In January, The Women’s Home Board of Directors welcomed five new members to service. The Board of Directors is the governing body of The Home. They are responsible for financial oversight and leadership, strategic direction of programs and services, stewardship of our resources and the advisory tasks of insuring that the mission and vision are carried out at the highest quality levels. In addition, they provide leadership for strategic direction and growth. Comprised of leaders in our community who show a commitment to service and passion for The Home’s mission, new members of the board are selected for review by our Governance Committee and elected by the Directors. The Women’s Home is excited to introduce the newest members of our board.
Amy Absher is general manager for the Technology, Strategy & Services (TSS) organization of Chevron’s Information Technology Company (ITC), Amy Absher is accountable for IT strategy and planning, organizational design and capability management, portfolio management, communications, supplier management and operational excellence. A native of Oklahoma, Amy earned a BS in Business Administration from Oklahoma State University in 1985 and joined Chevron that same year as an auditor in the company’s international auditing department. Since beginning her career at Chevron, Amy has held numerous positions, including chief information officer for Global Supply & Trading, general manager of Chevron’s Global Aviation Americas Region and manager of Application Operations in the Process, Applications & Data Assets organization of ITC. She is a member of Chevron’s IT Function Leadership team and the IT Extended Management team. She serves on the IVI, PIDX and Intel advisory boards. In addition to her board position with The Women’s Home, she is also a board member of the Houston Aids Foundation.
Leslie D. Forestier began her career working in the engineering and construction industry in accounting and contract administration. She switched to the nonprofit world and joined the Houston Museum of Natural Science as its chief financial officer in 1997. Later joining the management of the Houston Zoo, Leslie has been the chief financial officer there since 2003. She is responsible for the financial operations and oversight of the organization as well as managing the accounting and purchasing departments.Leslie has a BS degree in Mathematics from Loyola University of the South in New Orleans and also attended the University of Houston. She became a CPA in 1981.Leslie joins our Board of Directors after serving on our Finance and Special Events Committees. She also volunteers with the Houston Marathon and has volunteered with the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo for 10 years.
Lynda Hancock supports the origination and project development process for Williams, a multibillion dollar midstream natural gas and pipeline company. Prior to joining Williams, she worked with Texaco (Chevron) and Lone Star Gas (Atmos Energy). Lynda received her BBA and MBA at Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, Texas. She has over 25 years of experience as an energy professional in the natural gas industry, serving in a variety of capacities. Her areas of expertise include commercial contract negotiations, risk management, business development, joint venture management and corporate training. Lynda is an active member of Chapelwood United Methodist Church, where she serves on the Ministry Council; the Board of Stewards; and the Mercy Street’s Women’s Council.
Charles J. O’Connell, a Marlborough, Massachusetts, native and Boston College graduate, Charlie O’Connell began his banking career with a predecessor of Bank of America in Boston. In 1996 Houston became home for Charlie, his wife Marilee and their sons Andy and David when he was appointed president and CEO of Bank One Houston. Upon the JPMorgan Chase acquisition of Bank One in 2004, Charlie oversaw commercial banking merger integrations in Texas as executive vice president of Chase Bank Texas, N.A. He retired in 2006.Volunteerism and community involvement have been important to Charlie throughout his career and in retirement. He has served as a board member for nonprofits focused on human services, the arts, economic development and philanthropy. He served for six years as Games director and chairman of the Organizing Committee for the Special Olympics Texas Statewide Summer Games. He is a former board chair of Central Houston, Inc. and the Coalition for the Homeless of Houston/Harris County. He has also served on the boards of the Greater Houston Partnership, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, the Houston Ballet and the Cullen Trust for the Performing Arts.In addition to his place on The Women’s Home Board of Directors, Charlie currently serves on the board of Central Houston, Inc.In addition to his place on The Women’s Home Board of Directors, Charlie currently serves on the Board of Central Houston, Inc.
Laura McWilliams began her career in international banking with Bank of America in 1980, moving to Texas Commerce bank (Amegy Bank) and ultimately to Southwest Bank of Texas in 1994 to start its international banking department. She retired from Amegy Bank in 2007. Laura received her undergraduate degree from The University of Texas at Austin and holds an MA from Vanderbilt University and another from the Johns Hopkins Paul H. Nitze School of Advance International Studies. Prior to her banking work, she was commissioned as a U.S. Foreign Service officer in the U.S. Department of State, where she worked in the Project Department for Southeast Asia. In Houston, Laura has served on the boards of the Houston World Affairs Council, the Asia Society, the Houston Committee on Foreign Relations and L’Alliance Francaise; she is a member of the national board of the Bankers Association for Trade and Finance. In addition to her membership on The Women’s Home Board of Directors, she serves in the Houston Salvation Army’s Auxiliary Guild and is active with other local groups such as the Houston Grand Opera.