Chadwick Kelly Faykus and Twana Griffith-Faykus embody an exceptional fusion of excellence in education, finance, and philanthropy. Graduating from Texas A&M nearly three decades ago, their journey has been nothing short of extraordinary.
Twana, the Founder and Chair of the Faykus Foundation, radiates profound influence in education and philanthropy. Over two decades, she dedicated herself to shaping young minds as an inspiring educator and accomplished school administrator. Her unwavering commitment to nurturing innate talents and kindling the passions of countless students has left an enduring legacy. Twana wholeheartedly dedicates herself to driving positive change through her multifaceted involvement in various national and international nonprofits. She serves as an honorary cabinet member, host committee member, mentor, advocate, volunteer, servant-leader, and generous financial supporter. Her dedication extends to projects spanning education, public health, social justice and the arts, enriching communities and transforming lives.
Notably, Twana’s recent achievements at Texas A&M include the establishment of the Faykus Foundation Excellence Award (FFEA) and Faykus Foundation Emergency Fund (FFEF) in partnership with the Black Former Student Network (BFSN). These initiatives provide vital support to undergraduate and underrepresented minority students, addressing immediate financial needs and ensuring uninterrupted academic progress. Twana’s profound commitment to empowering the next generation shines through these initiatives.
Equally commendable is Kelly’s reputation and influence as a financial innovator. In 2005, Kelly founded an internationally renowned investment, analytics, and administration firm with a global presence in China, India, US, Ireland, UK, Brazil, and Mexico. His company, Virtus Partners, achieved remarkable milestones, managing over 500 billion in assets and fostering a culture of diversity. It earned accolades as the top portfolio analytics solution provider, with Kelly recognized as the only minority to lead a business within a multinational financial institution that later acquired a majority interest in his company. Throughout his career, he assumed reputable roles, including Managing Partner, CEO, Division President, and SVP.
Kelly’s dedication to guiding and mentoring underrepresented individuals of color is undeniable. He tirelessly imparts wisdom and counsel to budding business and finance professionals, offering invaluable guidance on their path to success. In retirement, Kelly devotes more time to passion projects, extending his expertise to emerging businesses and industry leaders. His impact reverberates through the professionals he has mentored, shaping their careers and futures.
Kelly and Twana are proud parents of two children, Chad and Elliana Faykus. Their unwavering love for family and friends, coupled with their unshakeable faith in God, serves as the bedrock of their remarkable journey. The multitude of awards and accolades they have received over the years is a testament to their profound impact, not only in their respective fields but also in the lives they have touched. Above all, Kelly and Twana’s commitment to honesty, discipline, and duty reflects their calling, their hearts, and, most importantly, their unwavering obedience.
Dr. Jimmy Williams Jr. currently serves as Senior Vice President and Chief Technology Officer for ATI Materials. This newly created role elevates technology at ATI with keen focus on accelerating progress on product and process technology priorities, more directly enabling and aligning them with ATI’s accelerated growth strategy.
Dr. Williams comes to his current position with significant and practical experience in industry and academia employing both business and technical acumen as a proven business development strategist, operational leader, and technology and innovation manager.
He previously served as Executive Director and Distinguished Service Professor of the Engineering and Technology Innovation Management (ETIM) program at Carnegie Mellon University. The ETIM program is an interdisciplinary, master's degree course of study offered by Carnegie Mellon's top-ranked College of Engineering in collaboration with the university’s Heinz College and Tepper School of Business.
During his time at Carnage Mellon University, Dr. Williams consulted large, medium and start-up organizations to support the evolution and execution of their innovation and technology strategies.
From 2012, he held the position of Senior Vice President of Global Engineering at Pall Corp where he led a 750-member engineering unit, driving Pall’s global growth initiatives across its Life Science and Industrial Products business. His restructuring efforts resulted in improved product first time acceptance of 25%, introduced Design for Manufacture and Assembly process resulting in $8.0M in savings. He reduced globally replicated work resulting in immediate saving of $3.5M.
