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Board of Directors
Adrián Rizo

Adrián Rizo

Board Vice Chair, Vice President - Analytics Delivery at Kasasa Inc.

Adrián Rizo comes to Creative Action with more than ten years of experience in the financial services industry. After working at large global banks in Mexico and Wall Street, Adrián has committed his career to increasing financial inclusion for underbanked populations.  First, at a startup in Silicon Valley that focused on the Hispanic population, and now at Kasasa Inc., where he helps community-based financial institutions all over the country become the go-to place for financial services through technology, marketing, and branded products. Adrián has experienced the impact of Creative Action’s work through its after-school program, in which his son continues to be enrolled. A native of Mexico City, Adrián holds an MBA from the McCombs School of Business at the University of Texas, and continues to lead a bilingual personal and professional life in East Austin.

Carly Christopher

Carly Christopher

Professional Actor & Co-Founder, Christopher Family Foundation

As a lifelong lover of the creative arts and a working model and actor in Austin, Carly was immediately drawn to the mission and purpose of Creative Action. A graduate of Southwestern University in Georgetown, Carly draws on her experience in event production, marketing, and branding to assist with events and fundraising for Creative Action. When she isn’t modeling and acting, Carly is seeking out new real estate ventures and flipping houses with her husband Clayton.

Carron Whittaker

Carron Whittaker

Board Chair, Senior Manager – Accenture Software Health & Public Service Professional Services

Carron has 21 years of experience in the management consulting, application outsourcing and software development arenas, working for Accenture. Her primary focus is in the Health and Public Service industry. Carron’s skill concentrations are in the system development life cycle, program and project management and delivery lead.  She is currently working within Accenture Software to deliver focused software solutions to health and human services state and federal agencies.  On a personal note, Carron is a single mom of Kyla, a vivacious seventeen year old actor, model, athlete.  She enjoys traveling throughout the world, theater, reading, teaching leadership, singing in the Agape Christian Ministries church choir/praise and worship team, mountain biking and riding motorcycles.  Carron is committed to providing children with the social and life skill tools they need to navigate this world and ultimately become leaders of their destiny.

Heather Venard

Heather Venard

Senior Community Affairs Representative

Heather Venard is a Senior Community Affairs Representative at AMD, specifically for the Austin area and, in that role, manages AMD’s engagement in the community with local nonprofits.  She administers the grant program for AMD locally, which includes chairing the AMD Austin Community Affairs Council.

In addition to her current role as Governance Chair of Creative Action, Heather is a past board member of both the Clarksville Community Development Corporation and the Austin Celtic Association.  She has also served her community through her involvement with the Bank of America Community Volunteers during her previous career at Merrill Lynch.   Heather is a graduate of the Leadership Austin Emerge Class of 2016.

Jim McDermott

Jim McDermott

President at McDermott Holdings LLC

Jim McDermott is a serial entrepreneur who co-founded and sold his first successful business when he was a college student. With over 12 years of experience specializing in start-up and turn-around operations across multiple industries, some of Jim’s most recent projects include Rhythm Superfoods, a vegan snack food company that sells through Whole Foods nationwide; The Belmont, a downtown Austin music venue; and The Tavern, a iconic Austin restaurant. Prior to these ventures, Jim sold two businesses that he co-founded as CFO. Associated Tileworks was the largest fabricator of countertops in central Texas, and was sold to a private equity backed firm during 2011. Lakeview Healthcare Systems was a brain injury rehabilitation company in 7 states, with both for-profit and non-profit divisions, and was sold to a public company during 2009. Jim earned his CPA in 2005 while working with Ernst & Young in New York City and has his Bachelor’s in Business Administration and Masters in Professional Accounting from the University of Texas at Austin.

