Person Type: Board

Laura Huffman

President and CEO
Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce

Laura Huffman is President and CEO of the Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce, a nonprofit membership organization that facilitates the creation of a prosperous regional economy and advocates on behalf of its members and the broader business community.

Laura is dedicated to solving complex problems with a spirit of collaboration, innovation, and creativity.

Prior to joining the Chamber, Laura served as Texas state director for The Nature Conservancy. During her twelve-year tenure at the Conservancy, Laura worked closely with Texas legislators to draft policy with far-reaching ramifications for statewide water conservation and spearheaded the expansion of water protection funds across Central Texas.

Laura’s distinguished public service record also includes 15+ years in city management for the City of Austin and City of San Marcos, where she helped safeguard water supply, strengthen the economy, and protect natural assets.

She earned a master’s degree in public affairs from The University of Texas at Austin and a Bachelor of Science in political science from Texas A&M University. An Austin native, she enjoys running, swimming, and hiking with her husband and four children.

Rudy Metayer

Council Member, City of Pflugerville
Attorney, Graves Dougherty Hearon & Moody

The son of Haitian immigrants, Rudy is of the first generation in his family to complete higher education, graduating from not only the University of Texas College of Liberal Arts with a B.A., but also a Master in Public Affairs from the LBJ School of Public Affairs and a Doctor of Jurisprudence from the University of Texas School of Law. He has been a tireless advocate in the community speaking and working on a host of issues ranging from teaching at-risk children, co-authoring an honor code for the University of Texas, helping forge a partnership with local law enforcement and the State Bar of Texas to address the issue of community policing, and creating Pro Bono legal advice clinics for United States Military Veterans.

Before joining Graves Dougherty Hearon & Moody, a premiere litigation law firm in Central Texas, Rudy served as Special Counsel to the Health and Human Services Commission. He has also served on several local, state, and national boards and committees including the Board of Directors of the State Bar of Texas, Lone Star Circle of Care, Texans Soccer Club, Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization (CAMPO), Leadership Austin, Texas Bar Foundation, FBI Citizens Academy, US Soccer Federation Referee Program, Community Advancement Network (CAN), Texas Young Lawyers Association, Austin Black Lawyers Association, and Young Catholic Professionals. Rudy has been recognized numerous times as one of the most influential young professionals in not only the Greater Austin area, but the State of Texas. His accolades include being awarded the Pflugerville ISD Community Partner of the Year, Texas Young Lawyers Association President’s Award of Merit, Greater Austin Black Chamber of Commerce Advocate of the Year, Austin Under 40 Government & Public Affairs Award Winner, and the Austin Area Research Organization McBee Fellowship. Rudy has just been named Outstanding Young Lawyer of the Year by the Austin Bar Association and Outstanding Young Alumni “Rising Leader” by the LBJ School of Public Affairs. Recently, Rudy was named one of Central Texas’ Top Young Professionals by Austin Black Business Journal. He is a Fellow to the Texas Bar Foundation and the incoming Chair of the African American Lawyers Section of the State Bar of Texas.

On the 40 Acres, Rudy was active in various different groups and organizations including the Texas Wranglers, Thurgood Marshall Legal Society, Texas Rugby, Multicultural Information Center, Texas Law Society Mentor, UT Rec Sports Officials, LBJ School Diversity & Inclusion Curriculum Review Committee, and the Legal Eagles. Recently, Rudy was elected to the UT Law School’s Alumni Association Executive Committee.

Rudy’s true love and passion to the City of Pflugerville has been shown in his service as Vice President of the Travis County Emergency Services District No. 2 (Pflugerville Fire Department), a member of the Pflugerville Charter Review Commission, a member of the Pflugerville Community Development Corporation, Co-Chair of the Pflugerville Finance and Budget Committee, a member of the Pflugerville “1849” Park Committee, a member of the St. Elizabeth of Hungary FIESTA committee, and Vice Chair of the Boy Scouts of America Blackland Prairie. Rudy is married to his amazing wife Letisha, a longtime Pflugerville resident of almost 30 years, and the father of three, yes three, daughters.

