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Bee Moorhead, Executive Director
Bee Moorhead is the executive director of Texas Impact, a position she has held since has been 2000. She is also the executive director of the Texas Interfaith Center for Public Policy, Texas Impact’s sister organization that she helped the Texas Impact board of directors to establish to improve and expand interfaith public policy education and dialogue.
As executive director of both organizations, Bee manages a staff of 12, the 13-member Interfaith Center board of directors, and Texas Impact’s 50-member board of delegates from the state’s many faith communities. Under her leadership, Texas Impact and the Interfaith Center have earned state and national recognition for work on interfaith education and community leadership development. Texas Impact has received two awards of merit from the Religion Communicators Council for outstanding publications. Radian 6 named Texas Impact one of the most influential Twitter feeds of the 82nd Texas legislative session.
Bee previously served as a senior fiscal policy analyst for the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts where she helped to lead the nationally known Texas Performance Review, providing members of the Legislature with numerous recommendations for strengthening state government and state services, many of which are now law. She was the architect of “Family Pathfinders,” a unique initiative linking families on public assistance with faith and community-based organizations.
Bee holds a Masters degree in Public Affairs from the University of Texas LBJ School. She also holds an undergraduate degree in theatrical costume design from UT Austin, and she has studied theology and New Testament at Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary.
Bee was awarded the 2011 “Trailblazer” Award by the Texas chapter of the National Council of Jewish Women. She has served on the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality’s Pollution Prevention Advisory Council and currently serves on several advisory committees to the Texas Health and Human Services Commission. She has received Climate Project presenter training with former Vice President Al Gore and executive communication training with UT’s Annette Strauss Institute. She is an alumna of Leadership Austin.
Bee serves as an adjunct faculty member at St. Edward’s University in the Political Science Department where she teaches Legislative Process and Lobbying, and at Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary where she lectures on faith and public policy.
An ordained elder in the Presbyterian Church (USA), Bee has been a member of University Presbyterian Church in Austin since 1983. She is married to Robert Moorhead, a long-time staff member of the award-winning PBS television show "Austin City Limits." The Moorheads have three children.
Joshua Houston, General Counsel/Director of Government Affairs
Josh serves as Texas Impact's attorney performing legislative and regulatory affairs, and is also the in-house counsel for Texas Impact's sister organization, the Texas Interfaith Center for Public Policy. Strategically involved in all aspects of the Texas Impact Legislative Agenda, his primary policy and legal expertise focus on electric and water utilities; consumer finance; healthcare; food; First Amendment; administrative, election and campaign finance law. He represents Texas Impact and small commercial customers as a voting member of ERCOT, is a member of the Administrative and Public Law, Environmental and Natural Resources Law, Family Law, Government Law, Public Utility Law, and Legislative and Campaign Law Sections of the Texas State Bar, and is a member of the Administrative Law Section of the Austin Bar Association.
Josh joined Texas Impact in August 2010. He received his Doctor of Jurisprudence in May of 2010 from the University of Texas School of Law. In 2007, he received a Master of Theological Studies from the Candler School of Theology at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. He completed his undergraduate work in 2004 at Texas A&M University with a Bachelor of Arts in History with a minor in Philosophy. Josh currently attends the First United Methodist Church in Austin and is married with two cats and a dog.
Before coming to Texas Impact, Josh spent the 81st Legislative Session as a Law Clerk and Legislative Assistant in the Texas House of Representatives. During the 79th Legislative Session, Josh was a Public Policy Consultant for the Texas Baptist Christian Life Commission (CLC), the public policy and ethics arm of the Baptist General Convention of Texas. While at CLC, he specialized in criminal justice, gambling, campaign finance, education and First Amendment issues. During law school, he interned at the Travis County District Attorney’s Office in the 147th District Court, was on the Thurgood Marshall Mock Trial team, and worked as a student attorney in UT Law's Actual Innocence and Legislative Lawyering Clinics.
Yaira A. Robinson, Associate Director, Texas Interfaith Center for Public Policy
Yaira is the Associate Director of the Texas Interfaith Center for Public Policy, where she coordinates Texas Interfaith Power & Light, one of 40 state Interfaith Power and Light programs that together offer a “religious response to climate change.” She joined the staff in 2008.
