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Board of Directors

Be a champion of a family’s future

Succesful Leaders from all Walks of Life

AVANCE Inc.’s Board of Directors is comprised of successful leaders from various walks of life. The Board serves to direct AVANCE's strategy, ensure effective leadership and succession planning and act as a thought partner to the leadership team.

Rafael Alvarez

Rafael Alvarez is the Founder and CEO of Genesys Works in Houston. For his work as a leading social entrepreneur, Rafael was inducted into the prestigious Ashoka Fellowship in 2006. Prior to starting Genesys Works, Rafael worked 11 years for Compaq Computer Corporation (now HP) in diverse management roles including engineering program management, corporate strategy and market intelligence. Rafael obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering from Texas A&M University.

Manuel Berrelez

Manuel is a Partner with the law firm of Vinson and Elkins in Dallas.  He is a trial and regulatory enforcement lawyer whose practice focuses on fraud and fiduciary duty claims, contract disputes, trade secret claims, and other commercial litigation disputes.  Manuel was named a “Top Latino Lawyer of 2018” by Latino Leaders Magazine, and he has also been named one of 20 "Extraordinary Minority Lawyers in Texas" by Texas Lawyers Magazine.  While at Vinson and Elkins, he has been involved with numerous educated-related activities including Educate Dallas and the Dallas Hispanic Law Foundation.  Manuel grew up in Pearsall, Texas where he attended Head Start as a young child and quarterbacked his high school football team. He holds a B.A from Yale College and a J.D. from Yale Law School.

Joanna Camarillo

Joanna is the Chairwoman of the AVANCE Rio Grande Valley Early Head Start (EHS) Policy Council. She is working mother who has two children enrolled in AVANCE’s EHS Child Care Partnership Program.

Hilda Galvan

Hilda is an attorney and the Partner-in-Charge of the Dallas practice of Jones, Day. Hilda is a nationally recognized trial lawyer who focuses on complex intellectual proper litigation. Hilda also places a high priority on community service. She is chair of the board of the Dallas Regional Chamber, serves on the board of trustees of the University of Texas School of Law, and on the boards of Parkland Hospital Foundation, Dallas Women's Foundation, and the Dallas Hispanic Law Foundation. Hilda was named one of "The Most Powerful Business Leaders" in Dallas-Fort Worth" by D CEO. Hilda holds a BSEE in electrical engineering from the University of Texas at El Paso and a J.D. degree from the University of Texas at Austin.

Maritza Kelley

Maritza Isaura Kelley is a senior managing consultant at PFM in Austin, TX where she specializes in implementing effective public affairs strategies.  She founded her own Public Relations Firm (Realize Strategies), was the Senior Manager of Government Relations for Samsung Electronics, and worked with First Focus, the Ibarra Strategy Group (ISG), and at the State Capital of Texas where, among many things, she was dedicated to making children & families a priority in policymaking. During the 2009 Texas Legislature, she led the policy direction for the Mexican American Legislative Caucus. Maritza received a Dual-Master of Public Affairs and Latin American Studies from the University of Texas at Austin. She also holds a Bachelor of Arts in Latin American and Latino Studies from the University of California Santa Cruz.

Bob McCallister

Robert H. McCallister has a Ph.D. in Geological Sciences from Brown University and was a Post Doctorate fellow at the Carnegie Institution of Washington. He was a Professor of Mineralogy at Purdue University until 1981 at which time he joined ExxonMobil. Since retiring from an executive position in 2003, he has been a passionate volunteer focused on family issues in various leadership roles with the United Way of Greater Houston, Children’s Museum of Houston, and AVANCE/Houston.

Marlo Michaeli

Marlo is an Audit Partner with KPMG in Dallas, Texas. She began her career with KPMG, and after brief stints at Fidelity National and Arum Technologies, she returned to KPMG as one of the leaders in the audit practice. She was an active member of the American Chamber of Commerce in Japan, Women in Business and serves on the Board of Levine Academy. Marlo’s family was one of the original settlers in New Mexico, and her mother is of both Mexican and Native American heritage. Marlo received her BBA in Accounting from the Red McCombs School of Business and the University of Texas, Austin.

Ron Oran

Ron is a litigation attorney and Partner with Foley Gardere in Houston, Texas. His experience is in commercial litigation particularly as it relates to disputes involving the purchase, sale and operation of energy companies and assets. Ron is the current Chairman of the board of the AVANCE Houston Chapter and has long been a thought partner of the National Board. Ron is also a member of the Greater Houston Partnership, a co-chair of the Young Leaders Council for the United Way of Greater Houston and serves on the Board of Directors of the Children’s museum of Houston. Ron holds a BA degree from Northwestern State University, and a master’s degree in philosophy and a Law degree from Tulane University.

Lissette Rodriguez

As a member of Edna McConnell Clark Foundation’s senior team Lissette provides leadership on major strategic and operational matters for EMCF overall. She is also an Officer of the Foundation, acting as Secretary to the Board of Trustees.   

Before joining the Foundation in 2010, she spent 12 years, the last six as Senior Vice President for Field Development, at YouthBuild USA, where she ran large-scale training and technical assistance programs and provided capacity-building support to early-stage organizations.

 She was also the founding executive director of Casa Nueva Vida, a shelter for homeless Latina women and their children. Rodriguez holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Boston University and a master’s in organizational development from Fielding Graduate University.

Alvaro Saenz

Alvaro is the CEO of the MD Medical Group, an institution that builds and manages family practice clinics aimed at serving the Hispanic Population. Alvaro is also a long-standing member of the AVANCE North Texas Board of Directors. He is an industrial engineering graduate of Georgia Tech and has an MBA from The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.

Kim Syman


As a Managing Partner and one of the founding members at the Boston-based venture philanthropy organization New Profit, Kim leads efforts to combine the power of New Profit's network with organizational learning about how social innovations grow. She oversees New Profit's policy and convening strategies, which focus on changing the ways social entrepreneurs come together with citizens, government, philanthropy, and business to transform the way we solve social problems. Kim received her undergraduate degree from U.C. Berkeley and studied social anthropology at Oxford University.