MEET THE AUTMHQ BOARD
Our outstanding board is made up of members who are deeply committed to our mission and have a strong desire for stewardship and service. These are the exceptional leaders who support AUTMHQ's efforts to empower our communities.
President and CEO
Michael Ward Jr.
Michael Ward Jr. is a social entrepreneur who focuses on STEAM, workforce development, and economic empowerment. Originally from Miami, FL, Michael began his career at Oracle in enterprise sales, focusing on cloud and on-premise technology. During this time, Michael also led Oracle’s Black employee resource group to increase the recruitment, engagement, and upward mobility of Oracle’s Black employees. After Oracle, Michael spent some time at ADP and Primal7 where he gained a better understanding of human capital management and Austin’s startup ecosystem.
Currently, Michael leads Austin Urban Technology Movement (AUTMHQ) as President and CEO. He is also the Co-Founder of TwoWards Solutions, Co-Hosts Culture Crawl ATX, and sits on the following boards throughout Central Texas: Greater Austin STEM Ecosystem, the University of Texas at Austin Cockrell School of Engineering, and the Texas Science and Engineering Fair. Michael is also a community partner of the IT Caucus of the Texas House.
Before starting his tech career and entrepreneurship journey, Michael earned a degree in International Relations at Miami Dade College and two degrees in Political Science and Global Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Mike Yates is an educator, writer, public speaker, and entrepreneur from Houston, Texas. Mike works for Alpha, an innovative K-12 school in Austin, Texas where he specializes in developing great instructor workshops in order to teach life skills like public speaking or entrepreneurship or design thinking.
Mike also leads the Alpha Everyone Team which is the DEI arm of the school, ensuring that Alpha is a place where all students can learn.
Mike has been on the TEDx stage twice, hosts a podcast called School Sucks, and writes for several large education publications. Suffice it to say, he is obsessed with changing education.
María I. Campos is a servant leader with over 20 years of experience in social justice. She currently serves as Director of Strategic Initiatives and Grants at CommUnityCare. Prior to joining CommUnityCare, Ms. Campos served as Regional Director managing operations for Head Start programming along a multi-county region in the Rio Grande Valley. There, she was nominated as Child Advocate of the Year from Children at Risk.
Before that, Ms. Campos oversaw the development of the 2020 Decennial Census operations at the grassroots and grasstops levels for Austin/Travis, Central Texas, and the surrounding rural region, serving in various leadership capacities, addressing the historic undercount which subsequently led to additional representation.
Ms. Campos developed Mi Hermana’s Keeper, a participatory action research project and report, the first of its kind, improving services for Latina youth that has been utilized to train providers nationwide.
A native of Austin and a graduate of St. Edward's University, Ms. Campos has deep expertise in strategic planning and program development and has been committed to serving organizations leading transformational change, and building community.
She received her Masters from the City University of New York-Baruch, where she was selected as a National Urban Fellow, and received the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Community Empowerment Award. Ms. Campos has also served on the MEASURE working group to improve birthing outcomes for Black and Latina women. She is a 2020 New Leaders Council Alumni and is proud to serve on the AUTMHQ board and the Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas Community Board.
Andrei Rogers is a Principal CyberSecurity Analyst for Blackbaud. A native Austinite, Andrei graduated from Texas State University with a degree in Criminal Justice. He has worked in the tech field for over 20 years.
Andrei enjoys volunteer work in the community on a number of social causes and is currently volunteering with the non-profit organization Austin Urban Technology Movement led by Michael Ward to address the diversity gap in the tech space. In his free time, Andrei enjoys outdoor activities, catching up with the latest Cyber Security News, and doing home improvement projects with his wife.
Maria Brown-Spence brings deep experience crafting and implementing program strategies around a broad range of CSR and ESG practices, including environmental sustainability, community impact, employee engagement, reporting, and communications. Skilled at engaging and collaborating with cross-functional stakeholders. She stays laser-focused on delivering value for teams and driving toward meaningful impact. Currently serving as the Director of Environmental, Social & Governance (ESG) at SThree, Maria creates targeted strategies to advance the brand's purpose and inclusion initiatives to create a more diverse STEM talent pipeline.
