in Human Resource Management Degree and has earned the Professional in Human Resource (PHR) certification. As CAMP’s Chief Administrative Officer, Sarah oversees the human resource policies, Boorda administrative office management, Family Support Department, and volunteer and medical education programs.

Lisa Cunningham

Lisa Cunningham

Executive director, San Antonio Education Partnership

Lisa Cunningham is the executive director of the San Antonio Education Partnership, which has helped students in the San Antonio community for over 30 years by creating college opportunities, access and success. After completing her undergraduate work in business and education at the University of Texas at Austin and the University of Texas at San Antonio, Cunningham began her career in education as a teacher, curriculum developer and trainer. Cunningham then accepted a position with the Bexar County Criminal District Attorney’s office as the executive director of the Bexar County Family Justice Center. Most recently, she accepted the interim executive Director position with the San Antonio Education Partnership in January 2019, and was ultimately named permanent executive director this past summer.  In this new role, her passion for education and strong ties to the community will guide her as she serves the citizens of her hometown in this new capacity.  Cunningham adamantly believes in the power education holds as the ultimate societal equalizer.  

Lisa is a member of several local civic organizations and serves as a mentor for area high school students. She holds multiple certifications in Nonprofit Leadership, Fundraising and Non-Fatal Strangulation Prevention and is currently pursuing her Master’s degree in Public Administration at the University of Texas at San Antonio. She lives in San Antonio with her two daughters, Madison and Haley, and their tiny rescue dog Charlie.

Andrea Figueroa

Andrea Figueroa

Executive director, Martinez Street Women's Center

Andrea Figueroa is the Executive Director of The Martinez Street Women’s Center, a 20-year-old organization with roots in the East Side of San Antonio. Previously, she led the MSWC Girl Zone Program until December of 2015. Prior to, Andrea enjoyed a short but fulfilling career in music that eventually led her back to San Antonio and family. Although not an S.A. native, she now considers this home, and has lent a hand in several issues and movements she cares about, including as a member and then volunteer Chair of C.A.U.S.A. (Community Alliance of a United San Antonio), volunteer for the San Antonio Women’s March, and Steering Committee and Working group member for Excel Beyond the Bell. She currently serves as The Southwest Region Anchor Representative for the Media Action Grassroots Network, Steering Committee member of the Digital Inclusion Alliance of San Antonio, and is a member of The Executive Committee for The Women and Girls Development Fund of The San Antonio Area Foundation. Recently, she was awarded The Pride Center’s 2019 Icon Award for Leadership in the LGBT community.

Tracey Fontenot

Tracey Fontenot

Co-founder and co-executive director, Kinetic Kids

A native of Houston, Tracey has served as co-executive director of Kinetic Kids since co-founding the organization in 2001. Tracey grew up competing in sports and her love of an active lifestyle and her passion for children inspired her to become a physical therapist. After receiving her undergraduate degree in Psychology from Texas A&M University and her Physical Therapy degree from UT Health San Antonio, Tracey joined Methodist Children’s Hospital as a pediatric physical therapist. She has more than 22 years of experience in this field, with expertise in pediatric inpatient, outpatient, and specialty clinics in children’s hospitals. In addition, she has implemented exercise programs for a variety of specific diagnoses, including childhood obesity, and served as a public speaker for pediatric nutrition and exercise.

After founding Kinetic Kids in 2001, much of Tracey’s time has been devoted to the growth of the organization. The idea of Kinetic Kids for Tracey was rooted in the pediatric patients who expressed a desire to increase their activity by playing sports, but opportunities did not exist for this population. Always up for a challenge, Tracey asked, “Why not?” Her answer was two words—Kinetic Kids.  While she knows children with special needs benefit from Kinetic Kids, she also loves watching the happiness the programs bring to family and friends. Her favorite moments are when families go from “my child never will” to “look at my child, he is an athlete!” Tracey LOVES being a part of getting ALL kids onto a sports field. That’s probably because Tracey’s favorite place to be is on the sidelines cheering for her three children at basketball, baseball, soccer, swimming or volleyball. Tracey is also active as a volunteer in Scholars and Athletes Serving Others, UT Health Physical Therapy Alumni board, NISD school district bond and boundary advisory committees.

