Meet Genesys Works Houston

Our Staff

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Katherine Taylor

Executive Director

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Colleen Ashworth

Senior Operations Manager

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Heba Baig

Senior Program Coordinator

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Olga Betancourt

Program Manager, Fort Bend

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Wendy Brooks

Site Manager, Fort Bend

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Vanadie Carpio

Program Coordinator

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Xochitl Castillo

Senior Program Coordinator

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Corinne Collard

Program Coordinator

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Karen Garcia

Operations Intern

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Ross Heidecker

Senior Manager of Institutional Giving

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Lisa Hoover

Program Manager

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Amy Hufnagel

Senior Manager of Corporate Partnerships

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Jarale Jones

Program Manager

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Raven Kennerson

Manager of College Internships

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Mohamed Larguite

Transportation

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James LaRocque

Senior Program Coordinator

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Ray Miller

Director of Corporate Engagement & Program Success

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Da’Neisha Reed

Senior Program Coordinator

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Peggy Rhoads

Senior Director of Development

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Venecia Perez-Huerta

Program Coordinator

Our Staff

Katherine Taylor

Executive Director

Katherine holds a B.A. from Mount Saint Mary’s College in Brentwood, California. Prior to joining Genesys Works Houston she worked as a Senior Director for Score Educational Centers in Northern California where she managed 3-5 center directors. While at Score she was recognized as Best in Class for Operations and Marketing. She has strong experience with training for ACT/SAT test preparation as well as vocational college work. For the past four years she worked as the Vice President of Operations for a start-up education company out of California which was focused on K-12 learning services. We are so happy to have her on board and very excited about the improvements and enhancements she is bringing to our program.

Katherine Taylor
Executive Director

Colleen Ashworth

Senior Operations Manager

Colleen Ashworth joined the Houston team in June of 2015 as the Office Manager and Program Administrator. Colleen has worked in the non-profit sector for over 17 years, offering experience in Program Operations and Administrative Management. She moved from Tyler, where she raised her son and volunteered countless hours towards various youth/school programs. She is passionate about the mission of the Genesys Works organization, and the overall development of today’s youth. She enjoys spending time with her family and traveling with friends. She is admittedly delusional about her hip-hop dancing skill level, yet continues to offer entertainment to those who can tolerate it.

Colleen Ashworth
Senior Operations Manager

Heba Baig

Senior Program Coordinator

Heba joined Genesys Works in October 2018. She received her bachelor’s degree in Math and Business from Houston Baptist University. She then served as an AmeriCorps VISTA at CollegeCommunityCareer where she served as a Financial Aid and College Success Advisor. After completing her AmeriCorps service, Heba received her Master’s degree in Education Policy from the Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M University. She is passionate about working with students and developing them into future leaders.

Heba Baig
Senior Program Coordinator

Olga Betancourt

Program Manager, Fort Bend

Olga was born and raised in Houston. She’s a lover of college football, enchiladas and the Houston Rockets. Shortly after high school, she attended Texas A&M University in College Station, TX and obtained a degree in Psychology. Prior to joining Genesys Works, she was employed as a Youth Leader for Baker Ripley where she coordinated after school programs and assisted high school seniors with the college application process. Olga is passionate about making college obtainable for all students, regardless of their backgrounds. She is excited to continue being an advocate for students in her community and all Genesys Works interns.

Olga Betancourt
Program Manager, Fort Bend

Wendy Brooks

Site Manager, Fort Bend

Wendy holds a Master’s Degree in International Marketing Strategy from the University of Lincoln in the UK. She had held a variety of roles to help high school students prepare for college entry. Immediately prior to joining Genesys Works, Wendy worked with AmeriCorps as Employment Coach, helping individuals from low income families to get work ready through resume building, interview skills, networking and other strategies. Wendy’s previous experience particularly lead her to the Program Coordinator role at Genesys Works. She is very excited to empower the students to reach their potential.

Wendy Brooks
Site Manager, Fort Bend

Vanadie Carpio

Program Coordinator

Vanadie is a born and raised Houstonian who studied Broadcast Journalism at the University of Houston and joined Genesys works in 2019 as a Program Coordinator. In 2016, she served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Malawi, Africa where she taught English and Physical Education to high school students and led after school youth programs focused on health and HIV prevention. Prior to the Peace Corps, Vanadie served two years with AmeriCorps as a Disaster Survivor Assistant in partnership with FEMA and as a Communications Strategist for an education nonprofit during her second year as an AmeriCorps VISTA. Vanadie is passionate about community service, development, and working with the youth to secure a better future. In her free time, she enjoys watching sporting events around Houston, especially the Astros, and spending time with her family and two nephews.

