Ashlee is an entrepreneur in both the for-profit and not-for profit sectors. In 2009 Ashlee and her husband Chris co-founded the charitable organization, Executives In Action, which has worked with more than 275 nonprofits generating an investment of over $5.2 million of human resource capital in North Texas. These professional executives engaged in short-term, high-impact projects and enhanced productivity and overall impact of selected local nonprofit organizations. In August 2016, Executives In Action merged with Catchafire.org, expanding the platform and impact of North Texas skills based volunteering to a national level. In 2011, Ashlee founded Ruthie’s Rolling Café, a food truck business with passion and purpose. Ruthie’s serves the most delicious gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches on wheels and has a strong philanthropic focus in the Dallas community. Through Ruthie’s Dozen, each and every month, a different nonprofit organization is highlighted and promoted and a percentage of the monthly profits are donated to each of the organizations. In addition to Ruthie’s Dozen, the belief that an act of kindness is never wasted fuels the “Random Snacks of Kindness” program. In partnership with other local businesses or individuals, Ruthie’s drives up and feeds and/or delivers supplies to unsuspecting groups at various shelters, schools, business and more. Ashlee currently serves as Chairman of the Board for The Akola Project. She is a member of the Board of Directors for New Friends New Life, St. Philips School and Community Center, The Halftime Institute, Methodist Health System Foundation, SMU Maguire Center for Ethics and The Senior Source as well as a member of the Advisory Boards at The Dallas Women’s Foundation, and Genesis Women’s Shelter. Ashlee received the Dallas Business Journal’s 25 Most Influential, Inspirational and Charitable Women in Business Award for 2015. Ashlee graduated from Southern Methodist University where she met her husband, Chris. They have three adult children and live in Dallas. Her family is her greatest treasure.
Connie Copley began advocating and fundraising for Akola in 2007 and joined Akola's Board of Directors in 2013. She has a life-long commitment to education and women's empowerment efforts. Connie has served on the boards of several non-profit organizations, including Austin Waldorf School, the Dallas Salvation Army Women's Auxiliary (President), and Victims Outreach (President). Early in her career, Connie was a co-owner and manager of Beautiful Day Trading Company, one of the first natural food stores in Maryland. In 1983 she moved to Dripping Springs, Texas to help develop Onion Creek Farm, the first organic and biodynamic farm in Texas. They were a produce supplier for Whole Foods Market and were early proponents of the farm to table concept. Connie received her B.A. from the University of Maryland and her M.A. in American Studies from the University of Texas at Austin. An experienced educator, she taught American History and American Literature at Austin Community College, El Centro College, and SMU's Continuing Education Program. Connie and her husband, Ed Copley, an attorney with the Blum Firm, reside in Dallas, TX and have five children and nine grandchildren.
McCall Cravens oversees all investment activity for Palette Investment Company, the family office of Ray L. Hunt. She is also involved in various investment related activities with regard to Hunt Consolidated, Inc., the flagship entity of the entire Ray L. Hunt family companies include oil and gas exploration and production, refining, LNG, power, real estate, investments, ranching and infrastructure. McCall previously served as SMU’s Managing Director of investments in the Endowment office. At SMU, she was responsible for overseeing and making recommendations regarding outside managers in all asset classes, including long-only equity, fixed income and credit, diversifying strategies, private equity, venture capital, real estate, energy, and timberland. Prior to joining SMU, McCall worked as an investment professional for several private equity funds. She also served as an analyst in the M&A Investment banking group in Wachovia. McCall received her B.S from Vanderbilt University, summa cum laude, and her M.B.A. from Harvard Business School.
