UNA Houston Board of Directors 2023
Dr. Rima Adil

President- Dr. Rima Adil is a visionary leader and advocate for student success who currently serves as the Dean of Student Success at Houston Community College. Her unwavering commitment to empowering students through engagement, leadership, and mentorship opportunities has earned her recognition as a trailblazer in the field of higher education.

Dr. Adil’s passion for community engagement is evident through her active involvement in various organizations and initiatives that aim to promote dialogue on civic issues and foster collaboration to improve the quality of life. She is a staunch believer in the power of diversity and has been a driving force behind several Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) initiatives, programs, and training programs.

Dr. Adil’s achievements have been widely acknowledged, including being the recipient of the Chancellor Eagle Award at HCC, Women of Excellence Award from the Federation of Houston Professional Women, Terry O’Banion Award from the National Council of Student Development, and several others. Her contributions to the field have also been recognized with awards such as the Virtual Innovation Award, NASPA, League of Innovation Award, and the Patrice Johnson Award.

In addition to her professional accomplishments, Dr. Adil serves on the board of several organizations, including the World Chamber of Commerce, National Council of Student Development (NCSD), and the Greater Women’s Houston Chamber of Commerce. She is a recent graduate of Leadership Houston, Class XL, where she served as a project leader for the class and remains actively involved in alumni engagement activities.

Through her dynamic leadership and unwavering commitment to student success and community engagement, Dr. Adil continues to inspire and empower individuals to achieve their full potential.

Vice President- Seher Alpaslan – Ms. Alpaslan is currently the Director of the Raindrop Women’s Association which is focusing on women’s issues, youth education and refugee settlement. The organization has been assisting women and young people in Houston for 22 years. Seher’s work involves developing empowering projects for women and youth, mentoring, English classes as well as fundraising responsibilities.

She implements SDG goals to their mentorship programs. She has served at other chapters of Raindrop Foundation in Texas and Oklahoma since 2005. She also served as the Client Intake Specialist at Infant Crisis Services and organized cultural programs with Sister Cities of Oklahoma. She studied Business Management however she followed her childhood dream by working with nonprofit organizations. 

2nd Vice President- Dr. Parvin Bagherpour  is the Chief Academic and Student Affairs Officer for Graduate Medical Education Development and former Associate Vice Chancellor for Houston Community College. She is a former UNA-Houston Director and Officer, having served UNA as a Vice-President. She is a well-known educator and community partner and has has over 35 years of experience in education including teaching, counseling and administration. Furthermore, Dr. Bagherpour is a visionary with a keen understanding of multiculturalism and diversity; as a result, she has exemplified innovative problem solving, using her strong leadership skills to established different initiatives for multiple organizations. She is a true believer in the power of education and emphasizes the importance of education in providing the skills and knowledge students should acquire for a successful performance in life. Being a strong part of the educational community, she shares her experiences by speaking locally, nationally, and internationally on subjects of education. Her motivation comes from a strong passion for education and the belief that community involvement, locally and internationally, helps to promote globalization and diversity. Her hard work and dedication to the community has resulted in awards by many different organizations.

Robert Moll Treasurer Mr. Moll previously served as a Member of the UNA-Houston Board for 15 years, including multiple terms as first Vice President and President. Robert has a B.A. from Rice University and a J.D. from the University of Houston Law Center. He practices international law with clients that have included the UN/FAO World Food Program. Robert spent two years as a high school delegate to HAMUN followed by four years on the HAMUN Secretariat while in university and has been a member of the HAMUN Board of Governors since HAMUN XXI.

Maria  Franco Cortes, is the Asset Building Community Outreach Coordinator at The Alliance, with more than eight years of experience in the financial service, non-profit, marketing, local government, and administrative fields. Since 2014, Maria has comprehended that literacy is critical to economic development and individual and community well-being. She got awarded the National Engaged Leader Award (NELA) in 2017 and the MassMutual Texas Gulf Coast: Certificate of Stellar Performance in 2019. Today, she continues to educate the community as a co-founder of a digital literature project. In addition, Maria Franco has served as council member- secretary general of marketing to plan and promote important events such as the Intergenerational Model United Nations 2022. One of her most significant accomplishments was being accepted to the Doctor of Business Administration: Strategic Media and Digital Content program at Liberty University. She also attended Complete Communities University, a program for emerging leaders committed to positively impacting the community. She joined the program planning to understand civic engagement, volunteerism, and voter education, how the city and county governments manage neighborhoods, effectively navigate City services and local resources, and apply this knowledge at her current position and future endorsements.

Sahabia Ahmed is a Strategic Portfolio Planning Specialist with Entergy. She was born in Tanzania and has lived in US for almost 9 years. Ms. Ahmed holds a bachelor’s degree in Economics, International Business and Mathematics with Statistics. She is a passionate film maker, writer and a change maker.
While studying at Sam Houston State University (SHSU), Ms. Ahmed was selected as the first Texas State University System Regents’ Scholar. She was an active member in SHSU served as President of the International Student Organization, Nepalese Student Association and lead various other projects.
She is passionate about change and believes to inspire it must start with oneself.

