City of Houston Mayor's Office of Communications 

Mayor's Press Release

Mayor and City Council Appoint New Houston First Board Members

New Houston First Board Members

From left to right: Michael Heckman, Houston First president and CEO, Nicki Keenan, Wea H. Lee and Roxann Neumann.

May 8, 2024 -- Today, Mayor John Whitmire and Houston City Council members nominated and approved several new appointees for the Houston First Board of Directors.

Since its formation in 2011, Houston First has been instrumental in developing the City's destination brand strategy, promoting Houston worldwide, driving tourism and convention business, operating numerous facilities, producing events that serve the community, and collaborating with commercial and industry partners. The new appointees will bring their unique perspectives and experiences to further these initiatives.

The board of directors is responsible for setting policy for the corporation and approving its significant initiatives and expenditures.

The new appointees bring a significant change to the 13-member board's composition. This change is not just about numbers but about diversity and expertise. The board will now be majority women and will include the first person of Chinese descent to serve, a reflection of Houston's global reach and connections.

The following individuals were confirmed to serve terms that expire December 31, 2026.

Wea H. Lee is Chairman of Southern News Group in Houston, Texas. He owns and oversees a diverse media business with an international presence that includes print, radio, TV, and internet services.

Nicki Keenan, is the Senior Vice President of Sales, leads and develops all strategic sales and marketing efforts affiliated within the hospitality division of Landry's Inc., a nationally acclaimed dining, entertainment, hospitality, and gaming company.

Shareen Larmond is the president of the West Gulf Maritime Association in Houston. As the top executive of the trade association with over 200 members, she is responsible for managing and establishing long-range goals, strategies, plans, and policies that impact the maritime industry.

Shareen Larmond

Shareen Larmond

Roxann Neumann serves as Sr. Vice President of Corporate Affairs for Silver Eagle Beverages, one of the nation's largest Anheuser-Busch distributors.

During today's city council meeting, Mayor Whitmire expressed his confidence in the new appointees and underscored the importance of the positive impact they will have on Houston First. "Each of the new appointees has a long history of community involvement and philanthropic initiatives and wants the best for the City of Houston. I am certain they will do an excellent job working with the rest of the Houston First board and leadership. I thank each of them for their public service and leadership. Houston First is one of our economic engines, and because of the organization, Houston attracts hundreds of meetings, conventions, visitors, and events to the City each year," said Mayor Whitmire.