Prior to Pall, Dr. Williams spent 10 years with Alcoa, Inc. In his role as Senior Director of Research and Development – Alcoa Technology Advantage, he led all facets of business and technology management, including innovation management, portfolio management, market analysis, product development, project management, engineering design, and production operations. Among his many achievements, he initiated and developed Alcoa's first integrated defense market strategy and business plan, growing profitable revenue from $50 million to $720 million and positioning the unit for $1 billion in annual sustainable revenue. As a product innovator, Dr. Williams spearheaded a critical assessment of Alcoa's $2.1 billion aero-structures business leading to a cost-saving fundamental shift in materials options. He also developed a cross-functional, multi-business-unit, multi-vendor product development team that successfully inserted an innovative cosmetic finish into Apple’s Macintosh computer supply chain, and earned the 2002 RoadStar Magazine Most Valuable Product Award for Dura-Bright surface finish wheel application.
Beginning in 1983, Dr. Williams led a nearly 20-year distinguished career at The Boeing Co. where he held a number of significant research and development and program management positions. Among his accomplishments at Boeing, Dr. Williams restructured the company’s Advanced Manufacturing Technology Organization, increased manufacturing flexibility and productivity for next-generation wing drilling, and earned Boeing's Black Engineer of the Year award in 2001.
Dr. Williams holds a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering from Texas A&M University, an MBA in marketing and management from Lindenwood College, and a doctorate in Engineering and Policy from Washington University. A native of St. Louis, he and his wife, Valerie, reside in Pittsburgh and have two children, Danielle and Justin.
Paul K. Stafford is leader in the legal profession and the community – committed to excellence, service, and inclusion. Since receiving his Bachelor of Science (Political Science) from Texas A&M University (1990), and his Juris Doctorate from Texas Tech University School of Law (1994), Paul has become an experienced and recognized litigator, admitted to the State Bar of Texas, all four U.S. District Courts in Texas (Northern, Southern, Eastern, and Western), and the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, as well as admitted (pro hac vice) to the U.S. District Courts for the Northern District of California and the Northern District of Illinois.
Paul is co-founder and managing partner of STAFFORD MOORE, PLLC. (www.staffordmoore.law) - a certified majority/minority owned litigation boutique. Paul focuses his practice primarily on civil litigation, complex commercial & business litigation, and insurance policyholder & coverage litigation. Paul also has significant experience in corporate matters and business entity formation, data privacy & cyber-security matters, intellectual property & technology litigation, labor & employment law, and voting & civil rights matters. He previously served as an Assistant Criminal District Attorney (Denton County & Dallas County); studied at La Escuela de Idioma de Francisco Marroquin (Antigua, Guatemala); was Trial Counsel for Farmers Insurance Group and Zurich North America; and previously practiced at Hughes & Luce LLP (which subsequently merged with K&L Gates LLP) and Thompson & Knight, LLP (now Holland & Knight, LLP). During his career, Paul has successfully represented numerous clients in multi-million dollar complex civil litigation and criminal matters throughout Texas and the nation - having tried more than 200 cases to verdict, including approximately 100 criminal cases as well as approximately 100 civil cases.
Paul is an active member of the profession, having served as a Past-President of both the Dallas Bar Association (2012) and the J.L. Turner Legal Association (2002), as well as a Trustee of the Dallas Bar Foundation (2004-2012), and Chair of the J.L. Turner Legal Association Foundation Board (2022). Paul currently serves on the State Bar of Texas Board of Directors (as a Dallas District Director), is Immediate Past Chair of the African American Lawyers Section, is a four-time appointed member of the Diversity in the Profession Committee, and serves on the Insurance Law Section Council. In addition, Paul has served as an Adjunct Professor at Texas A&M University School of Law (Insurance Law; Texas Pre-Trial Procedure), serves as a Trustee on the Texas Tech School of Law Foundation Board, and currently serves as a Visiting Assistant Professor at Texas Tech University School of Law (Insurance Law; Civil Rights Law; Constitutional Law). Paul is a frequent speaker, lecturer, and media commentator, and has written and presented numerous articles, papers, and CLE’s on insurance, advocacy, litigation, e-discovery, cyber-security, and diversity & inclusion.
