Board of Directors

President – Aaron Dobbs
Counsel, Gray Reed & McGraw

T. Aaron Dobbs is an attorney with Gray Reed & McGraw and practices in the firm’s trusts and estates section. Aaron assists beneficiaries, fiduciaries, creditors, and charitable organizations in all aspects of estate and trust administration, probate, will contests, trust and fiduciary litigation, creditor claims, and guardianship disputes before trial and appellate courts across the state of Texas.  He also works with individuals and families on the development of effective estate plans to achieve long-term goals, including tax efficiency and mitigation of inheritance disputes.

Aaron is board certified in estate planning and probate law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. A seventh generation Texan, Aaron previously worked as a Legislative Aide to U.S. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison of Texas and as a Legislative Counsel for the Texas Legislative Council. During his tenure with the Texas Legislature, Aaron was a member of the team of lawyers responsible for drafting the first installment of the new Estates Code, which replaced the Texas Probate Code on January 1, 2014.

Aaron holds a B.S. from Texas A&M University and a J.D. from South Texas College of Law – Houston.

 

President-Elect – David Starnes
Sr. Director of Gift Planning, University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston

David currently serves UT Health Sciences Center Houston as the Senior Director, Estate and Gift Planning. Prior to joining UT Health, David served as Senior Director of Gift Planning at MD Anderson Cancer Center, Director of Gift Planning at Baylor College of Medicine and the Director of Gift Planning at the University of Houston. Since starting his fundraising career David has focused on gifts of non-cash assets and helping individuals develop a gift plan that will produce beneficial results for the donor and their family. Memberships include the National Association of Charitable Gift Planners, Planned Giving Council of Houston, and Houston Estate and Financial Forum. David has also served on the speaker committee for the National Conference on Gift Planning.

David and his wife Sheri have been married for 34 years and have 2 boys and two granddaughters.

 

 

Treasurer – Stephanie Dugan
Director of Endowment and Gift Planning, Holocaust Museum Houston

Stephanie has over 12 years of experience with non-profits.   She joined the Development Office at Holocaust Museum Houston in 2016.  She oversees the Museum’s endowment and gift planning functions and assists the development team with current gift and deferred gift fundraising strategies.  Prior to joining Holocaust Museum Houston, Stephanie was the Development Officer of Gift Planning and Estate Administration at University Houston.  She holds a bachelor’s degree in Business Management and Economics from State University of New York Empire State College.  She holds the Chartered Advisor in Philanthropy designation from American College of Financial Services.

 

Secretary –  Sherrie Mueller
Associate Director of Gift Planning, University of Houston System

Sherrie joined the University of Houston System’s Office of Gift Planning in 2016, transitioning to a career in gift planning for higher education after 20+ years of private law practice in estate and charitable planning as well as trust and estate administration. Sherrie graduated with honors from Baylor University’s Hankamer School of Business and received her Juris Doctorate from the University of Houston Law Center.

 

 

 

Membership Chair -Deborah Ballard
Executive Director of Development, University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston

Debbie provides strategic leadership for fundraising efforts around institutional initiatives and advises on diverse philanthropic opportunities aimed at maximizing engagement and support for UTHealth.  She has over twenty years of experience in the non-profit sector, in organizations ranging from early-stage ventures to world-renowned institutions and has held leadership positions in both gift planning and major gifts.  Prior to joining UTHealth, she was a consultant with Dini Spheris. In addition to CGPH, she is a member of NACGP, AFP-GHC, CASE, FJWC and a board member of the Spring Branch Education Foundation.

Debbie holds a Bachelor of Arts from the College of Natural Sciences at The University of Texas at Austin.  She and her husband, Franklin, have two wonderful children and a beloved Vizsla.

 

Programs Chair – Jeff McLain
Sr. Director of Gift Planning, Texas A&M Kingsville

With over 37 years in higher education advancement, Jeffery L. McLain, MMC, CFRE, serves as the Senior Director of Gift Planning at Texas &M University-Kingsville. Prior to that he worked at Kent State University, LSU, Texas Tech and the University of Texas at Austin. McLain began his advancement and fundraising career with Baylor University weeks after he completed his Bachelor’s degree in 1982.  He received a Masters in Mass Communication from LSU.

He has been involved with CASE, The Council for the Advancement and Support of Education.  He served three years as CASE District IV scholarship chair and was the Chair of the 2013 CASE District IV conference.  He served a three-year term on the CASE International Board of Trustees.

Active in his profession, McLain is a CFRE, a certified fundraising executive.  He has held offices in local chapters of the Association of Fundraising Professionals, including service as president of the Baton Rouge AFP Chapter and the Lubbock, Texas Chapter.  He is active with the Charitable Gift Planners of Houston Chapter.

In 2011, he was honored as the Outstanding Professional Fundraiser for the Baton Rouge Area Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals.

A native of Plainview, Texas, his family was involved with agriculture as both cotton farmers and cottonseed delinters.

