Karla K. Morton
KARLA K. MORTON
tEXAS POET LAUREATE
Karla K. Morton, the 2010 Texas Poet Laureate and a member of the Texas Institute of Letters, is a celebrated poet, award-winning author, speaker and photographer. Described as “one of the more adventurous voices in American poetry,” Ms. Morton has been featured on NPR, ABC News, CBS News, Good Morning Texas and in countless newspapers, blogs and magazines.
Karla is frequently invited to present as a keynote speaker at conventions, conferences, galas, universities, bookstores and festivals. She inspires, engages and entertains audiences with her warm and feisty spirit, her stories of perseverance and her Texas-sized humor with themes that include: overcoming roadblocks, surviving, never giving up on your dreams and becoming the person you were meant to be.
The Dallas Morning News says: “Karla K.Morton is perseverance personified.” The Fort Worth Star-Telegram writes: “She recites her evocative, rhyming verse with the conviction of a literary evangelist.”
Morton is a Betsy Colquitt Award Winner, Eric Hoffer Award Winner, Montaigne Medal Finalist, two-time Indie Book Award Winner, Tennessee Williams Key West Exhibit Poetry Contest Winner, Green Book Festival Award Winner, North Texas Book Festival Award Winner, nominee for the National Cowgirl Hall of Fame and a Pushcart Prize nominee. She has been widely published in literary journals and is the author of twelve books of poetry, including the award-winning Redefining Beauty (now in its 3rd printing), Accidental Origami, released in 2016 and Wooden Lions, released in June of 2017.
Another book, titled No End of Vision: Texas as Seen by Two Laureates, features Ms. Morton’s black and white photography combined with poetry inspired by her photos and written by fellow Texas Poet Laureate Alan Birkelbach. A traveling photography and poetry exhibit by the same name is also being shown in museums, libraries and galleries. An avid photographer, Morton has also had many showings of her black and white artwork, has been nominated for the honor of the Texas 2D Artist and loves to mix poetry with other art forms.
Her latest project is another joint venture with Birkelbach, titled Words of Preservation: A Poets Laureate National Parks Tour. Launched in 2016 to celebrate the National Park Systems’ 100-year anniversary, this 3-year tour will take Morton to 50 or more of the 59 U.S. National Parks, where she will document her journey through poetry and photography, ultimately creating one or more books. Like Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau and John Muir, Morton and Birkelbach hope to contribute to the exploration, preservation and protection of our country’s natural, beautiful spaces. Morton says: “In this digital age, there is no replacement for the grandeur of Mother Nature. Wonder cannot be imported or exported, but it can be captured with words, and we can think of no better treasures to explore, champion and share through our work than our National Parks.”
Karla is a two-time cancer survivor, holds a Journalism degree from Texas A&M University and currently resides in Fort Worth, Texas. For more information, please visit www.kkmorton.com.
PROGRAM MANAGER, ACTIVE FOR LIFE
Cindy Quinn has been actively and passionately involved in the implementation of proven health and wellness programs for healthy aging in local, regional and statewide initiatives since January 2009 with the Center for Population Health and Aging (CPHA). She is one of two Texas T-Trainers for the Self-Management Education Programs developed at Stanford including the Chronic Disease, Diabetes and Chronic Pain Self-Management Programs and Cancer: Thriving, Surviving workshop. Additionally, she is a Master Trainer in several other Evidence-based programs including A Matter of Balance and Stress-Busting.
As a graduate of Weber State University, she has been able to combine her love of group fitness instruction with gerontology by leading aerobic and senior adult fitness programs such as Fit and Strong! Ms. Quinn is one of the developers of the Texercise Select program and works as the Program Manager for the Texercise Select Research Program and the SUSTAIN grant, a $900,000 Administration for Community Living (ACL) grant. She currently oversees the statewide Texas Active for Life Coalition and is part of an ACL National Learning Collaborative focused on the sustainability of evidence-based programs between public and private sectors.
Her family life includes a large family with husband Dan Quinn, eight children, six grandchildren and a dog that walks her daily.
