Breakthrough Women 2023

Janis Burke 1
Chief Executive Officer
Houston Sports Authority

In 2006 Janis Burke became the third senior executive and the first woman to hold the position of Chief Executive Officer since the Harris County-Houston Sports Authority’s creation in September 1997. In addition to leading the organization responsible for overseeing the 1.2 billion dollars of bond debt service for Houston’s professional sports stadiums, Burke has led the Harris County-Houston Sports Authority to be awarded numerous major sporting events, among them the FIFA World Cup, college football championships, NCAA Men’s Final Four, Olympic trials, AAU Junior Olympics, and various national and world championships.

The Harris County-Houston Sports Authority has earned constant national recognition under Burke’s leadership. In addition to being selected on several occasions as the best sports commission in the country, the Harris County-Houston Sports Authority has also earned the distinction of “Best Employer in Sports,” awarded by Front Office Sports. Individually, Burke has been recognized by numerous organizations for her impactful community work. Distinctions conferred by Conference USA and Rice University acknowledge her for her outstanding contributions as a woman in the Houston sports industry. Additionally, Burke has been named one of “Houston’s 50 Most Influential Women” by Houston Woman Magazine, received the Sports Industry Impact Award from Sam Houston State University, and was identified by the Houston Business Journal as one of Houston’s Most Admired CEOs. Burke also served as Board Chair for Sports ETA, the leading sports tourism trade association in the United States.

Cindy Dinh
Corporate Counsel
Sumitomo Corporation of Americas

Cindy M. Dinh is a native Houstonian and daughter of Vietnamese refugees. She serves as Corporate Counsel at Sumitomo Corporation of Americas, the U.S. subsidiary of a Japanese trading company. Prior to going in-house, she practiced commercial litigation at Mayer Brown LLP and Susman Godfrey LLP.

Ms. Dinh started her career clerking for the Honorable Gray Miller in the U.S. District Courts. The highlight of her clerkship was delivering the keynote speech at a naturalization ceremony as the Judge swore in over 2,000 new Americans as U.S. Citizens.

Ms. Dinh graduated from Rice University, magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa, double-majoring in Sociology and Health Policy Studies. She is a Harry S. Truman Scholar for the state of Texas and a Gates Millennium Scholar. In 2016, she earned her JD and Master in Public Administration from the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law and Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government.

Susan Dray
Vice President
Strategic Partnerships & National Channel Development
Reliant Energy, an NRG co.

As VP, Strategic Partnerships and Business Development, Susan Dray leads the planning and implementation of the strategic vision for NRG’s national partnerships. She oversees the implementation of strategic techniques that drive sales performance and bottom-line revenue for NRG. Susan was previously recognized as a Top 50 Woman in Oil & Gas and has shared her expertise on many panels on topics from leadership to energy.

One of Susan’s passions is supporting other women. She currently serves as an Executive Board Member of the Greater Houston Women’s Chamber of Commerce. She led the Chamber as a past Board Chair to experience one of its most successful but challenging years, during the pandemic. She was also a Loaned Executive to the United Way of Greater Houston and, perhaps her favorite volunteer activity, supporting her children’s schools.

Susan is a proud UT, Austin Alum. She enjoys travel, beach time in Galveston, cheering on Houston’s sports teams, and spending time with her husband and two sons.

Jessica Duckworth
Chief Operating Officer
The Rose

Jessica Duckworth is the Chief Operating Officer of The Rose. She is responsible for all operations of the organization, including managing all clinical and support staff, mobile operations, strategic business development, information systems, and new initiatives. As second in command to the Chief Executive Office, she is the Principal Investigator for grants provided by the Cancer Prevention Research Institution of Texas, leads the Community Engagement and Business Development Teams, and is responsible for the organization’s medical staff. With over 23yrs’ experience as a certified mammographer, and a healthcare administrator, Jessica is a distinguished leader in the breast imaging industry, as well as a recent breast cancer survivor. She is a powerful force in the workplace and uses her extensive knowledge of breast imaging, and her passion for work and community service, along with her own personal breast cancer journey, to help lead The Rose and support the organization’s mission.

