A familiar face you have been seeing recently at most Chamber events belongs to Tanner Touchstone. Tanner has approached his membership with the goal of getting known, and becoming a valuable source for individuals, families and small businesses who are choosing their health benefits.
A West Texas native, he grew up in Lubbock and took on a challenging job at the tender age of 14. The job, well it was being a score keeper, announcer and field maintenance employee for a baseball park. He proudly states “From this experience I learned the value of a hard day’s work and how to stand up for my decision making.” His experience there gained him valuable insights on how to behave in challenging situations.
He and wife, Kelli came to Houston in 2010 when she became a journalism teacher at a private school. Although not living in the Heights, they quickly discovered the charm and small-town attributes of the area and in 2013 they moved in. Tanner is a licensed health and life agent for USHEALTH Advisors and with his emphasis on becoming integrated into the community he was attracted to the Chamber. As a resident and an agent working for a company helping small businesses, the Heights Chamber was a natural fit because it provided a great way to start meetings and supporting the local businesses.
Tanner is a rookie member of the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo Gate Keepers Committee. With a love of the outdoors, their home is right across the street from the White Oak Bayou, so it is easy to hit the trail along with their dog, Hank. From an enjoyment standpoint, Tanner loves travel and exploring new cultures. Admittedly a “foodie,” he is always on the lookout for new places to sample their fare. Joining the Chamber is easy and Tanner has gone well beyond just being a member. His experience and qualifications are beneficial to fellow members and we salute his enthusiastic experience he readily shares with our members. Congratulations, Tanner.
Welcome is certainly an appropriate word for this month’s featured member, Tiffany Salinas of Welcome Wagon International. This native Houstonian grew up in “Big H” and attended St. Pius X High School. From there it was onto the University of Incarnate Word where she studied fashion merchandising and added a minor in business marketing.
Beginning what was to be her customer-oriented, retail business career, Tiffany was an Express sales person, a make-up artist at Sephora and a brand ambassador for Saks Fifth Avenue. Setting her sights on becoming an expert sales professional, she has become a marketing executive for Welcome Wagon. Joining the Chamber was a natural for Tiffany because she wanted to be more involved in her community and help businesses and new neighborhood residents with the advantageous services provided by her employer.
Since becoming an Ambassador for the Chamber Tiffany has gained new business contacts, welcomed new members, participated on committees, and built a reputation for herself as a dynamic woman that relishes helping others. In her spare time, she likes ghost tours, traveling, cooking, working outside and road trips. Truly she is a woman of diverse interests because they include liking ladybugs, old horror movies, museums and zoos, making cupcakes, 1950’s style clothing and anything Disney. The Chamber appreciates you, Tiffany, and your dedication and enthusiasm for being a member. Congratulations on your many accomplishments.
Rosemary Lengefeld is Community Executive Director for the Harriet and Joe Foster Family YMCA located at 1234 West 34th Street and our featured member for November. Starting life many miles from Houston, Rosemary was born in Lewiston, Idaho which is on the West side of the state adjacent to the Washington State border.
She came to Houston in 1988 and attended Bellaire High School, the University of Texas in Austin, Lewis-Clark State and the University North Texas. The net results of this educational journey were an undergraduate degree in Psychology and a Master’s degree in Kinesiology. Rosemary recalls her first job took moves because she was a Montessori Assistant Teacher.
Rosemary has worked for the YMCA organization for 13 years at various locations and in many different roles. Yes, that Psychology degree did come in handy! Oh, did we mention that she is a lifeguard, swim instructor, personal trainer and group exercise instructor as well?
In her present position, her responsibilities include Board Development, Fundraising, Community Collaborations and Center Operations. And if that were not enough, she also is a member of the Height Rotary, the Oaks Business Association and the Association of YMCA Professionals.
Joining the Chamber was a natural for her because she values making business connections and networking with community leaders. You will find her rooting for the Texas Longhorns and finding time for enjoying cooking for her husband, Chris and daughter Ashlen. As a YMCA patron, this writer can testify to the outstanding work Rosemary does on behalf of the organization. Not only is she a major asset to the YMCA, she is an asset to the Chamber as well. Congratulations, Rosemary.
This month we go international with our member profile and recognize Shuchi (Sue) Sharma who was born and grew up in India. Her education was extensive and included obtaining a post graduate diploma in marketing management and her MBA in information systems & international business from California State University, East Bay.
Sue began her business career as a marketing officer for The Times of India newspaper; however other later accomplishments saw her become a senior account manager, senior international manager and marketing director. She made her way to Houston in 2006.
With her extensive business background, Sue understands the value of building not only Chamber relationships, but within the local community as well. Asked about her reason for joining the Chamber, Sue said: “The Chamber has a great reputation as a growing and proactive organization that does a tremendous job of promoting local business and interaction, promoting professional growth in education and community building.” (WOW, we could not have said it better ourselves, thanks Sue).
Sue is president and owner of Sign-Ups and Banners, a business that has been actively involved in the Chamber for many years under the Featherston’s. Chamber members and customers can expect the same level of service and quality products as before. Staying abreast of marketing and business trends finds Sue involved in the American Marketing Association, the Houston Apartment Association and the Houston Better Business Bureau.
