UHAA is pleased to continue our webinar series that brings programs of interest to our alumni. The opportunity to engage online provides a great avenue for us to connect while expanding our knowledge. As part of this new initiative, dynamic presenters will provide education and insight into a variety of topics, sure to stimulate and inspire. Check out our upcoming webinars below and register to reserve your place – space is limited! If you cannot attend one of our webinars, we have recordings available below for later viewing.

Questions? Contact us at alumni@uh.edu.


Navigating Through Crises

with UH College of Education
Tuesday, November 16 | 6:00 PM

How They Got Here

Stories from Alumni in DC
Wednesday, Dec 1 | 12:00 PM CT

Becoming a Caregiver

What You Should Know
Wednesday. April 27, 2022 | 12:00 PM CT

More Webinars Coming Soon!

Becoming a Caregiver: What You Should Know

With the senior population expected to triple by 2050, more and more individuals are faced with the prospect of becoming a caregiver for their loved ones. If you are facing this situation, tune in to our webinar and learn how to be proactive and take the steps needed to prepare. You will also learn how to navigate the caregiving journey by making smart financial decisions.

Date & Location

Wednesday, April 27,  2022| 12:00 PM CT
Via Zoom – instructions to join will be sent to all registrants prior to the webinar

About Our Speakers

Qiana James (’03): Founder & CEO of Friendly Faces Senior Care

Qiana James is a healthcare executive with an acumen for networking and has built a solid circle of business contacts from multiple industries.  She has a strong nature for coaching, mentoring, and leadership.  She has a very vigorous, determined, idealistic yet bubbly personality. She obtained her BBA in Entrepreneurship & Management from the Bauer College of Business at the University of Houston. She is a graduate of the prestigious Cyvia and Melvyn Wolff Center for Entrepreneurship, the No. 2 Entrepreneurial Programs in the US. She previously worked as a Major Account Executive for Concentra, a division of Select Medical. Having aspired to be an entrepreneur since the tender age of eight, she was finally able to make that dream a reality in 2010 when she formed Friendly Faces Senior Care.  This agency provides private pay in-home caregiver services for seniors; ensuring that seniors can live independent happy lives in the comfort of their own homes and be able to age in place with dignity and grace. Qiana is also the founder of The Doll Foundation, named after her late grandmother who was affectionately called “Mama Doll.” This foundation provides resources and education to caregivers and seniors in need of assistance.

James E. Bashaw (FS ’83): Founder & CEO of James E. Bashaw & Co.

James E. “JEB” Bashaw is a fourth generation Texan who has been in the financial services business since 1983. Mr. Bashaw started his career with Merrill Lynch as a trainee, has been a partner in two NYSE firms and opened his own firm eponymously named in 2001. Mr. Bashaw is active in his community where he currently serves on the Board of Directors of John XXIII Catholic High School in Katy, Texas, Past Chairman of the Board and board member of Catholic Charities, Chairman of the Investment Committee and Board member for the Catholic Endowment Foundation of Galveston-Houston, the investment committee and Board Member of the Christus Foundation and several others. He is a committeeman for the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo and active fundraiser for the Huntington Disease Society of America. Mr. Bashaw has received numerous industry awards including finalist for Manager of the Year in 2009, Barron’s top advisor in Texas in 2011, Finalist for the Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the year in 2012, TOP 100 University of Houston alumnus owned businesses in 2014 and was named Alumnus of the Year and presented the Ignatian Award for his alma mater, Strake Jesuit College Preparatory in January of 2015.

How They Got Here

About the Event

Join UHAA’s UH2U Alumni Webinar series for a lunchtime chat with two UH alumni with engaging stories.  Learn how their unique paths led them from the campus of the University of Houston to Washington DC, their fascinating careers, and how an alumni event introduced them and formed a career connection.

Date & Location

Wednesday, December 1, 2021  | 12:00 PM
Via Zoom – instructions to join will be sent to all registrants prior to the webinar

The Panel

Holly Ham (’94, MBA ’04)

A proud graduate of the University of Houston, Bauer College, Holly Ham has an extensive technology, business, and public service career across the globe and in Washington, D.C. In March 2021, Ms. Ham joined Precise Software Solutions, Inc. (Precise) based in Rockville, MD as its Chief Growth Officer, helping the firm drive strategic growth across governments and new markets. Precise is an SBA-certified 8(a) small business with award-winning innovative solutions to help governments effectively utilize technology to improve mission critical work.

Ms. Ham previously served in the Executive Branch of the U.S. federal government from January 2017 to January 2021 in senior executive roles in three federal agencies and four executive offices. Serving the American people across the United States focused on education, commerce, housing, and civil rights was a tremendous privilege and honor, providing personal and professional growth channels for Ms. Ham.

Prior to her work in Washington, D.C., Ms. Ham had a 22-year career in private enterprise focused on increasing organizations’ productivity through technology. She spent the early part of her career as a management consultant for Fortune 100 firms seeking to optimize strategic sourcing, procurement, finance and accounting, and human resources operations. Her work enabled hundreds of millions of dollars of ongoing savings for those firms by increasing efficiency through a combined model of business improvement processes, technology, and redeploying and retraining human talent. Ms. Ham drove key business growth in sales and business development by leading multiple teams working closely with corporate executives to provide strategic solutions to complex senior-level challenges, including enterprise data management and security, enterprise resource planning initiatives and enhancements, applications modernization, and cloud initiatives.

