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2023 Bauer College Gala: Into the Night

2nd Annual

Bauer Gala

Into the Night

Friday, February 24, 2023




Honorary Chair Committee

As of February 24, 2023

Honorary Chair

The Honorable Sylvester Turner (BS '77), Mayor, City of Houston

Honorary Co-Chairs

Julie Dakri & Asif Dakri
Habiba Dhanani & Mohammed Ali Dhanani (BBA '90)
Elaine Finger (BBA '92) & Marvy Finger (1935-2022)
Sarah Hurt & Bill Hurt (MBA '86)
Dawn Rawson & Richard Rawson (BBA '72, Honorary '20)
Kimberly Wilkinson (BBA '93) & Trey Wilkinson (BBA '92, MBA '02)

Honorary Host Committee

As of February 24, 2023

Committee Chair: Zafar “Zaf” Tahir (BS '84, MBA '99), Commissioner City of Houston Planning & Airports
Faruk Bhagani (BBA '90), Account Director, Salesforce
Greg Bihn, President, PetroEd
Qiana James (BBA ’03), Founder and CEO, Friendly Faces Senior Care
Reginald Martin, Executive Chef, Lemond Kitchen
David Shimek, Senior Vice President, The Reynolds and Reynolds Company
Michael Slabic, Partner, Private Wealth Advisor, Northwestern Mutual - Stadia Wealth Management



Time & Location

6 p.m.
The Post Oak Hotel
West Loop South, Houston, TX 77027

Dress Code: Creative Black Tie/Masquerade Mask

Similar to Black Tie, the dress code is formal attire. Guests are encouraged to add hints of their personal style (e.g. cultural clothing, varying prints and colors, dressy separates, unique accessories, etc.) The theme of the evening is “masquerade,” so masks are encouraged, but not required. Please refer to the images below.

Photo: Dress Code Examples



For more details, please contact:
Giovanni Rosselli, Director of Alumni Relations at




Master of Ceremonies: Lisa Shumate (MBA '16)

Photo: Lisa Shumate

Associate Vice President, University of Houston System & General Manager, Houston Public Media
Read full bio


Photo: Sarah Grace

Sarah Grace

Vocalist and NBC The Voice Semifinalist

Current UH Bauer College Finance Major

Read her bio

Photo: Michael Ryan

Michael Ryan

Ballet performer who has performed with Houston Ballet and Boston Ballet

Current UH Bauer College Finance Major

Read his bio

Leadership Award

Thasunda Brown Duckett (BBA ’96),
President and Chief Executive Officer, TIAA

This prestigious award honors distinguished individuals who have demonstrated meritorious professional accomplishments and contributions to their field, while displaying leadership qualities inherent to the fabric of the Bauer College.

Entrepreneurship Award

Mohammed Ali Lakhany (BBA ’07) and Emad Lakhany (BBA ’12),
Chief Executive Officer and Chief Development Officer, CSM Group

This award is given annually to honor an individual or organization that elevates entrepreneurism, embodying the same spirit inherent in the fabric of the college. Recipients of this award demonstrate leadership in creating cutting-edge innovations and find ways to leverage entrepreneurship to transform lives and society.

Community Impact Award

Photo: Deloitte Logo Linking to Company Website

This award is presented to business leaders, individuals or non-individuals, for outstanding service, advocacy, and contribution to the City of Houston and who, through their commitment, inspire others in their interest and support of our City’s economic growth.




Thank You to Our Sponsors

As of February 24, 2023

Platinum Level

Hewlett Packard Enterprise
Houston Airport System
Elaine and Marvy Finger (1935-2022) & Paul Peacock

Gold Level

Beth and Dan Bellow
CenterPoint Energy
Carol and Dan Crumrine
CSM Group
Friendly Faces Senior Care
Goodman Financial Corporation
Houston Business Journal
Sarah and Bill Hurt
Lone Star National Bank
Debbie and Jack Moore
Wendy and Ben Moreland
Moss Adams, LLP
Northwestern Mutual - Stadia Wealth Management
Novi Midstream, LLC
Misael De Paz – PwC
Plains State Bank
Ranger Steel Services, LP
Dawn and Richard Rawson
Riverway Title
Beth Robertson in support of the SURE℠ Program and the Dakri Center for Economic Inclusion
Leslie and Russ Robinson
Ellen and Sam Schreiber
Shell USA
Texas Gulf Coast Small Business Development Center
Wallis Bank
Walter P Moore
Trinity Legacy Partners/Richard Rawson & Trey Wilkinson