As a rising star herself, Sue enjoys Astrology and anything philosophy related. But baking still holds her interest which pleases her “wonderful husband, 11 year-old daughter and 9-year old son.” Congratulations Sue Sharma, we welcome you into the Chamber and look forward to your participation and support.
Kim Hanley is the Marketing Manager, Corporate Healthcare Manager and Women of Wellness (WOW) Program Coordinator at St. Joseph Medical Center. Her early years were spent in Oregon, Ohio which is a suburb of Toledo. She did her undergraduate work at Youngstown State University and graduate work at Indiana University of Pennsylvania (IUP). The results were a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, Advertising and Public Relations plus a Masters of Education, M.ED, Business, Computer, and Information Technology.
Her first job was as a business instructor at the Academy of Culinary Arts at Indiana University Pennsylvania where she taught business hospitality and accounting. While there, she found time to do recruiting and serve as assistant coach of the IUP men and women’s swim teams. In the summers from 2005-2011 she had coached the UT Longhorn Swim Team in Austin and soon found that the annual journeys from Ohio to Texas were tedious. Making the permanent move and seeking a job in Texas resulted in her working at the Tomball Regional Medical Center.
Kim joined the Chamber “to take advantage of networking opportunities, create business connections and serve the Heights community.” Service must be her middle name because she participates and serves in many local organizations. Active in Leadership North Houston class of XIX, she was awarded “Most Enthusiastic” classmate. In addition she served on the Community Service Project Committee and the Class XIX Program of Choice Committee.
With even more emphasis on service, Kim points out that she is a radKIDS Certified Instructor. It is a child empowerment program that stands for r-resisting, a-aggression, and d-defensively for children aged 5 – 12 years. Busy woman, yes, but Kim still finds time for networking, workouts, movies, traveling, of course swimming, dancing and reading. Vacations are spent visiting with her family in Ohio or Arizona, or jet-setting to meet them usually in sunny and tropical locations.
Oh yes, we would be remiss if we did not reveal the words she lives by, “Love Life and Just be Cool.” You are definitely cool, Kim, and we salute your enthusiasm for life and the Chamber.
Where do we begin on this human dynamo because she lives by a mantra that states: “being a go-giver as well as a go-getter?” With that philosophy Terry doesn’t miss a minute in her personal or professional life. She was born in Houston and matriculated at Bellaire High School. Getting a running start on participation and involvement, she was a member of the Bellaire Belles, a drum and bugle corps and then was in the honor corps as senior hand bells.
Terry was the first one in her family to graduate from college, of course the University of Houston! She proudly points out that her daughter attended her graduation at 16 months old, and years later she did likewise. Perhaps a little known fact is that during college Terry had an Antique shop in the Heights on 19th street. The completion of college saw her go into residential real estate after chairing a home tour in Garden Oaks. A decision that 30+ years later has served her well since she is a One Career Real
tor and Sales and Marketing Specialist for Re/Max specializing in residential transactions with an emphasis on the Greater Heights area. Plus, we should salute her many honors, including being a consistent Top Producer, a member of the Re/Max Hall of Fame and a recipient of Re/Max’s Lifetime Achievement Award.
Joining the Chamber was easy for Terry, “I enjoy networking, giving back to the local community, lifting up others as they succeed in their respective career and life paths.” Her association participation is too numerous to mention. Suffice it to say that she holds memberships in all the state and local Real Associations and is a graduate of the Realtor Institute. She gives back through her involvement in local school projects for Garden Oaks Montessori Magnet School, is a founder of Heights POWER Network and has been active in the Garden Oaks Civic Club since 1981.
Terry’s family includes parents, a daughter, Becky, and the “absolute joy of her life, 2-year old granddaughter Bryn. She spends time at the Whistle Stop Inn in Smithville with her friends, putters in herb gardening, does Texas two-stepping and other enjoyable things. One of those is her long-time participation in the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo where she serves on the Breeders Greeters committee. And, don’t question her tractor driving skills because she enjoys being a go-giver as well as a go-getter driver!
David Maldonado brings impressive credentials and experience to the Chamber and has made many friends among members in a short time. A native of Dallas, David has outstanding academic achievements including St. Marks School of Law, Princeton University, the University of Texas School of Law and IMD International Business School in Lausanne, Switzerland.
Besides being a former presiding Municipal Judge, he is principal and owner of Law Office of David J. Maldonado, PLLC. In addition he is an energy advisor to Houston Technology Adviser a nonprofit business incubator plus the founding member of Texas Market Strategies. However, more significantly if that is possible, he will be named one of two 2015 “Best Attorney” selections in the survey conducted by The Leader newspaper. That speaks to his ability to provide his clients with exemplary estate planning and counsel on legal matters.
With a fascinating background, David proudly points out his days as a door-to-door Kirby vacuum salesman! But there is more. He saw JFK in the motorcade about 10 minutes before his assassination; once won $5,000 in a basketball shooting contest and was the first in his family to graduate from college. Actively involved in multiple legal associations and Chambers, David came to the Heights Chamber because “of the frequency and number of networking events and because many of his clients are Heights residents.”
