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Newsmakers: Philanthropist Sheila Johnson honored for community service

Longtime civic leader and philanthropist Sheila B. Johnson will receive the 2016 VolunteerNow Lifetime Achievement Award for her service and leadership to the Tarrant County community.

VolunteerNow will honor Johnson’s philanthropic service at the third annual Big Hearts of Fort Worth Luncheon on Sept. 30 at the Worthington Renaissance Hotel in Fort Worth.

“We are all grateful for Mrs. Johnson’s service to the community, and I am humbled by her commitment to volunteerism and servant leadership,” said VolunteerNow CEO Tammy Richards. “Her contributions to children’s issues, nonprofits and the broader community are tremendous and inspiring.”

As the granddaughter of the late philanthropist and newspaper publisher Amon G. Carter and daughter of the late Ruth Carter Stevenson, Johnson has paved her own way in giving back to her hometown and beyond. She is secretary of the Amon G. Carter Foundation and is a volunteer and supporter of the Human Exploitation Rescue Operative Child-Rescue Corps. She is former board chairman of the Cook Children’s Healthcare System and is a past member and board chairman of Tarrant County Child Protective Services.

She has also been a member of the Texas Wesleyan University Board of Trustees, a volunteer for the Edna Gladney Home and a member of the advisory boards to the Learning Center of North Texas and TexProtects. As a trustee for the Amon G. Carter Foundation, she has directed significant philanthropy, including many hours of service, to the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History, NewDay Services and the University of Texas at Arlington’s School of Social Work.

As part of her longstanding commitment to the welfare of children, Johnson helped with legislation for the “Baby Moses” bill for the state of Texas. For 17 years, both as volunteer and donor, Johnson has supported Camp John Marc/Camp Sanguinity, which serves children with cancer and other special needs.

Johnson was recognized by President George H.W. Bush with the “Points of Light” honor. She has also received an honorary doctorate from Texas Wesleyan University, the Viola M. Pitts Angel on Assignment Award from the Como Community Center, and Volunteer of the Year by the Texas Council of Child Welfare Boards for two consecutive years.

Hilltop Holdings changes leadership

The Dallas-based financial holding company Hilltop Holdings Inc. has named Jeremy B. Ford and Alan B. White co-CEOs. Ford was previously sole CEO and president of Hilltop Holdings, and White was vice chairman of Hilltop Holdings and CEO of PlainsCapital Corp., a Hilltop subsidiary. Ford will be president and co-CEO and White will be vice chairman and co-CEO of Hilltop Holdings.

Ford said the new Hilltop company structure will provide leadership for the entire organization, promote consistency and accountability, and focus on long-term growth.

“After 36 months of extensive acquisitions, integrations, and organic growth since our initial PlainsCapital Corp. acquisition, we are making strategic changes to our executive roster and organizational platform to position our company for future success,” Ford said. “.… Alan and I are committed to working together to take Hilltop to the next level.”

White will oversee Hilltop’s revenue-generating operations composed of PlainsCapital Bank, PrimeLending, Hilltop Securities Inc. and National Lloyds Corp. Ford will oversee Hilltop’s corporate functions, including accounting and finance, risk and compliance, legal, corporate development and corporate administrative areas.

In conjunction with these leadership moves, Hilltop’s wholly owned subsidiary, PlainsCapital Corp., the holding company for operating entities PlainsCapital Bank and PrimeLending, will be fully integrated into the Hilltop Holdings parent to create a single, unified holding company for the entire organization.

White said, “I look forward to working with Jeremy as we focus on creating a platform that supports the operations of our subsidiary companies, enabling them to do what they do best and focus on revenue generation and growth. We intend to make these strategic changes without impacting the way we do business or affecting the unique, relationship-based corporate culture that drives our success.”

Additional leadership changes at Hilltop Holdings include the recent hiring of former KeyCorp executive William B. Furr, who was named chief financial officer, and the move of Darren E. Parmenter to chief administrative officer. Parmenter previously was Hilltop’s principal financial officer. PlainsCapital Corp.’s former president and COO, James R. Huffines, has moved to chief operating officer for subsidiaries for Hilltop Holdings. In addition, John A. Martin, former CFO of PlainsCapital Corp., has been named chief accounting officer of Hilltop Holdings.

As of June 30, 2016, Hilltop Holdings employed 5,400 people and operated 450 locations in 44 states.

Advertising, Marketing & Public Relations

PAVLOV Advertising promoted Amanda Gibson to director of account service, Allan Cardozo to interactive director and Mallory Ellis to media manager. Gibson will oversee and manage the agency’s account services, including marketing and advertising strategic planning, project management and the implementation of client campaigns. In 12 years at PAVLOV, Gibson has held a variety of senior management positions as the lead on client accounts such as Dallas Fort Worth International Airport, HCA North Texas Hospitals and Texas Christian University Athletics. Gibson is a past president of the American Advertising Federation Fort Worth Chapter.

