For the May 2023 Women’s Issue of The Woodlands Lifestyles and Homes, I was thrilled to interview four well-known leaders, all executives active on boards and working hard on behalf of the people in Montgomery County, Texas.
Journalism is a favorite pastime and something I weave into my full-time work as a book editor and ghostwriter, taking me directly into the community to meet and interact with movers and shakers. I hope you enjoy the article!
Article by Melanie Saxton
Photography by Bex Wood
Originally published in The Woodlands City Lifestyle
Our hats are off to four remarkable leaders in The Woodlands. Meet the dynamic women who are instrumental in governing, guiding, promoting, and sustaining our community, some for decades and some more recently.
Dr. Ann K. Snyder
Dr. Ann Snyder is well known for serving on numerous boards and championing the world of nonprofits. She was first elected to The Woodlands Township Board of Directors serves is currently serving as Chairwoman.
Snyder earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Education, a Master of Education degree, and a Doctorate in Curriculum and Instruction, and says, “Experiencing learning is ongoing and lifelong, and if the opportunity presented itself, I would return.” Snyder Elementary in Conroe ISD is named in her honor, and she visits the school on special occasions highlighting students and faculty.
We asked how she’s managed to maintain a work/life balance while being so active in Montgomery County. “I was raised in a small town in Nebraska by parents who believed in volunteering and, most importantly, doing the right thing. It became second nature to make a difference wherever I’m needed.” Fortunately, her husband, Jerry, supports her passion, purpose, and the great pride Snyder takes in The Woodlands community.
Snyder strongly believes in collaboration and ensuring that individuals from all walks of life have a voice. “It’s never been about me,” she says. “Rather, it’s about developing a common understanding and creating the best possible outcomes for everyone in The Woodlands and surrounding areas.” Learn more about Dr. Snyder at thewoodlandstownship-tx.gov.
Dr. Shelley Sekula-Gibbs
As a Floresville native and the oldest of three brothers and two sisters, Shelley Sekula-Gibbs, MD, loves being around people. It drew her to her first residency in family practice, followed by a second residency in dermatology—while raising two babies. “It was more than challenging, and there was no other option than to succeed,” she says of juggling motherhood and medical training.
Dr. Sekula-Gibbs was the first physician ever elected to the Houston City Council and served three terms. She also served as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives and witnessed President Gerald Ford’s funeral. She has served on The Woodlands Township board since 2019.
She and her husband, attorney Robert W. Gibbs, Jr., were both widowed when they married in 2002. They moved from Clear Lake to The Woodlands in 2017 to be close to family, and absolutely love the community. “I believe there is no better place for our grandchildren to thrive,” she says.
Sekula-Gibbs credits people of all backgrounds for “Keeping The Woodlands wonderful” and advocates for our special way of life—a place to live, work, worship, learn, and play. Learn more about Dr. Sekula-Gibbs at thewoodlandstownship-tx.gov.
Elizabeth Eddins is the Executive Director of Visit The Woodlands, the official destination marketing and management organization of The Woodlands Township, governed by a separate Board of Directors. Visit The Woodlands is responsible for driving visitors and economic impact on our community.
Elizabeth is a board member of the Texas Travel Alliance which uniquely positions her to amplify The Woodlands’ message and advocate on behalf of the Texas travel industry on state, national, and international levels. “The Woodlands is an amazing destination to promote to visitors and convention planners. They love taking care of business in a natural environment within walking distance of outstanding hotels, retail, dining, arts, and entertainment. Everyone I meet loves The Woodlands, and so do I,” says Eddins.
As Events Producer at KBMT (Channel 12 in Beaumont), she interviewed the stars of Live! With Regis and Kelly in New Orleans, highlighting the city and encouraging tourists to return after Hurricane Katrina. At that moment, Elizabeth realized the impact that tourism has on a destination’s heart and soul.
This spark of interest led to a position as Director of Tourism for Beaumont. She later joined Visit The Woodlands, where she continues to garner both personal and professional accolades, including Best Step-On Guide and Best Destination by Texas Travel Professionals. Visitors (and locals, too) can learn everything about our community at visitthewoodlands.com.
As President and CEO of the Montgomery County Food Bank, Kristine Marlow’s career in nonprofits came after serving eight years in the Air Force as an Aerospace Physiology Officer, where she met her husband Garth, an Air Force pilot. “My husband became a commercial pilot, and I became a faith-filled stay-at-home mom. Eventually, I took on the role of Children’s Sacrament and Formation Coordinator at St. Anthony of Padua Catholic Church,” she says.
Marlow and her four children volunteered at St. Anthony’s food pantry, and it was a natural segue to step into a new role at the Montgomery County Food Bank in July 2020. Covid’s impact had the whole world retreating indoors. Distance learning meant kids no longer had school meals. Businesses went under, and people lost jobs. Everyone was shell-shocked as the need for food assistance increased exponentially.
“Food is a must-have, a basic need, and a God-given right,” says Marlow, “and that’s why the Food Bank exists. We partner with more than 80 agencies and assist 65,000 people a month countywide with the help of over 700 volunteers who go to our calendar and sign up to sort, package, and distribute food. It’s a wonderful opportunity to give back and see the impact.”
Marlow and her team are also thankful for people who donate food, give money online, and spread the word about the Food Bank’s vital role in Montgomery County. Visit mcfoodbank.org to make a difference.
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