Yesenia Alvarez-Gonzalez is AVANCE-San Antonio’s Director of Parenting Programs. She administers and implements AVANCE’s school- and center-based programs and family services across San Antonio. Alvarez-Gonzalez manages partnerships and collaborations with school districts and the United Way.
The daughter of first-generation Mexican immigrants, Alvarez-Gonzalez was her family’s first college graduate. After studying at San Antonio college, she earned her bachelor of arts degree in human sciences from Our Lady of the Lake University (OLLU). She is currently enrolled at OLLU pursuing her master of nonprofit management and leadership degree.
Judith Bell is President/CEO of Providence Place. She was the agency’s chief operating officer
for four years prior to becoming the CEO. Judith has 27 years of social service experience and has a passion for
serving others and has served in several capacities throughout her career.
Judith has a bachelor’s and master’s from the University of
Arkansas and a doctorate degree from Iowa State University. She is a Johnson
and Johnson Fellow and an alumnus of the Volunteers of America’s Executive
Development Program. She attends
University United Methodist Church, a member of the NonProfit Council and is
actively seeking other community involvement opportunities.
Sheila Black is Executive Director of Gemini Ink since 2012.
Prior to that, she worked for many years as development director of the
Colonias Development Council in New Mexico.
She is the author of two full-length poetry collections
House of Bone and Love/Iraq (both CW Press) and two chapbooks, How to be a
Maquiladora (Main Street Rag) and Continental Drift (Patriothall Gallery, UK)
with painter Michele Marcoux. Her recent collection Wen Kroy (Dream Horse
Press) received the 2011 Orphic Prize in Poetry. She is a 2012 Witter Bynner
Fellow in Poetry, selected by US Poet Laureate Philip Levine.
Rebecca “Becca” Brune is the Senior Vice President of Strategic
Planning & Growth at Methodist Healthcare Ministries of South Texas, Inc.
(MHM) where she oversees MHM’s strategic planning process, community
investments and public policy initiatives. Becca has more than 22 years of
experience working at the local, national and international levels building
public-private partnerships to support innovative programming and leverage
As a Woodrow Wilson
Fellow, Becca earned a master’s degree in public affairs from the Maxwell
School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University and, as a Bill
Greehey scholar, earned a master’s degree in business administration from the
Bill Greehey School of Business at St. Mary’s University in San Antonio, Texas.
Gloria Canseco is Executive Director of San Antonio
Christian Dental Clinic, Christian ministry providing charitable dental care to
over low-income and homeless Bexar County adults each year. In her first six months as executive director,
Canseco led the clinic through a projected $450,000 deficit and 20 percent
reduction to full-funding. Since then,
Canseco has grown partnerships, programs, governance, and financial support
with a budget of $4,000,000.
Canseco holds a BA from Mary Baldwin College, graduating Phi
Beta Kappa, cum laude in 1979, completing her undergraduate studies in three
years. Her Masters of Art is from Texas
A&M International University graduating with a 4.0 GPA while working
full-time and raising her family.
Melanie Cawthon is the Education & Development VP
for Reaching Maximum Independence, Inc. Entering the nonprofit sector in October 1999, Melanie transitioned from
an administrative assistant into development by 2002. With a B.A. in Business
Leadership from UTSA, an M.S. in nonprofit management from OLLU, and two
certifications in nonprofit management, Melanie established a good foundation
for her career path.
Recognized by the Business Journal as one of San Antonio’s
brightest stars receiving the 40 Under 40 award in 2013 and The Current as one
of San Antonio’s 20 Most Captivating People of 2015, Melanie has been
acknowledged for her altruistic work and the positive impact she makes on the
lives of others.
Kristin Davila currently serves as the Vice
President/Treasurer – Director of Corporate Operations for Merced Housing Texas
(Merced). Kristin started working for
Merced in 2005 as a Resident Services Coordinator at a multifamily community
where she provided supportive services and resources for more than four hundred
She received her
Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology from The University of Michigan, Ann
Arbor, MI. In 2014, Kristin earned a
Housing Compliance Manager – HUD designation from Zeffert & Associates and
in 2015, completed General Nonprofit Management and Leadership Certifications
from Our Lady of the Lake University's School of Business and Leadership.
Miriam M. Elizondo serves as Executive Director of The Rape
Crisis Center. She received her Master’s in Science in Counseling Psychology
from Our Lady of the Lake University in 2005.
Miriam began her professional career at The Rape Crisis
Center as a trauma counselor in 2005 and has provided specialized trauma care
to victims of sexual assault and their families as well as sex trafficked
victims. In November of 2007 she was promoted to the Clinical Director and in
February 2013, she became the Co-Executive Director, bringing a shared
leadership model to the industry.
Eric Estrada is the Director of Operations for the San
Antonio Clubhouse. He is responsible for
designing business processes and programs that create meaningful volunteer and
pre-vocational experiences for the members of the San Antonio Clubhouse—adults
with serious and persistent mental illness.
Under his leadership, the number of members served by the
Clubhouse has nearly doubled. In 2015,
the organization received over 54,000 volunteer hours and helped over 40
members obtain paid employment. Eric is
also responsible for providing leadership to communities in the state of Texas
which do not have clubhouses. Under his
leadership, the number of clubhouses in Texas is expected to more than double
in the next 18 months.