Yaira is a rabbinical student in the ALEPH Rabbinic Ordination program and holds a Master’s in Theological Studies from Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary. She has studied religiously-based environmental and food justice with Creation Justice Ministries, Hazon, GreenFaith, and the Siach network.
She has earned multiple DeRose-Hinkhouse awards from the Religion Communicators Council for materials she's written for the Interfaith Center, and is a Contributing Scholar for State of Formation, an online forum for emerging religious and ethical leaders. In that space, she writes about both her work and her religious journey.
Yaira graduated summa cum laude from the University of Texas at Arlington with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English. She worked some in the textbook publishing industry and some as a stay-at-home-mom before serving two Unitarian Universalist churches as Director of Religious Education from 2004-2009.
Yaira is joyfully Jewish, and an active member of Congregation Agudas Achim in Austin. She has two boys, Ezekiel and Elijah, and the three of them share their home with a one-eyed pug dog.
Cara Chiodo, Chief Operating Officer
Cara Chiodo joined the staff in February of 2007. As COO, she is responsible for day-to-day operations of the office, financial record-keeping, and grants administration. Cara received a Bachelor of Arts in World Religious Studies from Loyola University New Orleans, graduating summa cum laude. In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, she moved back to her hometown of Austin, finished her senior thesis on Zen Catholicism, and began pursuing work in interfaith social justice. As a life-long member of First Baptist Church of Austin, she is thrilled by the changes and expansion that her own faith community has undergone in the past decade.
Cara has previously worked for a number of non-profits, including the Texas Conference of Churches, The Texas Baptist Christian Life Commission, and the Samaritan Center for Counseling and Pastoral Care. She is an avid traveler and has studied and worshipped with people of many different faiths in Europe, Asia, Africa, and Central and South America. When not at work or jotting around the globe with a backpack, she enjoys spending time in Austin’s many coffee shops and attending music festivals.
Andrea Earl, Project Director | Community Partner Recruitment Initiative
Andrea joined Texas Impact as an AmeriCorps VISTA to assist with the Texas Disaster Recovery Project in April 2010. Her policy focuses include environmental policy, disaster policy, local government and healthcare policy. Andrea received her Bachelor’s in Communication Public Relations from Appalachian State University in 2006. In May 2009, Andrea earned her Master’s degree in Public Administration from Appalachian State University, where she held the position of Research Assistant for the MPA department.
A native of North Carolina, Andrea has worked on varying economic, community development and nonprofit projects with the N.C. Rural Center and rural N.C. municipalities. In her spare time, Andrea enjoys hiking and kayaking, going to music shows and making balloon animals.
Anna Crockett, Office Manager
Anna joined Texas Impact in June 2015 as Office Manager. She previously served as an AmeriCorps VISTA at the Annette Strauss Institute for Civic Life from 2013-2014. Prior to her AmeriCorps service, she worked as a proofreader for the Texas Legislative Council during the 81st Legislative Session.
Anna graduated from The University of Texas at Austin in 2012 with a Bachelor’s of Arts in Spanish, specializing in Hispanic Linguistics. While at UT, she was a Spring 2012 Bill Archer Fellow. During that time, she interned at various think tanks in Washington, DC.
In her spare time, Anna enjoys volunteering at Austin Pets Alive!, gardening, traveling, and cooking.
Scott Atnip, Congregational Outreach Director
Beginning in 2013, Scott Atnip will be joining us as the Congregational Outreach Director, working to connect the education and advocacy efforts of Texas Impact, the Texas Interfaith Center for Policy Policy and the Community Partners Program with people of faith throughout Texas. Scott is in his second tenure with Texas Impact, having served as an intern in 2002-2003 while completing his MPAff at the Lyndon Baines Johnson School of Public Affairs. Scott completed his undergraduate work at Sam Houston State University, majoring in Political Science with a minor in Management.
Scott has also served as Executive Director of Huntsville’s Promise, a non-profit working on youth development and housing issues and Fund Development Manager for the National Office of United Methodist Action Reach-Out Mission by Youth (U.M. ARMY), a youth home repair mission organization affiliated with the UMC.