Rudy believes that true collaboration amongst stakeholders is key to keeping Pflugerville the fiscally responsible, economically strong, inclusive, and high quality of life place it is today.

Jennifer Byrd

Vice President of Sales
American Water

Jennifer Byrd “The Water Girl” grew up in southwest Florida and attended Edison Community College. After some health trials, water quality became a top priority in her life. Twenty years ago, Jennifer began her journey in the water filtration industry with Kinetico.

Jennifer has been married for 21 years to husband Eric and they have four children. In 2013, they relocated to Texas so Jennifer could expand her reach in the water filtration industry and they now call Liberty Hill home. Jennifer loves giving back to the community and has spent the last 15 years volunteering on a variety of Boards of Directors and with Civil Organizations. In her spare time Jennifer enjoys hiking, cheering on her favorite Florida sports teams, spending time with her family, and being a Military Mom.

Blake Absher

Austin Market President
Broadway Bank

Blake joined the Broadway Bank team as the Austin Market Executive in December 2020 and was promoted to Austin Market President in January 2022. He plays an integral role in the strategic direction and leadership for the Austin market and contiguous counties. Blake collaborates with the Broadway team members to support them in acquiring new client relationships, working to maintain & deepen existing client relationships, and supporting the community through various nonprofit and civic engagements. He is excited about sharing the Broadway value proposition of being a stable, sound, profitable, innovative, and modern financial institution with the Austin community.

Prior to joining the Broadway team, Blake served in the role as the Austin Market President for BB&T now Truist since 2014. He had nearly a 14 year career with BB&T now Truist, where he served in several roles including Market President for North Houston & The Woodlands and various roles in the Retail & Business Bank. Prior to his tenure with BB&T now Truist, he served as the Retail Sales Manager for IBC Bank in Austin.

He is a proud graduate of Texas State University with a Bachelor of Business Administration in Management as well as a Master of Business Administration.

Blake and his wife, Christine, are having fun raising their toddler age son (Luke) and are loving being parents. In their spare time, they are actively involved in several nonprofits including United Way for Greater Austin, American Heart Association, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Texas, I Live Here I Give Here, The Long Center for Performing Arts, and Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Texas.

Andy Esparza

Retired Human Resources Executive

Andy recently retired following a 38-year career in corporate human resources, including roles as the Chief HR Officer for two global companies, Dell Technologies and Baker Hughes Inc. He was responsible for leading global HR teams that developed strategies and implemented programs designed to hire, develop, motivate, and retain world-class people in support of business objectives.

Andy now works with nonprofit organizations as a consultant, Board member, volunteer, and donor in his home city of Austin, Texas. He has served as a Board member at the Andy Roddick Foundation and the Ann Richards School Foundation, as well as the Advisory Board for the Management Program at his alma mater, San Diego State University. He received his Business Administration degree with an emphasis in human resources management from San Diego State, and enjoys traveling, sports, and spending time with friends and family.

Michele Scott

Owner
Square Move Realty

As owner of Square Move Realty, a leading boutique real estate brokerage, client satisfaction is Michele’s highest priority. She utilizes her strong passion for connecting people with the right home and her expertise in helping clients build wealth through real estate, to successfully guide them through every step of the realty journey in the highly competitive and fast-moving Austin real estate market.

Michele is a Certified Residential Specialist, Accredited Buyer Representative, e-Pro Specialist, and Real Estate Contracts Educator with a stellar reputation for being a trusted adviser, reliable partner, and savvy businesswoman. Whether clients are buying, selling, or investing, seeking a peaceful lakefront home, vibrant downtown loft, or cozy neighborhood starter, she excels in high touch client interaction and acute attention to detail. With Michele’s extensive background working among top tax professionals in the industry, she brings cross-discipline knowledge and meticulous attentiveness to every engagement.

