Community > Board Members
Our dedicated board members are a relentless pursuit to achieve our vision of a world where every person with an intellectual or developmental disability has access to Bloom and wants to do it.
John Watson - Board Chair
John’s 30+ years in the mortgage industry included running a 13-state division for a top-25 bank, founding a mortgage banking firm that he eventually sold to a publicly-traded bank, and serving as the President of the Texas Mortgage Bankers Association.
After retiring from the mortgage industry John and his wife, Jill, founded Bloom Community. Inspired by their daughter, Emma, who has cerebral palsy, the mission of Bloom is to help people with intellectual and developmental disabilities become active contributors to their community. That included demonstrating to employers the value of people with IDD to their business, a topic John has spoken nationally. Additionally, John and Jill founded Bloom Fitness, a community built around a fitness program. This program encourages people of all abilities to engage in a lifetime of wellness.
Jill Watson - Co-Founder
Jill Watson is Gallagher’s Health and Welfare Practice Leader, based out of Houston, Texas. Jill joined Gallagher Benefit Services in August 2000 after serving as the Area President at Willis. With over 35 years of experience in Employee Benefits, Jill has driven change across the entire consulting landscape. Over the past 20 years, Jill has consistently been recognized as Gallagher’s top consultant.
Jill sits on numerous advisory boards and thought leadership groups across the industry and participates in panels and speaking engagements on topics ranging from healthcare cost containment strategy to women in leadership.
After many years of passionately supporting and advocating for those with Intellectual or Developmental Disabilities (IDD), Jill and her husband John founded Bloom Fitness in 2017. Bloom is a non-profit organization that leads all people with IDD to a lifetime of fitness through an engaging program that creates a sense of belonging, pride, and love.
Pete Guarraia is a Partner and Director at Bain & Company in the Houston office and has been with the firm since 1996. He currently leads Bain’s Global Operations Practice. He is also a senior member of the Industrials and Performance Improvement Practices and former head of Bain’s NA Chemicals Practice.
Pete has deep expertise in leading comprehensive operational transformations and focuses on how to turn operations into a competitive weapon. Additionally, he spends a great deal of time working with clients on today’s most pressing operational issues, including digitalization, supply chain strategy, network optimization, and supply chain reinvention.
He has worked extensively in and around chemicals and petrochemicals on various topics ranging from core operational excellence to strategy and marketing.
During his tenure at Bain, Pete has worked across industries including Chemicals, Aerospace and Defense, Semiconductors, Private Equity, and Financial Services.
Before joining Bain, Pete worked for Arthur Andersen. He earned an MBA from Stanford Graduate School of Business and a BA from Stanford University.
Earning his degree in Petroleum Engineering from the University of Texas in the 1980′s, David began his career as a Drilling and Production Engineer with Union Pacific Resources. Intrigued with the business aspect of the energy industry, David returned to his alma mater to earn his MBA.
While in graduate school, David started an energy consulting business and worked for General Atlantic Partners, a global venture capital firm and early investor of SCF. He met SCF Founder L. E. Simmons through General Atlantic and joined SCF after graduating in 1991. Over the years, David has been responsible for creating numerous investment platforms around emerging energy trends. He is currently responsible for overseeing SCF’s U.S.-based investments. He also is a member of the Board of Directors of Forum Energy Technologies, Nine Energy Services, and Select Energy Services. In addition, David is an avid golfer, traveler, and Longhorn die-hard and has a long-standing commitment to The Center for Pursuit: a Houston organization that serves adults with developmental disabilities, where he is a board member and past President.
In 2016, he and his wife, Maire, founded Pursuit (www.pursuitride.org) and led a 3,500-mile bike journey across the United States that raised $13 million and helped advance awareness, collaboration, and knowledge supporting people with intellectual and developmental disABILITIES. In 2018, David was awarded the Hoover Medal for his work helping people with disabilities.
David is also actively involved in Houston’s medical community. Currently, he serves as Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Baylor College of Medicine, board member of Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center Hospital, and member of the Advisory Board of the Texas Medical Center.
Keith Perry is currently the senior vice president and chief information officer for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. In this role, he oversees all aspects of delivering a technology strategy for clinical, research, and administration that aligns with the institutional mission to find cures and save children. Prior to St. Jude, he was associate vice president and deputy chief information officer at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, responsible for executive leadership for a portfolio of information services that support the institutional mission to eliminate the burden of cancer.