Gabriella Hernandez

Gabriella Hernandez

Executive director/ founder, Run SA Youth

Gabriella Hernandez is the Founder and Director of Run SA Youth, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. After volunteering with a local running club, Gabriella developed a passion for health and wellness. She has completed Level I Coaching Certification training courses from USA Track and Field & the Road Runners Club of America. Recognizing a community need for access to youth aerobic exercise, Gabriella formed Run SA Youth in 2016.  

Sharon M. Krietzburg

Sharon Krietzburg

Executive director, Project Angel Fares

Sharon starts everyday with the words “It’s a pretty day for making things right?” 

In 2016 when she joined Project Angel Fares, she had no experience with kids with special needs.  The work has become a passion.  Watching the faces of the families as their child experiences something they never have been able to do before, makes each day right for her.

As Executive Director she focuses on increasing awareness of Project Angel Fares in the community and beyond, expanding financial sponsorships and the donor base allows PAF to grow the numbers of families we can bring into Morgan’s Wonderland and Inspiration Island.

Sharon devotes her free time serving Alamo Chapter, Nat’l Society Daughters of the American Revolution as Treasurer and Impact SA.  Thanks to the SAAFDN and the Holt-Values Based Leadership Fellows Program for paving the way for many new adventures. 

Married to Jack and dogma to Gaby.

Elaine Leahy

Elaine Leahy

Development manager, Blue Star Contemporary (BSC)

Elaine Leahy is Blue Star Contemporary’s development manager. At BSC, she directs individual and corporate giving, foundation grants, and government contracts for all of BSC’s exhibitions and programs. She oversees BSC’s membership program and special events fundraising, including the annual Red Dot Art Sale. She manages BSC’s annual budgeting and elective auditing processes, and works closely with BSC’s Executive Director, Finance Committee, and Development Committee to ensure BSC fulfills its strategic growth goals. (She is also Duncan the @bluestarartdog’s human.) She recently completed the San Antonio Area Foundation and Our Lady of the Lake University’s Nonprofit Management Certificate Program and is studying for the Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE) exam.

She earned her BA in Art History from Hollins University in Roanoke, Virginia and attended graduate courses at the University of Texas at Austin. For seven years in the retail sector, she managed a team of thirty employees and participated in the Women’s Leadership Forum. Prior to joining BSC in May 2014, she worked with arts nonprofits as a special events coordinator and executive assistant to senior staff.

Cara L. Magrane

Cara L. Magrane

Executive director, Autism Lifeline Links

Cara L. Magrane, serves as the executive director of Autism Lifeline Links, a collective impact backbone, working with community stakeholders to increase awareness, connect people to existing resources, identify barriers and gaps in care, break down silos between providers, impact public policy and improve the system of care for people with autism.

Cara has more than 26 years of non-profit management experience beginning her tenure as a Jesuit Volunteer at Respite Care of San Antonio (RCSA).  Under her leadership over 23 years and as COO, RCSA expanded programs and services, most notably the Davidson Respite House-Texas’ first emergency shelter for children with developmental disabilities, an onsite medical clinic and inclusive licensed childcare.

Cara is sought out to serve on area, regional and state workgroups and committees on topics from homelessness, child well-being, abuse and neglect, autism, disabilities, and lifespan respite care. She has a proven ability to build successful strategic, long-term relationships with key stakeholders and positively influence individuals drawn from diverse backgrounds.

Cara is a prolific and effective public speaker; infusing energy and inciting passion and purpose in her audience. Cara works to raise awareness on community building to effectively change a system of care, the challenges of caregiving, and understanding autism.

Cara is a native of Lynn, MA, earned her BA in Sociology from Manhattanville College, NY and an MBA from The University of Texas at San Antonio.

Nadia Mavrakis

Nadia Mavrakis

Executive director, Culturingua

Nadia Mavrakis is the co-founder and executive director of Culturingua, a nonprofit with a mission to enable children to be global citizens by teaching them foreign languages and cultural intelligence. She is also the co-founder and chief operating officer of Partners to Thrive Ventures, a nonprofit that provides education, training, and equity financing to create opportunities for job creation and asset accumulation among low- and moderate-income individuals in San Antonio.

She was formerly a senior manager in Accenture Strategy in the Energy practice, where she worked for over 9 years. She led projects to design and implement strategic transformation programs at energy clients in the areas of mergers & acquisitions, organic growth, and supply chain. She led projects and teams for up to $600 million in organic investment and up to $35 billion in mergers & acquisitions transactions with energy clients in the US, Saudi Arabia, UAE, UK, and Singapore.

