Where are you from originally and how long have you lived in Houston?
Although I was born and raised in College Station, I have lived in Houston over 40 years.
Child(ren) and Age(s)?
One thing people would be surprised to know about you…
In my youth I was a competitive swimmer and a competitive equestrian (hunter/jumper).
Favorite local activities to do in Houston?
Houston is such a fun city! Who doesn’t love to go out to eat and try new restaurants? If eating is an activity, that’s my favorite! I also love supporting the theater – especially our very own professional nonprofit and educational programs at Theater Under the Stars – and our national sports teams and rodeo. But my favorite things to do are outdoors. Whether I’m at one of the festivals or a green space or kayaking down the bayou or chartering a sailboat from Kemah, it doesn’t matter, I love Houston and Texas and all the heat that comes with it.
Do you have a favorite family-friendly restaurant in the area?
My family loves Italian food especially when the garlic bread and Caesar salads are just to our liking. We think George’s Pastaria and Cavatore are fantastic family-friendly places with great food and ambience. We could eat at those places every week! We’ve also found a Spring Branch secret – tucked away in a strip center you’d never know about – go to Pampa Grill and Market on Hammerly. It’s classic Argentinean but casual come as you are.
What local places do you go to for pampering and/or mom’s night out?
Pampering for me is just getting hair and nails done or even going to a Zumba class without anyone caring how long I’m gone or asking me “what’s for dinner?”. At the Houstonian I can do all of that and have a sauna and a coffee and a hydromassage too.
Are you involved in a business venture, a local organization, a creative endeavor, or in the corporate world?
I’ve worked for two public accounting firms and two large corporations in the roles of accounting and finance, but for the last nineteen years I’ve dedicated my work and service to several nonprofits. Specifically and most notably, I share my expertise and resources to Christian education in Spring Branch, having been the Director of Operations at St. Mark Lutheran School and presently at Houston Christian High School (www.houstonchristian.org) as the Director of Business Affairs. I chose to give my time and talents to these organizations even though I would be earning about four times the pay if I hadn’t left the corporate world. I hope to elevate the quality of private and independent school programs by managing and freeing up resources, and leading their efforts in stewardship, fundraising, technological improvements, and to help make private education an affordable and desirable alternative to families seeking to ensure their kids are trained in leadership, character, and ethical values while pursuing rigorous academic and athletics programs.
I also currently serve as an officer of St. Mark Lutheran Church and the Secretary of my homeowners’ association.
How has the Houston community been instrumental in getting you to where you are now?
I’ve spent my entire career in Houston. It has become a “small world” as I have met and re-encountered so many people over the years. Houstonians are truly warm and compassionate, family-oriented and friendly people. Doors have been opened so many times by simply relying on friends and acquaintances. One opportunity links me to another like a long chain. I started my non-profit work as a volunteer because I hoped to impress my boss many years ago, and the funny thing is it turned into my passion and even resulted in an introduction to my husband!
What is the best advice for juggling mommyhood and running a business (or volunteering, working, etc)?
Being a mom and doing anything for your community – whether working or volunteering – requires a great deal of support and encouragement. If you can’t afford a full-time nanny, maid, driver, and private chef, then you are shuffling a lot duties. Don’t try to do it all yourself! Enroll your children in school and after-school activities, and feel free to let them learn from their teachers and coaches while you pursue other high endeavors. Each week, set expectations at home as to who cooks (if anyone!) and who cleans to enlist support for those days when you just can’t manage it. Then don’t feel guilty for working and serving. It’s who you are, and you are especially needed in your role of service to our communities. Finally, carve out twenty minutes to snooze on the easy chair to re-energize. Sleep is underrated!
What would you tell the old “You” before you had kids?
You’ll be surprised how selfless you become after you dedicate your life to children. If you thought you were selfless before, you didn’t realize you had more to give. You are blessed to be a blessing – now go and be a blessing to your family and your community!
Funniest shortcut/routine for helping you through parenthood?
The best shortcut to parenting is to have supper with your family around a family table (or if you have little ones – read to them before bedtime.) You will truly make the most lasting impact to your family in those ten minutes a day. Choose them and savor them!