Person Type: Board

Dr. Joshua Childs

Assistant Professor
University of Texas at Austin

Joshua Childs is an assistant professor at the University of Texas at Austin in the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy. Joshua’s research focuses on the role of cross-sector collaborations to address complex educational issues. Specifically, his work examines collaborative approaches involving community organizations and stakeholders that have the potential to improve academic outcomes and reduce opportunity gaps for students in urban and rural schools. Joshua holds a PhD in Learning Sciences and Policy from the University of Pittsburgh.

John D. Holmes

Chief Legal Officer

John D. Holmes is the Chief Legal Officer for Forcepoint, where he is responsible for the company’s legal and regulatory affairs, intellectual property, ethics, and compliance programs. Headquartered in Austin, Forcepoint is a global leader in cybersecurity software and services that helps enterprises protect their employees and critical data from cyber threats. Prior to joining Forcepoint in 2015, John served as Vice President for legal and government affairs at Freescale Semiconductor, which was sold to NXP.

A native Austinite, John has served on many civic and professional organizations over the years, including the board of directors and executive committee of the Austin Chamber of Commerce, the board of directors of the Semiconductor Industry Association, Leadership Austin, the Texas General Counsel Forum, the Association of Corporate Counsel of America, and Any Baby Can (Austin).

John earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in History and Economics from Tulane University and a Juris Doctorate degree from Tulane University School of Law.

John and his wife, Laura Hernandez Holmes, live in Northwest Hills.

Abbi Miller

AVP Community Engagement
St. David’s HealthCare

Abbi Miller is the assistant vice president of community engagement for St. David’s HealthCare. In this role, she directs the community engagement strategies for the hospitals across St. David’s HealthCare, including the establishment of sponsorship programs and guidelines, as well as the implementation and maintenance of corporate philanthropic efforts. Abbi has spent the last 10 years working in healthcare, but her previous experience includes marketing for professional sports franchises, selling and activating Fortune 500 corporate sponsorships, large-scale event planning, and grassroots community outreach.

Abbi is an active member of the Junior League of Austin and is involved with the Austin Chamber of Commerce.

Abbi holds a Bachelor of Business Administration in Marketing from Texas A&M University. She’s a foodie that enjoys traveling, but her favorite pastime is spending time with her husband and two daughters (ages 5 and 8).

Scott Rust

Senior Vice President of Product R&D

Scott Rust is the senior vice president of product R&D at NI. Scott leads a global R&D organization and is responsible for extending the value of the NI platform through the development of world-class software connected automated test and automated measurement systems that accelerate productivity, innovation, and discovery.

Scott has a BS of Electrical Engineering from Texas A&M University and he is the inventor of nine patents. He is happily married to Jeanmarie and they have a daughter, Madison. In addition to United Way, Scott’s philanthropic activities include serving as a Steering Committee Member of the NI Diversity and Inclusivity Program and as a Board Member of the Austin Theatre Alliance.

Amy Simmons

Amy’s Ice Creams

Amy Simmons founded Amy’s Ice Creams in 1984 by with a winning concept focused on employee education, exemplary service, and award-winning super-premium product. Amy’s currently has 13 stores in Austin, as well as a bakery, Baked By Amy’s, and single locations in Houston and San Antonio.  The company has been profiled for its unique culture by such prestigious sources as: Inc. Magazine, Newsweek, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, “The View,” and “The Today Show.”  In 2016, Amy’s Ice Creams launched Amy’s EDU, a full-service business and entrepreneur training program designed to ignite bright minds based on four fundamental components to a successful business:  sustainable company culture, company-wide leadership amazing customer service, and open book management.

Amy Simmons earned a degree in Biology and Psychology from Tufts University in 1982. She also earned a Masters in Business Administration in 1992 from The University of Texas at Austin.

Charles Thornburgh

Civitas Learning

Charles is a serial education entrepreneur. He fell in love with teaching while an undergrad at Stanford, and upon graduation, he bought his first company – for debt. In the 20 years since he has built multiple successful ed-tech businesses that leverage technology and data to improve educational access and success at scale. In 2011, he moved to Austin to launch Civitas Learning, an outcomes-focused SaaS company that is making the most of the world’s learning data to graduate a million more students per year by 2025 and address the $4 trillion completion problem in higher education. After just seven years, Civitas Learning serves more than 325 institutions, representing nearly 40 percent of all of the students in U.S. higher ed. Charles also volunteers regularly with The Andy Roddick Foundation and deeply cherishes his family time with his wife Natalee and two young sons.

Kristie Gonzales

President and General Manager

In 2016, Kristie Gonzales joined KVUE as President and General Manager, leading one of the top television stations in Central Texas, owned by TEGNA Inc.  She manages a staff of more than 125 employees who produce 33 hours of award-winning live news and programming each week. Under her leadership, KVUE became the most-watched news station, winning five out of seven weekday news time periods among the coveted demographic of adults aged 25 to 54.

“Kristie is a rising star in this industry…” – TEGNA Media President Dave Lougee.

