Graduation Pic

The Galveston Regional Chamber of Commerce’s 2023 Class of Leadership Galveston graduated during a ceremony on Thursday, June 15, 2023.

VJ Tramonte of Joe Tramonte Realty Inc. gave an inspiring message to the graduates. He encouraged them to never give up on their dreams and to always stay in touch with each other.

The 2023 class began their Leadership Galveston experience in September 2022 with an overnight retreat at The Tremont House Hotel. The nine-month program, designed to cultivate Galveston’s leaders for a brighter future, provided participants a blend of seminar-style learning, open forums, tours, meetings, and unscripted discussions to learn about various aspects of the community. Each month, business, community, educational, nonprofit, political and tourism leaders offered the class insights about each industry sector and their personal leadership journeys.

Post-graduation, the class was treated to a celebration during the Galveston Regional Chamber’s mixer at the Lasker Inn B&B Wedding & Event Venue.

“The Leadership Galveston program is building awareness among the leaders of our community about the many aspects that comprise Galveston,” said Lorraine Grubbs, facilitator of the Leadership Galveston program. “Whether a new or a long-time leader, we are educating and inspiring participants about the history and the bright future of our Island.”

Leadership Galveston Class of 2023:

Brian Barnes, Classic Ford
Doreen Bridges, Galveston College
Wyatt Burchett, Galveston Wharves
Angelic Bush, UTMB
Charlene Christ, The Big Store
Amber Cyr, Sea Star Base
Kiki Davis, Twitter
Jennifer Edenfield, GISD
Melissa Elias, Coastal Community FCU
Stephanie Fontenot, GISD
Bryson Frazier, Park Board of Trustees
Mallory Frisby, Hospitality Health ER
Karen Gandy, Better Homes and Gardens Gary Greene Realty
Deanna Gonzales, Galveston Wharves
Shane Gordon, Gulf Coast Personnel Company
Casey Gross, Memorial Hermann Hospital Southeast
Timothy M Harlin, UTMB
Preston Hill, UTMB
Judi Hoggatt, Sendout Cards
Wesley Holland, GISD
JaLene Thatcher Kambhu, Galveston Regional Chamber of Commerce
Phillip Malek, GISD
Kimberlee Marza, Odyssey Academy
Lynn McGinley, UTMB
Scott Moon, Visit Galveston
Jesus Moya, Rosenberg Library
Mary-Catherine Munson, GISD
Reid Nelson, Tom Schwenk
Victoria Newsome, Mortlock Funding Group
Camille Perkins, Fairwinds Pet Hospice
Monica Puentes, Tremont House
Wendy Reece, EDP Engineers and Inspectors
Robert Schwager
JR Shaw, Unscripted Experience
Brian Schwenk, Coldwell Banker TGRE
Amanda Simpson-Rickaway, UTMB
Marilyn Swanson, Swanson Health Insurance
Kelly Wainscott, Coastal Community FCU
James Wilson, Texas Tail Distillery
Karen W Lancaster, UTMB
Michael Worthen, Moody Bank

Those interested in becoming an emerging leader or strengthening current involvement in the community should visit For more information about the Leadership Galveston program or joining the 2024 class, contact Lorraine Grubbs or Mae Francis at

About Leadership Galveston
Founded in 1984, Leadership Galveston is a dynamic and interactive eight-month experience designed to provide our community with an enduring source of leaders who are prepared and committed to serving their region. In 2018, the Chamber’s Leadership Advisory Board, comprised of the program’s pivotal partner, the Moody Foundation, as well as representatives from UTMB Health, Galveston College and other consultants, worked diligently to structure the class curriculum to include an in-depth look at the critical issues and opportunities within the community. The program is overseen by Lorraine Grubbs, director of membership of the Galveston Regional Chamber of Commerce and Carrie Davis, stage manager of The Grand 1894 Opera House.

“Leadership Galveston creates a pipeline of the next generation of CEOs, volunteers, entrepreneurs, and community leaders who work with others and plan for the future,” said Gina M. Spagnola, President and CEO of the Galveston Regional Chamber of Commerce. “Strong business leaders who see the vision for the region’s potential create a promising foundation for businesses and communities to thrive.”

A skills-building program, Leadership Galveston aims to inspire and train rising leaders; provide an educational experience with a strong emphasis on social and community awareness; and challenge participants to apply their talents within their community while providing an opportunity to become involved. Through hands-on experiences the candidates fully explore topics such as city government, economic development, health and research services, education, philanthropy, arts, tourism and more.