Perry also served as director of enterprise technology and business line applications for U.S. Oncology. In addition, he oversaw a team responsible for all technology infrastructure services and clinical research technology. He started his healthcare career with Columbia/HCA Healthcare as director of application technology and architecture. Perry completed his Bachelor of Science in computer science at Harding University and Master’s in Business Administration from the University of Houston.
Perry has obtained the Certified Healthcare Chief Information Officer (CHCIO) designation and Fellow (FCHIME) status through the College of Healthcare Information Management Executive (CHIME) organization. He is also a member of the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) and the Greater Memphis IT Council board member.
Kevin Kern has served in various leadership roles in IDD services beginning over 20 years ago as a Program Specialist at the Barber National Institute, a large cutting edge organization located in Pennsylvania with locations in Erie, Philadelphia, and Pittsburgh. At the Barber National Institute, Kevin found his true passion while working with individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. After relocating to Texas in 2007, Kevin joined The Center for Pursuit, a Houston-based nonprofit organization serving individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, Autism, and similar conditions, and is the Chief Operating Officer. As the COO, Kevin oversees the overall operations and continuous quality improvement of The Center’s programs and services. Before assuming the COO position, Kevin served in various roles at The Center starting in 2007 as the Director of Willow River Farms, the Center for Pursuits rural campus, Director of Residential Services, and Chief Program Officer.
Kevin is currently nearing completion of his Doctoral degree in Public Administration at Walden University and holds a Master’s of Public Administration and a Bachelor’s in Human and Social Services Administration from Bellevue University. Kevin is also certified as an Assisted Living Administrator through The Center for Health Education and Research.
Kevin is active on several Boards, including the Private Providers Association of Texas, and the American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (AAIDD), where he currently serves as the Treasurer. Previously Kevin served on the Board of the Intellectual and Developmental Needs Council of Harris County, serving as a board member and past President. Aside from Board volunteerism, Kevin is also a member of the IDD Planning Advisory Council with The Harris Center for Mental Health & IDD and also previously served on the Advisory Council for Houston Community College’s VAST Academy, a program developed by the College for individuals with developmental disabilities, as well as a start-up committee member for GiGi’s Playhouse of Houston.
Patrina works at The Harris Center for Mental Health and IDD as a Program Coordinator. One of her many duties includes assisting individuals within the population to gain employment. You can also find her leading the Bloom Fitness dance classes several times a week, and she is the star of our dance videos.
What has driven Patrina to work within this community was her daughter’s passing in 1991 at only 72 days old. She was born with many congenital disabilities and diagnosed with Trisomy 13. She pours her heart into her work and is passionate about each individual she meets.
Patrina received a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with a focus in Community Development from Central Michigan University. A native of Michigan and a diehard fan of The Detroit Lions, Patrina now resides in Texas with her husband of 27 years and two daughters.
As a sales operations and organizational design professional of 9+ years, Lennell has experience in administration and personnel management, training, and development. Experienced in structuring and vision-implementing and passionate about the development of the built environment, development of organizations, development of strategic partnerships, development of leadership, and personal development. Adept at operating within teams to work towards a common goal, Lennell works to create the most effective and well-rounded solution possible.
Before his current role at Gallagher, Lennell worked for seven years as an architect and spent four years working as Creative Director for a ministry in Cape Town, South Africa. During his time in South Africa, Lennell developed a vast knowledge of fundraising for non-profit organizations and helped cultivate a network of partnerships to grow and support the ministry organization from the ground up. Lennell also served as a team leader in executing the vision and goals of the leadership team, working to create clear, simple, and reproducible deliverables.
Lennell is a graduate of the University of Oklahoma, having obtained a bachelor’s degree in Architecture. He is also a licensed architect.
As Area President, Kevin leads the management responsibilities of Gallagher’s consulting practice in the Georgia marketplace. Practically, Kevin is focused on equipping consulting teams with the full arsenal of Gallagher’s resources and thought leadership in a format relevant to each consultant’s marketplace.
A cornerstone of Kevin’s management philosophy is the belief that Gallagher’s value proposition thrives when we are engaged in servant-focused dialogue with prospects and clients.
Prior to his current role, Kevin served as Director of Sales for Gallagher’s North Texas market. As a graduate of Gallagher’s internship program, Kevin has spent his entire career at Gallagher, spanning roles as Area President – Heartland, Senior Vice President for Gallagher’s Caribbean consulting practice – CGM Gallagher, as well as holding positions in various levels of Account Management during his time in Gallagher’s Houston office.
Kevin is a graduate of Texas A&M University, having obtained a degree in International Politics and Diplomacy.