Before moving to Austin, she was the Promotion and Digital Brand Manager at WABC in New York, the most-watched local station in the country. Previous to WABC, Kristie held management positions at various television stations across the country, including Creative Services and Local Programming Director at WTVD in North Carolina and Creative Services and Public Affairs Director at KSFN in Fresno, California. She also spent nearly 5 years in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania as a Promotion Producer, creating marketing campaigns for WPVI.

Kristie is a dynamic and adept leader with experience creating strategic campaigns that harness the power of digital platforms to grow audiences in highly diverse markets. She was nominated in 2013 to represent ABC Owned Television Stations on the Disney ABC Television Group Hispanic Task Force. In May of 2016 in NYC, she was honored with the Latino Trendsetter Award where she shared her motto, “As you climb, lift.” In 2017, Austin’s Tribeza Magazine named her a “Driver of Style,” and in 2018, she was named “Austin Under 40” by the Young Women’s Alliance and Young Men’s Business League.

Committed to her professional and personal communities, Kristie is a member of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists and serves on the board of directors for the Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce, Make-A-Wish Central and South Texas, the SAFE Alliance and Vision for Equality. She is Vice Chair of Regional Mobility for the Austin Chamber.

Originally from Southern California, Kristie was raised primarily in Albuquerque, New Mexico, where she graduated summa cum laude with double honors from the University of New Mexico. She studied painting and minored in journalism.

Kristin Marcum headshot

Kristin Marcum, Board Secretary

Chief Executive Officer

Kristin Marcum is CEO of ECPR, a communications firm specializing in projects involving media relations, video production, legislative and grassroots efforts, social media planning and execution, branding, event planning, and crisis communications.

Marcum works with a diverse roster of clients, including St. David’s HealthCare—one of the state’s leading health care systems with more than 110 sites in Central Texas, Austin FC—Austin’s first major league sports team, and Texas Mutual Insurance Company—the state’s largest provider of workers’ compensation insurance, among others.

Marcum joined ECPR (then Elizabeth Christian Public Relations) in 1999, worked for the firm for three years, and rejoined ECPR in 2003. A graduate of Texas State University, Marcum earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Mass Communication with a public relations major and political science minor.

She is a graduate of Leadership Austin, a former Austin Area Research Organization (AARO) McBee Fellow, an AARO member, and a 2016 AU40 finalist. Most importantly, she is a mom to a daughter and two sons—Luke, Logan, and Reid.

David C. Smith

Chief Executive Officer
United Way for Greater Austin

David C. Smith, CEO of United Way for Greater Austin, has been in Executive Non-Profit Leadership for over 25 years in Austin, Texas, leading mission focused and results driven organizations to substantial growth. David’s philosophy to non-profit leadership is that while there are many factors that go into a successful organization, one common thread through all is reaching out to diverse parts of the community to collaboratively find solutions that create real impact. In recognition of his leadership, David was named a 2018 recipient of the Best CEO Award from the Austin Business Journal.

David was the founder and Executive Director of Hill Country Ride for AIDS from 2001 – 2012. Concurrently from 2008 to 2012 he founded and was the Executive Director of Mamma Jamma Ride for Breast Cancer. Under his leadership, Hill Country Ride grew to be the second largest ride for AIDS in the country, and Mamma Jamma the largest ride for breast cancer in the country.

After that long and highly successful tenure, David started David C. Smith Consulting. Prior to joining United Way for Greater Austin, David served as the Interim Executive Director of The Thinkery from October 2014 to September 2015 and Interim Managing Director of Conspirare from September 2012 to August 2013.

David has served on many non-profit boards and currently sits on the boards of Austin Theater Alliance (Paramount and State Theaters), Red Bird Foundation, Nobelity, Barton Springs Conservancy, United Ways-Texas, E3 Alliance, Community Action Network, and the Austin Healthcare Council. David has a Bachelor’s degree from Sewanee, and a Masters in Theological Studies (ABT) from Wesley Theological Seminary and he is conversant in Spanish.

In his first two and a half years at United Way for Greater Austin, David has led the organization through a 5-year strategic planning process resulting in a renewed focus, a new mission, and an increased and diversified funding base. David is proud of United Way for Greater Austin’s role as an investor in community impact through innovative programs to fight poverty.

Jeff Vernor

Head of Risk Management
Dimensional Fund Advisors

Jeff Vernor is the Head of Risk Management for Dimensional Fund Advisors LP. Dimensional is a global investment manager dedicated to implementing the great ideas in finance.

Jeff holds a bachelor’s degree in environmental science from Texas Christian University and was in the inaugural graduating class of the University of Texas at San Antonio’s executive MBA program. Jeff obtained an Associate in Risk Management designation in 2002 and continues his professional development by attending a variety of conferences and courses available within Dimensional.

Jeff supports the Risk and Insurance Management Society (RIMS) and served as President of the South Texas RIMS Chapter in 2005 and Chair of the Enterprise Risk Management Committee. He served on the Board of Directors of the United Way of Pierce County and also served as 2005/2006 Board Chair for St. George Episcopal Day School in San Antonio. Jeff also serves as a Risk Manager in Residence at universities throughout the USA.