Odessa Appel of Dinner Tonight
ODESSA APPEL OF DINNER TONIGHT
Dinner Tonight, a program of Texas A&M AgriLife Extension, provides busy families with quick, healthy, cost-effective recipes that taste great, as well as weekly video demonstrations on cooking tips and techniques, nutrition topics, menu planning basics and information on healthy living. Our recipes are developed, tested, and presented by Extension experts and educators specializing in food and nutrition. In addition to live cooking demonstrations and face-to-face classes, the Dinner Tonight website, weekly email newsletter, and social media channels provide healthy recipes featuring best practices for food preparation and safety.
Ms. Dugdale joined Kaspick & Company in 2013 from the University of Colorado Foundation. Ms. Dugdale’s career at the CU Foundation spans over thirteen years in a variety of positions. She served as General Counsel, Senior Director of Planned Giving, Associate Vice President of Planned Giving, and finally Vice President for Gift Planning. As Vice President for Gift Planning, Ms. Dugdale was responsible for leading the development and integration of a comprehensive gift planning program into the overall development efforts of the University of Colorado’s four distinct campuses in Boulder, Denver, Aurora, and Colorado Springs. Prior to joining the University of Colorado Foundation, Ms. Dugdale worked as General Counsel for Sovereign Financial Services, a private equity firm, and as an associate at the Denver law firm of Holme, Roberts & Owen. Ms. Dugdale received her BA in Political Science and her JD from the University of Wyoming.
Mary Elizabeth Herring
Mary Elizabeth Herring
Mary Elizabeth Herring is an attorney and longtime resident of the Brazos Valley. After twenty-seven years with Texas A&M University, she retired in April of 2016. For the past twenty-five years, she was an Associate Professor in the Department of Humanities in Medicine, College of Medicine, where she taught medical ethics, health law and medical jurisprudence. She was also a former Department Chair.
She was born in the Mississippi Delta and grew up in Fort Worth, Texas as the youngest of five children. She was the first and only Aggie in the family, receiving a B.A. in Political Science. She received her law degree from South Texas College of Law in Houston in 1986 and immediately moved to Austin, where she engaged in civil practice for a couple of years. In 1989, she accepted a position in the Office of General Counsel for the Texas A&M University System. She joined the Health Science Center in 1991 as Special Assistant to the Vice President for Health Affairs and joined the College of Medicine faculty in the Department of Humanities in Medicine. She served on many College of Medicine and University committees and is past Chair of the Board of Directors of Hospice Brazos Valley.
In addition, she served as a faculty advisor to numerous student organizations at Texas A&M. Ms. Herring resides in rural Brazos County. A devout Aggie, she spends most of her spare time working with students and community organizations.
Risa Meyer graduated from Texas A&M in 2005 with a Bachelors in Business Administration in Finance. She spent a few years in the Washington, DC area where she earned a Masters of Arts in Education and Human Development at The George Washington University. She returned to College Station in 2008 to work at Mays Business School in an academic advising role for the Business Honors program. After leaving to stay home with young kids, she and her husband opened Caring Transitions of Brazos Valley in 2014. Caring Transitions is a company that specializes in senior transitions, including relocation management, estate liquidations services and downsizing.
NATALIE BRIAUD PINE, CFP
Natalie Pine is a Partner and Lead Financial Advisor at Briaud Financial Advisors. She joined the firm in 2007 as an Investment Analyst. After completing her CFP®, she expanded her role to that of Financial Advisor and earned partner in 2011. Natalie enjoys her role at Briaud because she gets to work along-side clients to achieve their financial goals. She keeps up to date with each client and their circumstances, the latest tax and estate laws, and new developments in financial planning. She works to bring all of these pieces together to provide creative and comprehensive financial planning, thoughtful investing, and the type of client service she desires for her own family.
Prior to joining Briaud Financial Advisors, Natalie worked for New York-based distressed debt hedge fund Davidson Kempner in London, working on investment opportunities in the UK, Germany, France, Spain, Italy, and Switzerland. Before joining Davidson Kempner, Natalie spent two years with Goldman Sachs in London working in the Mergers and Acquisitions department, analyzing companies and opportunities for these companies in the debt, equity or leveraged buyout markets. Natalie has a Bachelor of Arts in Managerial Studies, Economics, and Electrical Engineering from Rice University.