Join us! Well-formed people. → Well-formed ventures.

Year 2023

The Houston Challenge


Please join the TrueWorks team for our annual interactive day at The ION, as we look at the challenges Houston faces and the ways in which each of us can contribute to being a part of the solution.

What will it take to help Houston flourish? Solve problems? Create new opportunities?  What does it look like to redemptively work towards the good of the city?

We invite you to hear the compelling stories of business leaders, industry visionaries, and entrepreneurs who embody the mission of TrueWorks.

And, we invite you into a shared conversation as we get to know one another’s stories, learn from each other and see where we can together seek the common good.

The Day

To help cover costs, we are asking for a $35 base fee


Workshops for Fellows, Investors and Business Lab Cohorts, or anyone who is curious to learn more.


TrueWorks Community Dinner for TW Friends and Family. All are welcome!

7-9 PM

The Houston Challenge with Dr. Ruth Lopez Turley, TrueWorks Founder Doug Meikle and the TW Team, TrueWorks entrepreneurs and friends. Learn about Houston's challenges, and some of the people involved in crafting solutions.


October 20


1 - 4PM

Workshops for our Fellows, our Lab Cohorts and our Investors

H-Town and Main Street Fellows

A Rule of Life

Led by David Wu, Founder and Executive Director, Mosaic Formation

H-Town and Main Street Fellows

A Rule of Life

It’s one thing to have a shift in your worldview as you discover what it means to integrate your work and faith.  It’s another thing altogether to practically work through what all of this might look like in your daily life.  Discovering your personal rule of life will help realign your days, centered around the Author of Life, who has uniquely made you.This workshop will help you start your journey towards shifting the direction of your life when it comes to your spiritual practices, rhythms and daily decision making.  Crafting your rule of life will help you break free from the constant demands of a noisy and chaotic world and help you distinguish the voice of God.

TW Investors

Redemptive Philanthropy

Panel: Blake Mankin, Ronald Blue Trust, Greg Hambrick, Baxter Trust
Michael Homan, Houston Methodist Hospital Foundation

TW Investors

Redemptive Philanthropy

Panel: Blake Mankin, Ronald Blue Trust, Greg Hambrick, Baxter Trust, Michael Homan, Houston Methodist Hospital Foundation

What does it look like to give philanthropically to entrepreneurial ventures, to see philanthropy and giving as a “deeply meaningful act of cultural creation” (as our friends at Praxis like to say)?  We’ll talk about what this looks like to steward our wealth well and hear from local leaders about what redemptive philanthropy looks like for them, how it has worked for them and what they look at when it comes to investing in various ventures.

Business Lab Cohorts

Measure What Matters Led by Ryan Brown

Director of Measurement, Doerr Institute for New Leaders, Rice University

Business Lab Cohorts

Measure What Matters with Ryan Brown

Director of Measurement, Doerr Institute for New Leaders, Rice University

Based on the bestselling book by John Doerr, we’ll explore what it looks like to turn your strategy into weekly/monthly/quarterly objectives that allow an organization to meet its goals. Based on driving operational excellence, this workshop will also help leadership give clear, consistent and continuous feedback in an organization in order to improve organizational health and performance and see real, measurable results.

5 - 7PM

Community Dinner for all of our TrueWorks friends and family

Join us for dinner as we connect, encourage and fellowship with one another! At TrueWorks we believe that our calling is to be the connective tissue in the redemptive entrepreneurial ecosystem of Houston, and this is how we love to do it- through a shared meal!