Dr. Kirk English
Dr. Kirk L. English is an assistant professor of exercise and health sciences in the Department of Clinical, Health, and Applied Sciences at the University of Houston-Clear Lake. Dr. English’s research focuses on exercise and nutrition strategies to 1) mitigate losses in muscle mass and function due to aging, illness, and spaceflight and 2) optimize sport and human performance in competitive and tactical athletes (e.g., astronauts). Previously, he conducted this work at the University of Texas Medical Branch. He completed his Ph.D. in rehabilitation sciences concentrating on nutrition and metabolism. At NASA Johnson Space Center, he studied and developed exercise countermeasures to the harmful effects of long-duration spaceflight. Dr. English has also pioneered and advocated the evidence-based practice approach for the field of exercise science. In addition, he trains endurance athletes and is a regular reviewer for numerous biomedical, exercise science, and spaceflight-related scientific journals.
Manuel Lopez Jr.
Manuel Lopez Jr. is the Clinical and Education Sr. Manager at Texana Center, serving a six-county region. Manuel joined Texana Center in 2004 and has over 30 years of experience in helping individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. He received his Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from the University of Houston. Prior to coming to Texana Center, his experience included serving individuals at the Richmond State Supported Living Center, Community Residential Settings, and providing services with the Texas Youth Commission.
Growing up with a cousin who had Fetal Alcohol Syndrome and Cerebral Palsy inspired Charity English’s deep love for people with disabilities, which ultimately led her to work with individuals with various diagnoses. With a desire to help people who learn differently from others, Charity pursued a master’s degree in Applied Behavior Analysis, where she provided 1:1 therapy to children with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Since becoming a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) in 2014 and a Licensed Behavior Analyst (LBA) in Texas, Charity has worked in public schools to help staff solve classroom management issues. Charity has supported students from ages 3 – 22 years in various settings. She has provided training to Houston churches that support children with special needs. In 2020, Charity became the Autism Program Manager for a grant-funded research project at the University of Houston-Clear Lake that provides training for teachers across Houston and rural areas of Texas to use behavior analytic strategies in the classroom. Through Telehealth World ABA Project, Charity has provided training to teachers and staff in Nigeria and Namibia via Zoom. In addition to training school staff, Charity’s professional passions lie in supervising graduate students pursuing careers in ABA.
Charity is married to Kirk, a guy who knows his way around a mountain bike trail and is mom to Isabella and Elliana. In her free time, Charity enjoys watching movies with her family, playing with their Dalmatian, Aspen, and searching Pinterest for her next recipe or crafting adventure!
Elaine Turner is the former founder/owner of Elaine Turner Designs, a fashion lifestyle brand based in Houston, Tx. Elaine Turner® launched in April of 2000, and the goal was simple: use the language of design to create elegant yet affordable fashion that makes women feel beautiful inside and out. For over twenty years, the company’s growth was fueled by selling to high-end luxury retailers such as Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue, and Nordstrom’s, opening twelve branded retail stores throughout Texas, and building a robust digital platform. In 2019, Elaine decided to close her last store and focus her efforts on caring for her family and serving the community through her non-profit work. Elaine has a seventeen-year-old daughter, Marlie, who is autistic. Being a special needs mother has inspired Elaine to give back to the community and advocate for special needs individuals and their families. Also, Elaine is deeply passionate about supporting women and serves on the Advisory Board of The Women’s Fund in Houston, TX. Elaine graduated from The University of Texas at Austin with a BA in Advertising in 1992. She lives in Houston, Texas, with her husband, Jim, and their two children, Harrison and Marlie.
In 2016, Jourdan served as the Campaign Manager for “Pursuit,” a 3,500-mile bike journey across the United States that raised $13 million for The Center for Pursuit while building awareness for individuals with disABILITIES nationwide. During its existence, the campaign successfully acquired $1M in sponsorships, 350+ volunteers, and 31 learning partners across the United States.
Following her role as Campaign Manager for Pursuit, Jourdan launched an exercise program for The Center for Pursuit. After the initial launch, the on-campus exercise program proved to be a huge success and gained the attention of another like-minded program, Bloom Fitness. Shortly after their introduction, the two programs joined together, where Jourdan became a Bloom instructor facilitating and leading cycling, floor, and dance classes.
Jourdan has maintained a passion for health and wellness beginning at a very young age. She received a track and cross-country scholarship from the University of Texas at Austin, where she graduated with a degree in Public Relations. She continues her love for distance running, most recently placing 4th in the 2016 70.3 Ironman World Championship.
Jourdan remains active in her community and especially enjoys her roles as a loving wife and mom to her daughter Mila.