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As a nonprofit leader and change agent, Dr. Melanie Johnson has been behind bringing Houston’s key icons, such as space and medicine, to a level of understanding for the area’s children and adults.  As the previous Director of Education for NASA’s Space Center Houston, Dr. Johnson was the critical leadership who transformed education into an industry that was easily and effectively understood for the next generation of scientists and engineers.

After being appointed the President and CEO of the John P. McGovern Museum of Health and Medical Science (The Health Museum), she significantly improved the revenue of the museum. The museum became so established as a result of her leadership that it was named a Smithsonian Affiliate.  Dr. Johnson was named ABC’s 13 Woman of the Week and led the first nonprofit business to achieve Houston Business Journal’s Diversity award.

Her passion and commitment next led her to Houston’s earliest learners.  She was appointed President and CEO of Collaborative for Children in 2018.  The agency focuses on improving the quality of education for children ages 0-5.  She has led the team to place more than 10,000 children in high-quality child care centers during the COVID-19 pandemic. Dr. Johnson serves on the foundation board of directors for Texas Southern University and the University of North Texas’ Library Board.  She was recently appointed as a Texas Commissioner for Animal Health.

Nory Angel recently joined the American Leadership Forum as their new President. Nory is passionate about empowering people through leadership and driving social change. Her career has been devoted to workforce development, community impact, and improving the lives of disadvantaged individuals.

Prior to ALF, Nory has served as the Executive Director of TEACH, an education-based, nonprofit organization serving Houston’s public schools. Prior to her work at TEACH, she served as the Executive Director & CEO of SERJobs.

As part of her work in the East End, she co-founded the East End collaborative, a coalition of residents, non-profits, government and businesses, and served as Board Chairwoman and longtime board member of the Greater East End Management District and as the Board Secretary of the Buffalo Bayou Partnership.  She currently serves on the boards of the Center for Houston’s Future, Project Row Houses, and the Texas Executive Women.

In 2012, she was recognized as one of the 25 Top Women of Houston; in 2014, Ford Motor Company recognized her as a Mujer Legendaria for her work in creating green jobs for the Latino community; in 2015, she was recognized by the RoadWomen for her social justice work, by Texas Executive Women as a Woman on the Move, named one of Houston’s 50 Most Influential Women by Houston Woman Magazine; in 2016 was named the Impact Award Winner by the Center for Houston’s Future; and in 2019, named a Comcast Hispanic Hero.  Nory holds a MBA from Griffith University in Brisbane, Australia, a Bachelor of Arts from the University of North Texas, and an intensive French Studies certificate from L’Université de Toulon.

Judy Le has over 20 years of leadership development experience in the for-profit, non-profit, and higher education sectors. As president of TakeRoot, LLC, Judy works with clients to increase their capacity to create meaningful change in their work and communities. Before starting TakeRoot, she served as the director of Leadership Rice at Rice University. She is currently an instructor for the Glasscock School at Rice University where she teaches all the courses for the leadership certificate, including the Art and Practice of Influencing Without Authority. Judy started her career at Deloitte Consulting as a change leadership practitioner and then as program director for Leadership Houston, a non-profit organization that brings together Houstonians to collaborate and engage in civic leadership. Judy is a lead facilitator for LeaderShape, a national leadership institute. She serves on the board of Girls, Inc. of Greater Houston, EMERGE Fellowship, and on the advisory board of the Young Center and Asia Society. Judy is trained in leadership development through Harvard Kennedy School of Government’s master class program, completed the Social Justice Institute’s training program, and is a Board Certified and Team Performance Certified coach.

She earned her master’s degree at the University of Texas and her bachelor’s degree at Rice University. Judy and her family settled in Houston after she came to American as a Vietnamese refugee as a child. She enjoys failing and occasionally succeeding at gardening, and spending as much time outdoors with her family, 3 kids, and 1 very charismatic dog. As a former restaurant reviewer and food writer, Judy loves to eat and especially loves to gather people around her kitchen to cook together.

Janet Rodriguez is a first-generation Dominican-American from New York City. She started her career at PwC in 2008 as a Tax Associate in the Consumer, Industrial, and Products Services practice. In 2011, she decided to follow her passion of working with underserved youth and joined the NYC Department of Education as a College and Career Coordinator, where she performed school and community outreach work related to alternative school programs that support young adults in meeting their education and career goals. In 2015, she returned to PwC and joined the New York Metro Talent Acquisition team focusing on campus recruiting efforts and in April 2018 transitioned to the National Diversity Talent Acquisition team and currently leads the Gender recruiting strategy.

Janet is a proud graduate of CUNY Baruch College, Zicklin School of Business where she earned her BBA with a concentration in Accounting and a minor in Psychology and Law. In 2012, she was among 25 of New York’s brightest, young, Latino leaders selected as a Club Leader for Latino Leaders Magazine. In 2016, she was recognized by the PwC Talent Acquisition Leadership team with the Diversity and Inclusion award.

Janet loves spending time with family, dancing, cooking and being engaged in her community and mentoring the future leaders of tomorrow.