Nadia co-founded and co-chaired the Islamic Art Revival Series, a nonprofit program in Dallas that promotes cross-cultural dialogue where she led a team to host multiple educational events at premier arts venues attended by over 2,250 people. She also served on the board of directors of Eastside Community Connection, a nonprofit in Austin that aims to end poverty among low- and moderate-income residents of East Austin.

She graduated magna cum laude from The University of Texas at Austin with a Bachelor of Business Administration in Business Strategy and Finance with a minor in French. She has completed nonprofit leadership courses at NeighborWorks Training Institute as well as business leadership courses at INSEAD, Harvard Business School, Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management, and HEC Paris. She is fluent in English, superior in French, and intermediate in Modern Standard Arabic.

Rebecca Mayberry

Rebecca Mayberry

Executive director, San Antonio Pets Alive!

Rebecca Mayberry is a nonprofit professional who joined San Antonio Pets Alive! (SAPA!) in 2018 as director of philanthropy, overseeing the Development and Marketing departments. She was also named executive director in 2018. 

Prior to SAPA!, Rebecca served as the National Manager of Development at The Petco Foundation, where she secured gifts from corporations and individuals and oversaw several highly successful national projects. 

In addition, she worked at Best Friends Animal Society where she managed a team and focused on creating strategies securing individual gifts, developing stewardship plans and managing donor events. She also worked at the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix, Arizona where she managed annual giving, membership, planned giving and helped secure $18 million in funding for an endowment and capital expansion campaign. Rebecca also served as vice president of marketing at the Arizona Community Foundation, launching marketing strategies that secured $250 million in four years. She has received awards from the Public Relations Society of America and is a member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals. 

Rebecca lives in the San Antonio area with her husband and five rescued dogs and cats. She is also an active foster for San Antonio Pets Alive! 

Kate Phipps

Kate Phipps

Director of operations, Project MEND

Kate Phipps serves as the Director of Operations for Project MEND, where she is responsible for all functions of community engagement, warehouse operations and volunteer programs.

She is honored to have a leadership role at Project MEND, a local non profit committed to improving the quality of life for those living with disabilities and illness through their innovative medical equipment reuse program.

Over the last 10 years, Kate previously served in leadership roles for the private healthcare sector, operating several skilled nursing and senior living communities. She received her Masters in Long Term Care Administration from Texas State and her Bachelors in Business Administration from UTSA.  As a perpetual advocate for our aging population, she is also a member of the San Antonio Area Foundation SALSA initiative, whose vision is to create a community where older adults are respected, thrive and enjoy connected lives.

Renee Polka

Renee Polka

Development officer, University Health System Foundation

Renee is a development officer for the University Health System Foundation where she is working on cultivating new donor relations, developing a grateful patient giving program, and assisting with the campaign for the new Women’s & Children’s Tower at University Hospital. Her background is in fundraising consulting work and in education. Renee has a B.A. in Anthropology from Texas A&M University, a master’s degree in Applied Linguistics from the University of Barcelona, and a certificate in nonprofit management from the University of Notre Dame.

Kari Schroeder

Kari Schroeder

Director of finance and admin, Children's Alliance of South Texas

A student of organizational development and leadership theory, Kari understands that administration teams in nonprofits are committed to the responsibility of assuring that necessary resources are in place and ready to be deployed by the program services teams which they support. By working together, the administrative teams and the program services teams of an organization are able to achieve their common public-benefit mission.

As economic generators of the community, nonprofits should be run like the responsible business-like entities which they are!

Kari Schroeder is the director of finance and administration at Children's Alliance of South Texas, where she heads outreach activities, financial services, and business operations. Having spent the past eight years in the San Antonio nonprofit sector, Kari has been at Children’s Alliance of South Texas for 4 years where she loves serving rural South Texas. When not nose-deep in spreadsheets, Kari may be found sorting cattle alongside her husband or working as part of the lawn crew team at FLC in Floresville. 

Ms. Schroeder has a M.Ed. from Texas A&M University and a certificate in nonprofit management from the Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M University.

Lauren Shepherd

Lauren Shepherd

Chief residential officer, SJRC Texas

As chief residential officer, Lauren Shepherd oversees the services provided at both our New Braunfels and Bulverde locations to include the Emergency Shelter, Survivors of Child Sex Trafficking, Pregnant and Parenting Teenagers and their babies, and Therapeutic Residential Foster Care. While living in one of our residential foster care programs, the youth are encouraged to participate in age appropriate activities such as school, extracurricular activities, social engagements and other therapeutically enriched activities. It is through her wide range of experiences at SJRC Texas that Lauren has honed her skills in developing successful teams that are capable of caring for some of the most at-risk populations in the state of Texas.

