2nd Annual 25 Most Influential Women in Houston part 4

may walker – badge of honor

Constable, Harris County Precinct 7

There aren’t many places in Houston where Constable May Walker isn’t recognized. Walker has been in law enforcement for 30 years, and has played a vital role in establishing a community presence with the citizens of Houston.

In 2005, Walker became the first female Constable in Texas. She is a respected and established leader in the Houston community, largely because of her tireless to efforts to build a positive rapport. 

“When I was elected, I wanted to attack the negative opinion people had of Precinct 7,” Walker says. “I wanted to bring back integrity … and credility.”

In 2008, Walker plans to make strides in police community relations by continuing her contributions to the citizens of Houston. “I’m thankful to the community,” she says. “As long as I’m here, I’m looking for improvements.”
adam jones

sarah joseph – spirit of a champion

Director of Community Services, Houston Rockets

In 1994, the Houston Rockets shocked the sports world by becoming the first Western Conference team to win an NBA title in a decade. However, the team’s biggest conquest may have taken place off of the court. Sarah Joseph was hired that summer as Rockets’ director of community services and has since helped the team to become champions in the community. 

“We are very focused on what [the Houston Rockets] do in the community,” Joseph says. “This season, we will work closely with a lot of schools to promote education and grassroots basketball. We want to make sure that kids are involved in athletics and recreation. In terms of an organization, we want to put a winning team on the court, but we also want to have a winning team in the community.” 
amir shaw

rhonda radford-adams – the perfect picture

Co-Founder, Museum of Cultural Arts Houston

As a self-trained artist, Rhonda Radford-Adams understands the importance of expression. So when she and her husband Reginald discovered that thousands of Houston area students weren’t able to experience the wonders of art, they decided to establish the Museum of Cultural Arts Houston (MOCAH). 

“My husband and I had a passion to bring art to students,” she recalls. “We founded MOCAH to bring art to people who didn’t have the opportunity to come to the museums. For the last eight years, we’ve managed to execute several important public art projects.” 

Adams notes that many of the children who participate tend to improve academically and socially once they enter the program. 
amir shaw

dena gray – a ray of hope

Administrative Manager, HOPWA

In 1992, Housing Opportunities for Persons With Aids (HOPWA) was created to provide multifamily housing and supportive services for low-income families with HIV-positive members. As the administrative manager for HOPWA, Dena Gray ensures that those who have been stricken with the deadly disease have a place that will welcome them with open arms.

“We provide services for individuals in Houston and 10 surrounding counties,” Gray says. “We make sure that people can maintain their housing while dealing with their family needs and medication.”

Gray believes that progress has been made in combatting the disease, but more work has to be done. “The number of AIDS-related deaths has decreased,” she says. “But we must educate people so that the risk of spreading the disease is reduced.” 
gavin p. godfrey

dr. alvia wardlaw – documenting culture

Director and Curator, Texas Southern University Museum

Dr. Alvia Wardlaw, director and curator of Texas Southern University Museum, understands how important it is to preserve great works of art. “The major role [of art] is to document culture,” she explains. “We can enter into [topical issues] in a way that’s less painful than facing the actual fact of the matter.”

Born in Atlanta, Dr. Wardlaw’s love of TSU was planted at a very young age. “My father came here as part of that first group of black faculty that came to Texas Southern,” shares Wardlaw. “I grew up on this campus.” 

“When we first opened we had seniors coming in saying, ‘I had no idea this was here,’ ” she says, smiling. “We are really striving to make sure our freshmen [visit] this building.” 
amir shaw

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