Maria Moncada Alaoui
Maria Moncada Alaoui
General Manager
BMW of West Houston

Maria Moncada Alaoui is the General Manager at BMW of West Houston. Starting in the automotive industry in an administrative role more than 25 years ago, she worked her way up to General Manager of one of the top performing dealerships in the nation and has been with BMW for over 16 years. In her current role, she is responsible for the operational and financial oversight of her dealership, as well as customer, and associate satisfaction. A long-time Houstonian, Maria is passionate about giving back to the community and is involved in multiple organizations including World Affairs Council, Women Driving Business, the Houston Food Bank, and the Houston Texans Foundation. She serves on the advisory council of Altus Global Network, and the board of KNOWAutism. Her favorite charities, the ones closest to her heart, are those focused on children in need. She serves on the board of Houston Children’s Charity, and for the past 15 years, she and her dealership have contributed a brand-new BMW to the HCC auction at the organization’s annual gala.

As part of a tribute to Hispanic women, Maria has been recognized as Executive of the Year by Mayor Sylvester Turner. She was also recognized for her leadership, philanthropic work, and was named Model of the Year by Mayor Silvester Turner. Maria has been named one of the Top 30 Most Influential Women in Houston by d-mars and led her dealership in being recognized as the 2021 and 2022 Top BMW Dealership, her center has earned the prestigious Center of Excellence award presented by BMW, as well as the “Best of the Best in 2020” by the Houston Chronicle. Maria’s love of service is enhanced by her love of learning. She attended Sonic Dealer Academy and Leadership Academy and graduated as a fellow of the Shakti Leadership Program of San Diego University. Maria is one of seven children, and is very close to her family attributing her global perspective on her family. She is married to Omar, whom she calls her strongest supporter and her constant source of encouragement. She enjoys spending time with her amazing stepson, as well as her extended family and enjoys long road trips with her family, traveling in style in The Ultimate Driving Machine! One of Maria’s mentors told her, “Excuses are no more than an admission to failure.” It’s a lesson she took to heart and lives by daily. Maria says, “Whenever we begin to make excuses for why something didn’t work, we’ve already admitted defeat. Instead, we should use our energy to focus on what it takes to make it happen.”

Jodi Probst
Jodi Probst



Jodi has been working with multinational oil and chemical companies at PwC for nearly 30 years from the Houston, Perth, Singapore and San Francisco offices. She is now based in PwC’s national office after five years as the Houston office managing partner.

Jodi is known for her curiosity, ability to bring clarity to issues and deliver solutions. She thrives in dynamic work environments, as evidenced by her multinational experience. Jodi’s passion for youth education shines through in her community volunteering. She serves on the National Board of Trustees of Boys Town and as an executive board member of the National Charity League, Heart of Texas Chapter.

Jodi lives in Bellaire, Texas with her husband, Scott and their two daughters, Alexandra (18) and Katherine (14), who she hopes to inspire to believe they can succeed in whatever they put their minds to.

Liliana Rambo 1
Liliana Rambo

Chief Terminal
Management Officer
Houston Airports

​Liliana Rambo, CM, CAPP, is the Houston Airport System’s (HAS) Chief Terminal Management Officer.
As HAS’ Chief Terminal Management Officer, Rambo is responsible for the overall passenger experience of George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH) and William P. Hobby Airport (HOU) by focusing on:
• Delivering excellent customer service.
• Passenger experience metrics.
• Passenger engagement in individual terminals.
• Relationships with airline and federal partners to support passenger focus.
• Executing the passenger experience plan, which includes International, Customer and Custodial Services for each airport’s terminal.
• Executing the Skytrax plan to accomplish HAS’ vision to “establish Houston as a five-star global air service gateway where the magic of flight is celebrated.”
Previously, Rambo served as the General Manager (GM) for HOU where she was responsible for directing the day-to-day management of HOU, as well as establishing policies, procedures, guidelines and project schedules for HOU. She was also responsible for developing the collaborative relationships with our air carriers, tenants and team members to excel at providing a customer-friendly, safe, secure and efficient operation at HOU to the travelling public. In addition, she coordinated the preparation, implementation and monitoring of the budget and expenditures for HOU, among other duties.
Rambo served as the President of Winpark, a Houston-based parking operating company that provides facilities in Houston, San Francisco, Dallas, Sacramento, Phoenix and Austin. Prior to Winpark, Rambo served as the Parking Director for HAS overseeing an operation of over 35,000 parking spaces and achieving annual parking revenue of over $100 million. Rambo has also served as the Parking Management Director for the City of Houston (COH), managing on-street parking operations. Additionally, Rambo led the City of Hollywood, Florida’s, Office of Parking Services and was the director of off-street operations for the Miami Parking Authority.
Rambo holds a Master of Science in Management from St. Thomas University and a Bachelor of Business Administration in Marketing and International Business from Florida International University. She has held key leadership roles within the parking community, most recently as the chair of the board of directors for the International Parking Institute. Rambo has also served on the board of directors of the Florida Parking Association and the board of directors of the Texas Parking Association, which recognized her with its Distinguished Service Award.

