On paper, Alana Latiolais began as a licensed Cosmetologist, adding a Merchandising degree to the mix. As life unfolded, blossoming into marriage and a family, Alana continued to cultivate color into every part of her life, never blending into a crowd, believing wholeheartedly the richness of tones can change a mood, spark joy, and evoke connection.
Sam is a tax accountant at Grant Thornton. She is married to her best friend, Ben, and is dog-mom to Beatrice. She is enthusiastic about Baylor, Chick-fil-A and budgeting!
Emily studied International Business and Economics at Mary Hardin-Baylor, and she gets to live her dream job at Fossil Group, specializing in global brand management and merchandising. Emily shares her home in Allen, TX with her sweet husband Seth and their diva cat Princess. When not working on a home project, she spends her weekends trying new recipes for a dinner party with friends or napping in a hammock with a good book club read. Emily is passionate about travel, empowering women, and sharing Jesus' love with the world.
Irina works for Texas A&M Mays Business School and Southern Methodist University as an MBA virtual career coach. She coaches MBA students on interviewing, networking, or finding the very best job or internship based on their strengths and career goals.
After 15 years of working in research and brand management for Frito Lay and Dr. Pepper Snapple, Irina was ready to move into academia. Irina is a married working mom with two beautiful girls, Olivia and Adele.
Audry is one of our Polished Dallas volunteers and loves serving her community with an amazing group of women. She has made a career in the luxury retail industry working for Neiman Marcus and Jay Strongwater. She graduated from Texas A&M University with a degree in Speech Communications and a minor in Business.
Dr. Danika Franks is a passionate mentor and empowerer of young people. As Assistant Dean of Students for TCU and UNT Health Science Center School of Medicine, she cares for her students through career advising while also doing life alongside her husband, Chauncey Franks, TCU Football Team’s Chaplain. Mother to three children – Eli, Eden, and Ellie – she also loves interior design, describing her décor style as a cross between Bohemian-Anthro- Traditional- Minimalist. Try saying that fast! A graduate from Midwestern State University and UT Southwestern, Dr. Franks is a brilliant educator, example, and friend. You won’t want to miss her story!
Born and raised in Austin, Texas, Virginia is a founding board member of Six Square: Austin's Black Cultural District, an organization focused on preserving Austin's Black history and heritage in East Austin and curating ongoing cultural and economic contributions of Black Austinites. She is currently serving as Curator for the Austin Shapers (a hub of the World Economic Forum's Global Shapers), on the board of KLRU (Austin's Public Broadcasting station) and was vital in re-launching the National Urban League's Young Professionals program Austin.
Denise is the Vice President of Community Affairs at St. David's Healthcare and is a pillar in the Austin philanthropic community. She plans and executes corporate communications and community affair strategies daily and is active in many other organizations, including The American Heart Association's Go Red For Women Campaign and The Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce.
Encouraging women to love God and others with their all, Kat teaches the Bible with humor and heart. She engages disconnected women exploring God with the relevance of the scriptures, commissions rooted Christians to flourish in their God-inspired assignment, and refocuses the Church to outreach.
Feleceia, affectionately known as Zoe's Mom, is a passionate lover of God, His people and His purpose in her life and the lives of others. Her knack for creativity and business inspired her to start her own company. Now in its seventh year, the Zoe Communications Agency is a creative content and brand management company that builds strategic marketing solutions for cities, communities and businesses alike!
In episode 44, you'll get to listen to an exclusive interview with LaToria Wilson from the 2018 Dallas February Luncheon.
Big hair and big personality aren't all this girl has to offer! With an energy all her own, LaToria brings an eclectic feel to the hip-hop music she makes. Whether it’s a high-energy anthem or a story she’s telling accompanied by soulful melodies, LaToria aims to offer hope, light, and truth through her music while providing an unforgettable experience. She writes about life from a Gospel-centered perspective.
LaToria has had the privilege of sharing the stage with a variety of artists such as Matthew Schuler, Dez Duron and Brandon Chase of the hit TV show, THE VOICE, Lecrae, Derek Minor, Ellie Holcomb, Tye Tribbett and many more. She has toured nationally and internationally, been featured in several magazines, had her music and videos featured on several radio and TV stations in several different countries. Her latest single Pushin Light is now available on all digital outlets and she is set to release her next project, Volume 2 of The Long Walk series, later this year.