7 - 9PM

The Houston Challenge with Dr. Ruth Lopez Turley, Kinder Institute

Our main session will be with Keynote Speaker, Dr. Ruth Lopez Turley, Director of the Kinder Institute, Rice University, along with inspiring stories from Houston business founders and leaders in the TrueWorks family, and time with TrueWorks founder, Doug Meikle. As we meet in the heart of the Innovation District and continue to work with entrepreneurs in various sectors, understanding the challenges our city faces, its needs, the posture of its residents and the resources required to not only sustain it but propel it forward, is of utmost importance. Dr. Ruth Lopez Turley, will share with us what the city’s challenges are, what the citizens of our city are most concerned about and what the true realities for Houston are.We’ll also hear the stories of those in our city who are working to make a difference as redemptive entrepreneurs - both in the for profit and non profit spaces.  Join us to be challenged, to think more deeply about how we solve problems together and to be encouraged by the work already being done for the good of our city.

The People

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Ruth Lopez Turley

Director of the Kinder Institute, Rice University

Ruth N. López Turley is Professor of Sociology and Director of the Kinder Institute for UrbanResearch at Rice University, which brings together data, research, engagement, and action to improve lives. In 2011, she founded the Houston Education Research Consortium (HERC), aresearch-practice partnership between Rice University and eleven Houston area school districts, representing over 700,000 students. A program of the Kinder Institute, HERC works to improve educational equity by connecting research to policy and practice, working directly with district leaders. She directed HERC from 2011 to 2022, during which she raised over $30M so that school districts would not have to pay for research. She also founded the National Network of Education Research-Practice Partnerships, which connects and supports over 60 partnerships between research institutions and education agencies throughout the country. In 2022, President Biden appointed her to the National Board for Education Sciences, which advises and approves priorities for the research arm of the US Department of Education. She is a graduate of Stanford and Harvard and is originally from Laredo, Texas..

Doug Meikle

Founder & Executive Director

Doug Meikle is the Founder of TrueWorks. Since 2017 his focus has been on building well-formed people, and well-formed start-up ventures specifically focused on organizations who care about the flourishing of Houston. Doug is a skilled international business leader, having been CEO of a European industrial service business and division president of a US-based oil field equipment provider. Over a 30 year career, Doug has held executive and functional leadership positions in sales, marketing, business improvement, and engineering. ‍ Doug is an engineering graduate of Strathclyde University in Scotland, a Theology Graduate from the University of Aberdeen, Scotland, and a Harvard Business School’s Advanced Management Program graduate. ‍ Doug is currently the pastor of “Faith and Work” at First Presbyterian Church. At TrueWorks Doug devotes his time to the H-Town Fellows, a cohort of faith and work practitioners and Redemptive Business Labs - an opportunity for Christian founders to consider the redemptive possibilities in work. Doug is married to Karen, has three children, and loves all things Italian (especially the food).

David Wu

Founder & Executive Director , Mosaic Formation

David, along with his wife, Cindy, founded Mosaic Formation. He is a graduate of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary (M.Div) and a senior faculty member of Selah, Leadership Transformation Institute's Certificate Program in Spiritual Direction. Prior to his work with Mosaic Formation, David’s ministry experiences included overseas missions in East Asia, church planting, and pastoral ministry in the local church. David is passionate about creating prayerful and hospitable space for others to listen to God, serving under-served individuals and communities, and biblical reconciliation and peacemaking. For fun, he enjoys long hikes, playing the guitar, gluten-free cooking, and pulling weeds. David and Cindy and their three kids make their home in Houston, Texas.

Greg Hambrick

CEO, Baxter Trust

Greg Hambrick has lived and worked for over 40 years in Houston, Texas and currently is the CEO of the Baxter Trust, a Houston based private foundation focused on the support of the underserved.

He has an extensive background in energy as well as social enterprise. He has held management positions for a variety of both domestic and international companies. Greg founded two privately held energy companies and was a founding board member of several nonprofits including Archway Academy, Evergreen Urban Farms and The Little Keswick School.

His latest social enterprise is Fast Forward Works, a psychometric assessment company administering well-developed cognitive and motivational measures to assess talent in populations with lower levels of formal education.