Ms. Ham received both her Bachelor and Master of Business Administration degrees, graduating as a member of Beta Gamma Sigma, from the University of Houston. She lives in Kingwood, Texas with her husband, two children and Bichon Frise.

Brian Montgomery (’86)

Current Chairman of Gate House Strategies, LLC, Brian D. Montgomery served as the Deputy Secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) until January 2021.  Montgomery was previously confirmed by the U.S. Senate in May 2018 as the Federal Housing Commissioner—Assistant Secretary of Housing at HUD. Montgomery’s confirmation marks the first time an individual has served as head of the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) twice, and under three different Administrations.

As Deputy Secretary, Montgomery oversaw both the FHA and Ginnie Mae while also managing the day-to-day operations of the agency including Disaster Recovery, the Office of the Chief Financial Officer, the Office of the Chief Information Officer, and the Office of Administration. Montgomery also advised and assisted the Secretary in leading the Department’s nearly 8,000 employees and $53 billion annual budget. Montgomery oversaw more than $55 billion in Disaster Recovery funding targeted at 17 states and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.

Montgomery led the agency’s COVID-19 response which included a myriad of process and policy modifications and extensive coordination with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) to assist FHA borrowers impacted by the coronavirus. Montgomery also helped develop solutions for Public Housing Authorities and subsidized housing property owners dealing with impacted tenants as well as state/local governments and tribal nations as they assisted vulnerable constituencies including homeless populations.

Montgomery worked with Congress to help secure appropriations to help fund FHA’s $80 million generational information technology modernization known as FHACatalyst.  Among many improvements, FHACatalyst replaced paper endorsement and claim files with digital data submission and will ultimately offer a full end-to-end digital platform and provide lenders and servicers a more robust suite of services.

Montgomery’s additional government experience includes serving as Deputy Assistant to President George W. Bush from 2001 to 2005, including serving as Secretary of the Cabinet from 2003 to 2005. While serving as Director of Presidential Advance, Montgomery was traveling with President George W. Bush on September 11, 2001 and later awarded “September 11 Presidential Distinguished Service” recognition.

Montgomery has testified on more than 25 occasions before Congressional Committees and Sub-committees to include House Financial Services, House Appropriations, Senate Banking, and Senate Appropriations. Montgomery recently joined the Board of Directors of private mortgage insurer Radian (NYSE: RDN) and Reverse Mortgage Investment Trust.

A Texas native, Montgomery holds a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from the University of Houston and attended the University of Texas at Austin.  Montgomery resides in Alexandria, Virginia.

Grad School 101

About the Event

In partnership with the UH Graduate School, this webinar will provide tips about choosing a graduate program and school, preparing a strong application, and funding your graduate studies.  Includes Q&A time for answering specific questions.

Date & Location

Tuesday, December 8, 2020 | 5:30 PM CT
Instructions to join will be sent to all registrants prior to the webinar.

About the Panel

Sarah C. Larsen
is the Vice Provost and Dean of the Graduate School at the University of Houston and a Professor of Chemistry (2018-present). At the University of Houston, she oversees all graduate and professional programs. She has focused on increasing graduate enrollment and on promoting and implementing professional development opportunities for graduate students.   Currently, she is also the chair of the Association of Texas Graduate Schools.
Dr. Larsen earned her bachelor’s degree in Chemistry and Mathematics from Bowdoin College and her PhD in Chemistry from Harvard University. She was a Department of Energy Distinguished Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of California, Berkeley and the Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory prior to starting a faculty position in Chemistry at the University of Iowa where she also served as Senior Associate Dean for Academic Affairs in the Graduate College.

Susan E. Scarrow
is Associate Dean for Graduate Studies in the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences.  In this capacity she oversees recruiting, admissions and student success for the college’s 12 doctoral programs and 16 master’s degrees.  She is a Professor of Political Science and former chair and graduate director in the department of Political Science.  She holds a University of Houston Moores Professorship.

Author Talk with Chitra Divakaruni

Author of Before We Visit the Goddess

About the Event

As chosen by our participants, UHAA Book Club’s next selection is the best seller Before We Visit the Goddess by University of Houston’s own, Dr. Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni, Betty and Gene McDavid Professor of Creative Writing.

As we begin reading, join us for a virtual introduction with Dr. Divakaruni.

Then for the next several weeks, the UHAA Book Club will guide readers through thoughtful discussion in a private online forum. There is no cost to participate — you’ll just need to get a copy of the book to enjoy!

Join the conversation and the community of the UHAA Book Club!

You do not need to be enrolled in the UHAA Book Club to attend the Author Talk. 

Date & Location

Tuesday, August 10 | 12:00 PM
Via Zoom – instructions to join will be sent to all registrants prior to the webinar

About the Panel

Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni
Betty and Gene McDavid Professor of Creative Writing
University of Houston – College of Liberal Arts and Social Science

Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni is an award-winning and bestselling author, poet, activist and teacher of writing. Her work has been published in over 50 magazines, including the Atlantic Monthly and The New Yorker, and her writing included in over 50 anthologies, including Best American Short Stories, O.Henry Prize Stories and the Pushcart Prize Anthology. Her books have been translated into 29 languages, including Dutch, Hebrew, Bengali, Russian and Japanese; many have been used for campus-wide and city-wide reads. Several of her works have been made into films and plays. She lives in Houston with her husband Murthy and has two sons, Anand and Abhay. She loves to connect with readers on Facebook, Twitter (@cdivakaruni) and Instagram (@divakarunichitra).


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