What better way to celebrate women than highlighting local business women and entrepreneurs making a difference in Houston. We’ve gathered a mix of emerging and established women working in their profession and giving back to the community not only through financial support, but through their time, and extraordinary talents.
Chief Marketing Officer, Nick’s Plumbing
Ursula O'Hara believes in giving people a chance. Whether it is a financial boost, an opportunity to expand their business, or the ability to better themselves, she believes that you have to believe in people more than they believe in themselves in certain situations.
O'Hara has always given her time and energy. She volunteers for Meals on Wheels, reads to seniors, and supports the SPCA. However, her most significant philanthropic endeavor is giving microloans on the platform Kiva. "Kiva enables businesses worldwide to receive small loans to help them grow," says O'Hara. "I especially like to make loans to women-owned businesses. It's satisfying to see these women accomplish success on so little. I want to see them provide a secure life and hopefully break the cycle of poverty." nicksplumbing.com
Dr. Nissi Hamilton
Expert Survivor Leader, and Paralegal
When Dr. Nissi Hamilton is not working at her day job as a paralegal, you can find her working for the cause that means the most to her. Dr. Hamilton is a survivor of human sex trafficking, the first victim in Houston to ever run for public office, and has since become a powerful advocate for those still suffering at the hands of others. She has worked tirelessly to extricate herself and her children from the world of human trafficking and now helps other victims do the same. “As I became the leader I am today, who can give people my time, talent, and financial resources; I learned that I cannot spend all of my money and resources on looking the part; I had to become the part,” says Dr. Hamilton.
Dr. Hamilton has also worked with Crime Stoppers of Houston since 2011 when she was trying to find the murderer of her mother. Since then, she has worked with the nonprofit to develop Child Safety ID Kits distributed to schools, law enforcement agencies, nonprofits, and the general public. “The Program Director at Crime Stoppers of Houston, Sydney Zuiker, listened to my story of survival. Together, we were able to minimize victim's vulnerabilities and implement them into a strategy for human trafficking prevention. Crime Stoppers of Houston was there to help me gain closure about the murder of my family, and they ended up becoming my family.”
Dr. Hamilton also launched her for-profit foundation, A Survivor’s Voice of Victory. She has given away over 60,000 Child Safety ID Kits and over one million dollars in food and pandemic relief resources to underprivileged communities of color through her foundation. @thereal_nissihamilton
“My advice to those who are interested in giving back is to be willing to work in places that people don't see.”
Chief Public Strategies Officer, Houston Area Women’s Center
Chau Nguyen escaped the war in Vietnam when she was just two years old. Her parents fled the country with her siblings, made the courageous journey halfway around the world to Houston, and made our great city their home. Because of their journey and the experience of being a refugee, nonprofit work, especially those helping families, women, and children in need, became a priority for Nguyen. "I have been drawn to service as far back as I can remember. From volunteering with the Sheltering Arm as a teenager, delivering food for senior citizens, and being a Big Sister through the Big Brothers and Big Sisters organization, I gave my time in various ways."
Nguyen's latest efforts focus on the Houston Area Women's Center (HAWC), where she serves on the Executive Leadership Team, working alongside a diverse and all-female leadership team and a passionate and driven group of staff. HAWC has been helping women and children escape domestic and sexual violence for over 45 years. The nonprofit offers various services including emergency shelter, counseling, and legal services, crisis support, and career development. "We don't do this work alone, and we do it better together, so I encourage everyone to donate, join the HAWC Board, volunteer, even work for the organization." hawc.org
"Houston is a wonderfully robust community of nonprofits. If you can't devote your treasure, devote your talent; organizations are always looking for support to serve on their boards and committees. Giving back is not only a gift; it's good for the soul."
Broker & Owner of Energy Realty
Sherry Campbell, owner of Energy Realty, has always always given back to those in need. She works with several Houston nonprofits including I love Venezuela and Family Point Resources, among others. Campbell also worked to design and decorate two homes with Designing Interiors Volunteers At your Service (DIVAS) in partnership with the Houston Furniture Bank.
Campbell sees her fair share of unwanted furniture from those buying or selling homes and partners with Guardian Angel Moms to get donated furniture to those in need. “Not only have I purchased and donated furniture personally for families in need, I now refer clients to donate to this organization when they are moving and are no longer in need of furniture or household goods.”
Campbell’s latest charity is Save the Children in Ukraine where she is offering to match donations up to $5000. energy-realty.com
Realtor Associate with Martha Turner Sotheby's Realty
Native Texan Anne Bielstein, who has been in real estate since the late 1970s, is passionate about a few things, including her career and giving back to the community. Her longtime career as a realtor led her to serve on her neighborhood's HOA board. She is also active with a Memorial area political organization that helps distribute information about local candidates and campaigns. "I have two grown daughters and don't live nearby, so there is more time available to pursue interests that I enjoy other than real estate."
Houston's bayou system is a pursuit Bielstein also feels strongly about. "At Martha Turner, we have the opportunity to choose a charity for a donation from our commission with each closing. I've supported the Buffalo Bayou Partnership for many years because the bayou is a great natural resource for Houston." annebielstein.com