Greg is very active in the Houston community and serves a variety of non-profits including board positions at ACAM (Alliance of Community Assistance Ministries), Bike Houston and the Glasscock School of Continuing Education at Rice University. He is a member of the Executive Committee at UpSkills Houston and currently participates in several Houston area groups addressing local affordable housing issues.

Blake Mankin

Financial Planner, Ronald Blue Trust

Blake Mankin is a financial planner for the Private Wealth division of Ronald Blue Trust and serves clients out of the office in Houston, Texas.A Certified Financial Planner, Blake joined Ronald Blue Trust in his current role as a financial planner in 2021. Most recently, he served as a business development manager for WebTPA. Blake assisted some of the largest companies in the country to help them provide high-quality healthcare to their employees while managing costs. Previously, he worked for HOPE International as a regional development representative. Blake’s responsibilities included increasing, strengthening, and diversifying funding sources in the Houston region to meet annual fundraising goals and fulfilling the organizations’ mission to invest in the world’s underserved communities with Christ-centered financial services.Blake earned his BS, BA, and Certificate of Business Foundations from the University of Texas.Active in his local church and community, Blake is a member of the advisory board for Every Village. He and his wife, Meagan, live in Houston, Texas with their three children.

Ryan Brown

Managing Director of Measurement, Doerr Institute for New Leaders, Rice University

Ryan P. Brown, Ph.D., is the Managing Director for Measurement and Associate Director at the Doerr Institute for New Leaders at Rice University. He regularly consults with organizations on ways to measure their impact on people and achieve transformational goals across industries including publishing, banking, government, the non-profit sector, and education. Prior to the Doerr Institute, Ryan was the L. J. Semrod Presidential Professor of Psychology at The University of Oklahoma, where he taught and helped establish the Institute for the Study of Human Flourishing. He has published more than 60 scientific articles on human thought and behavior over the last 25 years and is the author/co-author of three books—Honor Bound: How a Cultural Ideal Has Shaped the American Psyche (Oxford University Press, 2016), Leadership Reckoning: Can Higher Education Develop the Leaders We Need? (Monocle Press, 2021), and Measuring the Mist: A Practical Guide for Discovering What Really Works in Leader Development (Doerr Institute, 2022).Ryan graduated cum laude from Rice University and received his M.A. and Ph.D. in social psychology from the University of Texas at Austin. He taught briefly at Amherst College before joining the faculty of The University of Oklahoma in 2000. Ryan joined the Doerr Institute in 2017.

Niko Lorentzatos

Former Executive Vice President & General Counsel, Oasis Petroleum / Mentor, TrueWorks

Niko Lorentzatos spent his career in the energy industry, most recently as a public company executive, lawyer, and director. His day-to-day focus was helping solve business problems, but it was the one-on-one discussions with colleagues and friends who wanted to talk about deeper issues or who needed help, whether personal or professional, that were most fulfilling. He now serves as a Certified Halftime Coach and also mentors professionals and social entrepreneurs with TrueWorks Houston.

Niko and his wife, Jenny, have been married for 23 years and have two adult children, Luke and Rebecca. Niko serves on the Boards of the HAY Center Foundation, which assists youth in Harris County as they age out of the foster system, and the Houston Area Parkinson Society, which provides programs, support, and services free of charge. He also serves on the Parish Council of Annunciation Greek Orthodox Cathedral in Houston, Texas.

Natasha & Sunny Paradeshi

Owners, Solace Media

Natasha Paradeshi was born in England and moved to the U.S. at age six. She graduated from the University of Texas with a double major in Marketing and Spanish and graduated from the University of Southern California with a Master in Public Policy degree. During undergrad, she joined Texas 4000 and rode her bike from Texas to Alaska to raise money for cancer research. This experience fueled her passion for fundraising and taught her the lesson of perseverance – that beauty lies in the seemingly impossible. In 2013, she co-founded Solace Media, alongside her husband, Sunny. As a Certified StoryBrand Guide, she focuses on helping organizations clarify their messaging through effective and ethical storytelling. With over a decade of experience working with nonprofits, she is passionate about organizations getting the funding they need to fulfill their missions. Her experience as a Co-founder, former Executive Director, and Board Chair of The Landing, an anti-human trafficking nonprofit which grew to over a $1 million budget in its first five years, gives her a unique perspective in helping nonprofits grow.