Vanadie Carpio
Program Coordinator

Winnie Carter

Manager of Strategy and Innovation

Winnie is a native Mississippian and graduate of Auburn University. After obtaining her degree in Communication Disorders (Speech Pathology), she moved to Boston, MA where she worked with a non-profit organization supporting Boston Public Schools through academic mentoring. Winnie is excited to get to know the Houston community, and to serve the high school seniors of the area to help them reach their full potential.

Winnie Cartner
Manager of Strategy and Innovation

Xochitl Castillo

Senior Program Coordinator

Xochitl joined Genesys Works in April 2018. She was born and raised in Houston and is a proud graduate of Texas A&M University. Before joining Genesys Works, she worked for BakerRipley as a Youth Leader, overseeing after-school youth programs for high school students in the Pasadena and East Aldine communities. As a first-generation college student herself, Xochitl also has experience mentoring first-generation college freshmen and helping them transition from high school and into college. She is passionate about developing youth into leaders, college access, dogs, yoga, the Texans, and chocolate cake.

Xochitl Castillo
Senior Program Coordinator

Corinne Collard

Program Coordinator

Corinne joined Genesys Works as a Program Coordinator in September 2019. A native Houstonian, she is happy to be back in her hometown after attending Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia for college and working out of state. Prior to Genesys Works, Corinne was a high school English teacher in Oklahoma City and a member of Teach for America. In this role, Corinne fostered her passion for youth development, finding special joy in helping students set and achieve goals. Here, however, she also witnessed the very problem Genesys Works seeks to address: many students from low-income environments are not aware of the wide spectrum of career opportunities and schools are not fully preparing students to be successful in these roles. Because of this, Corinne is excited to be part of this mission-driven work and looks forward to investing in her cohorts of interns.

Corinne Collard
Program Coordinator

Karen Garcia

Operations Intern

Karen Garcia
Operations Intern

Ross Heidecker

Senior Manager of Institutional Giving

Ross completed a Master of Business Administration from the University of Houston and a Bachelor of Arts in Art History from Trinity University. Ross brings over ten years of experience in non-profit development and programming to Genesys Works. He began his career at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, where he worked in education development for K-12 students and teachers. Ross then worked with a biomedical research non-profit in New York City in grants management and individual giving. His passion for working with young adults led him to a position as Grants Manager for an organization helping disconnected youth in the New York Metro gain skills training for careers in IT. Upon moving back to Houston in late 2016 Ross joined the Genesys Works team as Grants Manager.

Ross Heidecker
Senior Manager of Institutional Giving

Lisa Hoover

Program Manager

Lisa is a graduate of the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor who came to Genesys Works in January of 2016. She is a native Houstonian who has several years of experience in mentoring, coaching, and teaching youth. For three years, she worked on staff in the youth ministry at a large church in Houston. She was also able to work with The A21 Campaign in Greece through their volunteer internship program, working with young women who had been rescued from human trafficking. She has a passion for helping people overcome and rise above their circumstances, and she is excited to be a part of the Genesys Works team!

Lisa Hoover
Program Manager

Amy Hufnagel

Senior Manager of Corporate Partnerships

Amy Hufnagel
Senior Manager of Corporate Partnerships

Jarale Jones

Program Manager

Jarale is originally from Port Arthur, TX. Shortly after high school, he attended Lamar University in Beaumont, TX and obtained a BBA in Finance and Economics. Before becoming employed with Genesys Works, he was employed with The Princeton Review as a SAT/TSI/College Readiness instructor. In this position, he was responsible for helping students prepare for college entrance exams and assisted with the transition from high school to college. He looks forward to assisting students with the employment opportunities that bring out skills that will continue to be beneficial in the future.

Jarale Jones
Program Manager

Raven Kennerson

Manager of College Internships

Raven received her bachelor’s degree from Lamar University and received her Master’s in Business Administration from Prairie View A&M University in 2018. Prior to Genesys Works, she was a United States Air Force Youth Program Lead in Okinawa, Japan, where she received various accolades such as Youth of the Year Advisor and Employee of the Quarter. After working closely with the USAF and other youth-focused nonprofits, she realized her passion for working with students. Raven is thrilled to bring her experience to Genesys Works to help develop our future workforce leaders.

Raven Kennerson
Manager of College Internships

Mohamed Larguite

Transportation

Mohamed Larguite joined Genesys Works in August 2008; he graduated from the University of Algiers (Algeria) with a bachelors degree in Business Management. He previously worked in retail as a store manager, in Societe National des Vehicules Industriel (SNVI) as a supervisor in the quality control department. He coached youth soccer (under 10 years) for summer tournaments, and is fluent in French and Arabic.

