Board of Directors
Launch Pad Job Club is led by our all volunteer Board of Directors. Each member is elected to a three year term. We provide guidance and direction to the organization.
President – Kathy Lansford-Powell
Kathy is the creator and Facilitator of Launch Pad Job Club, Austin’s largest nonprofit networking and support group for job seekers through which members are informed, motivated, and entertained as they slog through the job search process.
Parliamentarian – Seaufy (Sophie) Peg Frey
Professionally diversified with proven ability in cultivating strong relationships with clients and stakeholders. Following studies at the LBJ School of Public Affairs, served in Texas state government in labor economics, management of workforce programs, and area non-profit leadership. Currently a Senior Certified Professional Candidate with the Society of Human Resource Management.
Skills: Program Management, Community Engagement, Data Management, Microsoft Office, French
Website – Scott Killen
Scott is an Enterprise Agile Coach. He tries to forget that at one time or another he’s held CSM, CSP, PMP, SAFe SA, SAFe SPC and CSQE certifications. Of more note, he’s taught and mentored many, many hundreds of people fundamental and advanced agile development skills in corporate, university and non-profit settings.
In service to his community Scott was founder and first President of Agile Austin, co-Chair of Keep Austin Agile 2018, President of Austin Software Process Improvement Network, Chair of the PMI Technical Local Interest Group and a member of several other non-profit boards.
When not thinking about how to build better software, faster, he tells stories to children and adults of all ages. Previously recognized by the Texas Commission for the Arts, he’s told stories in diverse venues to audiences large and small, but stories around a campfire are still his favorite. Counter-intuitively, he feels honored to be an award winning liar, having placed second in two contests. And, to close, no lie, he’s a Distinguished Toastmaster!
Secretary – Alper Akanser
Alper Akanser is a software engineer at Indeed with a focus on search relevance in job search. He currently serves with Austin nonprofits Launch Pad Job Club and Code2College in the areas of career growth and tech education, respectively. He received his BSc, MSc and PhD in Electrical and Computer Engineering from Georgia Tech. His dissertation focused on cooperative communication in wireless sensor networks with research interest in computer science, digital signal processing, wireless communications and transportation engineering. He has previously been in engineering, research and Instruction roles at Usable Health in Atlanta, Georgia Tech in Atlanta, and Near East University in Cyprus.
Member – Pete Reitmeyer
Pete started his career at IBM in Austin as a Software Usability Design Engineer (now called User Experience or “UX”) and then moved on to hardware and software project management as well as development, quality assurance, usability, and documentation management positions. He’s been able to stay in Austin for his entire career and has held various senior management as well as non-management positions with such companies as BMC Software, Charles Schwab, and CACI. He enjoys utilizing his varied experience to help teams work cross-functionally and now leads the Program/Project management team at Trend Micro – TippingPoint. Pete is also very active in volunteering with the local Agile Austin community, specifically with the yearly Keep Austin Agile regional conferences, having been a co-chair for the 2018 Keep Austin Agile conference with over 750 attendees.
Pete is a “graduate” of Launch Pad Job Club and a former Project Manager for Leap to Success. He also enhanced his own training with classes through ConsultingSolutions.net, and thus recognizes the great value that all of these programs provide. As a former member of a local school board as well as various other volunteering experiences including coaching youth sports, he looks forward to being a part of the Launch Pad Job Club board and further serving the community in any and every way possible.
Member – Latrice Rideout
Latrice Rideout is a Certified Training Consultant and Account Manager with Dale Carnegie Training, one of the world’s largest corporate and human relations training providers focused on improving the performance of individuals, teams, and organizations.
She is Principal Consultant with WORKFLOW, LLC and provides employment screening services, verifications, workplace assessments, and research analyses. Latrice holds the CCSP (Certified Career Services Provider) credential through NCDA (National Career Development Association).
She is a member of AHRMA (Austin Human Resource Management Association), Austin Career Development Network, Association for Talent Development (Austin Chapter) and NCDA (National Career Development Association).
Latrice holds a Ph.D. in Psychology with a specialization in Industrial/Organizational Psychology. Her diverse career has included seven years in higher education administration in the areas of institutional effectiveness/institutional research, and five years in mental health/counseling and social services. She has also taught as an adjunct instructor at the community college and university levels.
Member – Roland Murphy
My own cultural competency is built on a lifetime of leadership and international experiences. I Enlisted in the Navy right out of high school which is the most diverse organization in the world traveling to Europe the Middle East and Central America my prior upbringing prepared me perfectly for this organization due to the fact that I grew up surrounded by cultures different from my own, I was encouraged by my parents to identify and value both the commonalities and differences of this human experience. As a Naval supervisor exposure to diverse peoples was instrumental in shaping my worldview and values.
Since my military retirement my passion has been to assist people with employment or self employment while developing the skills necessary to succeed as productive human beings contributing to global innovation. My workforce development philosophy is centered on servant leadership and the idea that true innovation derives from a diverse workforce now or in the future.