Shirin Malik is the United Nations Association-USA member at large; UNA-NCA, advocacy member, Senior Fellow, and Next Generation Leader at  International Sustainable Development Resource Centre, Geneva.She has served on various team leadership positions within the Ismaili Community in her professional capacity. In Avdiamonds, an International company, she held a position as an entrepreneurial Marketing Director and strategic guide for more than 20 plus years. She holds a Bachelor’s in Biology from HBU and a Master’s in management from Texas A & M-Commerce. She received her Presidential Membership in the National Society of Leadership and Success, is an alumna at Gemological Institute of America, PRSA, American Ismaili Chamber of Commerce, Fort Bend Leadership alumna, and Fort Bend Chamber Commerce, to name a few. Shirin is deeply committed to AKDN’s causes of humanitarian assistance, professional and economic development, and programs that engage in continued education. Launch & fundraise for non-profit organizations, creating strategic ties with local nationally recognized academic institutions such as TSTC, University of Houston, HCC, and Workforce Solutions. She has featured keynote speakers from RAND, Intelligence Agencies, ABC13, and Wilson Amplifiers.

Radhika Ayyar MBA, SPHR, SHRM-SCP Radhika Ayyar is the President of Meridian Management Consulting, LLC, a company providing customized solutions to drive exponential impact by aligning key areas of strategic management and human resources for ongoing agility, resilience and efficiency. She is an accomplished executive leader in Human Resources with over a couple of decades of experience leading the University of Texas Employee Assistance Program and Prairie View A&M University. Her demonstrated success to drive and manage change, optimize business operations/services, creatively manage cross functional/ multi-disciplinary work teams, launch continuous improvement operational initiatives and systems to achieve organizationally aligned results has been recognized both internally and among her peers in the nation.
She holds an MBA from the University of Houston and a BS degree in Chemistry from Osmania University in India. She is certified in mediation and is a Senior Professional in Human Resources and SHRM Senior Certified Professional. She lived in other countries, speaks several languages, and has experience working in global and local multicultural teams in community organizations.

Carme Williams  is the President and CEO of WilliamsCL Consulting, LLC. focused on fundraising in the areas of organization, structure, strategic planning and strategy. Carme is also a Senior Consultant with Washburn & McGoldrick, LLC. focused on campaign assessments, feasibility studies and planning, as well as, advancement training, relationship building, alumni engagement, and board/staff training. Carme has been a leader in the corporate and nonprofit community for almost three decades. Carme has secured more than $190 million during her career.
Carme has been in higher education advancement work at Rice University, Houston Community College Foundation and Prairie View A&M University. Carme was at Rice University as a Regional Major Gifts Director of Development and School of Humanities Director of Development during the $1 billion Capital Campaign. Carme managed three Advisory Boards and helped create collateral material for the School of Humanities funding priorities.
In 2018, Carme became the Vice President of Development for Prairie View A&M University. She created a university fundraising plan, reorganization, and stewardship plan, which all yielded annual 30% to 48% increases in philanthropic support. Carme secured a $2M planned gift and played a role in a $50 Million unrestricted gift.
Carme received a bachelor’s degree in business management from North Carolina State University in Raleigh, NC; Certified Fundraising Executive Certificate in 2009. Carme currently serves on the North Carolina State Steering Committee for Wolfpack Women in Philanthropy chairing the Philanthropy Committee. Carme is a board member of the Greater Houston Black Chamber of Commerce, Houston Public Library Foundation, and African American Development Officers.

Eileen Dong is a subject matter expert on gender-based violence, cultural competency, and linguistically responsive care. She is the Executive Director of Hope Pyx Global, a non-profit organization dedicated to victims of human trafficking, sexual assault, and domestic violence. Dong endured polyvictimization while her family was 8,000 miles away in China. Because of the honorand- shame stigma, it took a lot of courage to break the silence. As a lived-experience consultant, Eileen has become the bridge among culturally specific communities, victim service providers, and law enforcement. Her long-term yision is to build shelters for victims as well as to change the culture through demand destruction for a world free from violence, exploitation, or slavery. She is a linguist and consultant for HSI, ICE, DOJ, US Attorney’s Office, USCIS, and the Texas Human Trafficking Survivor Leader Council.
Dong is a lived-experience consultant, TEDx speaker and author on gender-based violence, its intersections, gender equality, as well as culturally and linguistically responsive care. She is the Executive Director of Hope Pyx Global, a non-profit organization dedicated to victims of human trafficking, sexual assault, and domestic violence. Eileen is also a linguist & expert witness for HSI, ICE, DOJ, US Attorney’s Office, USCIS. Dong endured
polyvictimization while her family was 8,000 miles away in China. Because of the honor-and-shame stigma, it took a lot of courage to break the silence.
Eileen has become a bridge among culturally specific communities, victim service providers, and law enforcement. Being on the Texas Human Trafficking Survivor Leader Council, her long-term vision is to build shelters and to change the culture for a world free from violence, exploitation, and slavery.
Ms. Dong’s merits have been recognized by various government officials, such as the Presidential Lifetime Achievement Award, the United States Congress Special Congressional Recognition, Texas Governor Greg Abbott, Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo, and the Atlanta City Council.
Sylvester Turner, Mayor of Houston, proclaimed January 19th as Eileen Dong Day.