David came to Houston off and on since 1972 he says, and the most important reason was marrying Maryanne, the woman he calls “someone beautiful from Houston. “ Today the Maldonado family includes Maryanne, son John, Daughter Annelise, stepson Michael and stepdaughter Megan. Numerous grandkids and pets, Schuler and Max round out the family. We appreciate David and applaud his enthusiasm and dedication to being a valued member.
This month we recognize Justin Lasiewicz who joined the Chamber after a referral from Mr. Rick Ross a SCORE Small Business Mentor. Why did Justin choose the Heights Chamber? In his words, “I chose the Heights because of its cool sophistication and artistic appreciation.”
Justin was born in Chicago and grew up between Telluride, Colorado and Pascagoula, Mississippi. Noting his first job, he remembers shoveling dirt and debris! He is a graduate of the University of Colorado and holds a Bachelor of Science Electrical Engineering and currently attends the Glassell School of Art.
In terms of coming to Houston, Justin says “Because that’s where the world took me.” Today he is the owner and creative director of J & H Design Time, a source for advertising and marketing services. Obviously, the J in the company name is Justin, and the H is his wife, Helia who handles the events. The firm “rocks” at creativity and saves clients time so they can devote their efforts elsewhere.
Justin holds life memberships in the American GO Association and Mensa. In addition, he is involved in AIGA, Economist, Communication Arts, AdAge, GoodReads and Toastmasters. Speaking of creativity, he enjoys painting, playing a Tabia (musical instrument) meditating and Reading. The Chamber appreciates members like Justin because he has a unique view of life. He says “We’re all given gifts that enable us to better this place, for others as well as ourselves – that’s called a win-win, and yes, it is possible.” We could not have said it better, Justin and congratulations.
Where to start on this talented and experienced attorney? How about the beginning? Teri Walter was born in Des Moines, Iowa which often times has been referred to as “Desperate Moans!” She grew up in Marion, Iowa and spent time in Albuquerque, New Mexico and Schaumberg, Illinois. Finishing High School in Des Moines, she attended the area Community College and later received her BA, Economics, and JD from the University of Houston. By the way, she graduated Magna Cum Laude and was in the top 25% of her class at U of H. During her early years she was a “jack of all trades, master of some, with more to come.” For instance, Teri was an usherette, billing clerk, bartender, paralegal, dispatcher with a police department, and last but not least, saw her enter the legal field.
Teri came to Houston in 1982, enticed by a desire to move to a large city in the South with a law school offering inexpensive public college tuition and a job. She began at Lapin, Totz & Mayer and worked full time while finishing her undergraduate degree and law school. In the subsequent years leading up to 2012 when she founded Walter Law Firm, P.C., she moved up from being an Associate Attorney at three local law firms to becoming Senior Counsel at a law firm where she handled business litigation matters, including contracts, leases, collections and other disciplines. Today, Teri is a Board Certified, Civil Trial Lawyer and was admitted to practice in Texas in 1988. Houstonia Magazine named her one of the Top Lawyers in 2013 and 2014.
This highly-skilled attorney points with pride to the many successes she has enjoyed. Successes that range from positive settlements or jury awarded cases ranging up to more than $3 million. Teri is actively involved in many legal associations and also holds a Texas Real Estate Broker’s license. She enjoys the Alley Theater, Rockets basketball, reading, movies and travel. Chamber membership was a natural for her because she wanted to meet other local business leaders, network and grow her business. And grow it she has, while supporting the firm’s tagline: “It feels good to prevail!”
One of our members has a special fondness for coffee. Yes, it is true because otherwise why would her company be named Saccone Bean? This month we feature Kathy Saccone of Saccone Bean and invite you to get to know her better. She was born in Upland, Indiana and graduated from Eastbrook High School.
The Midwest didn’t hold this ambitious woman for very long because it was on to Houston in 1980 with experience gained in administrative duties, payroll, shipping and ordering. Today she calls herself a consultant and has carved out a reputation as being conversant and involved with health and wellness activities which includes a special brand of drinks.
As an independent distributor, Kathy offers Organo Gold which is a healthier alternative to regular coffee that not only tastes great, but makes people feel great. Her line of products also includes hot chocolate and teas.
Kathy joined the Chamber to network, and network she does by attending ribbon cuttings, the Breakfast Connection, Business After Hours and numerous other Chamber events. Her participation has earned her high visibility, enabled her to make many new contacts, and delivered new opportunities for business. In addition, she takes pride in being a member of the
Professional Speakers Network. Her family includes three sons, Ryan, Matthew and Michael. And if that were not enough to keep her busy, she enjoys exercising, reading, bowling, water aerobics and most outdoor sports. Kathy Saccone has taken advantage of the Chamber’s benefits by recognizing that sharing her time and experience results in being an effective and valued member. We appreciate you Kathy and lift a cup of coffee in your honor – Organo Gold of course!