Cassandra LeClair is an award-winning author, professor, communication consultant, and motivational speaker. She completed her Ph.D. in Communication Studies at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, where she focused on Interpersonal and Family Communication, with a specialization in Women’s and Gender studies. Dr. LeClair teaches a variety of classes where she encourages her students to explore their own patterns and improve their communication.
Erin Cargile is an award-winning journalist dedicated to digging for the truth, creating change and improving lives through the stories she tells. She is an investigative reporter at KXAN News in Austin, where she’s worked for more than 11 years. From the Fort Hood shooting to the Winter Olympics in South Korea -- Erin has covered it all. Over the last year, Erin traveled across the country to spotlight solutions working to improve the mental health of children, and raised awareness about a little-known FDA warning connected to the death of an Austin police officer. Problems she discovered after deadly flooding, prompted city officials to put new safety measures in place to save lives. Erin grew up in Waxahachie, Texas and is a graduate of Oklahoma Christian University.
Hector Ruiz came to the USA from Mexico at 18 to attend The University of Texas at Austin, where he received a BS, MS in Electrical Engineering and was named a Distinguished Alumnus in 2012. He also attended Rice University where he received a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering in 1973 and was also named a Distinguished Alumnus in 2002. His whole career has been in the high-tech industry where his last two significant positions were President of Motorola Semiconductor Sector, and Chairman and CEO of Advanced Micro Devices (AMD). Currently he is involved in assisting start-ups that involve underrepresented people and whose business objectives are to make a significant impact on advancing technology, creating a great company, and most importantly, improving the state of the world.
Jessica is a transgender woman, passionate intersectional feminist, and advocate for the equal rights of transgender and gender diverse people. Her mission is to increase awareness of intersectional feminism and LGBTQIA issues by connecting to diverse audiences as a public speaker, author, and activist. In 2017, she published He/She/They - Us: Essential information, vocabulary, and concepts to help you become a better ally to the transgender and gender diverse people in your life. Jessica is currently serving as vice-chair on the board of the Transgender Education Network of Texas (TENT), a host and co-founder at the queer media collective, QIRadio, and co-chair for Austin Pride. Her commitment to empowering and motivating LGBTQiA allies through education, coupled with her enthusiasm for uplifting those around her, has made her an often sought after speaker at conventions, in corporate diversity education, and at universities.
Floral Artist and Entrepenuer
Kayli Head is the owner of The Bloom Bar, a boutique floral design studio specializing in fresh and current wedding florals and unique designs for corporate events. Kayli launched her business in 2015 after 18 years of experience in the floral and event industry. Today, she designs more than 100 events per year all over central Texas from her studio in downtown San Marcos, Texas. Kayli is a 2008 graduate of Stephen F. Austin University where she studied public relations and marketing. When she's not designing flowers, she can be found taking care of the family ranch in La Grange with her husband, Derek, or floating the San Marcos River.
Sociology Graduate Student
Maria is a master's student at Texas State University and is pursuing sociology. Her academic interests include cultural sociology, and race/class/gender studies. She is passionate about social justice and activism and spends her free time reading, writing and browsing Twitter. After completing her master's degree, she intends to get a Ph.D. in Sociology and become a professor, or enter politics. Her goals are to inspire those around her and help enact lasting social change.
Social Worker and Activist
Mueni Loko Rudd graduated from Alief Hastings High School in Houston, Texas at the age of 16 before beginning her higher education journey in Central Texas. Mueni earned her BA in Sociology from Huston-Tillotson University in East Austin. Currently, she is a graduate student in the School of Social Work at Texas State University. At Texas State, she has held the roles of Graduate Research Assistant, Academic Coach, FACES MSW Advocate, and Center for P16 Initiatives student worker. Mueni considers herself a scholar advocate and attributes much of her research ambitions to her Kenyan American heritage. She advocates for creating safe spaces to discuss the state of race relations from multicultural points of view. She hopes this can address cross-cultural communication, awareness, and healing. Her research interests include identity, self concept, internalized racism, and white supremacy.
Conspiracy Theory Researcher
Rachel is a recent graduate from the Communication graduate program at Abilene Christian University in Abilene, Texas. She spent her time as a graduate student studying one of her passions, conspiracy theories, which became the subject of her masters thesis. Today, learning about unique and paranormal beliefs is still one of Rachel's favorite hobbies, filling up the downtime from her job as a marketing manager at Bonafide, a Houston marketing agency.
Ray Fisk is a Professor of Marketing at Texas State University. His research focuses on services marketing, service design, and transformative service research. He has published numerous journal articles on service research and six books. He founded the AMA Services Marketing Special Interest Group (SERVSIG), which is the only organization serving the service research community. The American Marketing Association made him the Inaugural Recipient of the SIG Leadership Award in 2016 because of his work with SERVSIG. He received the Career Contributions to the Services Discipline Award from SERVSIG in 2005. In 2012, he received the Grönroos Service Research Award from the CERS Centre for Relationship Marketing and Service Management at the Department of Marketing, Hanken School of Economics, Finland. Recently, he founded ServCollab. ServCollab is a service research collaborative for diagnosing and treating humanity’s service system problems.
Russell Lang, PhD, BCBA-D, is an associate professor of Special Education and a doctoral-level Board Certified Behavior Analyst. He is also the executive Director of the Clinic for Autism Research, Evaluation and Support (CARES) at Texas State University. Dr. Lang earned his PhD in Special Education with an emphasis in Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) and early childhood developmental disabilities from the University of Texas at Austin and then completed a post-doctoral researcher position at the University of California in Santa Barbara. He has published over 150 peer-reviewed research papers and books concerning the education and treatment of children with autism and other developmental disabilities.