Lonnie Cooper

Lonnie Cooper

Self-employed
Monica Gill

Monica Gill

Board Treasurer, Director of Client Services - Bridgepoint Consulting

Monica has more than 20 years of financial and accounting experience. She is currently Director of Client Services at Bridgepoint Consulting. Previously, Monica served as the Chief Financial Officer at Red River Service Corporation, Inc. in Dripping Springs, TX. Earlier in her career, she was the CFO at Schlotzsky’s shortly after it went public and has been in a variety of other consulting, accounting and auditing roles. Monica’s focus is managing relationships with consultants and BPC clients to ensure complete customer satisfaction. She received her Bachelor of Business Administration degree from Stephen F. Austin State University and is a Certified Public Accountant in the State of Texas.

Raman N. Dewan

Raman N. Dewan

Partner at Jackson Walker, LLP

Raman focuses his practice in intellectual property prosecution, transactional, counseling, and licensing matters. His experience includes supporting clients in the development and protection of intellectual property assets. Raman also has extensive experience in the negotiation and drafting of development, distribution, license, service, integration, network, information content, multiparty alliance, and related intellectual property agreements from both the licensor and licensee perspectives. Before entering the legal profession, Raman was a Captain in the U.S. Air Force.

Sarah Richardson

Sarah Richardson

Board Secretary, Private Client Relationship Advisor & Operating Officer - Brown Advisory

Sarah Richardson is a native Austinite whose professional career has spanned from the nonprofit arts to financial services. Currently, she serves as a Private Client Relationship Advisor and the Operating Officer for the Austin office of Brown Advisory, a private wealth management firm with 8 global offices. In that capacity, she leads the operational, client service, and technology efforts for the Austin office and advises on firm-wide strategic initiatives. Previously, Sarah was a Vice President in Investor Relations at the D. E. Shaw Group in New York. Before her career in finance, Sarah was a professional actor, director, and theatre producer based here in Austin. She is a founding member of Rude Mechanicals, a homegrown theatre collective which just celebrated its 20th anniversary. While Sarah no longer plays an active day-to-day role in the company, she continues to be involved in Austin’s thriving arts community when the opportunities arise. Sarah holds a Bachelor of Arts from Cornell University and a Master of Fine Arts from the University of California at Irvine and is currently serving as a Social Venture Partner at Mission Capital.

Troy Madres

Troy Madres

Executive Vice President, Estrada Hinojosa & Company, Inc.

Troy Madres is an Executive Vice President at Estrada Hinojosa and Company, Inc., a Hispanic owned municipal finance investment bank.  He has over 12 years experience in the structuring and issuance of debt obligations for political entities in Texas and across the U.S.  Troy joined Creative Action after working with the organization on the restoration of the “Greetings From Austin” mural in the Bouldin Creek neighborhood.  Troy previously served on the Board of the City of Philadelphia’s Mural Arts Program, and was co-founder of a non profit that encourages civic engagement among recent college graduates in Philadelphia.  A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, Troy is married and has two children who attend Becker Elementary.

Board Alumni

Ana Martinez Stapleton

Creative Consultant and Owner, Hotel Ella and The South Congress Hotel

Ann S. Graham

Executive Director, Texans for the Arts

Celeste Quesada

Creative Director & Founder at Craftbox Agency and REALTOR® at The Gill Agency

Gregory S. Perrin

Chief Development Officer, University of Texas Libraries

Laura Buehler

Board Secretary, Community Volunteer

Lisa Hickey

Co-Founder, The Panacea Collection

Lisa Hickey is a marketing and events consultant from Austin, Texas, and co-founder of Panacea Collection, a boutique event staging company.  Previously, Hickey served as marketing director at C3 Presents, the third largest concert promoter in the US, leading marketing efforts for the Austin City Limits Music Festival, Lollapalooza, and other C3 festival brands. Hickey was also a co-founder of Do312.com, a Chicago-based event listing website and social networking community.

Marnie Near

Former Board Chair, Community Volunteer

Rich Smalling

CEO at American Innovations, Ltd.
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