Texas CASA Welcomes 7 New Members to Its Board of Directors

Texas CASA welcomed seven new members to its Board of Directors in June 2019. The board is responsible for the high-level leadership and decision-making for the organization, including determining its mission and purpose, providing financial oversight, ensuring legal and ethical integrity and accountability, strategic planning and much more.

“As we continue to advance the Texas CASA vision and mission, we are excited to welcome these new members to our governing board,” said Vicki Spriggs, Texas CASA CEO. “Each individual brings a unique skillset, experience, and most importantly, passion for making a difference for children and families affected by the foster care system. I look forward to the ideas, guidance and leadership they will undoubtedly bring to our organization.”

Texas CASA leadership with our incoming board members at orientation on Thursday, June 25. Left to right: Current board member Melissa Jones, Past Board President Greg Wilhelm, President-elect John Knight, Carel Stith, Texas CASA CEO Vicki Spriggs, Steven Shaw, Texas CASA CFAO Steve Raich, Robert Wessa, Connie Ricketts, Dora Martinez, and MiShon Landry. Not pictured: Danny O’Connell.

MiShon Landry, CDP is a Certified Diversity Professional and CEO of Culture Consultants, a consulting firm with the goal of bridging the gap between inclusion and leadership. As CEO, Landry is a Diversity Champion with a passion for culture, leadership, diversity, equity, inclusion, supplier diversity and STEM. She has over a decade of people, program, project management and entrepreneurial expertise. She is deeply involved with her community, volunteering across a wide spectrum of focuses and positions. An advocate for equity, Landry has a long-standing desire to help children through her volunteer work.

Dora Martinez, Executive Director of CASA of Cameron and Willacy Counties, is a graduate of The University of Texas at San Antonio. She has spent her life working with children in various roles across the state of Texas. She started her career in the juvenile justice arena, first as a juvenile probation officer, and eventually working with repeat and violent juvenile offenders in the Central North Unit of the Bexar County Juvenile Probation Department. Once Martinez left that work, she wanted to find work with the same level of purpose. She joined CASA of Cameron and Willacy Counties as a Casework Supervisor and soon after was appointed as Program Director, leading her to her current position, Executive Director.

Danny O’Connell is CEO and founder of Next Level Insurance. He is a graduate of the University of Oklahoma, having received his bachelor’s degree in Finance and History along with a Master of Business Administration from the Price College of Business. O’Connell, adopted at birth by his two loving parents, has used his financial experience to help several local and state level nonprofit organizations achieve long-term success.

Connie Ricketts is the Executive Director at CASA of Galveston County. She was a foster parent for many years, later adopting three children from the foster care system. She has also held board positions on two foster parents associations in Texas. Ricketts first got involved with the CASA movement after seeing firsthand the immense impact a volunteer had on the life of a child in her care. She has also served as a CASA volunteer and held executive board positions at a local CASA program.

Steven Shaw is the executive director of Voices for Change, a group dedicated to advocacy and improving the experience of youth in the foster care system. Shaw was in the Texas foster care system for 15 years, and has gone on to speak in front of Congress and White House officials on numerous issues dealing with foster care. He played a key role in advocating for an ombudsman position in Texas, dedicated solely to children and youth in foster care. He has also participated in numerous panels and presentations that have increased awareness about foster care among community and state level stakeholders.

Carel Stith is a family law attorney practicing out of Houston, Texas. A former Houston Oilers defensive tackle, Stith followed his dream at the age of 52 and enrolled at the University of Nebraska College of Law. Stith has worked on many CPS cases in the courtroom, serving as an attorney ad litem. Through his work in the courtroom, Stith has seen firsthand the work CASA volunteers put in to best serve children.

Robert Wessa, CPA is a finance, operations and technology executive with proven success in developing strategy for application of technology and building operations and financial systems to convert that vision to scalable solutions. He is a decisive leader with a record of achievement of accurately assessing the financial and human resources needed to expand and increase efficiency and competitiveness. In 2000, he founded kbb Services, Inc. a consulting firm providing technology integration services. He holds a Master of Business Administration, Corporate Finance, from the University of Dallas, and a Bachelor in Accounting from the University of Wisconsin at Whitewater.

We are pleased to welcome these individuals to our governing board, and look forward to the fresh ideas and insight they will bring! Meet our full Board of Directors on our Leadership page.