 

Communications Chair – Richard Buffett
Director of Major Gifts and Planned Giving, Houston Grand Opera

richard-buffetRichard is currently the Director of Major Gifts and Legacy Planning for the Houston Grand Opera. He is a Certified Wealth Advisor and previously worked for the Cleveland Institute of Music as Director of Development and the Cleveland Clinic as Director of Gift Planning. After spending 24 years at KeyBank (Cleveland, Ohio) as a Senior Vice President for Institutional Asset Management and Trusts and Estates and was the Discretionary Trust Distributions Chair of KeyTrust, Richard decided to enter the gift and legacy planning profession. Richard also serves as Vice President of the Board of Trustees for Ars Lyrica Houston, sings with the Christ Church Cathedral Choir and has served on various not for profit boards for a number of years while residing in Cleveland, Ohio.

 

 

Sponsorship Chair – Tanya Castro
SVP, Trust and Asset Management, Cadence Bank

tanya_castroMrs. Castro has sixteen years of experience in the financial services industry. She is a Magna Cum Laude graduate of the University of Houston with a B.A. in Finance.  She is an alumni of Phi Kappa Phi, Beta Gamma Sigma, as well as a graduate of the Cannon Financial Institute’s Trust School. She obtained the Certified Trust & Financial Advisor (CTFA) designation from The Institute of Certified Bankers and holds her Series 7 and 66 Securities Licenses. Her long-standing memberships include Houston Estate & Financial Forum, Planned Giving Council of Houston, Financial Women in Texas – Gulf Coast Chapter, and the American Bar Association.

She started her career at a major bank in its Retail Banking Department and is now a part of Cadence’s Trust group in Houston, Texas and is the assigned Marketing Officer for all of South Texas.  Mrs. Castro is a proud wife and mother and makes her home with her family in Katy, TX.

 

Conference Chair – Rachel Kronenberger
Philanthropy Advisor, Texas Children’s Hospital

Rachel S. Kronenberger currently manages the planned giving program at Texas Children’s Hospital. Rachel began her career in planned giving at the Museum of Fine Arts Boston, immediately following her graduation from Wellesley College in 2012. After moving to Houston in 2015, she was the Major Gifts Officer at The Menil Collection, before returning to planned giving as the Assistant Director, Gift Planning at Baylor College of Medicine. Rachel earned her Chartered Advisor in Philanthropy (CAP®) designation from the American College of Financial Services in 2018. She is also an enthusiastic volunteer for the Wellesley Club of Houston.

 

 

 

At Large Director – Maureen Phillips
Chairman, Westwood Trust

Ms. Phillips was appointed Chairman of Westwood Wealth Management – Houston on March 2018. She joined Westwood in 2015 after Woodway Financial Advisors, in which she joined in 1996, was acquired by Westwood.
Ms. Phillips has more than 25 years of experience in the planning, administration, and investment of personal, trust and charitable foundation assets. Prior to joining Woodway, Ms. Phillips was associated with the Trust department of two major banks and was Manager and Trust Officer of Employee Benefits.
Ms. Phillips is an active member in the Houston Business and Estate Planning Council, the Houston Estate and Financial Forum, Attorneys in Tax and Probate, and the Estate and Probate Section of the Houston Bar Association. Ms. Phillips earned her Bachelor of Arts in Economics from Rice University and her Doctor of Jurisprudence from the University of Houston Law Center.

 

At Large Director – Mike Hammack
Vice President Institutional Advancement, Hardin-Simmons University

Mike has twenty-five years of fundraising experience and currently serves as the Vice President for Institutional Advancement at Hardin-Simmons University. Before coming to HSU Mike served as Executive Director and COO for Gracewood, a Children at Heart ministry affiliated with Texas Baptist Children’s Home.
Mike holds two degrees from HSU – Bachelor of Arts in Bible in 1985 and Master of Business Administration in 1989. He and his wife Marsha attend Pioneer Drive Baptist Church and reside in Abilene, TX. They lived in Katy for sixteen years and remain active in the Houston community.

 


At Large Director – Magda Herrera
Sr. Director of Advancement, UH Law Center

Magda M. Herrera is a native Houstonian who has worked in non-profit management and fundraising for over 13 years. She has experience in major gifts, capital campaigns, executive board management, planned giving, and served as an executive director for a nonprofit organization. As the current Senior Director of Advancement for the University of Houston Law Center, she oversees a team of development officers focusing on major gifts for the school’s $90 million capital campaign for a new building. Magda is CFRE certified and has a B.A. and J.D. from the University of Texas at Austin. She is involved in various community organizations as a volunteer or board member and serves as a mentor for first-generation Latina students at the University of Houston.