Sunny Paradeshi has 15 years of experience in the creative media industry. He was born in Secunderabad, India and moved to the U.S. at 18 years old. He has a Bachelor’s of Industrial Technology and served with the North American Mission Board in Cleveland, Ohio. He then worked for Host Gator for a year, after which he served as the Media Director at The Woodlands First Baptist Church. As the Creative Director for Solace Media, he is responsible for the development and execution of all creative content for the company including customized website designs, marketing, videography and branding for businesses of all sizes. He is a strategic thinker and has a keen eye for detail.. Sunny and Natasha have been married for 9 years and have two little ones. In his spare time, Sunny enjoys cooking/feeding people, listening to music and spending time with his wife and two young children!

Samuel Newman

Founder and CEO, Little Red Box Grocery

Sam has spent a career working at the nexus of food, health, and development. He has a depth of knowledge in the food/retail landscape, gained over a decade working in leadership capacities at Texas-based grocery chain H-E-B, and with multi-state nonprofit Brighter Bites. In these roles, Sam took part in designing and executing innovative efforts that improved access, affordability, and quality of food for individuals and communities. As founder of Little Red Box Grocery, he is now tackling the intractable issue of food deserts, neighborhoods where a persistent lack of access to healthy and affordable foods reveals an urgent need for fresh, community-driven solutions.

Kevin Daughtry

Founder, Yellowbox Creative

Kevin started his journey as a creative at a young age—dabbling in design and production. As a teenager, Kevin experienced a call to ministry and eventually his path led him into full time vocational ministry in various roles, both creative and pastoral. Throughout this journey, Kevin used his creative foundations to serve needs of ministries and churches across the nation. The exposure opened his eyes to see multiple angles of creative problems working with both large and small scale team structures — from church plants with skeleton crew teams to large organizations with 500+ employees. Kevin soon found that he had a gift for helping others launch their visions. This led to the creation of what would become Yellowbox Creative in 2013.  Yellowbox is a full service creative agency, specializing in brand development and design.  YB believes that creativity cannot only improve an organization’s storytelling, but also help them better fulfill their mission.  Kevin lives in Pearland with his wife of 19 years and 3 kids.

Kate Thomas

Vice President of Operations, TrueWorks

Kate’s career began when she was recruited right out of college to work for a new third-party logistics company, Crane Worldwide. At Crane she was a part of the team that saw the company grow from $80mm to over $600mm. Kate became the performance manager for the largest region of the company, where she developed strategies to attain corporate KPIs, including process initiatives, benchmarking and audit procedures, as well as the development of systems to enable global capability building.

From Crane Worldwide, she went on to become a part of the leadership team for the MMI agency, a full-service marketing firm in Houston.  Here she drove the transformation of the business operations to scale including process design, technology transformation, consumer-facing research and development and executive-level strategic planning preparation for a successful acquisition by an international brand. She led 6 cross-functional teams including media, creative, research and analytics, communications, and project management to successfully deliver revenue of $80mm in agency services annually.

Kate’s passion for the startup world was spurred when she led a lab for MarTech startups, helping to pair them with business to business beta clients. She developed an integrated ecommerce team to run validation campaigns for minimum viable products at one of the largest consumer packaged goods early-stage startup studios.  

Having worked in the for-profit business world, Kate applied her skills as the Vice President of Operations for international non-profit, As Our Own.   It was while at this non-profit that she facilitated large scale, international organizational change using Theory of Change methodology, applying a test-and-learn approach to revise market and resource strategy, elevated hiring capabilities and re-engaged donors - resulting in an increase of funding for the organization by 40%.