Renee Garvens serves as the Senior Director of Community and
Donor Relations for Roy Maas Youth Alternatives where she oversees fundraising,
volunteer services, social media, marketing, public relations and community
engagement. With 12 years in nonprofit leadership, Renee is passionate about
the power of education to transform lives and the role that nonprofits play in
ensuring every child is provided equal access to opportunities for success.
Renee has a BA in Anthropology from UTSA and a Master of
Arts in Education from UIW.
Mary Heathcott is the Executive Director of Blue Star
Contemporary, where she leads its exhibition and educational programs, guided
by the bold mission to inspire the creative genius in us all.
Heathcott received her master’s degree in the Humanities from
the University of Chicago in 2001, where her research in art history culminated
in a thesis exploring the history of stereoscope photography, Collapsed
Elemental Perspective. She received her BA in Art History in 1998 from Trinity
Gyna Juarez has been in the nonprofit field for more than 13
years. She started her career working with the Brazos Valley Council on Alcohol
and Substance Abuse in 2003 and moved to San Antonio in the Fall of 2004 to
start work with the San Antonio Council on Alcohol and Drug Abuse, where she
has worked for the past 12 years.
She has Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from Texas A&M
University and a Masters of Public Administration from the University of Texas
Krystal D. Mathis, Development Director for San Antonio Pets Alive!, started on the road to her nonprofit
career at an early age.
Krystal attended Texas State University and graduated with a
Bachelor’s Degree in Zoology in 2002. Krystal has worked in many areas of
nonprofit administration for Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation, including with
the volunteers, interns, apprentices, and as Director of Outreach. She left the organization in 2012 to gain
more business development experience, working as the Director of Development at
Girls Empowerment Network in Austin and as the Director of Special Projects at
the Cibolo Nature Center & Farm. In 2015, Krystal returned to Wildlife
Rescue and Rehabilitation.
In January 2009, Sandra A. Morales joined House of
Neighborly Service as a Parent Educator, and then advanced to Program
Assistant. In the fall of 2014, she became Interim Executive Director and in
February 2015, she was made Executive Director.
With seven years of experience in the nonprofit sector, Sandra has
become passionate about her field and is looking forward to doing more for the
Westside community that House of Neighborly Service serves.
Sandra worked 10 years in the Edgewood Independent School
District where she was a Volunteer Coordinator at an elementary campus. She received her B.S. and M.S. in
Organizational Leadership from OLLU.
Belinda White Pustka has served three years as the executive
director of Sunshine Cottage School for Deaf Children, a local nonprofit that
has been in the San Antonio area for almost 70 years. Prior to her time at
Sunshine Cottage, Belinda taught as an adjunct professor in various
universities as well as working for Representative Jimmie Don Aycock in the
Texas House of Representatives.
Belinda retired as the superintendent in the
Schertz-Cibolo-Universal City ISD having served in various capacities in the
public education arena for 35 years. Belinda’s undergraduate degree is from
Texas Tech University; her master’s degree is from the University of Houston,
and her PhD is from the University of Texas – Austin.
For more than 10 years, Tiffany Walker has served Seton Home
in various leadership roles—most recently as COO, leading service delivery for
its population of abused and neglected teen moms and their children. Tiffany was promoted to executive director
for Seton Home in July 2015 and most recently was promoted to also oversee St.
PJ’s Children’s Home.
Tiffany is a Licensed Professional Counselor with a passion
for developing programming to transform the care model into a positive culture
of care for youth facing crisis. Tiffany is actively championing a
transformation in the culture of Seton Home and St. PJ’s with her
implementation of a trauma informed care model for the children served in the
shelter and residential programs.
Since January 2013, Heather Welder Russo has served as Vice
President of Development for the Witte Museum, overseeing its $100 million
capital campaign, raising $87 million to date. For the past nine years, she has
also served as the museum’s lead gift officer, overseeing the raising of more
than $3.5 million in operations each year. Previously, she was the director of
major gifts and planned giving for the University of the Incarnate Word and the
director of development for the Texas Wildlife Association. Her nonprofit
experience began as the senior program officer for World Vision Armenia,
overseeing $2 million in humanitarian aid and development projects and 80 staff.
from Washington & Lee University in 2000 with a Bachelor of Science, majors
in Business Administration and European History.
Susan Wetz serves as the Chief Programs Officer for
Communities In Schools of South Central Texas where she oversees the
organization’s programming, ensuring the highest quality of interventions for
the populations they work with.
She started with the organization as a site coordinator at
an elementary school. This experience led to the position of director of
programs for at-risk youth where she provided supervision and support to other
site coordinators. She became the master trainer and trained new employees,
providing ongoing learning opportunities for tenured staff. She assisted with
training board members, new executive directors and other staff across the
Angela White started as the new CEO of Alpha Home in March
2016. Alpha Home is a substance use disorder program that celebrated 50 years
of service in 2016. She is blessed to lead an organization that truly makes a
far reaching difference. Their clients’ recoveries are impacted as they give
them tools to fight the disease of addiction; they work to unify families and
create a positive effect in the community.
Her background has been in the for-profit world, covering
areas from finance and IT to international customer service and sales. She also
ran her own business in life coaching for several years.