Kiran Verma
Kiran Verma


Kiran Verma, considered the ‘godmother of Indian fine dining,’ has created world-class Indian cuisine at her eponymous restaurant. She was just nominated for a 2023 James Beard for Best Chef Texas.
Kiran is a self-taught chef who has been guided by her Indian upbringing and a love of fine cuisine. Born in Delhi, she is the youngest of four children and spent her childhood learning how to cook from her Mom and aunts. Her first foray into the restaurant business was with a bar-b-que restaurant in Houston in 1979. She sold the restaurant shortly after, as her first child was born. She fueled her passion for cooking with at-home gatherings. After her oldest child left for college, she found her way back in the restaurant business in 1998 when she bought a restaurant on Houston’s west side called Ashiana. With Ashiana, Kiran came to prominence on the local and national platform, with ‘Best New Restaurant’ and Wine Spectator Awards of Excellence. After seven years, she sold Ashiana and opened Kiran’s in the heart of The Galleria-area.
She defines her cuisine as a combination of cultures, philosophies and cooking techniques. The restaurant is known for serving up Indian hospitality, with French sophistication and American informality.
Kiran’s serves Afternoon Tea every Saturday and Sunday – a four-course Indian and English tea experience. Chef Kiran has created her own chai blend.
You will see Kiran featured as a guest judge in Season 19 of Bravo’s ‘Top Chef.’
Best New Restaurant – Zagat 2006. Award of Excellence – Wine Spectator 2006-2021. Best of Award of Excellence – Wine Spectator 2022. Chef of the Year Nominee – My Table Magazine 2010, 2013. Participant in former First Lady Michelle Obama’s ‘Chefs Move to Schools’ campaign. Winner of D’Artagnan’s National Cassoulet Competition (Most Daring). Contestant in ‘Beat Bobby Flay’. Selected to be a part of Yelp’s national event for its 16th anniversary. Sole Indian Chef chosen for Indian Prime Minister Modi’s Houston visit.

Kiran’s proudly supports Akshaya Patra, Alley Theatre, AVDA (Aid to Victims of Domestic Abuse), Houston Area Parkinson Society, Houston Food Bank, Houston Grand Opera, Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, Houston Symphony, India House, Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, Magic Bus, March of Dimes, M.D. Anderson, Pratham, Recipe for Success, Virtuosi of Houston and UNICEF among others.


Kim Warnica
Kimberly Warnica

General Counsel and Secretary
Marathon Oil

Kim Warnica is an accomplished C-suite executive and Board member who has worked extensively with a variety of companies in the energy industry and possesses broad leadership experience in strategy, finance, crisis management, restructuring, enterprise risk, regulatory matters and human capital management. Kim is the Executive Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary of Marathon Oil Corporation (NYSE: MRO) and is responsible for legal, compliance, corporate communications and government relations. Prior to joining Marathon in 2021, she was Executive Vice President, General Counsel, Chief Compliance Officer and Secretary of Alta Mesa Resources, Inc. (formerly NASDAQ: AMR), a $1 billion SPAC, responsible for the ethics and compliance, human resources, facilities, contract administration, corporate communications and legal functions of Alta Mesa. Kim is a key strategic advisor to Boards of Directors and has significant expertise in corporate governance, SEC reporting, shareholder relations, executive compensation, liability management, disclosure issues, mergers, acquisitions and divestitures and capital market transactions. Prior to joining Alta Mesa in 2018, Kim held leadership positions with Marathon Oil Corporation and Freeport-McMoRan Oil & Gas Company, formerly Plains Exploration & Production Company (formerly NYSE: PXP). She started her career at Andrews Kurth LLP (now known as Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP) where she practiced corporate and securities law, representing a variety of clients in numerous transactional, securities and corporate governance matters. Kim serves on the Board of Directors of NuScale Power Corporation (NYSE: SMR), an advanced nuclear technology company that has developed a small modular reactor in scalable sizes to generate steam that can be used for electrical generation, district heating, desalination, hydrogen production and other process heat applications. She also serves on the Board of Directors of the Greater Houston Partnership, a private, nonprofit corporation that strives to make Houston one of the best places to live, work and build a business.Kim received a Bachelor of Science from Texas A&M and earned her J.D. from the University Texas School of Law where she graduated with high honors, was elected to the Order of the Coif and was a member of Texas Law Review.