Kate is passionate about working with founders and helping people and organizations develop to their fullest potential, integrating people, processes and technology for the best solutions. In other words, she loves to problem-solve “impossible” problems. She lives in Houston with her husband, JD who is an executive in the world of logistics, their 3-year-old son, John Brooks and their 9-year-old dog, Remy.

Rachel Quan

Managing Director, Live Events — PSP Events / Executive Advisor, TrueWorks

Currently Rachel serves the TrueWorks team overseeing strategy, communications, events and networking, while also holding down her job as the Managing Director for PSP Events, part of Professional Sports Partners – a marketing, sponsorship and communications agency in Houston.

Rachel’s background in production and events began as a Festival Director and then the National Director of Production and Arrangements for an international non-profit, first overseeing one of their largest festivals to date in Houston and then going on to manage production in other festival cities. She went on to oversee various large-scale events and conferences for a myriad of clients including as the Vice President of External Operations for the HLOC with the 2011, 2016 and 2023 NCAA Men’s Final Fours in Houston, where she was charged with overseeing the strategies and teams executing the marketing, communications, public relations, ancillary events and community relations plans for the Men’s Final Four. She has also worked as a part of the NCAA team, overseeing event marketing and branding for the 2018 San Antonio and the 2022 New Orleans Men’s Final Fours. In addition, Rachel co-founded SBHH, an event management and production company where she was the managing partner for 8.5 years. She, along with 3 other company partners, made a name for themselves in the large event space - including concerts, corporate conferences, sporting events, stadium events and large outdoor festivals. Rachel sold her partnership in 2022.

As a graduate of Main Street Fellows and beneficiary of the concepts and foundations of the TrueWorks philosophy, she has been happy to lend her expertise to the team. Being with the TW staff in the office every week is a highlight. Rachel currently lives in Houston with her husband, Dave who is a labor and employment attorney, and is the proud mom of Nate, who works for JP Morgan as a financial analyst in their Houston office. Her favorite past time is cooking for the people she loves as often as she can, as well as Nordic walking (so she can keep cooking and eating).

Robin Sturgis

CEO, infoFluency

Robin, who brings 25 years of experience in emerging technologies and cloud-based platforms is skilled in databases, data visualization, data management, and data-centered software. She founded infoFluency in 2007, which she created to uncover the information and insights in business data through visual analytics and efficient data applications.  She also leads the infoFluency team and specializes in bridging the gap between business and technology groups, with her knack for putting tech solutions into understandable business terms.

Robin is a Tableau Desktop 10 Qualified Associate and an Alteryx Certified Designer.Robin has gone through the Redemptive Business Lab, taught by the TrueWorks team, is currently an H-Town Fellow and has taken her company through TrueWorks' Organizational Health Check this past summer.

Michael Homan

Director of Development, Houston Methodist Hospital Foundation

Michael Homan serves as Director of Development for the Houston Methodist Hospital Foundation, a 501(c)(3) dedicated to supporting the mission of excellence in research, education for the #1 ranked hospital in Texas. Michael's particular areas of concentration include philanthropic/programmatic development for Spiritual Care, Neurosurgery, Behavioral Health, and the Center for Performing Arts Medicine.

Prior to joining Houston Methodist in 2020, Michael served 15+ years as an ordained Presbyterian minister. In 2019 he completed his Doctor of Ministry at Fuller Theological Seminary, focusing on frameworks for formation as parishioners navigate the integration of faith and work within the marketplace. His other not-for-profit interests include early-childhood education, adoption, parks and public spaces, the arts, and substance-use disorder/recovery.

The ION, using the shell of the old downtown Sear’s building, was built by Rice University as a project manifesting Houston leaders’ vision to see the city emerge as a destination for start-up companies, the innovation arms of well-established companies, investors and venture capitalists and community groups.

The space is the anchor of what will be an entire district focused on innovation and has created an ecosystem where startups, companies and investors meet organically.