In episode 43, you'll get to listen to an exclusive interview with Justice Sue Walker from the 2018 Ft. Worth February Luncheon.
Coming from the educational halls of the University of Texas in Austin (undergrad) and Texas Tech University (no big deal, just her Law Degree here), Justice Sue Walker is an amazing woman in every way. She has worn (read: mastered) many hats in her career - adjunct professor of law for Texas Wesleyan School of Law, solo practitioner, briefing and staffing attorney for the Court of Appeals, and now serving on the Second Court of Appeals for Tarrant County since 2001.
A highly honored and respected leader, Justice Walker has been named “Jurist of the Year” (2012), serves as a National Science and Resource Judge, was elected as a Fellow by Advanced Science & Technology Resource Center in Washington, D.C., AND as a Fellow in the Texas Bar Foundation. Aka, ladies, she is one phenomenal woman! We are thrilled to dig into her story and her passion for mentoring young professional women.
Angie is a Manager in the Career Readiness Department at Houston ISD. She focuses on high school CTE programming and developing business partnerships to support CTE programs; with a goal to expose students to careers and opportunities in their CTE pathways. In her role, she organizes Houston ISD's annual When I Grow Up Career Expo and bi-monthly Chamber meetings with active business partners.
Angie is passionate about #equippingeducation and as a teacher used her 16 years of previous corporate experience to apply the "real world" in her CTE classrooms while also applying core academics resulting in students with both technical application and employability skills in addition to applied academics.
Angie is active in the Houston community and is completing her 13th year as a volunteer with Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo where she's a Vice Chairman and Captain on two committees. She is also the Houston Chapter Director for Polished and is currently pursuing an MBA at the University of Houston Downtown.
Outside of work Angie enjoys blogging, creating lettered art, friends and family, and her rescue golden-doodle, Auggie.
Christal West Atkinson grew up a small town gal before transitioning to big city living, moving from Clifton, TX, to Frisco during high school. Receiving her degree in International Relations and History from Salem College, she graduated, moved to Capitol Hill, and launched a 10 year career in Washington, D.C. After working in the Office of Legislative Affairs/Chief of Staff (The White House, y’all) and the Treasury department – as Director of Scheduling and Executive Assistant to Secretary of Treasury, Christal took a position in 2009 for the Bass family in Fort Worth.
Now an active member of the Junior League, elder at First Presbyterian church, wife of Jack, and mother of 16 month old, John, Christal has life experience some of us have never even dreamed of – and so much to share! Snag a seat to learn at the feet of our sister friend, you’ll love what she has to offer!
Ashley Freer didn't start out as a Texan, but 10 years here have taught her to appreciate the big and the small differentiators of this great state, breakfast tacos and gorgeous sunsets included. As group director and PR specialist at Fort Worth-based Balcom Agency, Ashley drives strategy and client projects for national, regional and local clients with 18 years of experience behind her. And while her job is one of her favorite things in life, she's eager to talk about other passions, including theology, history, travel and community engagement. After deciding to follow a call to study the biblical languages and Scripture, Ashley spent three years earning a Master of Divinity (M.Div.) degree from Southwestern Seminary, graduating in 2009. She has been a part-time staff member for Christ Chapel Bible Church as part of Common Ground, its downtown outreach to working women, since her last semester in graduate school and is proud to call Fort Worth home.
Amanda Hill is a native Texan, an attorney, mother, and writer. She has her own law firm representing physicians and medical groups in Texas, as well as speaking to medical groups and practices across the state. She was a contestant on “The Apprentice: Martha Stewart” and had a fabulous time interviewing for a job with Martha on national television. She is a blogger and writer of articles on essay regarding faith, humor, and motherhood. Her writing has appeared on sites like Scary Mommy, (in)courage, Blog Her, and Aiming Low. She finished her first novel and is currently working on an adapted screenplay.
Sharla Langston currently serves as the Minister of Generous Living at Northwest Bible Church, where she walks alongside God’s faithful stewards to encourage whole life generosity. This woman is all about giving!
In addition, Sharla serves the national ministry of Generous Giving, whose mission is to spread the biblical message of generosity in order to grow generous givers among those entrusted with much. Sharla is a founder of Women Doing Well, an organization created to help Christian women live and give in God’s image. In addition, she serves individuals and families as a giving coach by helping faithful stewards discover and execute their unique giving design.