Scott is also active in various leadership positions in the United Methodist Church, being elected as an alternate delegate to General Conference 2012 and delegate to Jurisdictional Conference, serving as the Corporate Secretary for the United Methodist General Board of Global Ministries and on GBGM’s Mission Programs and Finance Committees, the Texas Annual Conference West District Lay Leader, Texas Conference Board of Laity and serves on the Boards of the Heartspring Methodist Foundation and Junior High United Methodist Mission Project. Scott is also active in his local church, Wesley Memorial UMC having served as youth director with his wife Shannon, worship leader, Outreach Committee Chair and more.
In the community, Scott has served on the boards of CASA of Walker County, Walker County Community Development Corporation, Journey Though Bethlehem, Santa’s Helpers and Impact Huntsville.
Scott is married to his lovely wife Shannon and has a beautiful five year old daughter Emily and two dogs.
Sadia Tirmizi, Membership Director
Sadia Tirmizi joins Texas Impact as the Membership Director and brings with her over 12 years of experience in marketing, fundraising, and nonprofit management, as well as a passion for interfaith work. She holds a Master's in Business Administration from the University of Houston at Clear Lake, and a Bachelor's in Social Work from UT Arlington.
Sadia's previous experience includes work in several local nonprofits—among them, Interfaith Action of Central Texas (iACT), the Austin Children's Museum, and Foundation Communities. She has served on the board of the Association of Fundraising Professionals - Greater Austin Chapter and Central Texas Muslimaat, a Muslim women's organization dedicated to community engagement and social justice. She was recently selected as a participant of the American Muslim Civic Leadership Institute.
When she's not organizing interfaith projects and other community events, Sadia enjoys spending time with her husband, her very large extended family, and friends who keep her grounded.
Corinna Whiteaker-Lewis, Volunteer Coordinator
Corinna Whiteaker-Lewis joined Texas Impact as Volunteer Coordinator in March of 2014. She also provides administrative support to Texas Impact, the Texas Interfaith Center for Public Policy, and the CPRI Project in particular.
Corinna previously held the volunteer position of Social Justice Committee Chair with the First Unitarian Universalist Church of Austin for six years. It was in this role that she first came into contact with the work of Texas Impact and participated in legislative visits in support of Texas Impact’s agenda.
Corinna is married to Dale Whiteaker-Lewis and is mom to two teenage girls, Audrey and Bridget.
Sam Brannon, Outreach and Engagement Specialist
Sam joined the Texas Interfaith Center for Public Policy in July of 2014 as an Outreach and Engagement Specialist. Currently, he is working on the Water Captains Program. Sam is a Texan and calls Austin his home. That aside, he has travelled abroad all over Asia, the Middle East, some of the African continent, all over the United States, and some of Mexico. Currently, he lives in Georgetown with his wife Emily and their children, Clara (9) and Stella (6). Being no stranger to the geographic sojourn, Sam is happy to limit most of travels to Texas now so he can be at home with his family most nights.
Sam graduated in 1990 from IH Kempner High School in Sugar Land, Texas and joined the US Navy for 5 years thereafter. Once receiving an honorable discharge from the military, Sam attended Texas State University, earning a BA in History. Sam then graduated seminary in 2005 from the Lutheran Seminary Program in the Southwest in Austin, Texas.
Sam was ordained a Pastor in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America in June 2005. He has been the pastor at Saint Andrew Lutheran Church in Sand Springs, Oklahoma; Messiah Lutheran Church in Austin, Texas; and the Associate Pastor at Saint Paul Lutheran Church in Columbus, Texas. Prior to ministry, Sam worked in the IT industry, spent time on offshore oil exploration ships, and in college worked in mental health hospitals.
Sam’s greatest joys are playing with his children, and going on dates to Sonic with his wife, Emily. He enjoys running, reading, and BBQ at the Pit. Sam has Burnt Orange Blood and just received the joyful news that his cable provider will be carrying the Longhorn Network this year.
