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HBJ reveals inaugural Diversity in Business Awards finalists

16 Nov

By Natalie Harms

Houston is known as one of the most diverse cities in America. Now, Houston Business Journal will recognize companies and business professionals that are promoting and advancing diversity at its inaugural Diversity in Business Awards.

Fifteen companies and 11 individuals were named finalists for the award. Companies are divided by size into three categories, and individuals are divided into two categories: head of diversity, which includes individuals who lead their company’s diversity efforts, and diversity role model, which includes individuals who have demonstrated exemplary efforts in promoting diversity both in their careers and in the community.

HBJ will honor all the finalists and announce the winners in each category at an awards ceremony Nov. 9 at the Hilton Americas, as well as in a special publication in the Nov. 10 issue of HBJ. Click here to learn more about the event.

Judges recused themselves from voting in categories that involved a conflict of interest. This year’s judges were Ingrid Robinson, president of the Houston Minority Supplier Development Council; Dennis Kennedy, founder and CEO of the National Diversity Council; Tammi Wallace, co-founder and co-chair of the Greater Houston LGBT Chamber of Commerce; and Giselle Rodriguez Greenwood, editor-in-chief of the Houston Business Journal.

Corporate Diversity Awards

Small companies (10-99 local employees)

Garcia Hamilton & Associates LP

Gunda Corp.

John P. McGovern Museum of Health & Medical Science

US Med-Equip

Winston & Strawn LLP

Mid-sized companies (100-499 local employees)

Envoy Mortgage

Foster LLP

McConnell & Jones LLP

Wallis State Bank

Large companies (500+ local employees)

Baker Botts LLP

BASF Corp.


Hilton Americas-Houston Hotel

Houston Community College

Shell Oil Co.

Individual Diversity Awards

Head of Diversity

James Harris, Director of diversity and inclusion and supplier diversity, H-E-B

Sharon Scheckter, Director of employee engagement,

Maya Thornton, HUB director, University of Houston

Rosa Walker, Director of administration and firmwide director of diversity and inclusion, Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman

Role Model

Katherine Franco, Associate, Blank Rome LLP

Marylyn Harris, Founder and executive director, Women Veterans Business Center

Elizabeth Kaiga, Director of renewable energy, CohnReznick

James Lewis, Co-president and co-CEO, Just Energy

Leo Newman, Academic adviser, Texas Southern University

Ray Purser, Vice president of external affairs, Comcast

Debra Stewart, Director, supplier diversity and diversity outreach, Shell Oil Co.