In addition to her corporate role, Maria is the Founder of Hearts2Heal. A 501c3 nonprofit organization providing mental health and bereavement services and solutions. Hearts2Heal has donated over 1 million units of PPE, clothing, and cleaning supplies to support COVID-19 outreach. Facilitated over 40 mental health workshops, and provided wellness consulting to over 9 nonprofit organizations and more.
Maria Brown-Spence received her B.S. in Strategic Communications from Texas Wesleyan University. Maria serves as a Board Member for AUTHQ, City of Austin-Veterans Affairs Commission. Founding Executive Sponsor for military-connected Employee Resource Group at STHree. Maria can be reached at maria @hearts2heal.org.
Pearly A. McQueen, IV
Pearly A. McQueen, IV is a new member of the Board of Directors for AUTMHQ. He is also the Chief of Staff, Finance at Indeed responsible for organization-wide strategic planning, financial modeling, and senior executive advisory. Prior to joining Indeed Pearly amassed 15+ years of experience working in various technology and consulting organizations.
Pearly specializes in project/program management, product management, and portfolio management. Pearly has led large geographically distributed teams to deliver countless large-scale global programs over the course of his career. Pearly holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and an MBA, from Hampton University. He is a former President and current Member of the Board of Directors for the Austin Alumni Chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. Pearly is passionate about expanding career opportunities, development, and growth to underserved communities, and looks forward to leveraging his professional experience and network to make a positive impact through AUTMHQ.
Tasha A. McCarter
Tasha is passionate about climate change and issues that impact women and people of color. Her life work includes investing nearly ten years in the Renewable Energy industry with an emphasis on Power Systems. Prior to that, she spent over 15 years in Business leadership and electrical engineering/technical roles. Tasha is currently the Vice President of Solar Engineering at RWE Renewables, where her responsibilities include leading the design and development of Utility Scale Solar Plants and Substations.
Tasha is a licensed Professional Engineer in six US States and a certified Project Management Professional. In addition to her professional experience, Tasha serves in various advisory capacities including as a Board Member of Calculated Genius, a Board Member of Austin Urban Tech Movement, and Advisory Board Member of CELI EDICT (Empowering Diversity in Clean Tech) Program. Tasha is a CELI (Clean Energy Leadership Institute) and CEBN (Clean Energy Business Network) Maria Telkes Fellow.
Rudi Ngnepi earned bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Electrical Engineering from the University of Oklahoma and has been working at NI for the last 16 years.
With a passion for entrepreneurship and talent development, Rudi co-founded a branch of National Instruments’ Planet NI program to focus on Africa. He drove public and private partnerships, developed global mentorship models, all geared to enable individuals to solve local challenges.
In 2017, he took on the role of Head of Global Talent Acquisition, Workforce Planning and HR Business Analytics within the Global Human Resources organization at NI. He led the organization through the modernization of recruitment across NI’s 45+ global offices and implementing recruitment strategies to meet future business needs.
In 2019, he was promoted to Global Director and launched the company’s first comprehensive new graduate strategy with a purpose of accelerating time to promotion for entry level talent with a focus on 50% diversity for new grads, a 6 weeks long onboarding program and a newly created rotation program.
In June 2021, Rudi took on a new role as Global Director, Sales Enablement Platforms, with the primary responsibility to ensure that we can effectively disseminate business content to all of our channels (direct Sales, indirect sales, partners).
Outside of work, Rudi is on the Board of Directors of the Austin Classical Guitar organization, AUTMHQ and a Vice President of the African Leadership Bridge. He has founded a dinner immersive series with a purpose of sharing culture, making connections and building communities over experiential curated meals.
He has completed 80+ dinners representing African, European and Asian cultures while exposing 3000+ people to these new under-represented cultures. He was the food sponsor for the 2022 AfroTech conference in Austin.