Texas Emerging Leaders Board

TNOYS’ Texas Emerging Leaders Board (TELB) was developed in partnership with the Aspen Institute Forum for Community Solutions and Young Invincibles.

The TELB is made up of young people who have lived experience in systems and who have also faced disconnection from school or work. Throughout a 12-month term, TELB members advise on the creation of better pathways to career and academic success for systems-impacted youth and young adults. Learn more about the TELB here.

Texas Emerging Leaders Board (TELB) Bios

Annie Dhakal (She/her)

Annie is an undergraduate college student who has faced hardships adapting to various environments as an immigrant. She joined TELB in order to create change for others who have faced similar experiences. She wishes to help them excel in their future as a strong individual.

Doris Ortiz (She/her)

Doris Ortiz is an honors student at the Alamo Colleges District. She was nominated as the AlamoPROMISE Student of the Month for San Antonio College in April 2022. Growing up, Doris went through several challenges. She went through a transformation and now loves being involved in school and civic engagement. After finding support systems at various institutions, Doris became inspired to help other opportunity youth by sharing her story and participating in advocacy. She is excited to start this mission as a TELB member.

Liz Medina-Madrigal (She/her)

Elizabeth Medina-Madrigal is currently a student at Texas State University. She is a sociology major with double minors in Latina/o Studies and Peace and Social Justice Studies. She is a graduate of TNOYS’ Young Adult Leadership Council (YALC). As a TELB member, she looks forward to increasing resources for young people to receive opportunities for higher education and secure employment.

Grace Goetz (They/them)

Grace Goetz is a part-time college student working towards a Bachelor’s degree in Software Development at Austin Community College. They are also a full-time parent to their five-year-old son. Grace joined the TELB after graduating from TNOYS’ YALC program,\ to strengthen their advocacy skills and to learn more about the seven systems in Texas that TNOYS works in. They are excited to be a part of the important work that TNOYS does and to have opportunities for their voice to be heard. 

Montoya Thomas (She/her)

Montoya entered foster care at age five due to a history of abuse. She lived in 12 foster homes and two residential treatment centers. Montoya has participated and advocated in P.E.A.K.S camp, Teen Conference, Youth Leadership Council, Lone Star Conference, and Youth in Action at the State Capital. She was also involved in the Houston Alumni Youth (HAY) Center fundraiser with guest speaker Simone Biles. Montoya studied Abroad in Beijing, Hangzhou, and Shanghai, China during the summer of 2016. Montoya was previously an All-Star with FosterClub where she continues to advocate as a voice for youth. Montoya enjoys traveling, and public speaking.

Moony Williams (She/her)

Moony Williams moved to Houston two years ago to further her education and find better job opportunities. As a youth, Moony experienced many ups and downs in life and her goal is to uplift youth and be a voice for them because she believes they are the future. She also wants to be a voice for the LGBTQIA+ community. She’s currently a member of the Youth Action Board (YAB) for Collective Action for Youth and a leader for the Youth Voices Empowerment (YVE) for Montrose Grace Place. When it comes to advocating for youth, Moony endeavors to help others; she wants to help them learn to advocate for themselves. She currently attends Florida Career College (FCC) for her HVAC certification. She hopes to soon reach her goals and find happiness.

Pablo Pratt (He/him)

Pablo Pratt is a sitting member of the TELB at TNOYS. With over four years of experience advocating for underserved communities, Pablo is determined to stand up for all young adults in Texas. He wants to ensure that their strengths are recognized, their voices are heard, and that they have access to the resources, support, and opportunities they need. Pablo is currently obtaining his M.S. in Information Security & Privacy from the University of Texas at Austin and hopes to combine his passion for tech, public policy, and advocacy to create a meaningful impact.

Tatyana Carraway (She/her)

Tatyana was born and raised in Houston, Texas. She’s a 21-year-old full-time student at HCC, studying psychology. She is passionate about being vocal for those facing hardships because she has been through many hardships herself. As a young woman and a single mother, she feels the need to do anything she can to help prevent, end, and fix issues such as youth homelessness, wrongdoing in the juvenile justice system, and the flaws in the childhood welfare system overall. She has been a part of the TNOYS family since 2021, graduating from the YALC program. Tatyana is very excited to be a part of TELB and have the chance to continue to positively impact the community in every way she can.

Tiara Kirksey (She/her)

Tiara is a young adult who experienced homelessness as a youth. She is a YALC alumnus and is furthering her youth advocacy with TNOYS as a member of TELB. After graduating from her YALC cohort she is currently working full-time as a Youth Coordinator in Houston and hopes to continue her journey helping to change youth lives. 

Tristyn Williams (She/her)

Tristyn Williams is a Dallas, TX native and mother to her 3-year-old son. Having been affected by multiple at-risk systems at a young age and well through her teenage years, she has committed part of her life mission to youth advocacy and policy change in Texas. All the while being a passionate service industry worker and pursuing a career in the culinary arts to give back to her local communities.