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Our Team

Our team is passionate about our mission to build stronger and more vibrant communities. We are proud to be a part of the Foundation’s remarkable philanthropic legacy and honored to help support more than 250 diverse nonprofit organizations.

Isabel Stude Lummis


Isabel is a native Houstonian committed to improving her city. She brings extensive board service experience, currently serving as a Trustee for the Menil Foundation and the Houston Symphony, and as a member of the Latin American Arts Committee at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. Isabel’s past board service includes St. John’s School, the Alley Theatre, and the Contemporary Arts Museum of Houston. She is an active member of the Garden Club of Houston, working to maintain public gardens throughout the city. Additionally, she has volunteered at many Houston-based organizations, including the Beacon, Star of Hope, and BEAR – Be A Resource for CPS Kids.

Isabel holds a BA from New York University. She and her husband, Ransom, live in Houston and have four adult daughters.

Ann Ziker


With over 20 years of experience, Ann oversees the overall management and leadership of the foundation. She works closely with the Board of Trustees to determine the foundation’s strategy and focus.

Prior to joining The Brown Foundation, Ann served as Executive Vice President; Executive Director (interim); and Vice President for Advancement for YES Prep Public Schools, an award-winning public charter school network. Before joining YES Prep, Ann was the founding Managing Director for Education Pioneers–Houston and a consultant for McKinsey & Company, where she served public and private sector clients on a variety of strategic and organizational issues.

Ann holds a BA in Sociology and Political Science, magna cum laude, and a doctorate in History from Rice University. She and her husband have lived in Houston for many years and have two children.

Ryan Smith


As Chief Grants Officer, Ryan works in partnership with foundation members, staff, grantees, and community partners to ensure the Foundation’s grantmaking efforts are impactful, effective and efficient.

Prior to joining The Brown Foundation, Ryan served in various roles in school, education nonprofit, and museum settings. He moved to Texas through Teach For America and started his career as a middle school English teacher in Houston’s East End. Ryan then spent 10 years in Central Texas, primarily in San Antonio, leading recruitment and then teacher leadership efforts for Teach For America. In 2014, Ryan helped launch The DoSeum, San Antonio’s Museum for Kids, as its founding Vice President for Education. He returned to Houston in 2018 and served as Chief of Staff for IDEA Public Schools before joining the Brown Foundation team in 2019.

Ryan has a Bachelor’s degree in Journalism from the University of Missouri and a Master’s in Education Leadership and Policy Studies from the University of Texas at San Antonio. Ryan and his partner Sandra live in Houston’s East End with their son and two dogs.

Jacklyn Tatge


Jacklyn joined The Brown Foundation over a decade ago, and she currently serves as Chief Financial Officer. She manages the Foundation’s financial and administrative functions—including accounting, budgeting, payroll, risk management, human resources, and facility functions.

Prior to joining The Brown Foundation, Jacklyn spent more than nine years with BKD, LLP, as an Audit Manager. During her time there, she specialized in the non-profit, governmental, and real estate industries and managed the local office’s non-profit audit team. Jacklyn also created the firm’s intern program, which grew to more than 20 interns during her tenure, and was responsible for intern recruiting, training, evaluating, and hiring.

Jacklyn graduated from Stephen F. Austin State University with a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in Accounting, and she is a certified public accountant. She and her husband have lived in the Houston area for many years and have two children, ages 11 and 9.

Robert Sepeda


As Director of Grants Management and Evaluation, Robert oversees both the technical components of grantmaking at the Foundation and the analysis of grant reporting and programmatic results.

Previously, Robert managed grants reporting, program and administrative duties on the Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund at the Greater Houston Community Foundation. For over 10 years, Robert’s career has been devoted to serving Houstonians and Texans at-large. Robert began at BakerRipley helping Houston Independent School District families with children in Head Start programs. He then helped connect families to schools by managing a database and creating and operating a successful call center reaching tens of thousands of families in Houston, San Antonio, and Austin at Families Empowered.

Robert attained his BA in Psychology at UC Berkeley and a MA in International Educational Development from Teachers College, Columbia University.

Sherene Flemmings


Prior to joining The Brown Foundation, Sherene served as the Managing Director of Alumni Leadership & Engagement for Teach For America Houston where she oversaw the support and engagement of 1700+ Teach For America (TFA) alumni working towards educational equity and excellence for Houston children. Sherene has also been a member of TFA’s Recruitment team and their Talent Acquisition team. She was a 2005 TFA Houston corps member where taught third grade at Houston ISD’s Mabel B. Wesley Elementary School.

Prior to her work with TFA alumni, Sherene was a clinical social worker at the Trauma and Grief Center at UT Health under Dr. Julie Kaplow. Sherene holds a bachelor’s degree in English and Psychology as well as a master’s degree in Social Work from the University of Michigan – Ann Arbor. She is the proud mom of an amazing 13-year-old son and enjoys reading and travelling when she can. Sherene values and enjoys voluntarism as a member of the Junior League of Houston.

Chereze Therkildsen


Chereze oversees all aspects of accounting and financial reporting. She is also responsible for negotiating, recording, and maintaining oil and gas mineral interest records, and she works with the Executive Director to evaluate and manage IT needs.

Over her 28 years with The Brown Foundation, Chereze has held a number of roles. During her tenure, she has been responsible for office management, building facilities, and human resources, among other various functions.

Chereze graduated from The University of Texas at Austin with a Bachelor of Business Administration in Marketing. A native Houstonian, she and her husband have three sons and four grandchildren.

Elizabeth Gonzales


As Office Manager, Elizabeth oversees The Brown Foundation’s day-to-day function. She manages schedules, greets guests, and works closely with both the grants and accounting department to assist in project execution.

Elizabeth has worked in customer service and administration for over 10 years. A native Houstonian, she and her husband have two rescue dogs.

Jodie Holstien


As Grants Consultant, Jodie supports the administration of the Foundation’s discretionary grants program.

Jodie has worked at The Brown Foundation since 2001. Prior to joining The Brown Foundation, she worked for the Junior League of Houston.

Jodie attended the University of Texas at Austin, where she received her Bachelor of Business Administration. She and her husband have three children and two grandchildren.

Ivanna Raudales


As a junior accountant, Ivanna supports the financial functions of the Foundation. She records transactions, reconciles accounts, and analyzes data.

Prior to joining the Brown Foundation, Ivanna had the privilege of contributing to EMERGE Fellowship’s mission by supporting financial processes and planning college trips for EMERGE Fellows in 11th grade. As a first-generation Latina, education is an important aspect of her life, and while interning with EMERGE Fellowship, she found her passion for access to higher education.

Ivanna attained her BA in Economics at the University of Houston and double minored in Latin American Studies, Global Engagement and Research. During her time at the University of Houston, she developed a deep fascination for Latin American history and uncovering historical narratives of the region while traveling.

2025 Board of Trustees

Isabel Stude Lummis


John O’Connor


Louisa Stude Sarofim


Ralph Abendshein

Board Member

Holbrook Dorn

Board Member

William Mathis

Board Member

Maria Mathis-Kruser

Board Member

Caroline Negley

Board Member

Ryan O’Connor

Board Member

Elisa Stude Pye

Board Member

Christopher Sarofim

Board Member