 

At Large Director – Jessica Jubin
Development Officer/Capital Campaign Manager, Child Advocates of Fort Bend

Jessica has 15 years of experience in the non-profit management sector having worked for Houston Audubon Society, Houston Zoo and the 1940 Air Terminal Museum. She currently serves as Development Officer for Child Advocates of Fort Bend, working with major, planned giving and institutional donors. Her specialty areas include capital campaigns and public relations/marketing. Jessica has a Bachelor of Science from the College of Journalism and Communications at the University of Florida, Gainesville. She is a founding Director of the Cullinan Park Conservancy in Sugar Land and has served on various non-profit committees and boards with the Association of Fundraising Professionals and APRA chapters in Houston.

 

At Large Director – Matthew Lueders
Attorney, Fizer Beck

Matt Lueders is an attorney with Fizer Beck, practicing in the areas of estate planning, estate administration, tax-exempt organizations, and charitable giving.  Matt advises clients with developing simple to complex estate and gift plans, including the preparation of wills, trust agreements, and incapacity planning documents.  Matt also represents fiduciaries in connection with probate procedures, trust and estate administration, trust modifications, and the preparation of federal gift and estate tax returns.  Matt is licensed to practice law in the State of Texas and is a member of the State Bar of Texas (Real Estate, Probate, and Trust Section), the Houston Bar Association (Probate, Trust, and Estate Section), the American Bar Association (Real Property, Trust, and Estate Law Section), and the Houston Estate and Financial Forum.  He received his B.S. from Texas A&M University and his J.D. from Baylor Law School.

 

 

At Large Director – Brandon O’Neill
Vice President, Fidelity Charitable

Brandon O’Neill, CFP® CAP®, is a Vice President and Charitable Planning Consultant for Fidelity Charitable®, an independent public charity that has helped donors support more than 260,000 nonprofit organizations with over $30 billion in grants since its inception in 1991.1 The mission of Fidelity Charitable® is to grow the American tradition of philanthropy by providing programs that make charitable giving accessible, simple and effective.
In his role, Mr. O’Neill is a premier resource to advisors in the legal, tax, and wealth management advisory communities in Texas. He educates advisors on current charitable planning trends and strategies, along with leveraging the benefits of Fidelity Charitable’s donor-advised fund program, to help philanthropic clients give more to the charities they support.
Prior to this role, Brandon was a Regional Vice President for Fidelity Charitable, where it was his responsibility to build relationships with the Fidelity Investments® Investor Centers to enhance and support branch management and representatives’ understanding of the donor-advised fund program. Brandon is a 10 year Fidelity Veteran with the first 5 years spent in both the retail and institutional side of Fidelity Investments ®.

 

At Large Director – Lydia Luz, J.D.
Relationship Manager, Planned Giving, United Way of Greater Houston
Vice President, Thompson & Associates

Over several decades, Lydia has held leadership positions at prominent education, arts and health care non-profits, including Tufts University, the WGBH Education Foundation, Rice University and Baylor College of Medicine. She is currently employed at the United Way of Greater Houston and serves as a representative for Thompson & Associates. Prior to her fundraising career, she practiced law in Boston, Massachusetts.

In addition to CGPH, she is a member of the National Association of Charitable Gift Planners, the Association of Fundraising Professionals Greater Houston Chapter (AFP-GHC) and a past member of the Planned Giving Council of New England (PGGNE).  She has presented at AFP-GHC, the Texas Association of Museums Development Conference, PGGNE and CGPH, as well as alumni groups and the boards of Rice University, Baylor College of Medicine and Amigos de las Américas.

She is active with her church and local community organizations. In her spare time, you may find her playing in one of several ukulele groups or taking classes at the YMCA. She also loves to travel and hang out with her husband and son.

Lydia holds a B.A. from Wellesley College and a J.D. from Northeastern University School of Law.

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Past Presidents

  • 2017-2019 Cindy Atmar
  • 2015-2017 Lisa Chmiola
  • 2014-2015 John Siegel
  • 2013-2014 Amy Nelson
  • 2012-2013 David Starnes
  • 2011-2012 Nancy Shelby
  • 2010-2011 Jackie Callies
  • 2009-2010 Mary Kay Wittrock
  • 2008-2009 Lorette Bauarschi
  • 2007-2008 Shirley Druggan
  • 2006-2007 Nancy Gardner
  • 2005-2006 Lori Dunaway
  • 2004-2005 Lisa Bogert
  • 2003-2004 Lynn Mason
  • 2002-2003 Edward Deery
  • 2001-2002 Brena Baumann-Gonzalez
  • 2000-2001 Kelly Zuniga
  • 1998-2000 Elizabeth Hickman
  • 1997-1995 Joe McKay
  • 1996-1997 Christopher Smith
  • 1995-1996 Susie Stalcup
  • 1994-1995 Ora Frasier Harrison
  • 1993-1994 Karen Gerstner
  • 1992-1993 Janet Casstevens
  • 1991-1992 Robert Coffey
  • 1990-1991 Paul Comstock
  • 1989-1990 Marjorie Schultz
  • 1987-1989 Rob Kent