Silver Level

Bauer College Department of Accountancy & Taxation
Bauer College Department of Decision & Information Sciences
Bauer College Department of Management & Leadership
Bauer Recent Alumni
Coulter Family Fund / Susan and Kem Coulter
Crowe LLP
Gilbert Andrew Garcia / Garcia Hamilton & Associates
Gutierrez Energy Management Institute
Greg Harper & Gary Littlestar
Southwest Airlines
Stimulus Bio LLC
Third Coast Bank
Verdant Specialty Solutions
Jason Wells
Cyvia Wolff

Dessert Sponsor

Amegy Bank & Anne-Laure and Steve Stephens

Reception Sponsor

Ali and Habiba Dhanani

Valet Sponsor

BMW of West Houston



Relive the Inaugural Bauer Gala, March 3, 2022

Photo: Bauer Gala 2022, Mayor Turner
Photo: Bauer Gala 2022, Dean Paul A. Pavlou

Michael Ryan

Ballet & Current UH Bauer College Finance Major

Michael Ryan

Michael Ryan is a Finance major in the University of Houston Honors College and is expected to graduate next year. He began his dance training at The Ballet Academy of Texas. In 2006 he was invited to train at The Orlando Ballet School on scholarship under the direction of Peter Stark. Michael continued his dance training on scholarship at Houston Ballet’s Ben Stevenson Academy, where he was honored with the Houston Ballet Academy Award for a promising future and commitment to the art form. In 2012 Michael joined Houston Ballet II where he had the opportunity to study under the direction of Claudio Munoz, Sabrina Lenzi, and Andrew Murphy. He was invited to perform at the AICD International Ballet Awards in Australia and attended the Assemblée International in Canada in 2013. Michael has had the opportunity to perform in Switzerland at the Prix de Lausanne as both a guest artist with Houston Ballet II and as an individual competitor, earning a finalist position in 2014. Michael went on to begin his professional ballet career with Houston Ballet that same year. Michael danced with Houston Ballet for three years before joining Boston Ballet in 2017. In late 2020 Michael stepped away from his professional career to pursue his education though the C.T. Bauer College of Business at the University of Houston. Michael looks forward to graduating next year and is excited to continue his support of Bauer as an alumnus!


Sarah Grace

Vocalist & Current UH Bauer College Finance Major

Sarah Grace

Sarah Grace is a sophomore majoring in Finance and triple-minoring in Accounting, Management Information Systems, and Leadership Studies in the University of Houston Honors College. Sarah Grace was born and raised in Houston, Texas, and after finishing as a Semifinalist on Season 15 of NBC’s The Voice, Sarah Grace’s band toured nationally in 2019. She signed a record deal in 2020 and was named one of twenty U.S. Presidential Scholars of the Arts. During her first year at UH, she fell in love with the Bauer Honors program as well as the Bonner Leaders program, where she mentors low-income high school students in SAT prep and college readiness. She spent that year interning at Morgan Stanley in the wealth management division, and she will be spending next summer with Main Street Capital, a Houston-based private equity firm. In her free time, she plays piano, tennis, and hangs out with her 12-year-old pug, Roo. Sarah Grace is very involved on campus – she is a part of BCG (Bayou Capital Group) Undergraduate Investment Fund and BHSAB (Bauer Honors Student Advisory Board), and she loves singing the national anthem at the UH football and basketball games. She is so honored to be performing for the Bauer Gala, as she considers Bauer her home!


Lisa Shumate (MBA '16)

Associate Vice President, University of Houston System & General Manager, Houston Public Media

Lisa Shumate

Published Author and Speaker

National Board Service: PBS Foundation and American Public Television

Lisa Shumate was appointed Associate Vice President (UH System) & General Manager, Houston Public Media (UH) in 2011, with dual roles of responsibility, including serving as Executive Director of the Houston Public Media Foundation.

Before joining the University, she held successive roles of executive leadership at KHOU-TV (TEGNA), BELO Corporation (TEGNA), and KTRK-TV (Disney/ABC) in both Houston and Dallas.

Lisa is co-author of “You’ve Got This: The Real Skills You Need for Career Success,” published by Wiley, a publishing company focused on academic publishing and instructional materials. She is an adjunct Professor at the University of Houston Bauer College of Business.

