Newly elected ICCC Board members

Dear Italian Cultural & Community Center Members:

As per Section 6.03.4, if the number of candidates who have timely qualified equals (or is less than) the number of vacancies, the President may dispense with sending out ballots and all candidates who have timely qualified shall be declared winners. We are proud to announce that the following became Board Members at the November 14, 2019 Annual Meeting, of the Italian Cultural & Community Center.

Carlo M. Cotrone was born in Wisconsin and moved to Houston in 2012 to accept a position as a corporate intellectual property attorney in the energy sector. Besides his day job at Baker Hughes, he teaches as an adjunct professor at University of Houston Law Center; writes and speaks on topics such as legal and business strategy, leadership, and professional development; and performs as a freelance pianist and organist in churches throughout Greater Houston. As a person, he is the happiest when he collaborates with others to impact the world for the better, when he is involved in creative endeavors, and when he builds meaningful personal connections. Though only a member since June, he has felt drawn to the ICCC community since the first event he attended. The warmth and engagement of the people, the creativity and diversity of the programs, and the high standards of excellence that undergird the organization have been inspiring to him.

Thann Rae Dauterive is a native of New Orleans, LA and a Houston resident since 2015. She spent 40 years in marketing and sales in the high-tech business sector. Her love of all things Italian began while working for Società Generale Semiconduttori.  As a newcomer to  the ICCC, she revels in Italian history, culture, fashion and culinary appreciation through her 30+ visits to the country. She has also been a volunteer coach/mentor at the Girls Middle School in Mountain View, CA in the Entrepreneurial Education program coaching 14-year girls the skills of starting their own business. She enjoys turning her positive energy and critical thinking business skills into projects that can help people and organizations develop and expand while keeping pace with the challenges and changes faced in making day to day progress.

Tracy Lalasz has no Italian heritage by blood but is passionate about Italy – the people, landscape, culture, language, craftsmanship, and of course – food and wine. In 2011, she and her husband were married in Piedmont, after jumping through many administrative, religious and logistical hoops.  One of the main reasons they decided to undertake the project of planning a wedding in Italy was to share their experience of traveling there with their families and dearest friends.  They thought, “if we get married there – they will all have to come with us!”  In the process, they made some great friends in Italy and today they are working on projects with the regional tourist office, several wineries, properties and craftspeople there to promote Italy, and help sustain the Italian way of life. Their home is Houston, and the ICCC is a fantastic link, locally, to one of the richest cultures and collection of traditions in the world.  The ICCC’s language education for children and adults and the varied portfolio of cultural events enrich our vibrant city and are a unique way for those interested in all things Italian to connect.  Her primary leadership strength is strategy but combined with her MBA and 20+ years of operations management, she has developed the ability to quickly develop ideas, break them down into actionable steps and execute.  

Maryrose Milloy is not of Italian descent, but had the very good fortune to study in Rome and so began her love affair with that magical country.  She moved to Houston to go to law school, and she has lived here since.  As a trial lawyer, she has been an assistant district attorney for Harris County, and an assistant United States Attorney, as well as a partner in a civil litigation law firm.  She recently retired after 25 years as United States Magistrate Judge.  She has been active in the legal community as a speaker and seminar leader.  She has also been involved in other civic affairs with several local non-profit organizations. Her interest in Italy and Italian culture has been nurtured through her multiple trips over the years, and her family associations.  Not only has she been part of a group of 6 people who own property in the Tuscan hill town of Cortona, her sister and her husband from Lecco have lived there 30 years. With each visit, she is more and more enchanted with the people, the art, the history, the tradition, and, of course, the food. With the help of the ICCC, she is becoming more at ease with the Italian language, which she has studied for years.  For the past two years, she has been studying with a private tutor at the ICCC. She has also been an enthusiastic participant in cultural enrichment classes, some of the wine dinners, and monthly Masses.  She is very much interested in seeing the Center thrive and continue its current emphasis on Italian cultural studies and events.

Sheila Echols-Smesny has been a member since 2016 and an active supporter of the ICCC for over a decade. Professionally, she is a map maker and a team leader at an energy company in Downtown Houston. She has a Bachelor of Science in Geology and an Executive MBA.  She is a United States Air Force and combat veteran.  She has an extreme attention and appreciation for detail. She excels at organizing and planning enjoys improving systems and processes behind the scenes.  Personally, she loves to sew, attend wine tastings, and travel.  She and her husband, and their two dogs, live near the ICCC.  Red Shoes. Red Wine. is her travel, lifestyle, and hobby blog, and she uses that platform to share her travels, experiences, and costume making, as well as promote the ICCC.  Her mother was adopted, and they always suspected they were Italian.  They’ve only recently discovered Sicilian ancestry through DNA testing, and while her blood is of many cultures, her heart is Italian.  Chianti is her blood type, and she’s never been happier than she was while walking through the streets of Rome.

The remaining members of the 2020 Board of Directors are as follows:

Monica Ercolani, President

John M. Carrabba

Sandra Celli Harris

Raluca Dalea

Bernard Marino

Margret Norton

Gary DeSerio

Mark Parenti

Livia Bornigia, Past President