Cardozo has 10 years of experience creating interactive elements including websites, banner ads, sales presentations and animated rich content. In his new job, he will lead the agency’s interactive team in the research, development and launch of web-based products and services.

Ellis has more than a decade of experience planning, negotiating and buying millions of dollars in advertising annually in a variety of traditional and online media channels.

Honors & Awards

Pete Geren, president and CEO of the Sid W. Richardson Foundation, is one of six University of Texas graduates to receive the 2016 Distinguished Alumnus Award. From 2007-2009, he was the 20th U.S. Secretary of the Army. Geren also served four terms in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1989-1997. In 2001, he joined the Department of Defense as a special assistant to the Secretary of Defense, and in 2005 he was acting secretary of the Air Force. Previously Geren worked as an attorney and businessman in his hometown, Fort Worth. He is the chairman of the Cancer Prevention Research Institute of Texas. He will be presented the award on Oct. 21 in Austin.

Antonio Flores, a fourth-year medical student in Fort Worth, has been named Student Doctor of the Year by the Texas Osteopathic Medical Association. Flores is enrolled in the rural scholar program at the University of North Texas Health Science Center’s Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine.

Elizabeth Gillaspy, director of Texas Christian University’s School for Classical & Contemporary Dance, is the 2016 recipient of the Larry White Excellence in Dance Education Award. Gillaspy began her ballet training in Germany. After studying at the North Carolina School of the Arts and American Ballet Theater School, she toured and performed with the Atlanta Ballet, the Atlanta Ballet Chamber Ensemble, North Shore Music Theater and Casa Manana. She established the first high school dance program in the Fort Worth Independent School District and has received several awards, including the Dance Educator of the Year from the Texas Association of Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance and National Dance Association. Gillaspy joined TCU’s faculty in 1999 and has been director since 2014.

Kent Eastman, Texas state president of Capital One Bank, is the first recipient of the Man Enough to Be a Girl Scout award from Girl Scouts of Northeast Texas. The award was established to recognize men who have made extraordinary efforts in mentoring or empowering women and girls in Northeast Texas. Eastman will be recognized at the Women of Distinction Luncheon on Oct. 7 at the Omni Dallas Hotel.

The University of North Texas College of Information dean Kinshuk (who goes by one name) is the winner of the 2016 Distinguished Development Award by the Association for Education Communications and Technology (AECT). The award is based on Kinshuk’s accomplishments in the area of adaptive learning and dynamic student profiling. He will receive the award at the annual AECT convention in Las Vegas in October.

Dallas franchisee Tariq Ahmed was named Edible Arrangements Franchisee of the Year, and Ron and Cecilia Bolar of Fort Worth won a Pineapple Star award.

Ari Firoozabadi, co-founder of Greysteel, a national commercial real estate investment services firm with offices in Fort Worth and Dallas, received the NAIOP Developing Leaders Award for 2016. This award honors individuals under 35 for their leadership characteristics, professional achievements and community service.

Executive Flight Services LLC dba Executive AirShare secured the International Standard for Business Aircraft Operations Stage 2 certification. The International Business Aviation Council administers the certification, which is effective until July 2018.

Texas Health Resources was recently revalidated for the highest level on the Electronic Medical Record Adoption Model (Stage 7), along with enhancing patient satisfaction in the emergency department.

Radio & Television

CBS 11 promoted Scott Padgett to chief meteorologist. He joins Doug Dunbar and Kaley O’Kelley weekdays on the CBS 11 News at 5, 6 and 10 p.m. Padgett has two decades of experience forecasting weather. He joined CBS 11 News as weekday morning meteorologist in September 2013.

Real Estate

Ebby Halliday, Realtors appointed Suzanne McCabe sales manager of its Arlington and Mansfield offices. McCabe started with Ebby Halliday in 2003 and has spent her real estate career with the company. McCabe grew up in Arlington, lives in the city and is active in local civic affairs. She is a member and past president of the Ladies Auxiliary of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Arlington. She was an ex-officio board member of the Boys & Girls Clubs and also has served on the Community Service Board of Advisors of the Arlington Board of Realtors.

Jeff Whetzel has been appointed sales director for Stewart Title Commercial Services’ Texas region. He is responsible for increasing Stewart’s commercial title market share in Texas and managing the sales efforts in the commercial services centers in Houston and Dallas-Fort Worth. Whetzel rejoins Stewart after serving as senior director of enterprise sales. Most recently, he was vice president of corporate development for a portfolio corporation at Riverside Co., a private equity firm. He will be based in Stewart’s Houston office.

Send newsmakers to Betty Dillard at

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