Supporting the Austin community is extremely important to Michele. She is a board member for United Way of Greater Austin and local nonprofit, Any Baby Can, a proud member of Jack and Jill America – Austin chapter, and chair of the Buildings and Property Committee of the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority. To balance the busy days, Michele enjoys spending time with her husband, Will, and their three children, reading a good book, watching movies, and enjoying all that Austin has to offer. She has a deep connection to this city and is excited to help her clients with all of their real estate needs.

Michele Glaze

Head of Communications & Community Affairs
Samsung Austin Semiconductor

Michele Glaze is a communicator, connector, and community advocate who has architected programs for great brands that galvanize stakeholders for a common cause. She succeeds in promoting and protecting reputations, selling products, advancing causes, raising dollars, and inspiring individuals to take action.

Serving one of the world’s most advanced manufacturing facilities, Michele is the Head of Communications & Community Affairs team at Samsung Austin Semiconductor. She manages a team responsible for communications and corporate citizenship strategies to preserve, protect, and promote the corporate brand and reputation with partners, government, media, employees, and other stakeholders. Michele was also part of the leadership team that managed the $17 billion economic development invest in Taylor, Texas.

Prior to Samsung Austin Semiconductor, Michele served as the Chief Development & Marketing Officer for Boys & Girls Clubs of the Austin Area where she led fundraising through diversified revenue development, business development, volunteer management, and impactful marketing and communications. Prior to this role she served as the Director of Community Advancement at USAA where she helped to build the company’s CR programs. In addition, she spent 17 years at Dell, Inc., where she served in several marketing and communications roles including the Dell Foundation, Public Sales Line of Business, Public Affairs, Corporate Communications, and Services Marketing and ended her career on the Corporate Responsibility team leading corporate giving and employee engagement for the Americas.

Michele has had numerous “firsts” and “industry leading” activities throughout her career. She quarterbacked the Samsung decision to build a new fab in Texas and facilitated expansion of their employee resource groups. Michele led Boys & Girls Clubs of the Austin Area in securing funds for their new Sheth Family Home Club and being #1 during Amplify Austin for 3 years. In addition, she changed the world ‘one computer at a time’ through a national donation program for underserved middle school students, architected possibilities for hundreds of nonprofit organizations and thousands of employees through philanthropic and employee engagement programs, led the merger of all United Ways in Williamson County, created community partnerships that effectively ended military homelessness in San Antonio, and advanced STEM skills and workforce development for youth in Central Texas. Michele has been honored and humbled to have worked with such great brands and colleagues throughout her career.

Michele is a graduate of The University of Texas at Austin with a bachelor’s degree in Journalism with an emphasis in Public Relations, and is proud to serve on the Moody College of Communications Advisory Council. She has supported the community in numerous leadership roles and currently serves with United Way of Greater Austin, Austin Regional Manufacturing Association, Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce, Manor Schoolhouse Foundation, Boys & Girls Club, and The University of Texas’ Moody College of Communications Advisory Council. Michele is a graduate of Leadership Texas and Leadership Austin.

Ryan Frederick

Founder & CEO
SmartLiving 360

Ryan is the Founder & CEO of SmartLiving 360. SmartLiving 360 helps institutions and individuals thrive in the Age of Longevity by providing strategy consulting, real estate development services, and consumer content.

Ryan’s efforts and expertise are focused on the intersection of place, including housing, and successful aging. In 2021, he wrote an Amazon bestselling consumer book, Right Place, Right Time: The Ultimate Guide to Choosing a Home for the Second Half of Life, with Johns Hopkins University Press. His work and insights have been cited in Forbes, The Washington Post, and CBS, among other outlets and his white papers have been published in academic journals.