Mohamed Larguite
Transportation

James LaRocque

Senior Program Coordinator

James joined the Genesys Works team in June of 2014 as a Program Coordinator. He is a proud graduate of the University of Chicago. Prior to joining Genesys Works, James worked as a recruiter for the Academy for Urban School Leadership’s Chicago Teacher Residency, and spent six years serving high school students on Chicago’s South and West Sides with the University of Chicago Neighborhood Schools Program and City Year Chicago.

James LaRocque
Senior Program Coordinator

Ray Miller

Director of Corporate Engagement & Program Success

Ray joined the Genesys Works team as a Program Coordinator in June 2013 because he is passionate about empowering young people to achieve a bigger and better vision for their future. Ray comes to Genesys Works with 5 years of experience mentoring, teaching, and leading high school age students, which he gained while serving as the Director of Youth Ministries at a large church in the Houston area. Ray has a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Religion and minors in both Political Science and Italian from Texas Christian University. Now a Senior Program Manager, Ray is responsible for the Career and College Connection program.

Ray Miller
Director of Corporate Engagement & Program Success

Da’Neisha Reed

Senior Program Coordinator

Da’Neisha was born and raised in Houston. She received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Texas at Austin in May 2017. After working in sales for a short period, she chose to return to her passion of working with youth, which she first developed as an intern for the University of Texas Women’s Basketball program. In that role, she worked closely with the Community Engagement team to connect with students on and off campus. As a first generation college graduate, Da’Neisha understands the importance of mentorship and is eager to help youth in our community be successful in college, career and beyond.

Da’Neisha Reed
Senior Program Coordinator

Peggy Rhoads

Senior Director of Development

Peggy’s nonprofit career has spanned more than 20 years across a variety of important causes such as health care, education, social services, and quality of life issues. Her development responsibilities have included institutional funding, individual major gifts, special events, grant writing, annual fund, marketing and communications, volunteer management, and development administration. Most recently, she led the development department for the American Cancer Society’s Gulf Coast Region office, and has also worked at Catholic Charities, the Sunshine Kids Foundation, Montrose Clinic, and the University of Houston. Peggy brings to Genesys Works a combination of the passion for making a difference for children and the knowledge and best practices of large, established organizations. A graduate of Rice University, Peggy is an alumna of Leadership Houston and has served on their Board of Directors since 2014. She is also a member the Association of Fundraising Professionals.

Peggy Rhoads
Senior Director of Development

Tanita Wiley

Senior Manager of Recruitment and School Relationships

Tanita is a proud graduate of the University of Texas at San Antonio. Her passion for education and working with underserved youth developed from her time working with the Children’s Defense Fund Freedom Schools Summer Program, and time spent abroad studying Education and Social Change in South Africa. Prior to joining the Genesys Works team she served as a College Access Member, where she worked closely with a cohort of students at Jefferson Davis High School to help with their college application process, financial aid, and scholarship applications. She has had the privilege of working with students who were participants in the Genesys Works Program and has witnessed the positive impact it has on their lives. She is excited to be a part of Genesys Works-Houston and looking forward to working with the youth of Houston as they prepare to start a new chapter in their lives.

Tanita Wiley
Senior Manager of Recruitment and School Relationships

Board of Directors

Raymond (Ray) Messer
Chairman Emeritus, Walter P Moore (Chair)
Jeffrey Artis
President and CEO, Genesys Works
Adam Barth
Partner, McKinsey & Company
Erskine Black Jr.
Vice President, Occupier Solutions, Transwestern
Carolyn J. Burke
Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, Chevron Phillips Chemical
Jesse Carrillo
Senior VP & Chief Information Officer, Hines
Linda Castaneda
US West Region Advisory Managing Partner, Ernst & Young
George Crawford
CIO and Partner, Catapult Energy
Myra Davis
Senior Vice President/Chief Information and Innovation Officer, Texas Children's Hospital
Robert Flexon
Former President & CEO, Dynegy Inc.
Mary Beth Gracy
Houston Office Managing Director, Accenture
Shachella James
Vice President Technology Operations, CenterPoint Energy
Gene Janiszewski
CEO, Paradigm Group, Inc.
Evan Kirchen
CEO, Orbital Renewables
Jerry Lasco
Founder, President and CEO, Lasco Enterprises, LLC
Michael T. McDonnell
Former President and Chief Executive Officer, General Cable Corporation
Elisabeth Nash
Senior Vice President, Operations Services, SCI
Susanna Sabbagh
Vice President, BP Account, Halliburton
Scott Silvas
Texas Market President, Fifth Third Bank
Elizabeth (Liz) Sweigart
Partner, PwC
Katherine Taylor
Executive Director, Genesys Works Houston

Get in touch with the team.