Lisa is a recent graduate of Rice University’s Leadership Coaching Program and is an International Coaching Federation certified coach. She earned a Master of Business Administration degree from the University of Houston-Bauer College of Business, graduating cum laude, and participated in an International Business Residency in China in 2016.

Lisa serves on two national public media governing boards and is the recipient of local, regional, and national awards for community service, leadership, and innovation.


Thasunda Brown Duckett (BBA ’96)

President and Chief Executive Officer of TIAA

Thasunda Brown Duckett

Thasunda Brown Duckett is President and Chief Executive Officer of TIAA, a leading provider of secure retirements and outcome-focused investment solutions to millions of people and thousands of institutions. As TIAA’s CEO, Duckett leads a company whose mission is defined by financial inclusion and opportunity – goals and values she has upheld throughout her career.

Duckett joined TIAA in 2021 after serving as Chief Executive Officer of Chase Consumer Banking, where she oversaw a banking network with more than $600 billion in deposits and 50,000 employees. Previously, she was the CEO of Chase Auto Finance and National Retail Sales Executive for Chase Mortgage Banking. Earlier in her career, she was a Director of Emerging Markets at Fannie Mae.

Duckett serves on the boards of NIKE, Inc., Brex Inc., Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights, Sesame Workshop, National Medal of Honor Museum, Economic Club of New York, University of Houston Board of Visitors and Dean’s Advisory Board for the Baylor University’s Hankamer School of Business.

She sits on the President’s Board of Advisors on Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), The Business Council, Business Roundtable and the Committee for Economic Development of The Conference Board. Duckett is also a member of the Executive Leadership Council, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. and Jack and Jill of America, Inc.

She founded the Otis and Rosie Brown Foundation, in honor of her parents, to recognize and reward people who use ordinary means to empower and uplift their community in extraordinary ways. She is passionate about helping communities of color close achievement gaps in wealth creation, educational outcomes and career success.

Duckett grew up in Texas and lives in Connecticut with her husband and four children. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Finance and Marketing from the University of Houston and an MBA from Baylor University.


Mohammed Ali Lakhany (BBA ’07) and Emad Lakhany (BBA ’12)

Chief Executive Officer and Chief Development Officer at CSM Group

Mohammed Ali Lakhany and Emad Lakhany

Ali Lakhany and Emad Lakhany are accomplished and well-respected business leaders with over 20 and 15 years of experience in their industry, respectively. They have affiliations with well-known companies and brands such as Popeye's Louisiana Kitchen, Tim Hortons, Andy's Frozen Custard, T-Mobile USA, Marriott, and Hilton Brands, and have built an impressive portfolio of 350 points of distribution in the franchise space.

Both Lakhany brothers graduated with Bachelor degrees from the Bauer College of Business, University of Houston. Ali holds a Bachelor of Business Administration in Accounting (BBA ‘07), and Emad a Bachelor of Business Administration in Supply Chain Management (BBA ‘12). Together, they lead CSM Group, a boutique family office that specializes in restaurant franchising, telecommunications, hospitality, and real estate development. Under their leadership, the CSM Group has established a reputation for delivering exceptional results. They are known for their strategic vision, ability to lead and manage high-performing teams, and their hands-on approach in overseeing the success of each venture.

In addition to their professional responsibilities, both brothers are active in various industry-related boards and organizations. Ali sits on the board of American First National Bank, Excel Linen Company, Verge Mobile LP, COR 3 Capital, and serves on the Popeyes Foundation and IEIT Board of Trustees, and HAMD Institute. Emad is a board member of Excel Linen Company, COR 3 Capital, FESS Holdings, and Popeyes Marketing Board.

Both brothers are very family oriented and proud parents. Ali and his wife Hina have three young boys, Yousuf, Younus, and Yasser. Emad and his wife Mariam, have two, Hashim and Amal.

In their free time, the brothers enjoy spending time with their families and mentoring the next generation of business leaders. They believe in maintaining a balance between their professional and personal lives while being dedicated to making a positive impact in their community. They are actively involved in various charitable organizations and strive to leave a lasting legacy for future generations. The values instilled in them by their parents, Hashim and Salma Lakhany, such as hard work, dedication and commitment to making a difference in the lives of others, have contributed to their success as leaders in the business world.