Ryan is a member of the National Advisory Council for the School of Nursing at Johns Hopkins University, a member of the AgingWell Hub, a collaborative of innovators in the field of aging led by Georgetown University, and a Fellow of Nexus Insights, a thought leadership platform dedicated to the dissemination of ideas and models that challenge the status quo and contribute to the transformation of housing and aging services for older adults. He is an Encore Public Voices Fellow and was appointed to the Advisory Council of the Bipartisan Policy Center Health and Housing Task Force headed by former HUD Secretary Henry Cisneros.

Ryan is a graduate of Princeton University and the Stanford Graduate School of Business.

Ryan lives in Austin with his wife and three teenage kids.

Jay Fox

President
Baylor Scott & White Health – Greater Austin Region

Jay Fox is the CEO and president of Baylor Scott & White Health – Greater Austin Region. Baylor Scott & White Health is the largest not-for-profit health care system in the state of Texas with 51 hospitals and more than 1110 access points. Mr. Fox is committed to helping Baylor Scott & White achieve its mission to serve all people by providing personalized health care and wellness through exemplary care, education, and research through its Christian ministry of healing.

Mr. Fox has received degrees and certifications from the following: Baylor University, The University of Oklahoma, Southern Methodist University, and The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. Mr. Fox was selected (as one of a few in the U.S.) to participate in the Malcolm Baldrige National Executive Fellowship Program.

Mr. Fox has served on the boards of many professional and non-profit organizations. Most notably, he was a nominee for the Young Healthcare Executive of the Year Award, and was included on the Dallas Business Journal’s prestigious “40-under-40” list. Mr. Fox also served on the Dallas Fort Worth Hospital Council Board as chairman, Dallas Summer Musicals Board and Executive Council, the Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) Citizen’s Advisory Board, past-chair of the Leadership Dallas Alumni Board of Directors, the national Malcolm Baldrige Board of Examiners, the Health Industry Council, and LaunchAbility. Mr. Fox has served on numerous other boards that include the ZACH Theatre; the Long Center of the Performing Arts; YMCA of Greater Williamson County; United Way for Greater Austin; Austin Chamber of Commerce, President’s Council; Texas CASA Board of Directors; Austin Area Research Organization; the Austin Monitor; Austin Healthcare Council, Chair; Texas Hospital Association Council on Policy Development; HOSPAC Board of Directors; and University of Texas Innovation and Design in Health Advisory Board, Chair. In addition, Mr. Fox was recently recognized by the Austin Business Journal as an Inspiring Leader and was selected as one of the Healthcare Heroes Award recipients by the Austin Chamber.

Dr. Sarojani Mohammed

Founder and Principal
Ed Research Works

As a research mobilizer, Dr. Sarojani Mohammed fights the injustice of knowledge-hoarding by making deep, meaningful connections between research and practice to foster the best learning experiences for each learner. She is Founder and Principal of Ed Research Works; a founding board member and Executive Director of Capacity Catalyst; and a co-founder of the Teaching and Learning Research Community.

As a quantitative evaluator and researcher, Saro has spent over 15 years’ conducting and advising on studies and external evaluations of (mostly education) programs implemented in public, private, and nonprofit settings to ensure that research improves learning experiences. Previously, she was Managing Partner, Research and Measurement at The Learning Accelerator, and before that, the inaugural assistant director of two research units at UT-Austin. Since 2008, she has worked directly with over 20 school districts through research and program evaluations, and one-on-one with more than 10 states to address capacity building and provide technical assistance.

Saro serves as a reviewer for and advisor to changemakers in the sector, including the Education Innovation and Research federal grants, United Way for Greater Austin, and SXSW EDU. She holds a doctorate in educational psychology from The University of Texas at Austin and a Bachelor of Science degree in brain and cognitive sciences from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Saro spends most of her time with her husband and son in Austin, TX, where they spend way too much time fishing. The rest of the time, they’re in Trinidad or Tobago enjoying Carnival and tropical beaches.