​Lauren is so proud to have served the youth at SJRC Texas for over 11 years in various leadership roles. In addition to her professional role, Lauren has served on the Comal County Child Welfare Board for almost 6 years, primarily in executive board member roles including chair last year as well as volunteering with her church’s special needs ministry in a 1:1 “buddy” role on Sundays. Lauren holds her license as a child care administrator with the Department of Family and Protective Services and is proud to be a Trust Based Relational Intervention® (TBRI®) Educator through the TCU Karyn Purvis Institute of Child Development. 

Lauren and her husband, Ben, have been married and living in the Texas Hill Country for over a decade and together they have one daughter who is both comically gifted and wise beyond her years.

Anne Spears

Anne Spears

Director of development, Chosen

Anne Attaway Spears is the director of development at Chosen, a growing organization that helps foster and adoptive children heal from trauma within their families. Her responsibilities include leading fundraising and communications for the organization, working with the leadership team to establish the vision and goals for the organization, and strategizing for scaling and growth.

Mrs. Spears began fundraising as an active volunteer with the Junior League of Bryan-College Station. She is passionate about children and families and learning how to grow and develop others in their careers. She has experience working as an instructor at Blinn College as well as in administration at a private Episcopal School. Her interests in leadership development stem from a desire to grow as an innovative and accessible leader.

Born in Louisiana and raised mainly in Houston and East Texas (with a short stent in Philadelphia), Anne has a B.S. in Sociology from Lamar University, a M.S. in Family and Child Studies from Texas State University, and a Master of Public Administration from University of Texas at Arlington. She moved to San Antonio in 2017 with her husband, a men's college basketball coach, and her two school age children and pug. Her family loves the vibrant culture and vibe of San Antonio.

Alexandra Van De Kamp

Alexandra Van De Kamp

Executive director, Gemini Series, Inc. 

Alexandra van de Kamp is the executive artistic director for Gemini Ink and teaches poetry workshops at Gemini Ink and online, through The Poetry Barn. A native New Yorker, she has lived in San Antonio for almost five years and loves working with and supporting the highly talented and diverse literary voices in our river city. She is the author of two full-length collections of poems: Kiss/Hierarchy (Rain Mountain Press 2016) and The Park of Upside-Down Chairs (CW Books 2010). She has also published several chapbooks, including Dear Jean Seberg (2011), which won the 2010 Burnside Review Chapbook Contest, and A Liquid Bird Inside the Night (Red Glass Books 2015). Her poems have been published in journals nationwide, such as The Cincinnati Review, Connecticut Review, 32Poems, and Denver Quarterly. Her work has been nominated for five Pushcart Prizes and Best of the Net.

Kacey Wernli, PT

Kacey Wernli, PT

Co-executive director, Kinetic Kids

Kacey Wernli, co-executive Director of Kinetic Kids, has been serving children with neurological disorders for more than 24 years. A pediatric physical therapist, Kacey is trained in neurodevelopmental treatment, serves as a consultant for lower extremity bracing, and has extensive experience with wheelchair and adaptive seating. Prior to finding her passion in physical therapy, Kacey spent a majority of time on the tennis court and played at Sam Houston State University until she was accepted into physical therapy school.  She received a B.S. in Physical Therapy from the UT Health-San Antonio in 1994. As Co-Founder of the organization, she has been with Kinetic Kids since 2001. The idea of Kinetic Kids for Kacey was rooted in her early years as a physical therapist, when her pediatric patients always wanted to dance or do gymnastics in the therapy session. This motivated Kacey figure out how to give ALL kids a chance to play sports and be a part of a team. Her tenacity led her to co-found Kinetic Kids. Watching Kinetic Kids thrive on the field, the stage, the court, or wherever their dreams take them, gives Kacey the satisfaction of knowing that if you give a child a chance, they will make dreams come true.

Aside from Kinetic Kids, you will find Kacey serving on multiple mission trip teams to Senegal, Africa and providing adaptive seating and mobility equipment to children with special needs. She also loves relaxing on her boat on Lake Medina, and sneaking away to Dallas to spend time with her son.


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