1987-2014 Sr. VP Merchandise Planning, Neiman Marcus 1986-1987 VP Carter Hawley Hale Corporate Office 1978-1986 John Wannamaker, Phila.. Buyer, Asst. Store Mgr., V.P. Merchandise Manager overall Shoes 1977-1978 Buyer, May Co. Ohio 1976-1977 Executive Development Program Abraham & Straus, NYC. 1975-1976 High School Teacher, history/sociology New Milford N.J. 1975 Graduated from University of Delaware, BSED Activities: Avid Golfer. Active in our church, St Andrew United Methodist in Plano. Former Chairman of The Family Place in Dallas. Enjoys traveling and volunteering. Ron has been married for over 40 years to Cathy Goddard. They have two children and two grandchildren
Dallas native Elizabeth Carlock Phillips graduated from SMU with degrees in Corporate Communications and Public Affairs and French. She started a jewelry business in high school that became her career for seven years and led her all over the world, including to Uganda, where she became Founding Designer of the Akola Project by training the first Akola women in jewelry making techniques and design. Phillips is also the founding president of The Salvation Army Echelon and has been involved with many other non-profits, including New Friends New Life, Reconciliation Outreach, and the Greensboro Symphony. She is currently the Executive Director of the Phillips Foundation and serves on the Board of Trustees for the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and was a recipient of the 2015 “Women in Business” award from Triad Business Journal.
Jill Meyer is Vice President and Assistant General Counsel for Hunt Consolidated, Inc. She was previously an associate in the Corporate Section of the law firm Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP, where she represented various clients in private equity, merger, acquisition, joint venture and capital markets transactions. Before joining Weil, Meyer was a CPA and audit associate at KPMG. Meyer clerked at the United States House of Representatives in Washington, D.C., as a Science Committee Intern. She holds a J.D. degree, summa cum laude, from the Southern Methodist University Dedman School of Law, a Master of Science degree in accounting and a Bachelor of Arts degree in business administration, magna cum laude, both from Rhodes College.
Toni Muñoz-Hunt is a mom, model, mindset coach, and founder of Model Behaviors. Her path to promoting positive change and self-awareness began when she left home at sixteen years old. Throughout her successful modeling career, she walked the runways for many notable designers like Oscar de la Renta, Carolina Herrera, and Roberto Cavalli. She has graced the pages of Harper’s Bazaar, Elle, and Marie Claire, and has also appeared in global advertisements on behalf of brands such as Suave, Cartier, Levi’s, Nike, and Guess. During her travels, Toni learned of the many injustices happening to women every day, all over the world, and not just on the Border where she grew up. Eventually through her years of charitable work, she developed a passion for women’s causes, and with a Bachelor of Journalism degree, she started publishing short stories to shed a light on the multicultural struggles of women. Her stories have appeared in academic journals such as Columbia University’s Catch & Release. Although she loves to write, Toni is also aware of other avenues for helping women. She has since started collaborating via Model Behaviors with like-minded organizations and businesses focused on fundamental needs such as: mental and emotional care, education, and independence through financial security, organizations such as the Suicide and Crisis Center of North Texas, where she was named a Fashion Star for a Cause in 2013-2014 and an Honorary Chairperson for the Fashion Stars for a Cause Gala in 2015, helping raise awareness about suicide and eventually, inspiring her to volunteer with the 24-Hour Crisis Line. Over the last couple of years, Toni has been involved with Dallas Women’s Foundation, recently joining the Board of Directors, and serving on both the Grants Review Committee and Communications Committee. She is also actively committed to her family’s charitable organizations centered on empowering women in their respective communities: Chiefs Women’s Organization and FC Dallas Women’s Connection. Recently, Toni completed her master’s degree in humanities and looks forward to pursuing her doctorate this fall. She, her husband Dan, and their two Yorkies recently welcomed a new addition to the Hunt family, when their daughter, Darlington, was born last summer.
Brittany Merrill Underwood has made an extraordinary impact through her dedication over the past 12 years to transform the lives of impoverished women and families through the Akola Project. Akola operates a social business designed to empower women in disadvantage communities through training, employment and holistic care. Akola’s products are sold throughout the country and their elevated jewelry line is the first Full-Impact Brand to be sold in the luxury space through their national launch in Neiman Marcus. As a non-profit, Akola reinvests 100% of their profits to support work opportunities, training, social programs and the construction of training centers and water wells in impoverished communities throughout the globe. Akola has a social impact throughout its entire supply chain and offers women opportunity through the creation of their raw materials, assembly of their product and their distribution center that acts as a second chance job program. Akola has created a new, high impact model for social business that is paving the way for high impact millennial run businesses that seek to have an impact on the world. Brittany was named the ‘Best Person in the World” by Yahoo in 2014 and was honored by clothing manufacturer Levi as one of 50 women around the globe who have changed the political, cultural, and spiritual shape of the future. She was awarded the Emerging Leader Award from SMU in 2013, the Young Leader Award from the Dallas Women’s Foundation in 2014, and was awarded a silver medal from the Business & Interfaith Peace Award given by the Religious Freedom & Business Foundation in Rio. Brittany has been featured on the likes of the Katie Couric Show, CNN’s Young People who Rock, Fox Business and Modern Luxury. In 2014, she was asked to join the mentoring class for the Laura Bush Women’s Initiative and joined the faculty of Southern Methodist University as an adjunct professor in 2015 where she teaches a new course on Social Innovation. Brittany continues to devote her life to creating a brand that empowers women through economic and holistic development as CEO of the Akola Project.