Sharla has a background as a petroleum engineer, U.S Congressional committee staff, and 10 years with Highland Park Presbyterian Church as the director of Lifestyle Stewardship. She spent 6 years with the National Christian Foundation helping givers maximize their resources for the Kingdom on their journeys of generosity.
Sharla is the author of The Crowd-Sourced Marriage, Leveraging Your Trusted Community to Marry Well. She speaks and encourages Christians who desire marriage to trust the community God has provided for them.
Sharla's story is unique for a few reasons: 1) she married later in life and 2) her entire career has been dedicated to helping others make the most of the resources they've been given by GIVING. Sharla is compassionate and loves encouraging young professional women. Join us in November to hear more of her story!
Jasmine Turner is a native Houstonian and works at LyondellBasell as a Cost Analyst, where she is responsible for budgeting and forecasting spending for capital projects at Lyondell’s Houston Refinery. Jasmine earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration and a Minor in Corporate Communication from Baylor University and serves on the Baylor Business Network Advisory Board.
She is the President of the Houston Area Urban League Young Professionals (HAULYP) and board member of the Houston Area Urban League. HAULYP is an auxiliary of the Houston Area Urban League where their mission is to support the affiliate through advocacy, fundraising and service. Prior to her role as President, Jasmine served as Civic Engagement Chair, Secretary/Treasurer and Vice President of HAULYP. She also currently serves on the National Urban League Young Professionals Programs Committee.
Jasmine is a graduate of the Houston Black Leadership Institute’s Class III; a program affiliated with the Greater Houston Black Chamber. Along with her classmates, Jasmine launched the Empower 360 Initiative, an interactive curriculum for high school seniors that teaches them the importance of voting and being involved in the political process.
Jasmine also volunteers her time with the Barbara Bush Houston Literacy Foundation and is a graduate of the United Way’s Project Blueprint Program.
Jasmine is a member of Brentwood Baptist Church and is a leader of the Young Adult Ministry. She is a huge Dallas Cowboys fan and enjoys traveling and spending time with friends and family.
Suzanne Taylor is serving as the City Director for Polished Fort Worth. She works as an associate attorney at Pope, Hardwicke, Christie, Schell, Kelly & Taplett, LLP practicing Estate Planning, Probate & Trust law. She spends most of her day drafting Wills and Trusts and meeting with clients on how to best plan for their future. Through her work and specifically meeting with young parents planning for their children’s future, she saw a theme in conversations about how the role of women is continuing to evolve and become more complex. Suzanne recognized the crucial importance of clinging to scripture, wise counsel, and the need for accountability as she and others pursue being Godly women during this transitional life stage in their careers and families. Through this desire, the Lord continued to open doors, bring other women into this pursuit, and challenge her with helping bring a ministry to Fort Worth for young professional women to learn how to be bolder in their faith and scripturally approach their many roles. Thus, Polished Fort Worth became a reality for her and others. Suzanne is thrilled yet humbled to serve as City Director for this ministry and continues to be overwhelmed with the Lord’s faithfulness and direction.
Prior to practicing law, Suzanne served as Director of External Relations for the President’s Office at Texas Tech University. She is an avid Red Raider where she received her Bachelor’s Degree in Advertising as well as her Law Degree. Suzanne is married to a stud named Brandon who oversees the homebuilding process at David Weekley homes. Brandon and Suzanne have one child, Kate, who was born this past March. Brandon and Suzanne help teach the engaged/newly married Sunday school class at First Baptist Church, Arlington and love being invested in the communities of Arlington and Fort Worth. Suzanne spends her free time loving on her sweet baby, helping her husband with home renovation projects, spending time with her family, eating watermelon, and playing with her little black puppy named Raider!
In episode 34 you'll join us at our October 2017 Polished North Dallas Luncheon. Today's guest is Melissa Wickham. Melissa serves on the Polished Board of Directors as the Special Events Chair. Naturally, we are excited to introduce you to her! Her education was in finance and leadership studies and she has spent 19 years in the business world, specifically in financial services, telecommunications, manufacturing and wholesale distribution. She currently serves as the Director of Finance, Assistant Controller at Interstate Batteries, where she has worked for over 10 years. Melissa serves on numerous boards and loves to travel. Her resume is stacked with experience and we get to glean from her wisdom at our next luncheon. If only we had time at a lunch to have her sing to us, as she has been singing her whole life.