Paul was named a Leader in Diversity by the Dallas Business Journal (2023), and has been recognized by his peers no numerous occasions, including as a Texas Monthly “Super Lawyer” (since 2008), as a Texas Lawyer “Go-To” Lawyer (2012), as a D-Magazine Best Lawyer in Dallas, and by U.S. News & World Reports. Paul has also been recognized by Texas Tech University School of Law as the recipient of the Distinguished Service Award (2023), the Hershell L. Barnes Ambassador Award (2022), and the Black Law Students Association Distinguished Alumnus Award (2006). Paul was as a finalist for the 2022 as well as the 2023 Texas Aggie Bar Association’s Distinguished Aggie Lawyer Award, received the State Bar of Texas African American Lawyers Section “Trailblazer Award” (2014), and received the J.L Turner Legal Association Mentor Award (2010). Paul is also an American Marshall Memorial Fellow of the German Marshall Fund of the United States (2003), later serving as a Trustee on the GMF Board and as Chair of the Budget Committee.
Paul is also a leader in the community, previously serving on the Business & Community Advisory Board to the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas (2012-2014), and currently serving as a Director on the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Dallas Board and as an Advocate for Dallas Court Appointed Special Advocates (Dallas CASA). Paul is a particularly strong supporter of the arts community – including the Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing & Visual Arts (Advisory Board; Mock Trial Coach; Flying Horse Gala), the Dallas Black Dance Theatre, the Dallas Museum of Art, and the Dallas Symphony Orchestra (Board of Governors, Corporate Committee, and Diversity Equity & Inclusion Committee).
Paul has also been a servant to Texas A&M University – during his time in Aggieland, and in the decades since –as a Fish Camp Attendee (1986) & Counselor (1987); a Buck Weirus Spirit Award recipient (as a Freshman, in Spring 1987); serving on the inaugural Southwestern Black Student Leadership Conference staff (1988); the Student Representative to the Faculty Senate (1988); as the Vice President of Student Government (1989); on the Chancellor’s Student Advisory Board (1990); and as a Who’s Who Among American Greeks (Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. - 1990). After graduation, Paul co-founded the Political Science Former Student Advisory Board (1998), co-founded the Black Former Students Network (2000), and endowed a Foundation Excellence Award. He has also served as a Director on the Association of Former Students Board of Directors (2007-2011; Legislative Committee Chair 2009, 2011), as Chair of the Liberal Arts Development Council (2014-2020), a supporter and informal advisor to the Bush School of Government, currently serves as a Class Agent for the Class of 1990 (2015-present), and is a member of the Chancellor’s Century Council (2022-present).
Charles “Chuck” Henderson is an accomplished and visionary executive, bringing over 25 years of unparalleled experience in business development, sales and marketing, project management, and process improvement. With a relentless commitment to delivering exceptional results and fostering productivity, Chuck is a recognized leader who has mastered the art of forging meaningful relationships with colleagues and clients. His skillful navigation of change-management initiatives is marked by unwavering confidentiality and trust.
Throughout his illustrious career, Chuck has held numerous executive roles, leaving an indelible mark of transformation. As the Chief Development Officer and now CEO of the American Diabetes Association, he and his team orchestrated a remarkable financial turnaround, propelling the organization's revenue from $111M to an impressive $131M in just under two years. Under his visionary leadership, he pioneered a culture centered around people living with diabetes, making profound connections with over 133 million Americans living with pre diabetes and diabetes, 5 million healthcare professionals and scientists, and an inspiring roster of 10,000 volunteers. Chuck's strategic prowess led the ADA to champion over 400 pieces of legislation, and ingeniously reimagine the organization's local office landscape across the United States, leveraging the power of data and analytics.
