Memorial's Women of Influence

Recognizing women making a difference in our community.

Rania Mankarious, MA, JD

CEO Crime Stoppers of Houston


What was the driving force behind you joining Crime Stoppers?

I had a unique background, and all of it led me to the nonprofit sector. I grew up in Boston, MA, went to a Jesuit College (Boston College) where the concept of “giving back” was heavily ingrained. I went on to law school and to complete a master’s degree in Marriage & Family therapy. 

I became very intrigued by the role of public safety in our lives, and as times changed and problems changed, these issues only became more important to me. Joining Crime Stoppers in 2006 gave me the tools to focus on my interests and contribute to the community in a meaningful way. 

After so many years at Crime Stoppers, what keeps you motivated?

With every presentation, every breaking news story, every community meeting, or lunch discussion, I see the inherent value in providing people a safe place to live, work, and play. I don’t want one more child to be victimized or an animal be tortured; I don’t want one more neighborhood to suffer a home invasion; I don’t want one more school to see violence on its doorstep, and I believe we can do a lot to stop those things preemptively. 

What advice do you give women entering the workforce? 

I challenge them to work hard each day; know the material; know the various angles; know their actual limitations and boundaries. I encourage them to be a team player, respect others, while standing up for themselves and for what is right without hesitation. The rest will fall into place.


Martha W. White 

Realtor, Better Homes, and Gardens Real Estate Gary Greene


What is a common hurdle that homeowners face when buying a home, and how do you help them overcome it? 

In today's highly competitive market with little inventory of homes in most areas, I must prepare buyers to be ready to put forth the most substantial offer with the best terms. Buyers are advised to be qualified with a lender from day one of the search, be mentally prepared to offer aggressively or over list price, and be willing to pay typical seller costs within the contract.

What are two touch-ups that you recommend to every client that will maximize their listing price? 

I encourage my clients to declutter, depersonalize and look at their home thru a buyer's eyes. Renting a storage space is an excellent option if it's too overwhelming or time-consuming to pare down possessions. New neutral carpet and fresh neutral paint make any home appear clean, refreshed, and inviting to a new owner. You want the prospective buyer to feel like they could immediately move in or visualize themselves in the space.

 What do you enjoy most about being a realtor?

I love working with people to help them find their next "fit" in a home. Whether it's a first-time buyer, move-up buyer, empty nester, or transitioning lifestyle buyer, my true passion and reward are fulfilling their needs and dreams. When my clients are happy, my efforts are rewarded. 

Haley Bowen

Artist and Owner of HB Fine Art, LLC


How long have you been an artist? 

I've been a professional artist for almost four years now. Covid was a blessing in disguise as it forced me to stay here and focus. I realized that if God gave me a talent, and if I did something good with it to make the world a better place, then I would be given more opportunities. 

Why is it important to you to celebrate self-love and body image through your art?

Not one person is the same, and I can say that because I'm a twin. Each one of our differences, our marks and lines, our histories and colors, our beliefs and passions, gives this world and this life it's heartbeat. I celebrate self-love and body image as a figurative artist because we are uniquely created, and each of our characteristics were chosen for us.

What is your favorite medium, and why? 

I love watercolor. My grandfather was an amateur watercolor artist, and while he painted landscapes, he also drew the figure - he was such an inspiration for me. Watercolor is my favorite because of the way it interacts with its surface. You have to be quick yet patient; it can surprise you in the most frustrating and beautiful ways. 

What is one quirky thing you do while creating? 

There's a part of my creative process when I'm nearing the end of a painting and decide to claim it as finished or add more. I'll do the drawing and the initial pour of watercolor, and then I have to sit with the artwork in silence. I try to feel and remember the energy of the model I drew. It is only after this sitting period when I'll decide if the work is finished. It's an intimate relationship with the artwork, but it happens with every piece I create. 

Rachel Conkling 

Realtor Associate, Compass 


How do you set yourself apart from other realtors? 

I understand that each client has a different personality and different needs or wants in a home. It's my goal to treat each client as if they are my only client. Communication is critical, especially with first-time homebuyers, where I explain every step of the process. With today's market and a historic low inventory, it is essential to know about homes not yet on the market and how to write the strongest offer in multiple offer situations. It's a fast-paced market right now, and you can't wait until tomorrow. 

For my sellers, we start by creating an in-depth marketing plan specifically for their home because each home is unique. So much happens before a listing even goes on the market. It's essential to have a realtor who knows how to negotiate, how to keep your clients' interests your top priority, and keep each transaction running as smoothly as possible.

What is your favorite style of house right now? 

I love a home with a neutral pallet. It's a blank slate for a buyer to come in and add their personality and colors through artwork, colorful pillows, wallpapers, and décor.

What do you enjoy most about being a realtor? 

Every day, client, and home are different. It's gratifying to sit at the closing table knowing you have helped someone find their "Home Sweet Home." 

Janelle Alexis Flatt

Owner and Managing Director of Janelle Alexis Salon


How did you get involved in the business? 

I grew up in the business - my mom is a hairstylist and still owns her salon after all these years. I started answering phones and sweeping up hair at the tiny salon she worked in when I was young. That blossomed into what I am today: hardworking, not afraid to get my hands dirty, and constantly innovating. I am a dedicated hair and makeup stylist and educator.

Are there any practices you have adapted during COVID-19 that you will keep doing in your salon?

We will continue to sanitize our stations after each customer and put our smocks in plastic bags before they are sanitized. I want my staff and customers to feel comfortable, so we will wear masks for as long as we need to. I want to continue to improve the salon’s online shopping experience and expand our social media presence - both of which have helped us during COVID-19.

What has been the highlight of your career so far?

Winning one of the top hairstylists in Houston was such an honor and being a member of the national team for a hair extension company has been great, too. 

One of the most emotional points of my career is going to be when I receive my bachelor’s degree in May. I studied while working full time and constantly traveling to teach stylists across the United States and Canada. All the while, I was a wife, mom, and taking care of four dogs – not to mention I bought a business in the middle of it all. It is going to be such a feeling of accomplishment when I graduate.

Karen Harberg

Realtor Associate, Compass


Real estate in Houston can be very volatile; how do you stay motivated during the lean times?

The real estate industry is about relationships, not about any single transaction. After being in the real estate industry for over thirty years, I have experienced seasonal cycles and economic swings in the market. I have to know when to switch my focus from daily tasks to relationship building. Knowing that the market will change (it always does) is both exciting and stressful.  

What is the number one tip you give clients when they are ready to sell their home? 

Get the home market-ready before ever letting anyone inside for a showing. There is only one way to get top dollar for your home, and that is to have the house in top dollar condition when it debuts on the market. It is better to take an additional one or two weeks to get the property market-ready rather than to come on to the market before the last projects are complete. 

What do you enjoy most about being a realtor? 

My favorite part is the people aspect of building relationships. Buying or selling a home is usually the most significant investment for an individual or a family - it can be stressful. I love the process of helping an individual or family identify their next dream home and shepherding them through the process from start to finish and beyond. Just because a closing has occurred doesn't mean that our friendship has ended.


Related Businesses

Related Articles

See More