Sharon Zachary, Chief Executive Officer
Ms. Zachary meets organizations where they are and helps them ignite and enact a broader, bolder mission-aligned vision of their role in community transformation. With more than 21 years as a CEO, Ms. Zachary’s leadership style combines her business and community acumen with her experience in and passion for health and human services and continues to create confidence in the many stakeholders needed to cultivate thriving collaborations. Since 2009, she helped the ACAM Network expand nonprofit organizational development by leading six initiatives with more than 500 projects in areas such as food security, organizational development, homelessness prevention, and health access, while developing more than $10M in resources to support them. She holds a master’s degree in clinical psychology and is experienced in strategic planning, program development and evaluation, nonprofit management, and developing public-private partnerships. She views nonprofit organizational development as key to growth and sustainability and as an essential component of grantmaking to ensure investments create lasting impact. She has served a diverse group of organizations, including both government and nonprofit and both direct service and intermediary.
Jessica Byerly, Director of Operations and Evaluation
Ms. Byerly’s background in collaboration with an economic development perspective enhances ACAM’s unique ability to identify and communicate critical connections between human service outcomes and related community and regional impacts. Throughout her career in the Gulf Coast region, Jessica has worked to provide families and communities with tools and resources to strengthen capacity and resiliency, workforce development, housing stability, disaster relief and recovery, regional planning and small business development. She is an experienced executive leader invested in the power of data, relationships, and service to the greater good. Her abilities to balance program coordination, financial management and nonprofit administration have resulted in ACAM achieving GuideStar Platinum status, top ratings from GreatNonprofits, and recognized fiscal transparency, which have increased ACAM’s visibility a nonprofit on the move.
Kristina Mertz, Resource Development VISTA
Miss Mertz is providing general project support in grant writing, data collection, reporting and marketing. She is a recent graduate with a bachelor’s degree in social work. Most recently, she interned at an anti-poverty nonprofit organization in Tennessee serving as a High School Transition Coach and developed a new curriculum for the after-school program. Kristina is excited to be able to learn new skills in community organization and fundraising during her time with ACAM. After her time as an AmeriCorps VISTA, Kristina plans to pursue her MSW with a concentration in nonprofit studies.
Under the leadership of ACAM’s CEO, board and staff, ACAM has assembled a highly skilled and specialized group of consultants to advise and support ACAM and its partners, positioning ACAM to operate with maximum effectiveness and efficiency.
Program Management, Evaluation and Research
Paula Pipes, Pipes Research and Consulting
Paula Pipes is Principal of Pipes Research & Consulting. Ms. Pipes collaborates with clients to clarify and achieve the organizational, program, and information improvements they need to advance their mission. She has provided ACAM research, evaluation, program management, organizational assessments and other consulting supports since 2009.
Tina Council, I Am Pleased Development Center
Tina Z. Council is the Owner and Chief Consultant of the I Am Pleased Development Center, a Texas-based consultancy dedicated to developing individuals and organizations to their full potential. With more than 30 years in the finance, banking, real estate, fundraising and nonprofit sectors, Ms. Council has provided ACAM project support, project evaluation and organizational development assessments since 2009.
Mike Shirl, Michael Shirl Consulting, LLC
Mike Shirl has nearly 40 years of experience serving community and faith-based nonprofit organizations at all levels. He is currently consulting with ACAM to provide project support, project evaluation and organizational development assessments.
Steve Young, Young Consultation & Training
Steve Young and his talented wife, Kelly Young, founded Young Consultation & Training to provide training, professional development, performance coaching, and program/organizational consultation to nonprofit organizations and social service providers. Mr. Young has consulted with ACAM since 2017 to plan and facilitate annual training for ACAM's partner organizations and other participating Houston area ministries and community service providers.
Community Awareness, Marketing & Fund Development
Wendy Ballard, WOW ME Consulting
Wendy Ballard is Owner of WOW ME Consulting, a strategic communications firm specializing in social media, brand awareness and constituent engagement. She has nearly 20 years of restaurant, retail and marketing experience with Caesar’s Palace, Landry’s, Marble Slab Creamery, Inc., Starbucks, Coach and the University of Houston. Ms. Ballard is active in her field and in the community, serving in the University of Houston Alumni Association, Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo Merchandise Committee and as a Member and Speaker for the Council for Advancement and Support of Education. Beginning in 2017 she has managed ACAM’s social media accounts including Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.
Valerie Ellis, Ellis Consulting
Valerie Ellis brings more than 15 years of fund development experience to ACAM. Ms. Ellis was the Associate Director of ACAM before she became a consultant. As an independent consultant, Ms. Ellis provides customized services for a wide variety of nonprofit organizations, helping them with development planning, public and private grant proposals and reports, organization and program budgets, corporate and foundation relationships, annual campaigns, individual donor strategies and program evaluation.
Lauren Kirkwood, ImageSource Visual Communications
Lauren Kirkwood is a professional story teller, a talent that led her to form her own production company, ImageSource Visual Communications. With her unique ability to weave and blend inspirational stories through her video productions, she helps organizations reach their audiences and communicate their message with pinpoint accuracy. She has consulted with ACAM since 2009.
Whitney Reed, Within Reach Consulting, LLC
Whitney Reed has provided ACAM grant writing, communication, and research services since 2017. Her consultancy collaborates with small-to-mid-sized nonprofits to bring their organizational and fundraising vision, mission, and goals within reach through effective and polished written communications, project management, and administration.
Accounting and Finance
Doug Hidalgo, CPA, LaPorte CPAs & Business Advisors
Doug Hidalgo, CPA, is a director in Audit and Assurance Services for LaPorte CPAs & Business Advisors, one of the largest independent accounting and business advisory firms in the region, with over 180 personnel in Houston, Texas, and in four Louisiana locations. Doug serves as the Houston leader of the LaPorte Nonprofit Industry Group and works with ACAM to conduct ACAM’s external audit.
Abi Bankole, Bankole, Okoye & Associates PC
Abi Bankole is the fiscal consultant for ACAM’s Emergency Solutions Grant (ESG) since it was first awarded in 2014. He is extensively experienced and knowledgeable about the nonprofit industry with more than 30 years combined experience in private practice and in industry.
Evelyn Kitieu, Project Optimization Manager
Mrs. Kitieu introduces new methods, ideas, and products to ACAM’s operations and programs. She is passionate about the world of philanthropy and making her community a better place. She holds a bachelor’s degree in economics and a master’s degree in public policy and administration. Previous work includes administering the Canadian Federal Government’s Employment Insurance Work-Sharing Program during the country’s Great Recession, and improving the home-based care system for AIDS patients, through the United Nations in Johannesburg, South Africa, by developing and implementing financial and educational tools for affected families.