As the CEO and President of Champion Life Safety Solutions, Chuck's dynamic leadership secured $10M in capital investments, positioning him as the majority owner of the company. His adept management of a diverse team of 100 employees speaks to his remarkable ability to drive performance and inspire excellence.
Chuck's indomitable spirit has also left an indelible mark in the tech industry. A key member of the pioneering team that propelled Dell's healthcare vertical to unprecedented heights, he engineered a remarkable ascent from $0 to an astounding $500MM within a single year, solidifying the Healthcare vertical's reputation as one of Dell Computer's most lucrative businesses.
Chuck's distinguished journey encompasses executive roles at esteemed organizations including Commonground Marketing and Viacom/MTV Networks, where his oversight of cable territories valued at $3-$4B and $7-$8B respectively, earned him recognition as a strategic visionary. His expertise extended across sales, marketing, and operations teams, elevating performance and driving exceptional outcomes.
Chuck’s philanthropic contributions are as remarkable as his professional achievements. His dedication to serving as CEO of the American Diabetes Association, co-founding the Aggie Impact Gala, and supporting BFSN and the Lettermen’s Association at Texas A&M underscore his commitment to making a difference. An engaged volunteer for First Tee and an Impact Advisory Board Member for Start Up Health, Chuck's unwavering dedication is felt in every endeavor he undertakes.
As a board member, Chuck's expertise in training, team building, sales management, marketing solutions, strategy development and execution, contract negotiation, and c-suite client
relationship building is unparalleled. His infectious culture of teamwork and overachievement sets the stage for sustained success.
Chuck's personal life reflects his boundless dedication. A devoted family man, community advocate, and committed church member, Chuck's passion for golf and family shines through. Married to Courtney and father to an extraordinary student and high school volleyball player Charlie. Chuck's fondest memories include his days as a student-athlete playing basketball alongside his younger, yet taller brother, Corey Henderson, at Texas A&M.
He attributes his remarkable journey to his family values, mentors, Texas A&M's core principles, and the robust Aggie network, all of which have catalyzed his success in life, business, and philanthropy.
Welcome to the world of Tashara Parker, where words transform, stories transcend, and voices find resonance. Tashara is a multifaceted professional, influential speaker, journalist, host, and emcee. Her career is a testament to her unwavering dedication to empowering individuals, amplifying diverse narratives, and creating spaces where authenticity thrives.
With a commanding stage presence and an innate ability to connect with her audience, Tashara has become one of the most sought-after speakers of our time. She has graced over 200 events across the country, captivating audiences with her thought-provoking ideas and inspiring them to embrace the power of diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging (DEIB). Tashara's unique blend of expertise and charisma sparks meaningful conversations and facilitates transformative experiences, leaving a lasting impact on all who have the privilege of hearing her speak.
As a 2X Emmy award-winning journalist, Tashara has a keen eye for uncovering compelling stories and capturing the essence of the human experience. Through her work, she sheds light on the issues that matter, challenges the status quo, and gives voice to the voiceless. Tashara's dedication to ethical reporting and her commitment to truth have earned her the trust and respect of both her readers and her peers.
Beyond the world of journalism, Tashara is the founder of Loud Women Lead, a nonprofit organization dedicated to empowering women to rise and lead with confidence and authenticity. Through Loud Women Lead, she is instrumental in shaping the future of female leadership, fostering a community that embraces and celebrates the power of women's voices.
Tashara's journey is intertwined with her natural hair advocacy, which led her to establish The Bun Ministry—a movement that embraces and celebrates natural hair while encouraging self-love and empowerment. The Bun Ministry, born from Tashara's personal experiences and deeply rooted beliefs, has become a symbol of resilience, embracing individuality, and breaking societal norms. As a result, Tashara was deemed the Global Ambassador for World Afro Day
With Tashara Parker, expect nothing less than a transformative experience. Her powerful messages, coupled with her contagious energy, will inspire you to embrace your authenticity, challenge the status quo, and create a more inclusive and equitable world.