Sean Hennigan, Communications Director
Sean Hennigan works as the Communications Director for Texas Impact. Sean manages Lege TV, an initiative for encouraging government transparency and accessibility through online video "reporting" and social media engagement. Lege TV featured daily invocations from both the House and the Senate floors, clips of public testimony given by Texas citizens, coalition partners and Texas Impact staff, and lively and engaging floor discussions among legislators. Lege TV's most popular video received over 30,000 views on Youtube, with several other videos receiving more than 1000 views apiece.
Sean also provides video and audio recording services for numerous Texas Impact events, including advocacy days at the Capitol, educational events in Austin and Houston, and seven consecutive years of the United Methodist Women's Legislative Event. In addition to video and audio work, Sean manages Texas Impact's web presence and provides technical support to the staff.
George Oliver, Congregational Outreach Specialist
George E. Oliver is a native of Huntsville, TX and serves Texas Impact as a Congregational Outreach Specialist. He received his Bachelor of Fine Arts in Theatre from Sam Houston State University in 2005 and is a Master of Divinity candidate at Andover Newton Theological School, the nation's oldest graduate school located in Newton Centre, MA. While at Andover Newton, George served as President of the Student Association, continues to serve on the Board of Directors of the Conference of Baptist Ministries of Massachusetts, is pursuing ordination in the American Baptist Churches-USA, and was the 2012 Winner of the prestigious Donald A. Wells Preaching Prize for the Massachusetts Bible Society.
George serves as Minister of Worship and Arts at Union Baptist Church in Cambridge, MA. He was the Founding Director of Brown University's Harmonizing Grace Gospel Choir in Providence, RI, while serving the school as the Assistant Director of Protestant Worship. George also served as the Assistant Director of Music in Harlem's famed Convent Avenue Baptist Church (directing the Youth Choir, Adult Praise & Worship, and CABC's Event Choir).
George is a playwright and director for stage, having penned the short-play “Exodus.” He translated and edited the French Existentialist Drama “La Route,” and co-authored three plays (“The Negro Race,” “The Race Card,” and “Mission to March”) with Angela Watson-Modeste and DeJamion McDowell. George was Artistic Director of GEMKNEM Troupe, Inc., a non-profit theatre company focused around social uplift. Additionally, George has been seen performing on the Today Show, at Carnegie Hall, the Lincoln Center, the 2007 NAACP National Convention, and congregations and stages in 23 states and the District of Columbia. George has served in leadership and advisory positions in the NAACP, College Democrats of Texas, Young Democrats of America, and worked in campaigns and government across Texas and the United States.
Linda Wasserman, Congregational Outreach Specialist
As one of Texas Impact´s newest staff members (Nov. 2014), Linda covers the Rio Grande Valley, recruiting faith-based organizations to participate in the Community Partners Program which helps eligible residents apply for Texas benefits.
Linda has just returned to Texas after living the past five years in Monterrey, Mexico, as a Catholic pastoral volunteer with the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word. Their work centered around a health clinic/community center located in an impoverished area of northwest Monterrey.
Linda earned a Master’s degree in International Relations from St. Mary´s University in San Antonio, and a B.A. in Mass Communications from New Mexico State University. Prior to moving to Mexico, Linda lived in San Antonio for 30 years where she worked for the City of San Antonio and in television broadcasting.
She now lives in McAllen, accompanied by her three adopted cats from Mexico.
Denise Grant-Murray, Congregational Outreach Specialist
Denise Grant-Murray has a passion for social change and human development. Professionally, she has worked as a community advocate for underserved populations the past five years by serving as an AmeriCorps VISTA in various assignments throughout the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex. Most recently her work with Texas Impact as a Community Partner Recruitment Initiative Coordinator has helped others overcome societal barriers such as food insecurity and poverty.
She graduated from Ohio Valley University/Northeastern with a Bachelors in Liberal Arts and a Professional Certificate/Associate Degree in Computer Accounting from Gloucester College. Since moving to the DFW area, Denise has obtained a Professional Certificate from Light University in Christian Lay Counseling. In her free time, Denise serves as a facilitator with the "Free at Last" Counseling Ministry at her church, Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship in Dallas, TX.
Her hobbies include spending time with family, dancing, reading, singing, and directing the choir.