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Cien.ai, CFT, and Dallas Arboretum Appoint New Executives

Plus: Communities Foundation of Texas finds new chief philanthropy officer, Younger Partners makes six promotions, and more.
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Cien.ai

Joanna Ridgway, Senior Vice President of Global Sales

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Joanna Ridgway has been appointed as the SVP of global sales with Cien.ai. Ridgway, formerly the managing director and head of the southwest region for Santander Bank, had been serving as a strategic advisor with Cien.ai prior to her appointment. In her new role she will lead the global sales team and foster client relationships in management consulting, private equity, and financial services. She has served in a multitude of other executive roles, including with Santander, JPMorgan, and Bank of America.

Education: Rhodes College (BBA)

Steve Valenta, Senior Vice President of Strategic Partnerships

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Steve Valenta has joined Cien.ai as the new SVP of strategic partnerships after spending the last five years as a director with Stout. Most notably, Valenta served for 11 years as the senior managing director for Nasdaq following a five-year stint with Ernest and Young as a senior manager. In his new role, Valenta will aim to establish new relationships and strengthen existing ones with cloud and AI companies.

Education: Southern Methodist University (BBA), University of Oklahoma (BBA)

Communities Foundation of Texas

Robert Kent, Chief Philanthropy Officer

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Robert Kent has been named CPO with CFT. Kent previously spent the last decade with the Trust for Public Land, where he most recently served as the associate vice president and Texas state director leading the organization to acquire over 400 acres of land for new parks in Dallas. He played a key role in provided more than $655 million for parks and trails. In his new role, Kent will lead CFT’s efforts in providing strategic vision and philanthropy department.

Education: University of Glasgow (MSc), Baylor University (BA)

Dallas Arboretum

Christie Eckler, Chief Advancement Officer

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Christie Eckler has been appointed as the CAO with the Dallas Arboretum. In 2012, she founded CME Consulting, a leadership training and executive advising firm. Prior to that she was the director of development for The University of Texas at Arlington and the chief strategy officer for Simple Leadership Strategies. With over 20 years of experience in the nonprofit space, Eckler has raised more than $100 million for causes in Texas, Oklahoma, and Arkansas.

Education: University of Texas at Arlington (BSW, MSSW)

Gary Doubrava Jr., Chief Financial Officer

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The Dallas Arboretum has also named Gary Doubrava Jr. as its new CFO. Doubrava previously served in the same capacity at the United Way of Tarrant County where he was responsible for overseeing the overall financial operation with his team of 80 while managing IT and facilities. He also served as the CFO of the Atlanta Botanical Gardens for nine years where he oversaw an $80 million expansion.

Education: Shawnee State University (BS)

KPMG

Rayford High, Managing Partner, Fort Worth Office

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KPMG has named Rayford High its new managing partner at its Fort Worth office. In his new role, High will be tasked with overseeing strategic growth and direction for the KPMG Fort Worth office of nearly 185 employees. He began his career with KPMG nearly 30 years ago before he was admitted to partnership in 2008. High has handled a number of audit services for public and private companies pertaining to energy, retail, technology, and manufacturing. 

Education: Texas Christian University

Higginbotham

Michael Parks, President, Financial Services

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Michael Parks has been elevated to the role of president of financial services with Higginbotham. Parks has been with Higginbotham for nearly 35 years and will be tasked with focusing on executive strategy across multiple departments, including employee benefits. 

Education: Texas Tech University, Texas Christian University (BFA)

Southern Land Company

Jeff Poole, Vice President, Single-Family Land Acquisitions

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Jeff Poole has been named the VP of single-family land acquisitions with Southern Land Company. In this role, Poole will be in charge of expanding the company’s community development pipeline and single-family homebuilding division. He previously served as the VP of land acquisition for PulteGroup for 13 years, bringing nearly 25 years of experience with him in a newly created role.

Education: Louisiana State University (BS)

Younger Partners

Parker Morgan, Senior Vice President

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In a flurry of moves, Parker Morgan has been promoted to SVP with Younger Partners. Morgan joined the firm in 2018 as an associate and most recently served as a vice president with Younger. He has amassed a portfolio of more than $75 million in transactions during that time with an expertise in office and industrial leasing, as well as tenant representation. 

Education: Texas A&M University (BS)

Andrew Boster, Senior Vice President

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Andrew Boster has also been promoted to SVP with Younger Partners. Boster has been with the firm for three years after most notably serving as business development manager for AMS Academic Solutions.

Education: Augustana College (BS)

Davey McAleavey, Vice President of Property Accounting

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Davey McAleavey has been promoted to VP of property accounting with Younger Partners. McAleavey has been with the firm since 2014 where he started as an account manager. He most recently served in the role of controller, and prior to joining Younger served as a senior accountant for Colliers International. 

Education: Texas Tech University (BBA)

Heidi McNeill-Mansoori, Vice President of Property Management

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Another promotion at Younger Partners is Heidi McNeill-Mansoori to VP of property management. She joined the company in 2022 as a senior property manager after spending nearly 29 years as a real estate broker for Five Star Properties. She also served as a commercial property manager for Holt Lunsford Commercial prior to joining Younger.

Education: N/A

Alex Geiger, Vice President of Technical and Construction Services

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Alex Geiger has been named VP of technical and construction services with Younger Partners. In his new role, Geiger will coordinate and oversee all aspects of construction projects including contractor selection, project scheduling, and cost management.

Education: N/A

Austin Street Center

Yolanda Williams, Senior Director of Operations

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Yolanda Williams has joined Austin Street Center as its senior director of operations. Williams will look to provide direct oversight to shelter operations that include, dining services, guest services, and security departments with her 20 years of experience. For the last six years she served for CitySquare, most notably as the assistant director of homeless services where she oversaw the Homeless Outreach Team.

Education: Southern University (BS)

Board Appointments:

SRS Real Estate Partners

Brant Landry, Board of Directors

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Brant Landry has been elected to the SRS Real Estate Partners board of directors. Landry joined the firm in 2022 as its managing principal, national industrial services where he helped establish and grow a national industry service line for the company. He has helped lead the industrial team to complete $1.2 billion in transaction value and over 10 million square feet of industrial properties leased or sold. Landry has completed over 600 industrial, retail, and office lease and sale transactions. 

Society of St. Vincent de Paul of North Texas

The Society of SVP North Texas has appointed four new board members:

Jim Urbanus, Bishop Lynch High School, Chief Advancement Officer

Jake Masso, J.P. Morgan Private Bank Executive Director, Market Team Lead, Dallas Office

Angela Hintz, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Louisiana Vice President of Integrated Services and the Enterprise Management Office

James Stewart, Hall Render, Partner

Austin Street Center

Austin Street Center, one of Dallas’ largest homeless shelters, has appointed two new Board of Trustee members:

Hon. Jeanne L. Phillips

Norm Hitzges

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Layten Praytor

Layten Praytor

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