Dr. Victor Simms, the eleventh of thirteen children and a first-generation college graduate, was born and raised in Fort Worth, Texas. The driving forces throughout his life have been his faith in God, support from family, and the calling to serve humanity through the practice of medicine. By age nine, Dr. Simms knew he would be a physician, and he was further inspired by his faith, his family, and witnessing the poor health outcomes for African Americans in his community.
In 1988, after graduating summa cum laude from R.L. Paschal High School, Dr. Simms attended Texas A&M University and earned a B.A. in Biology. He made the Dean’s Honor Roll every semester and was the first Black student at Texas A&M to graduate summa cum laude from the College of Science. While at Texas A&M, Dr. Simms received many awards including the John Bechman Award for the top senior in the College of Science, the Black Graduate Student’s Association Award for the top academic senior, the Minority Scholars Research Scholarship, the H.R. Lewis Scholarship Award, and the Phi Kappa Phi Award for Outstanding Junior in the College of Science. The award that has special meaning to Dr. Simms is the President’s Achievement Award because it gave many underrepresented students the chance to follow their dreams and it afforded him the opportunity to pursue his career in medicine. While at Texas A&M, Dr. Simms served as the vice president of Minority Association of Pre-health Aggies and participated in several other organizations.
After completing his undergraduate studies, Dr. Simms attended Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, TX (Baylor). When he began medical school in 1992, he was the only Black student to matriculate into that first-year class of 177 students. He continued to maintain high academic standards and demonstrate the work ethic instilled in him by his parents, and was awarded Outstanding Graduating Student in 1996. While in medical school, he became a member of the admissions committee and a task force to recruit underrepresented minority students. He also completed an internal medicine residency at Baylor and a fellowship in primary care research funded by the National Institute of Health. While completing the fellowship, Dr. Simms also obtained a Master of Public Health from the University of Texas School of Public Health with an emphasis on Health Systems Organization.
Dr. Simms joined Kelsey-Seybold Clinic (Kelsey-Seybold) in 2001. He has practiced internal medicine for 22 years and has progressively advanced as a physician leader and patient advocate. At Kelsey-Seybold, Dr. Simms has held the positions of Managing Physician, Associate Chief, Chief of the Department of Internal Medicine, member of the Board of Directors, and Chair of the Clinic Planning Committee. Dr. Simms has served as the president of the advocacy section of the Texas Chapter of the American College of Physicians and on the Texas Medical Association’s Council on Legislation, and he is currently a fellow of the American College of Physicians. These leadership roles have allowed him to advocate for patients and physicians and to impact healthcare legislation and policy at local, state, and national levels.
Dr. Simms’ wholehearted commitment and dedication to his profession extends to his community service. He has mentored students at all levels, from elementary school students to those in residency training, and he regularly guides young physicians. At The Church Without Walls, Dr. Simms is a member of the Medical Emergency Response Team. He also participates at community health fairs and delivers lectures on health, disease prevention, and disease treatment. Dr. Simms passionately advocates for increasing the number of Black physicians by participating with organizations such as Black Men in White Coats. He is helping to endow a scholarship at Baylor in the name of Dr. James Phillips, the former Dean of Diversity and a pioneer in increasing diversity, equity, and inclusion in medical education at Baylor. Additionally, Dr. Simms is endowing a Foundation Excellence Award for Black students at Texas A&M.
In 2022, Dr. Simms was selected to serve as the Associate Medical Director of Clinical Operations at Kelsey-Seybold and is responsible for leading a multispecialty integrated healthcare system with over 800 healthcare providers, over 4,500 employees, 55 medical specialties, 40 clinics, cancer centers, and ambulatory surgery centers.