- Workforce Development Manager Housing Authority City of Austin Current
- Founder/ President of both The United Sates Disability Chamber of Commerce & The Disability Chamber of Commerce
- Texas State Military Representative (Department Of Defense)
- Business Developer (Texas Workforce Commission)
- Director of Admissions, Enrollment & Placement (Higher Learning Institution)
- Employment Specialist (Workforce Solutions)
- Recruiting Manager (United States Navy Retired)
- Director CRP (Assisting People with Disabilities)
- Vocational Rehabilitation (Job Coach / Skills Trainer)
- Master Degree Public Administration
- Bachelor Degree Healthcare Administration
Member – Opal Berry
I have an extensive background in business. My experience includes ownership of a fast-food franchise; Fortune 500 Marketing, Advertising planning and Human Resources; business start-up strategist; Contract management in both private sector and government.
For 17 years I served as a volunteer curriculum developer and facilitator with INROADS internship program. I developed their original “Dress for Success” and “Transitioning from Student Life to Corporate Life” curriculum. INROADS is a national college level internship program for upperclassmen at major universities who are competing for paid internships with Fortune 500 companies.
In my work as an Employment Coach I help people develop a positive mind set and prepare for successful job interviews. A positive mind set and good preparation is key to job seekers presenting themselves in their most positive light, making them highly desirable to potential employers.
As a motivator I help people recognize their talents and remember their value. In troubled times it is easy to forget all that you have to offer the world. When you can see your strengths and remember your accomplishments the sky is the limit!
Member – Kathy Holmes
Kathy moved to the Austin area in 2016 from Houston where she spent the majority of her career at NASA, the Johnson Space Center, working on Human Spaceflight programs, with a few years in oil and gas. After earning her B.S. in Biology, she “launched” her career in the Neurophysiology Lab where she flew NASA’s zero-G aircraft conducting motion sickness research. She spent many years as a biomedical engineer flight controller in Mission Control-Houston for the Space Shuttle and NASA/MIR programs and was a technical trainer for flight controllers, and occasionally astronauts, that included designing training programs and conducting simulations in the International Space Station (ISS) Lab module mockup. She also worked for the ISS Program in numerous senior management contractor roles including Operations, Contracts Management, Program, and Project Management.
She holds various certifications including NASA Instructor Training, NDIA Configuration and Data Management, and Project Management Professional (PMP) training through Consulting Solutions.net. She is currently applying her wide variety of skills full time as a Servicing Project Manager in the mortgage industry helping New American Funding start up their Project Management Office in Austin.
She was a volunteer Project Manager with Launch Pad’s Leap to Success Program and a LPJC graduate. She is currently serving on the Development Committee focused on helping to identify and obtain new sources of funding.
Member – Vera Natasha Hinojosa
Vera Natasha Hinojosa’s career has included large, global companies, pre-IPO start-ups, and several others in-between. It has also spanned industries including consulting, consumer goods, financial technology and Recruiting/Employment services. The ride has been diverse, and the roles have followed suit. However, through all of this variety, there has been one constant: the desire and ability to create healthy organizational change that sticks.
Her passion for ensuring the existence of effective processes, empowered teams and purposeful work has helped her to successfully and repeatedly lead large-scale, multi-million dollar endeavors with happy, thriving teams that were ready to do it all again!
As the Vice President of Enterprise Initiatives at Netspend, Vera led the flagship Social Impact program, Community Connect, which raised nearly $800,000 for scholarships in 2018 and 2019. It was the perfect opportunity to use her large-scale execution abilities on something filled with purpose.
Today, Vera has joined Indeed as the Director of the Austin site for Product, Technology and Engineering where she is responsible for ensuring that the humans in these organizations are the best in the industry and can build the career of their dreams at Indeed.
Vera is a certified Professional Co-Active Coach (CPCC), and she is a double graduate of the University of Texas at Austin. She holds a BBA in Finance and a Master’s degree in Human Dimensions of Organizations, a program focused on Human-centered organizational change, Leadership and Innovation. For her Master’s thesis, Vera studied the effects of meaning and purpose on employee happiness and productivity, and she has enjoyed the subsequent search for daily application of these concepts.
Member – Sam McMurray
Sam is a professional writer and aspiring entrepreneur. He has a varied professional background ranging from private security to software development and equity trading. He has been a technical writer since 2016 and graduated in 2018 from Texas State with a Master’s in Technical Communication. He’s worked for big and small companies in the Austin area, in industries including fintech, healthcare, and game publishing.
An alumni of LaunchPad himself, Sam came to LPJC with a passion for grant writing and a strong desire to give back to the community that supported him. His primary role is to find financial support for the club and help the Executive team spearhead their major initiatives, including the Expo and annual Amplify Austin fundraiser.
In the wild, Sam can be found learning new skills or starting new ventures. He’s always looking for a new opportunity, and is excited to bring that same mindset in support of LPJC.
Non-voting member – Treasurer – Gohar Palayan
Non-voting member – Shannon Mantrom
Shannon Mantrom is Executive Director of Leap to Success, the signature program of Launch Pad Job Club in Austin, TX. The program offers pro bono, professional projects assistance to Austin and Central Texas nonprofit organizations. Since its founding in 2012, Leap to Success has delivered over 115 projects to more than 100 nonprofits totaling over $500K in services. The program won the “2013 Nonprofit Advocate” award from PeopleFund and in 2017 won the “Nonprofit of the Year” award by the Austin LGBT Chamber of Commerce.
Shannon’s background is 20 years in sales and event coordination (with time off to raise two amazing daughters!) and it is Shannon and her Leap to Success team who coordinate the annual Launch Pad Job Club Employment Expo, the club’s annual fundraiser and service to its membership held each September.