Under Tindell's leadership, The Container Store - the original storage and organization store - opened its doors in Dallas, in 1978. Today, the company has nearly 90 stores across the country with over 11,000 storage and organization solutions designed to save space and time, coupled with a full suite of digital shopping services. Over the years, the company has been lauded for its focus on its original concept, differentiated inventory mix and commitment to employees as the formula for its success. But for Tindell, the goal was never growth for growth's sake; rather, it was to adhere to the company's seven, values-based Foundation Principles, as well as the tenets of Conscious Capitalism. These business philosophies guide decisions for The Container Store's entire interdependent set of stakeholders, starting with employees and including customers, vendors, the community and shareholders. Tindell's commitment to its employees has landed The Container Store on Fortune magazine's list of "100 Best Companies to Work For" for 17 years in a row. As Chairman, Tindell focuses on strengthening the company's employee-first culture, vendor relationships, and elevating The Container Store as a beacon for good business. Tindell's book UNCONTAINABLE: How Passion, Commitment, and Conscious Capitalism Build a Business Where Everyone Thrives, discusses the retailer's unique approach to business and culture. Tindell is the Chairman of the National Retail Federation, and serves on the boards of Whole Foods Market, Akola Project and Conscious Capitalism, Inc. - a movement led by a community of like-minded business, thought and academic leaders working to elevate humanity through a conscious approach to business.
Charity Wallace is the founder and principal of Wallace Global Impact. Ms. Wallace combines her policy expertise with her extensive experience to drive innovative and effective solutions that improve the lives of people around the world through her company’s work with individual leaders, corporations and non-profit organizations. She brings her track-record of high-level success and her robust network to help address and solve pressing and complex global issues. Ms. Wallace also serves as a Senior Advisor to the Global Women’s Initiatives at the George W. Bush Institute. Most recently, Wallace was the founding Vice President of the Global Women’s Initiatives and Senior Advisor to Mrs. Laura Bush. In this role, Wallace developed and launched the initiatives within the Women’s Initiative, setting the vision and managing the policy engagement for the women’s initiatives, including Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon global health initiative, empowering women in the Middle East and working with First Ladies from around the world. The Initiatives aim to improve access to education, health care, and economic opportunity for women and children in Africa, the Middle East and Afghanistan. From 2009-2010, Ms. Wallace was the Chief of Staff to Laura Bush. In her role, Wallace managed the team that supports Mrs. Bush and oversaw her initiatives - from her wide ranging policy agenda to her “Spoken from the Heart” book tour. Wallace oversaw all policies and initiatives championed by Mrs. Bush as First Lady of the United States, including international and domestic policies related to education and literacy, human rights, women’s empowerment, health, historic preservation, national parks, and arts and culture. In addition, Wallace served as Mrs. Bush’s representative, when appropriate, to various organizations and individuals that may be related to Mrs. Bush’s policy initiatives or interests. Wallace served in the Bush Administration from January 2001 to January 2009. Most notably, she was the Deputy Chief of Protocol of the United States and Director of Advance for First Lady Laura Bush, in which she directed and managed more than 400+ annual events. During her tenure in the Bush Administration and in her current role, Wallace has traveled to over 70 countries.
Ryan Bricker has been with Akola since its inception in 2004. Ryan earned a BA from Texas A&M University in Landscape Architecture He has worked for Urban Design Studio, and as a Design Director for national engineering and architecture firm HNT Corporation. Ryan has served on the advisory board to the College of Architecture at Texas A&M. He has helped construct master architecture plans for all of Akola's building projects since the first orphanage, and continues to oversee both the vocation building projects and to strategize for organizational initiatives.