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Chapter Co-Director: Ashley M Hunter
Ashley M Hunter is the president of HM Risk Group, an international insurance and reinsurance brokerage. Prior to founding HM Risk Group, Ashley worked in various claims and underwriting management positions for State Farm Insurance Companies, The Hartford Insurance Company and AIG Insurance Company, where she was as an executive underwriter for Sharia complaint insurance policies. In her current role as president, Ashley has assisted corporations and public entities with unique risk transfer options globally. In addition to assisting corporations and public entities with unique insurance and risk management consulting,Ashley has worked with large multi-national insurers to create unique insurance products for emerging industries and developing countries.
Ashley is very active in her community and the insurance and reinsurance industry. She is a member of organizations such as, Professional Liability Underwriting Society (PLUS), U.S. Reinsurance Under 40s Group, Inc.(Texas Chair), Risk and Insurance Management Society (RIMS), South Texas Society for Healthcare Risk Management (Board of Directors), City of Austin Green Business Leaders, Texas Wall Street Women (San Antonio Volunteer Chair). Ashley has served as a Special Deputy Receiver for the Texas Department of Insurance and is currently servings as a member of the Independent Review Organizations Advisory Committee for the Texas Department of Insurance.
Ashley has a BM in Music Theory and Composition from Centenary College of Louisiana and a MBA in Finance from Texas A&M University. Ashley is also an accomplished concert violinist.
Beth Harrison Stevens is an attorney practicing law in Austin, Texas. Born and raised in south Texas, Beth attended the University of Texas at Austin and obtained a Bachelor of Arts in History. She then attended Southern Methodist University, Dedman School of Law, graduating with her Juris Doctorate in 2008. She has been trial counsel for the Office of Chief Disciplinary Counsel at the State Bar of Texas since 2011. Beth litigates professional misconduct cases in both district court and in administrative settings. Beth is passionate about progressive issues, including protecting the environment, human rights, and civic responsibility. She has been a mentor for Big Brothers, Big Sisters, and volunteers with Meals on Wheels and More, a local non-profit. For recreation, Beth enjoys reading, vegan cooking, and being with her extended family.
Curriculum Co-Chair: Julie Gillis
Julie Gillis is an artist and activist focused on social justice, human rights, and community building. She produces events that support the intersection of artistic expression and cultural change.
Julie holds a Bachelor’s of Fine Arts in Theater from the University of Georgia and a Master’s of Applied Behavioral Science from Bastyr University and the Leadership Institute of Seattle. She has worked extensively in and with non-profit organizations such as Girls Scouts, Totem Council, The American Diabetes Association, Frontera Theater, and United Way, as well as worked at the Austin State Hospital and The University of Texas. Her work has ranged from non-profit arts management, fundraising, strategic planning, volunteer management, event production, and facilitation. Currently, she is the Associate Director of the Women’s Community Center of Central Texas, a non-profit focused on helping women and girls get the tools they need for the lives they want.
In addition, Julie's passion for social justice and the arts has guided her as a co-founder of Austin’s BedPost Confessions, Texas’s singular monthly storytelling series on sexuality, and (un)Spoken, a storytelling series dedicated to helping people open up about the difficult parts of life all humans share. She has been a producer of the 14/48 Austin Festival and also produced the Ladies Are Funny Festival, Texas’s only women’s comedy festival, for 6 years, and performed improv all around town.
Julie has presented at TEDx Great Hills, SXSW Interactive, MomentumCon, HATCH, The Woodhull Sexual Freedom Alliance, Testify, NerdNite, First Unitarian Universalist Church of Austin, CASE and Big XII Development Conference. She is a popular host and emcee for events such as Rouse The Unruly Mob, We Will Not Yield, Unite Women, The Texas Observer’s Rabble Rouser Fundraiser, LadyParts Justice V to Shining V, and many other political and arts event in Austin.
Chapter Co-Director: Ana Rodriguez DeFrates
Ana Rodriguez DeFrates serves as the Texas Latina Advocacy Network (TX LAN) State Policy and Advocacy Director at the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health where she leads the organization’s Texas state policy agenda as well as supports the development and execution of advocacy and organizing strategies state-wide
Ana brings over 15 years of experience working for progressive causes in Texas. She moved to Houston, Texas from Argentina with her sister and parents in 1983, and has spent the majority of the last 18 years living in Austin, Texas. Before joining the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health, Ana served as District Director and Assistant General Counsel for State Senator Kirk Watson and also worked with several non-profit organizations on issues of domestic violence, human trafficking, and Latino leadership.
Ana received her law degree from South Texas College of Law, as well as her bachelors and masters degrees in social work from the University of Texas at Austin. Over the last decade, Ana has worked five consecutive Texas legislative sessions through in several capacities. She is passionate about demystifying the legislative process and often gives talks to constituent groups on how to be most effective in a legislative environment.
Ana is a 2014 Legislative Fellow with the Department of State funded Partners of the Americas Legislative Fellowship program, where she traveled to Oaxaca to work directly with women's civic engagement organizations. Locally, Ana is a leader in her community, serving on the Austin Commission for Women and on the Holly Neighbourhood Coalition as co-chair.
Texas Expansion Director
Andrea has worked for over twenty years in fundraising for nonprofit organizations, with a short detour to earn her law degree from the University of Texas School of Law in Austin, Texas. She holds a B.A. from Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire. For the past five years, as the head of her own consulting firm, Andrea Greer Consulting, she has developed a specialty in organizations undergoing change or emerging from a crisis. She loves long-range strategies and set goals while putting systems and structures in place to keep things running smoothly. While reproductive rights brought Andrea to advocacy, she believes passionately that true progressive activism must be intersectional. While reproductive justice is her passion and area of expertise, she is proud to learn from and stand with (or stand beside or behind, as appropriate) activists from diverse backgrounds engaged in causes including a wide range of women’s issues, immigration, economic justice, issues of sexual and gender identity, civil rights, access to healthcare, and criminal justice reform.
