Co-Chairs


 
Noël Bezette-FloresNoël Bezette-Flores holds a Ph.D. in Educational Psychology and Individual Differences and has nearly 20 years’ experience in research with vulnerable populations including homeless youth and immigrant and refugee children in schools and immigrant and refugee family resettlement. Bezette-Flores has received regional, state, and national honors for her service. She developed partnerships and supervised students in school districts collaborating with nonprofits that resulted in awards from the Texas State Teachers Association and the National Education Association. Dr. Flores, in 2012 became the Executive Director for the Center for Public Service and Family Strengths at UHD’s College of Public Service where she oversaw civic engagement and service-learning projects. Those efforts led to the Carnegie Foundation Classification for an Engaged University. Currently she is Advising Manager at HCC Central. In 2013, Houston Woman Magazine named her one of Houston’s 50 Most Influential Women. Her other service includes: UNA-Houston Board, UNA-USA Education Committee, METRO Academy Community Partner, Mayors Advisory Committee for International Communities, Volunteer Houston Board, Red Cross Board Marketing and Outreach Committee and the National Points of Light Conference Education Track co-chair, Welcoming Houston initiatives-education and economic development task force for immigrants and refugees.

Desmond BertranDesmond D. Bertrand-Pitts was born in Mamou, Louisiana but became a Houstonian at the tender age of 8. Desmond married his partner of 9 years; Justin Bertrand-Pitts on November 4, 2016, they have a 3 year old foster daughter. He is a product of The High School for Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice in Houston, Texas. After graduating, he then went on to Xavier University of Louisiana only to return to Texas in 2005 and finish from Lamar University with a Bachelors of Arts and Science with a concentration in Biology. He then went on to earn his Masters of Business Administration (MBA) from American Intercontinental University and completed his second Masters of Educational Leadership (M.Ed.) from Lamar University. Desmond is the Executive Director of the Buffalo Soldiers National Museum; military history institution founded by his grandfather. Desmond is co-founder of M.E.N. Incorporated; a nonprofit organization dedicated to mentoring, educating and nurturing young men. Desmond also CEO of 4.0 Consulting Services that provides assistance to individuals seeking to start nonprofits, tax preparation, marketing/graphics and corporate training. When he can find time to escape, Desmond loves to travel, he also enjoys trying out new restaurants, reading, writing poetry and is soon to publish an inspirational self-help book. He is a member of several associations and organizations that include; HAULYP, Lamar Alumni Association, AIU Alumni Association, Xavier Alumni Association-Houston Chapter, HMDA Board, Theta Chi Psi Fraternity, M.E.N. Incorporated BOD, Young Museum Professionals Association, and NMBAA.

James LeeJames Lee is a community health care advocate and government relations manager for Legacy Community Health, one of the nation's largest community health systems. In his profession, James coordinates with elected officials and community partners on policy and legislation, focusing on health equity for underserved communities. Prior to this, James served as a community organizer for Planned Parenthood Federation of America, and previously led outreach efforts for the Texas Freedom Network in Houston. James is an alumnus of the University of Houston, a graduate of the Houston Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Emerging Leaders Institute, a recent League of Women Voters Rising Stars Fellow, and a past honoree of the City of Houston Hispanic Heritage Award. James dedicates his time to serving his community through his work with various boards and organizations. He serves or has served on the boards of: The Hispanic Health Coalition, City of Houston Mayor's Hispanic Advisory Board, the Texas Democratic Party, HCDP Latino Council, Houston Stonewall Young Democrats PAC, H.I.S.D. School Health Advisory Council, the University of Houston Health Policy Board, and the University of Houston Student Government Association.

Linda ToyotaLinda Toyota connects people, ideas and organizations. She thrives in an environment that offers intellectual challenges and opportunities where she is able to discover, develop and present new ideas and concepts to help organizations grow. As Associate Vice Chancellor at Houston Community College, she provides strategic leadership for communications, marketing, community engagement and media. The importance of diversity stems back to her family heritage. Her U.S. born Japanese parents were evacuated and incarcerated during World War II after Pearl Harbor was bombed. Despite being placed in internment camps, Linda’s father enlisted in the all Japanese American U.S. 442nd regimental combat team. After the war and until his passing a few years ago, Linda’s father always purchased American made products to continue to show his loyalty. This exclusion experienced by her parents has influenced her and made diversity an important pillar for Linda throughout her life. She currently serves on the boards of the Greater Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau, Houstonfirst Governance committee, Plaza Specialty Hospital, advisory council of U.S. Global Leadership Coalition Texas and international committee of the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. Linda holds a Master’s Degree in Education from the University of Houston and a B.S. in Management. She received her Certificate in Non Profit Executive Management from the University Of Houston Graduate School Of Social Work. Her motto is “anything is possible” and “people support what they help create.”