Jessica Attas, BA ’00, MA ’02, was named foundation president of the Texas Association of Business (TAB), the state’s chamber of commerce. She joined TAB in early 2021 as senior vice president and foundation executive director, and she continues to serve as a TAB senior vice president. In 2021, Attas was elected to the board of directors for the Texas Lyceum, a statewide leadership organization focused on identifying and developing the next generation of leadership in the State of Texas and identifying constructive private and public sector responses to the issues facing our state. She was appointed to the Texas Lyceum Executive Committee earlier this year as vice president of stewardship, working with corporate investors and partners in the Lyceum’s mission.
Amanda Jane Kujda, BA ’00, was appointed head of the Houston office of HFW, a leading global law firm focusing in the aerospace, commodities, construction, energy, insurance and shipping sectors. HFW has offices throughout the Americas, Europe, the Middle East and the Asia-Pacific region.
Sarah Nelson, BBA ’00, and Shelley Reeves, BBA ’00, authored and self-published A Perfect Storm: Devotions During a Crisis. The 28-day devotional is written against the backdrop of a true story to encourage and inspire people who are navigating their own perfect storms.
Peyton Healey, BA ’01, JD ’05, and Chrissy Healey, MBA ’04, of Dallas established the Melissa Burch Resilience Scholarship, a Hord Challenge Scholarship, in honor of the friendship between the two Baylor families — the Burch family and the Healey family. The scholarship supports students in Baylor’s College of Arts and Sciences.
Travis J. Odom, BA ’02, JD ’06, joined the Houston office of Duane Morris LLP as a partner in the firm’s employment, labor, benefits and immigration practice group. He previously was a shareholder at Littler Mendelson PC, headquartered in San Francisco. Odom represents and counsels clients in all types of labor and employment matters arising under federal and state laws, including unfair competition and trade secrets, discrimination, harassment, retaliation, wage-and-hour claims, unemployment benefit disputes and workers’ compensation. He appears in state and federal courts, including appellate courts, and has specific knowledge of the Texas Covenants Not to Compete Act. Odom works with financial institutions, industrial services providers, retailers and others. While at Baylor, he was senior notes and comments editor for Baylor Law Review and was a briefing attorney to 14th District Court of Appeals Justice Wanda McKee Fowler.
Mike Sander, BBA ’03, was named president of the HistoryMaker Homes Dallas-Fort Worth division. He leads the homebuilder division operations in land, sales and construction.
Cody J. Cazares, BA ’04, is national security adviser to U.S. Rep. Michael McCaul (Texas 10th), ranking member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. Cazares, who previously served in and around the Texas Legislature, earned a Master of International Affairs in national security and diplomacy from the Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M University in 2021.
Jason D. James, BBA ’04, was named vice president of operations for Optum, part of the UnitedHealth Group family of businesses. He joins a company whose mission is to help people live healthier lives and help make the health system work better for everyone. Kassidy Helms James, BS ’03, is a physician assistant practicing hospital medicine at Parkland Hospital in Dallas. Jason and Kassidy live in Flower Mound, TX, with their three children.
Amy Mitchell Kahle, BBA ’04, and her husband Tim opened Communion Neighborhood Cooperative, a coffee, restaurant, co-working and events venue in Richardson, TX, in 2017. The small business has been recognized by Dallas Observer, Sprudge, Richardson Living and other media outlets. Amy hopes to inspire other women to pursue business goals through leadership and hard work. She was also featured in Voyage Dallas, Communion and the HGTV show Building Roots. The Kahles live in Richardson with their four children: Samuel, Ruthie and twins Judah and Abigail.
Michael Bracken, BA ’05, was nominated for the Mystery Writers of America 2022 Edgar Award for Best Short Story. He and James A. Hearn co-authored Blindsided, a short story published in Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine. Bracken is an accomplished writer who has authored multiple works.
Luis D. Concepcion, BS ’08, moved to Wisconsin from Texas and married Elizabeth Gibbons in August 2021. They met three years ago and immediately fell in love. He was also promoted to Ascension National after 10 years of working for local Ascension Ministries.
Matthew K. Pierce, BBA ’09, of Atlanta established the Marsha Pierce-Tomlin Endowed Scholarship, a Hord Challenge Scholarship, which honors his mother Marsha Pierce-Tomlin and supports students in Baylor’s Honors College.