Curriculum Chair: Heather Busby
Heather Busby has been Executive Director of NARAL Pro-Choice Texas since November 2012. Prior to that, Heather was an Assistant Travis County Attorney, procuring protective orders for survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking. Heather, a longtime supporter of women’s rights, was a founding board member of The Lilith Fund and served on the boards of the National Network of Abortion Funds and Law Students for Reproductive Justice.
Heather holds a Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology from the University of Texas and earned her Juris Doctorate from South Texas College of Law in Houston, where she was president of ACLU at STCL, co-founder of the law school’s LSRJ chapter and won the LBJ Civil Rights Award for her work helping victims of human trafficking while interning at the South Texas Civil Rights Project. Heather loves volunteering in her community and has provided pro bono legal assistance and taught ESL to immigrants, served as a mentor to middle school students and worked the hotlines at a domestic violence shelter. She lives in central Austin with her husband, their flatulent English Mastiff and feisty terrier mix.
Recruitment Co-Chair: Cliff Walker
Cliff Walker, a San Antonio native, began his political career working in Congressman Henry Cuellar's local district office. Cliff then went on to direct the field effort for Joe Farias in his first campaign for State Representative in one of the most hotly contested general election races of 2006. After two legislative sessions and another successful campaign, Cliff left to run a newly-formed political action committee -- Back to Basics PAC, which ran an aggressive paid media campaign directly against Rick Perry throughout the 2010 election cycle. At Back to Basics, Cliff also led a creative new media team in producing hard-hitting websites targeting vulnerable Republican House candidates. In December 2010, Cliff began working as the Executive Director of the Texas HDCC, and worked closely with Democratic lawmakers and allies to recruit, field and fund, quality Democratic challengers during the 2012 campaign cycle. Most recently, Cliff served as the Political Director for Battleground Texas
Selections Chair/Recruitment Co-Chair: Beth Harrison Stevens
Beth Harrison Stevens is an attorney practicing law in Austin, Texas. Born and raised in south Texas, Beth attended the University of Texas at Austin and obtained a Bachelor of Arts in History. She then attended Southern Methodist University, Dedman School of Law, graduating with her Juris Doctorate in 2008. She has been trial counsel for the Office of Chief Disciplinary Counsel at the State Bar of Texas since 2011. Beth litigates professional misconduct cases in both district court and in administrative settings.
Beth is passionate about progressive issues, including protecting the environment, human rights, and civic responsibility. She has been a mentor for Big Brothers, Big Sisters, and volunteers with Meals on Wheels and More, a local non-profit. For recreation, Beth enjoys reading, vegan cooking, and being with her extended family.
Selections Co-Chair: Shubhada Saxena
Shubhada Saxena is the President & Founder of SAIVA-South Asians' International Volunteer Association (www.saiva.org) which focuses on enabling immigrant seniors to engage as effective citizens for over 7 years. SAIVA was nominated for the Greater Austin Asian Chamber of Commerce "Outstanding Organization" award.
Shubhada holds an honors degree in Electrical & Electronics Engineering and is pursuing the Community & Administrative Leadership Masters Degree in Social Work at UT Austin. She has received the first Trailblazer Award from the Indian-American Coalition of Texas (IACT), was named the first UT Newman Civic Fellow by Campus Compact and is the YWCA of Greater Austin "2014 Women of the Year" awardee for Racial Justice. She is a graduate of the Leadership Austin Class of 2015. She received the UT Austin Asian Community Leader Award in 2015.
She has over 20 years of corporate IT experience in Consulting, Government, Healthcare & Insurance industries at small and large companies including United Healthcare and IBM. She serves on the board of Family Eldercare, Aging Services Council and City of Austin Asian American Quality of Life Advisory Commission.
She enjoys hosting friends and a large extended family, provides caregiving training, and shares empowerment stories with daughters Maya (21) and Shilpa (17).
Alumni Chair: Aaron Limonthas
Aaron Limonthas is a motivational speaker, radio show host, start-up enthusiast, community activist and aspiring author. He is an alumnus of Dartmouth College, where he studied Sociology and Women & Gender Studies, and served as student body president. Being a native Houstonian, Aaron has a passion for social justice. His areas of focus are in the mitigation of inequalities and urban studies with special emphasis on the study of race, class, and gender as systemic forms of inequality.
Currently, he is an innovation consultant for Dropbox, Inc. He has past experience in political organizing and event planning. Aaron has aspirations of starting his own business, running for political office, and advancing the educational, political, and financial realm of underserved communities in America and throughout the world. Aaron is also a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.
Communications Chair: Yannis Banks
Yannis Banks has worked for the Texas NAACP as their Legislative Liaison since 2007. As the Legislative Liaison, Mr. Banks attends meetings & hearings during the Legislative session advocating for the views of in the African American community on issues like public education, higher education, payday lending, criminal justice, juvenile justice and many more. He is also responsible for the day to day operations of the Texas NAACP which includes managing the website, attending meetings and occasionally speaking for President Bledsoe.
Mr. Banks is the co-host of 2 popular radio talk shows, The Forum and The Wakeup Call that airs on KAZI 88.7. He also is a co-host of 2 popular music shows, Thank Goodness It’s Funky (TGIF) and The Untapped Show on KAZI 88.7 in Austin, TX.
In 2010 he was selected to be the chair of the African-American Subcommittee for the Travis County Complete Count Committee. It was his job to help ensure that as many African-Americans participated in the Census as possible.
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