Sandija Bayott

Sandija Bayot is the Chief Development Officer at the World Affairs Council of Greater Houston. Before she served as Director of Communications for Houston’s Consular Corps – t h i r d largest Consular Corps in the United States, with over 90 nations present. Before moving to Texas, Sandija worked at the Embassy of Latvia Washington, DC as the Assistant to the Trade Counselor. She maintains an ongoing relationship with the Latvian Embassy as well as many other international organizations in Washington, D.C. For her continued engagement with the Latvian diaspora, she has been recognized by the Ministry of the Foreign Affairs of Latvia, the Prime Minister’s office, Embassy of Latvia and others. She has also completed both the FBI and DEA Citizens Academy programs. Sandija was recently recognized as the Honoree of the Women Who Mean Business Award by Houston Business Journal. University of Houston Law Center honored Sandija as the 2019 Beacon of Light – Standing for Unity, Peace, Respect, Justice and Hope. Sandija is also a member of the National Language Service Corps, Department of Defense.

Candice McGlen pioneers the space where social impact meets Human Resources and Talent Development. Throughout her career, she has demonstrated a clear passion and focus for using HR for good. She is the founder of Gifted Works, a consulting organization that works with mid-sized businesses around the United States to develop people-centered, purpose-driven organizations. Candice believes that each business and industry can play a role in enacting meaningful change to better our world. In 2020, her organization, Gifted Works, set a goal to help 230 organizations align with impacting the 17 UN Sustainable Development goals by 2030. Candice McGlen fearlessly questions the status quo in order to develop and implement high-impact HR and talent management solutions. Her mission is to disrupt any oppressive systems, beliefs, policies, procedures, practices, or cultural norms that prohibit people from realizing their highest potential. Her probing approach is based on the early days of her career when she worked with a non-governmental organization that was adept at overcoming obstacles by sidestepping conventional norms in favor of fresh, action oriented thinking. Candice is passionate about Since then; she’s applied her experience to the various facets of HR.

Matloob Khan is a volunteer and community activist working and providing community service for the past 30 years. He graduated from the University of Karachi in 1980 and successfully ran an IT business for 25 years. He works with grassroots organizations at the local, state, and national level. He has successfully coordinated and organized various different projects including distribution of school supplies and food drives. He believes helping out with the smallest taks can make a real difference to the lives of many people. He believes in equal opportunity for all, religious harmony, democracy, and promoting justice.

Bonita Green Gambrell serves as Board Advisor and former Chairman of The Ethel Hedgeman Lyle Foundation of Texas. In 2015, she was named Member At Large for the Alzheimer’s Association Houston & Southeast Texas Chapter Board of Directors. Bonita was named as one of the Houston Business Journal’s People on the Move. In 2019, Bonita joined the Board of Directors for the UNA-USA Houston Chapter and was appointed to the United Nations Foundation, Partnerships & Collaborations Committee, served as VP, Membership and as one of the South Central Regional Representatives.
In 2021, she joined the Board of Directors for Career and Recovery Resources. Bonita holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Houston – Main Campus and a MBA from Texas Woman’s University. She completed the Non-Profit Leadership Certification at Rice University in 2021. Bonita lives in Houston, TX and in her free time, Bonita likes to read, listen to music and travel abroad.

Dr. Roopa Gir is the Chairman of iEducate, a social venture in Houston, Texas that works with school districts to engage college students as co-teachers/ mentors in underserved elementary schools. Since 2011, she has been an advisor to AICAPD, an innovative mobile school in India that provides education to children of migrant workers. Dr. Roopa Gir is also the founder and managing partner of a Houston based start-up ARG Global Technologies. She has worked for over 30 years at Schlumberger in various technical and management positions, including the Director for Technology Watch. She was the first female Scientific Advisor at Schlumberger. In addition, she is a charter member of TiE Houston and has led the TiE Energy SIG, a new initiative to strengthen entrepreneurship in the energy sector.

She currently serves on the boards of , IAPACGH, Samskriti (Society of Indian Performing Arts in Houston), and AICAPD (All India Citizens &’ Alliance for Progress & Development). Roopa is a Gold Medalist from IIT Roorkee with an M.Tech in Applied Geophysics, and a Ph.D. (Doctorat d’Etat) in Seismology from University Louis Pasteur, France. She is a Distinguished Alumnus of IIT Roorkee in two categories of “Technology” and “Service”.

Through her various initiatives, Roopa hopes to promote opportunities and representation of women and minorities in STEM careers

Marguerite Gabriele  has been a practicing attorney for the past twelve years. She currently works as an in-house attorney at an international company. Named Top 40 Young Lawyer by the American Bar Association in 2021 for ESG work, Marguerite has experience aligning corporate data with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Ms. Gabriele has served as an NGO international conference delegate to the United Nations Headquarters in New York. Her long-term goal is to serve as a U.S. Ambassador.